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D of E Diary RE:Loaded
Saturday, April 24, 2004

Chapter One- In The Beginning…

It was a quiet Friday afternoon in the peaceful village of Broadway. The trees rustled, the birds sang. An old man named Frank walked his dog across a quiet country lane.
Suddenly, a huge blue coach came roaring down the lane, rocking perilously as it turned the corner and rolled down the hill. The sounds of laughter and music were drowning out the peaceful birdsong of before. As the leaves swept into the air in its wake, Frank looked at the back of the coach. Several hands in the air, a few heads bobbing up and down and what was unmistakably the theme tune from Grease. People looking out the window at him, amazed at the scenery around them. Delighted, happy faces bursting into yet another cheery song.
Frank shook his head in disgust.

The coach rolled into Hayway Farm. Several pairs of sexy hiking boots (complete with owners) jumped out into the drive and straight into the heart of country life. If by country life you mean the stench of cow pats and horse manure coating the lane that is.
Group 5 looked around at their new home for the next evening. In the fields there were cows softly mooing to each other. In the fields there were chickens pecking about. In the fields there were trees making tree-like sounds. Nature was alive and well. It was all very … farm like. The question was, which field was ours?

A quick introduction to the people that make up Group Five.
Previously Group Eleven, the members of Group Five are Chrisi (Chisel) , Hollie (Hollis) , Harriet (Haz) and Zoe (Foolish-girl-who-eats-loads). Unfortunately, Danielle, Ents and Alexa came to their senses and decided not to do D of E anymore so our crazy new recruits Chaz, Elly and Beth (BethJob) take their places.
And thus, Group Five was born.

Our field turned out to be a small unsightly patch of grass. I assure you it was as exciting as it sounds.
Nevertheless we were only 2 hours into our D of E experience so Group 5 decided to make the best out of a bad storyline and pitch our tents. Tent pitching went very smoothly. Rather too smoothly if you ask me. One of those, this-has-gone-so-well-that-I-think-something-bad-will-happen-now things.
And guess what kiddies? Turns out that our perfect tent was not so perfect after all.
Zoe- “OK, all we need to do now is put the pegs in the ground.”
Beth- “Yay! Hollie pass us the pegs!”
Hollis- “Chrisi has them”
Chrisi- “Tent pegs? What tent pegs?”
Turns out we forgot to bring the only things that would stop our tents from getting wet, leaking and most importantly, getting blown away. Oh the Group 11 curse has come back to haunt us.
After playing a few rounds of the blame game we decided to actually do something about it. Unfortunately, begging for anything that is not edible is not something Group 5 excel at. Instead, like the sly badgers we are, we “borrowed” pegs from the neighbouring tent. Two pegs in and we got caught by a scary-looking tall guy named Matt. For our reactions imagine a not-so-innocent deer caught in headlights. And the deer wears hiking boots of course.
Turns out that Beth, Chisel and Hollis learnt the meaning of improvisation in Drama.
“HA! Told you I could pull it out with one hand!”
“Oh, I feel so stupid, how could I have challenged you to take one, *cough* ONE of their tent pegs out with your right hand.”
“Why, hello there…!”

Actually we thought our scene had worked for a minute, but no. Hehe we really should give guys some more credit. The fact that we had several pegs not unlike theirs in our hands kinda pushed them in the right direction me thinks. Cue the drama:
Matt and his tent mates were not best pleased but luckily saw the funny side of it. What a great way to make friends eh?

Turns out that Ward had spare pegs so we were saved. According to the guys, we “could have just asked.” What can I say? We like a challenge. However Wards pegs (and please no innuendoes) were made of plastic. It took us a few tries to get the peg in at the right angle and then we were whacking at it trying to get it into the ground. Hitting the peg didn’t seem to work so someone came up with the idea of standing on the pegs. So Zoe did.
A few minutes later ….
“Ward honest! The peg just fell apart in my hand! … Yes, that’s right, right down the middle, as if someone’s stood on it and it’s snapped….”
Then the remains of the peg mysteriously flew into the cornfield behind us. Woah.

