Friday, August 01, 2008

Mirth and Woe: Dogging

Regular readers will know that I live a bizarre dual-centred lifestyle, whereby I live in the jewel of the South Coast that is Weymouth, yet work in the turd of the Thames Valley that is the not-quite-a-city Reading. A sun-kissed resort that invented the seaside holiday versus a car-choked metropolis that is only famous for locking up its most famous resident, and carelessly losing a crowned King of England.

The result of this little arrangement means that I really clock up the miles between home and the office, and really appreciate the solitude of my shed of a weekend. Just me, the hamster and a priceless collection of vintage lingerie catalogues. Heaven.

The long hours on the road, coupled with a steady all-tea diet means that I know absolutely every lay-by, public convenience, service area and unlocked farmer's field between Dorset and Berkshire, for my bladder thinks that the minute I get into a car, it must be time to go to the toilet.

(In fact, I might as well own up, seeing as my brother or sister will obviously point this out in the comments: On a two-hour trip through the middle of London to visit my grandparents who lived in Basildon – twin town Fallujah – I was told to 'tie a knot in it'. So I tried.)

One of these days I'll invent something that involves a long tube, a funnel, and boots with an recyclable wee container, and this time next year Rodders, we'll be millionaires. But right now, if the toilet urge strikes I know where on my route I can take a wazz, and where will get me an ASBO.

The middle of Salisbury, for example, is right out, as is a stretch just south of Andover, where you're likely to get shot at by passing military helicopters out of top LULz.

So, there I was, not twenty minutes out of Weymouth one evening, driving up to the office in the dead of night, ready to pull an early shift the next morning in the white heat of global journalism. Alas, it had been a long day, and my tea intake has approached double figures, and the contents of my stomach sloshed gently as I founded the Dorchester bypass.


Only ten miles into the journey and the onions needed straining.

Only one thing for it – the lay-by on the A35 near Troytown (home of Nroddy), where I could leap out of the car, do the business, hop back into the car and floor the pedal onwards towards the New Forest, the M3 and beyond.

During the day, this is a popular stopping-off point for drivers, holiday-makers and lorry-drivers alike, where the enterprising farmer next door has set up an over-the-fence refreshments business.

What my obsessively-filed knowledge DIDN'T know was that this particular lay-by and its attendant public convenience becomes, in the hours of darkness, Dorset's most notorious dogging spot for cross-dressers.

Big, burly cross-dressers with bandy legs, facial hair and Laura Ashley frocks, all hoping for a well-performed solo on the pink oboe.

I only found this out as I zipped up, and turned to wash my hands, only to be confronted by a burly cross-dresser with bandy legs, facial hair and Laura Ashley frock, tottering slightly on his heels.

I looked him up and down.

He looked me up and down.

Christ, I thought, Don't fancy yours much.

"So, wanna wank?" s/he asked in the kind of direct talk that will give a girl a reputation.

"You bet your ugly ass I don't", I wanted to say afterwards, but it came out: "Mwaaaargh!"

S/he turned on his heels and tottered back to the lay-by. Hardly the Marilyn Monroe chewing gum walk, but then, Marilyn didn't have a Johnson dangling between her legs.

I saw, in the half-light, two other blokes in Laura Ashley frocks and bad wigs also emerging from their vehicles – one of which being a forty ton truck of a well-known haulage firm that would have kittens if they knew that one of their drivers was brown-hatting on company property.

"Any luck, Miranda?" said the one with the tattoos.

"Nah, Tiffany-Jade," said Fungus Face, "He was havin' a piss."

"Bloody time wasters," the third Bad Transvestite* chipped in, giving me a dirty look.

I fled.

So, to summarise, for the benefit of the hard-working ladies and gentlemen of the Dorsetshire Constabulary: That's the A35 layby, just outside Dorchester towards Troytown (home of Nroddy). If you're lucky, they might take down your particulars.

* A small town in southern Germany

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