Sing along if you know the words; and do the actions, too, if you know them:
"Father Abraham had seven sons
And seven sons had Father Abraham
He didn't laugh
He didn't cry
All he did was go like... this
...with a left!"
It's a song with actions. As you sing the song the next time, you wave your left hand in time with the music. The next time round, it's the left and the right, and by the time you finish, it's your entire body, arms, legs, head. You look like you've got 240 volts up your arse. Now multiply this by 47, and you have the Thames Valley Air Cadets on a coach somewhere in Nottinghamshire, heading towards their summer camp at RAF Newton.
We'd gone through the entire repertoire of rugby songs that we were all far too young to know the words, from The Good Ship Venus, to Eskimo Nell and my all-time favourites, The Blacksmith's Song and Yellow Bird.
"A yellow bird
With a yellow bill
My window sill.
I coaxed it in
With a bit of bread/cheese/shit/etc
And then I kicked it
In the head/knees/tit/something that rhymes with etc"
You don't get quality like that on Pop Idol.
What do you expect from young lads living away from home for a week? Our parents were obviously living it up at home with a "Thank Fuck They've Gone" party, so instead, we gave those in loco parentis a small slice of Hell.
The trip so far had not gone well. There had been the unfortunate mooning of a little old lady in Newark, who had the presence of mind to recognise an RAF charabanc when she saw one, and got the CO to come down on us like a ton of bricks. Not quite an afternoon in the cookhouse peeling spuds, but close - three hours marching up and down the drill square, shouted at by some tit of a military policeman with a peaked cap.
But back to Father Abraham. I can't for the life of me remember where we'd been, so I must presume it was somewhere crap; just endless Midlands market towns and the entire catalogue of filthy songs. Even the officers sung along - away from their wives for the week, and only the driver, for fear of putting us all in a ditch, was unable to join in with the actions.
Done properly, Father Abraham can last a good ten minutes, especially if you go round twice. And God alone knows what it looks like to other road users. When you're at the song's climax, on your back with arms and legs in the air like a fly that's overdone it on the DDT, you don't really care. But one man did. Step forward the CO, a man who had flown in the Battle of Britain for idiots like us, barely hiding his disgust at the juvenile spectacle.
"Gentlemen," he said, preening his moustache as we eventually piped down, "now that I've got your attention, could I draw your attention to the vehicle that's been behind us for the last five miles?"
Police? Royalty? Our parents? Wrong on all counts.
Ian the Shed took a peek from his prime position in the centre of the coveted middle seat of the coach's back five.
"Oh Christ on a shitting bike!" he cried, his face a mask of horror.
Behind us was a white minibus. White, except for a few red decorations and some fancy writing. The phrase that spelled our doom.
"Variety Club Sunshine Coach"
And it was packed full of disabled kids and their helpers - all staring at the RAF bus in front, their mouths the same "O" shape.
Shed again: "We're fucked."
"Ging gang goolie, anyone?"
You know, peeling potatoes for an entire afternoon isn't really that bad once you get the hang of it.