Anyway, once our tents had been pitched successfully, we lined it with mats and sleeping bags and the finished result was quite homely. Then there was a certain call we had to attend to. Mr Torpey merely pointed to the edge of the field and smirked. Zoe tried to find out whether this was one of his “jokes” by desperately reasoning : “But Mr Torpey … there’s BOYS here”
Mr Torpey simply chuckled merrily and said “Don’t worry, they’ll turn the other way once they know what you’re doing”
All the cursing of last time started to boil up as we tried to find the reason WHY we were here again? Then all of a sudden Mr Torpey let out a loud laugh and said heartily “But there IS one toilet that some people use, by the farmhouse. “Hahah I almost had you going didn’t I?”
Oh the hilarity of it all.

Chapter One Comments

Chapter 2 – Regarding huge, fuck-off dogs.

Anyway Zoe and BethJob, after having called Mr Torpey every name under the sun (behind his back of course) decided to venture out towards the farmhouse in search of the toilet. On arrival at the farmhouse this really cute big black dog came bounding up to them. BethJob gave a squeal of delight and exclaimed “Oooh doggie!!” whilst extending her hand to pat it.
The wind suddenly changed and the “doggie” narrowed its eyes and decided to take a chunk out of her hand. It was an eeeevil eeevil moment. BethJob hastily retracted her hand (now covered in blood) and hid behind Zoe who was now almost pissing herself in terror (plus she still needed to go to the toilet.) They could not see said toilet anywhere so decided to make their way back to the campsite because the “doggie” was now growling at them. What should they do?
“No sudden moves…” Zoe hissed out the corner of her mouth as they edged away. “And don’t make eye contact with it…”
So walking as calmly as possible they made their way back down the field (BethJobs hand dripping steadily) whilst the crazy “doggie” watched them with its evil eyes. As soon as they were out of the dog’s vision, they ran to Mr Torpey shrieking and shouting gibberish. Soon enough they had attracted all the groups and all the girls were too petrified to go to the toilet in case the “huge fuck-off dog” would bite their hands off. What can I say? Group 5 members are notorious for exaggerating ever so slightly…

Mr Torpey had to escort everyone to the toilet, where we encountered a large sign on the kennel (presumably belonging to the HFO dog) which clearly stated “HE BITES” ……… Erm, heavy pressure on your bladder affects your literacy, so sue me.

After that little episode everything was hunky-dory. Group 5 cooked themselves a nice little dinner and sat around the makeshift campfire (in fact a small candle) strumming the guitar singing “Kumbaya”. True story. Sounds really cheesy and happy doo-dah right? And you know what? It was! Dinner that night did not go too well seeing that we had not used the cookers since last time and were still trying to familiarise ourselves with them. Not a good thing really when you’ve got highly flammable spirits and you’re uncertain as to what should happen when you strike a match. Luckily all eyebrows were saved and all our dignity still remained intact.

The sun went down, the night went on, the cows were mooing, the chickens were pecking and yes, the trees were still making tree sounds. The groups decided to set up a cooker and make fondue. Chocolate fondue. With marshmallows and cookies. The only sight of compensation for participating so far. What can I say? It was great. Not to be sexist or anything but the guys made it and 1) they didn’t screw it up 2) they didn’t screw it up and 3) ...well there never is a three anyway. Once the chocolate had melted and was at the “right consistency” all we needed now was a guinea pig. Now, when suspicious food needs testing all the members of Group 5 at least look in one direction. Or at least when she steps forward herself. And so Zoe did.

And she stepped back with a scalded mouth and what looked like a burn on her fingers that would scar her for the rest of her innocent life! Or at least for a month or two. However it was well worth it. Eating marshmallows drowned in chocolate (avec that extra flavour of damp grass) is surprisingly good. And still trying not to be unbelievably sexist but Miner Matt and Drax pulled it off pretty darn well.

The night drew in, the sun had set. It was dark. Very dark. As in so dark you-cant-see-the-tent-ropes-in-your-path dark. Many casualties. It was quite daunting actually, what with the cows mooing at irregular intervals.

The boys kept going off in twos and threes to wash up their pans but strangely enough, came back empty handed. Yes... “Washing up” I'm sure.

