This man has a lot to answer for
Scouts! I joined up and found, to my disappointment, that they no longer dybbed nor dobbed, nor did they teach the young recruits secret martial arts skills that could kill a brownies at ten yards.
But look on the bright side, they sent us on a week's camp at Buckmore Park in some terrible corner of the Kent Countryside (or, as Sir Trevor McDonald once said on the News at Ten "Cunt Kentryside".
With our minibus sadly deceased - rotted from the inside by the acid effects of the horse shit we sold to raise funds - we piled into a hired bus and headed off to a camp, heaving at the gills with the cream of scouting from up and down the country. It had everything - climbing wall, rifle ranges, go-karts, football and a huge assault course.
In retrospect, it seemed to be run by a bunch of pedlos in uniform, as camp rules dictated that "all boys should wear shorts - no long trousers", and there were regular nude swimming events in the camp swimming pool, from which visiting girl guides were strictly excluded. Bunch of no-good killjoys. These days, the police and social services would be hammering at the gates, while a baying hate mob stormed the place with burning torches. Such was youthful innocence, however....
So, it was a week of far-too-cheerful organised events, including a remarkable egg-throwing competition in an attempt to break the world record which stood at something over three hundred feet. Cue a day of food wastage and teenage boys shouting “IgotitIgotitIgotit!” before covering themselves from head to short trousers with smashed egg. The world record remained safe.
The rest of the time, we were more or less let off the leash to do as we pleased. This included most of the day on a trip to Calais, where not only were we mostly unsupervised, but we were unsupervised in a foreign country where the drinking age is only fourteen, and there's a sex shop on the road between the ferry terminal and the main town.
Apart from drunkeness, an ill-advised wanking club (of which, you may be surprised, I was not a member) and scooting round at high speed in petrol-driven go-karts, this freedom mostly involved trying to get ourselves killed. From the materails available around us, we built weapons. Most of these were incredibly workmanlike catapaults and bows-and-arrows, showing that all those cold evening in the scout hut practicing knots and whittling techique were going to good use. Baden-Powell would have been proud (apart from the bit about wanking).
We split into teams and prowled the woods on a man-hunt. How nobody ended up in hospital is beyond me. Only one person was knocked unconscious (by a large flying log, rather like a device employed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Predator"), and he was revived by a good slap round the face and threats of a nude swimming gala with the creepy camp commandant.
Trevor Litzermann, our American recruit had honed his archery skills to a fine art with a rather spiffy crossbow. Just a shame that no-one told him not to try climbing a tree with the thing loaded. There was a "twang!", a scream, followed by a pause and the sound of a body hitting the ground. We ran to his aid, fearing the worst. He lay there, and arrow protruding from the front of his shorts, where it had gone off, having missed his tackle by millimetres and come out the other side. Trev was the only one of our number who had ever "seen a lady naked", and was rather relieved to have survived to repeat the experience.
He only had one comment for us, words that will live with me till my dying day: "I've pissed me pants!"
That wasn't the end of the drama. There was a troop on the site from Liverpool - 2nd Toxteth, or something. And let's be charitable and say that they were a bit wilder than most. Oh bollocks to that, they were a bunch of thieving scousers that confirmed everything you'd ever heard about the City of Liverpool. Some of them even insisted on long trousers, the bastards. Everybody knew they were on the rob, and some overheard bragging in the camp shop indicated that we were next.
Plans were laid to defend ourselves for that night's raid. We all slept with our boots on, and a sign saying "Stores Tent" was hung on a tent filled with the biggest bruisers in the troop. As darkness fell that summer evening, a none-too-subtle rustling was seen in the trees and bushes at the edge of our camp site.
Scousers! Dozens of thieving scousers, all working for their thieving proficiency badge!
There was a tense stand-off. They knew we were watching them, waiting for the raid; but they still had to go through with it as a matter of pride. We knew we were there, and it was just a matter of not backing down, and seeing them off. Hours passed. Something had to be done.
A day of heavily stewed scout tea (25p for 600 teabags) was resting heavily in my bladder. Something had to be done, and I did it.
I staggered out of tent to the hissed warnings from my paranoid comrades, who seemed certain that I was going, like Captain Oates, to my certain death. Instead, I went for a piss into the first bush I came across.
"Oh 'ey!" screamed a young Scouse voice from the bush which I was watering with no little relief. "Youse pissin' on me 'ead!"
"Was I? Oh, I am so terribly sorry young man. Now why don't you and all your pissy little mates BUGGER OFF AND LEAVE US ALONE?!"
There was no battle, there were no running charges through the night, just a bunch of thieving idiots breaking their cover and sloping back to their tents. Which we'd thoughtfully let down for them while they were away.
Victory for the little guy. You don't need a tough attitude or the biggest guns. Just a weak bladder.