Eventually the adults returned after their nice meal in decent civilisation and surprisingly no one had lost a limb let alone a life yet. Pitch black, surrounded by fields and miserable people. What was one to do for entertainment? (That’s rhetorical, please do not give an answer concerning cows, sheep or both.)
So in the end, the only option was to sleep. So sleep we did. Eventually. After the whole saga of everyone in group 5 shouting goodnight to each other , The Waltons style.
“Goodnight Chisel!”
“Night Hollis!”
“Sweet dreams Bethjob!”
“Night Haz!”
“Whoevers ssh-ing is making just as much noise!”

Mr Torpey- “OK everyone quiet now!”

Well, as I said, eventually we all got to sleep. Though a murderous Mr Torpey is enough to keep anyone awake for a bit.

Chapter 2 Comments

Chapter 3 – The early bird gets the death sentence.

Saturday morning!

We awoke bright and early to the sound of voices. At I think it was just before six. According to the law of the land, we werent allowed out of our tents until seven. We’d had an uncomfortable night – getting used to the transition from soft bed to hard ground took longer then we expected and the cockerel had got up at dawn and was announcing it to the world every ten minutes. In other words- Group 5 did not appreciate being woken up so early.
Remember last time when Group 5, previously group 11 were shouting at group 10 for shouting at group 9 or something like that? Well, currently the members of Group 5 were detecting an encore. It started quite politely with the ssh-ing. In spite of this, whoever was talking had woken up their tent-mates who were now talking. It was coming in the direction of Group 2 (Shyam, Martin, Phil, Jolyon, Zarus etc)
Another group entered the fray. Good morning Group 1 – Angus, Charles, Ward, Frazer, Drax, Matt and Greenie. It started with a polite request from somewhere in Group 1’s mahoosive 7-man tent. “Whoever that is please shut up”
“No, you shut up!”
And it started again.

Group 5 decided to give up fighting the good fight and tried to sleep. Then they heard footsteps outside their tent and a familiar voice of Shyam. “Time to get up, its seven!”
This was not taken down well. “Piss off”
However Shyam did not seem to hear us as he woke up the rest of his group. “We’r allowed out! Its seven!”
Zoe looked at her watch. It was 6 o clock, no later. She sighed and with all her might shouted “SHYAM THE CLOCKS GO FORWARD TOMORROW”
“Martin, somehow I don’t think that the clocks go forward today.”

More scuffling. More people were woken up. Then came the steady stream of swear words.
Eventually Chaz couldn’t take it anymore as she screamed “GO BACK TO SLEEP YOU FOOOOLS!”... only to be greeted by the voice of the authority. Oh dear, Mr Torpey was not best pleased at being awoken at such an early hour. Not pleased at all. First of all he reprimanded us for “disrupting” everyone else and then went on to threaten us with the thought of him calling our parents. Let’s just say that Group Two went back to their tents pretty quickly.

Seven o’clock finally came. After a hearty breakfast of baked beans. Group Five had packed and said their happy farewells to the cockerel, the cow barn, the crop field and not forgetting the big F-O dog of course.

And so to begin the first day of real walking. Now, to remind you readers, Group Five hadn’t done any strenuous exercise since ... well since last time actually, but were finding everything really easy. Apart from the physical exertion part that is. However there was one thing that kept our spirits high.
*to the tune of Eve , who’s that girl?*
“la la la la la la, la la la la la”
“la la la la la la, la la la la la”

And hey, even The D of E song made its comeback. And every song under the sun that we used in aerobics had its place in our hearts, girls.

A few hours later we were still walking, though there was a considerable difference. We were no longer the happy, optimistic Group 5. However after a quick breather, we decided, they may have broken our backs, but they’ll never break our spirits! How naïve of us…
Just like in The Lion King, the meerkats all raised their heads and stood up as we walked across the savannah merrily announcing the birth of– whoops wrong story line there. Let me try again. The cows raised their heads and ambled away as we trudged across the muddy field gloomily not saying a word but feeling our feet swell up another shoe size.

However a certain scene remains clear in our minds. Our first encounter with electric fences.
It was simply plastic prongs stabbed into the ground at regular intervals with several lines of string weaving though them like a little fence. At a first glance, it didn’t look electric at least. I mean, we all listen enough in Chemistry to know that plastic is not a conductor. And neither is string. Right? …
Normally we wouldn’t be so curious about such a structure but unfortunately it was preventing us from continuing as our route went right over it through into the next field.
Anyway, BethJob is feeling so raucous so she decided to touch it to check. Because there must be SOME law against putting high voltage fences across a footpath. So BethJob decides to test the fence. She reaches out and strokes the string. No effect. “AHA!” Beth triumphantly grabs the string when..
“None of us moved…”

So yes. Conclusion? Though slyly disguised as a plastic railing, it was an electric fence all right. And it was in the way! Up comes Group One as they catch up. They see our distress. They do not believe us.
“That’s not electric!”
“…. Holy crap yes it is...”

We must cross the fence and then get OVER the stile though there is only room for two people on the other side of the fence. So, after a quick think, using our special skills, we pulled one of the plastic prongs out of the ground and held it down whilst people perilously jumped over.
Now for the stile. To make things worse, it was broken so we had to climb over the wall instead. Zoe, who went first, managed to swing a leg over, and consequently needed a push from behind to descend into the next field.
Straight into a pile of cow crap.

Because this is PG rated we’ll skip the next few minutes as they contain scenes of violence, suffering and strong language.

Of course, we LET Group One catch up with us and our times of desperation inspired us to write some new songs. However Group One were not best pleased with our creations so in our outrage we came up with the best, most original cover yet!
“la la la la la la, la la la la la”
“la la la la la la, la la la la la”

Walking along the top of the hill, the sun started to set. In fact, according to Ward, Group 5 walking along the horizon looked just like the scene from the cover of “Saving Private Ryan” but picture the scene from Lord Of The Rings when they’re all trudging along in that long line and you got the idea

Chapter 3 Comments

Chapter 4- Manor Farm Madness

FINALLY we arrived at Manor Farm (Group Five beat Group One) where we would be staying for the next night and immediately went to see what our new home had to offer. First of all – No fuck-off dogs! No cockerels! Running water! A shower! But…
“Zoe, stop fraternising with the enemy”

Out came the tents. Out came the borrowed tent pegs. Up went Group One’s fortress. Up went Group 5’s tents…. Down fell Group 5’s tents. Out came the swear words. Who says it always gets better with practice?

After our gourmet meal of Tesco Value Microwave Rice- which Zoe and Chisel boiled- not because they cant read but in fact because they are rebels. Yes
Anyway! After the meal came the evening’s festivities.
Now, there have been many rumours and stories about what happened on the evening of March 27th. Stories of declared love and vented teenage passion, kinky removal of certain articles of clothing, homosexuality and ear-licking.
Plenty of ear licking.
Don’t forget the rumours of mass orgies, satanic rituals and human sacrifice but of course those stories simply aren’t true. Well that’s what this diary’s saying at least…

First of all it started off as simple Truth or Dare. Then it became Dares. After that the game developed into “Spin The Meths Bottle” Dares. And as the night progressed it became the Greenie and Drax game. Lets just say that Drax didn’t need to wash anymore that night.
“Highlights” were Greenie and Ward, Ward and Martin, Greenie and Drax’s foot, Greenie and Drax’s behind, Spangus and Jolyons Stomach. Drax and Zarus’s gloves – have anyone else observed that these are all blokes. There will be no mention Hollis proposing to Miner Matt, Zoe having to lick Charles face, Chaz getting groped by Greenie or BethJob, marshmallows and Zarus. No mention at all.

Next came the Nightime PiggyBack Derby. The assorted “horses” had to run around every single tent whilst carrying their partner on their back. Perhaps I should mention that this small field was full of tents, each with several ropes attached to the sides pegged firmly into the ground. Oh, and by the way, it was so dark that you could barely see a hand in front of your face. Not like that would add the element of danger to it at all right?
The race started, Zoe and Shyam were in the lead, coming up the home straight when, quelle surprise, Shyam failed to see a tent rope in their path and tripped over it, straight onto the tent, pitching Zoe head over heels with him.

“Shyam? You ok?”
*groan* “Yeah, I think so” *looks up at the sky*
“Good cos I'm being compressed into the ground
“Ok but where are you Zoe?”
“Right underneath you”
“Oh, sorry”

And then the other horses decided to turn up and see if they needed a hand. Next they checked damages to the tent.
“Woah check out that huge fuck-off bend”
“…. Lets take a picture!”


The adults then decided to come back and yelled at us all for not having the sense to pack up our things whilst it was still light. We sensed that the match result was not what they expected.

And so we slept. There was no bidding goodnight because for the majority of campers, as soon as they closed their eyes, they didn’t open them again. Well, unless you were one of the unlucky members in Group Five of course.
At midnight Zoe drifted off pretty quick as did BethJob and Hollis who were sound asleep by the time Chisel had finished washing up. However later in the night, in fact, early in the morning, Zoe was awoken by a peculiar noise. It sounded like one of the cows in the nearby barn was in labour. The noise seemed to be coming from Beth so, in a subtle attempt to hinder the noise, Zoe carefully nudged her. Hard.
“Beth Jones, are you asleep?”
“Damn, its not coming from you.”
“What IS that noise?”

*loud noise is emitted from one of the sleeping tentmates*

Zoe then recalled a certain episode in Friends where Joey was having similar disorder so Chandler had to roll him over. So a desperate bid to cull the din Zoe began to ever so delicately shift the sleeping bag next to her. However, with four people in a three man tent, this began to have an adverse effect on the walls of the tent. The rolling attempt was halted and the remaining members who were now on the brink of casting the offending tentmate outside had to make do with burying their heads under their pillows in a desperate bid to get some sleep.

Cue bright and early on Sunday morning when Mr Sunshine Sinden comes to wake everyone up at what effectively was 5 o clock seeing that today was the day that the clocks went forward. Not yesterday Group One. Today. Zoe was the first one out of the tents seeing that she couldn’t really sleep anymore thanks to the cow calls announcing the dawn’s arrival. Either that or it was mating season. Honestly, just when we thought we were rid of the rooster!
It’s a conspiracy I tell you.

Chapter 4 Comments

Chapter 5- Why boys and girls shouldn’t be left alone together.

After another hearty breakfast of baked beans, about an hour later, most of Group Five were ready to go. Except we hadn’t taken the tent down yet because Chisel was still in it. Zoe, notorious for being not so patient at times grew tired of waiting and started to take the tent down with Chisel inside. That got her out pretty fast. Shyam and Martin came up with the same idea to get Harriet out of her tent but instead decided to pick up the tent and tip her out. She was not best pleased either.

Finally when we’d packed everything and were about to leave, Mr Sinden stops us because we have to pick up litter – which included every single last baked bean on the ground and every single last noodle. Unfortunately he’d seen the pile of crisps that we’d crushed into the ground and asked us to clear those up. However Greenie and Zoe just pulled out some grass and sprinkled it over the offending crisp heap so it looked like nothing more than a clod of innocent grass. With little yellow flowers that were giving off an interesting fragrance of cheese. A patch of innocent grass Mr Sinden. Honest.

Once we were finally on our way, Group Five decided to be gracious winners and walk with Group One, as our routes were almost the same. We’d been walking for about an hour when Mr Sinden pulled up in his car and reprimanded us for walking with Group One as we had to remember that it was “a boy group and a girl group, not a boy-girl group” because otherwise we’d distract each other or something. What a load of pash.
Anyways, we said goodbye to Mr Sinden, made our way through a large metal gate as one big group and walked on. Coming to a huge field we decided to follow a bridle-way that went through a dark wood. Now of course it was quite soft for our feet which was good but what goes into horses has to come out sometime and I guess the seclusion of the woods made the path an ideal “defecating district”. As we walked further, the ground became very soft. So soft that the members of both groups were in fact sinking into the mud. Well, what we thought was mud at least.

Finally, almost an hour later, we emerged into the sunlight. Collectively, we appeared to have picked up half the world’s supply of horse manure on our boots. The people at the front stopped to study their maps as they waited for the people at the back to catch up. At long last they appeared only to find their team-mates on the brink of suicide. It seemed that we had taken a wrong turning, back tracked and, if we would be as so kind to walk a mile or two down the road, we would be right where we left off an hour ago. It was complete chaos. Haz and Hollis were shouting at Group One, Beth and Chisel wanted to join in the blame game, Chaz and Elly were literally on the verge of breakdown and Zoe?
Zoe was sitting on the ground eating biscuits.

We decided – as a whole two groups- to continue going because since we had already been delayed a whole hour, no matter how much it helped, we were just wasting time by standing there yelling obscenities at each other.
So off we went. Down the road and round the corner, our feet marching in time, just like something out of the military. It was all very Brat Camp. In fact, if someone had driven by, they could have assumed that we were reformed bad boys and girls who couldn’t afford the flight to Utah. We sang a merry song as we went through the large metal gate again – serious déjà vu – oh wait, we had been there before! An hour ago! How like Mother Nature to rub it in our faces just as we were getting over our … miscalculation. Much to Spangus’s horror somehow the whole of the Disney repertoire made it onto the playlist in a desperate attempt to boost our spirits.

After another hour, Group One and Group Five went our separate ways. It seemed that Group One had chosen to go around and through the fields where as Group Five…
“Oh my god. Check out that huge fuck-off hill!”
“I think my maps upside down, from what it says, we should be going ... over it…”
“You have GOT to be shitting me”

So Group One went off evilly laughing amongst themselves as Group Five looked up at the hill that loomed before them.
“Hey, if you tilt you head to the side,” said Zoe quietly, trying to ever be the optimist, “it doesn’t look so bad…” she trailed off. Who was she kidding? Mother Nature takes no mercy, the hill was the kind that would suddenly eat you alive, with a narrow winding path up into the wood.
Serious gingerbread cottage issues.

So taking a deep breath they trudged on. And on. And on. And…
“Haz, I need to go to the toilet.”
“Wait until we get to the top of the hill”

*ten minutes later*
“Are we there yet?”
“Almost, its right there!”

*fifteen minutes later*
“Nope, this isnt the top, its not even close”
*twenty minutes later*
“Nope this isnt the top either”
*half an hour later*
“Sorry Zo, I'm afraid that –”
“Screw that! I'm going NOW!”
(Obviously someone hadn’t been exercising their pelvic floor muscles like Miss Young said we should)

After Zoe came back, breathless from the laughter of surprising the unsuspecting sheep, Elly and Chisel decided to try their turns at it and spent ages trying to find a suitable spot. And when they came back they were surprisingly cheery. Granted they’d just relieved themselves (do you know how it FEELS to have a 2 stone bag pushing down on a full bladder?!) but of course, there’s nothing that’ll raise your spirits like a merry moon at Mother Nature!

They continued on their epic journey for another hour, singing, laughing and chatting about Roald Dahl when a pheasant ran across their path resulting in “Why did the Pheasant cross the road?” jokes. Trekking down the road, we encountered many small farms- one, which had a chicken in it which looked more like a small pillow. With feet. And then finally! Finally we reached Broadway. Our very last checkpoint. Our destination.

We ran towards the coach singing and dancing in our ecstasy where we were reunited with Group One. Group Two as well as all the other groups we hadn’t seen who had gone to alternate campsites. There was much catching up to do and as Group Five took off there bags, a sense of weightlessness and well-being came over them. Almost as if a huge 2 stone bag had been lifted off their shoulders…

It was a happy, emotional moment. As a welcoming gift, Greenie and Spangus presented Group Five with a large, elongated pine cone, which Zoë took great pleasure in thrusting it about in her pocket and greeting everyone with “Is that a pinecone in my pocket or am I pleased to see you?”
They all piled onto the bus and the bus left pretty much on time and on schedule. Farewell to those nightmares of being left behind in the wilderness!

“Who’s up for some celebrating?!” Zoe announced. “… Anyone?”
There was no answer apart from the sound of heavy breathing and small snores.
Everyone was asleep.

Zoe smiled to herself and yawned. This would make a good story.

Chapter 5 Comments

Conclusion- And they all lived happily ever after

And so the bus trundled along the country roads and the sun shone high in the sky. We’d completed the expedition beating everything Nature threw at us – Rabid dogs, mountains of cow crap, raucous chickens, potato fields and electric fences – all with no fatal injuries. Only the kind of memories that will scar you forever.
But, most importantly we’d made it, through thick and thin, through mud and mire and against the odds (the bookies had them at 3-1 I’ll have you know) we had done it. Together. As a group.
And that my friends is called, teamwork.

Thanks for reading.
We’ll see you next time when Group Five embarks on the longest, most gruelling journey yet.
Four days, three nights, it’s going to be a blast.

See you in July.

Concluding Comments


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