Thinking back, it seems that the summer of 1986 did odd things to our parents. Mine decided to move to a house in a village called Bubbenhall, which meant that we were almost exactly twenty minutes from anywhere, despite the fact that we had never owned a car and only my mum could drive.
My friend Jonathan Bunting’s parents went even further – literally, as they moved to Ludlow and opened a pub, leaving Jon living with us for the rest of the summer.
One weekend, Jon and I decided to go and visit his parents. It was July, the weekend that Frank Bruno fought Tim Weatherspoon for the world heavyweight title. We took with us our friends PK and Marc, for the very good reason that PK was the only one of us who had a car (but didn’t have a full driving licence) and Marc had a driving licence but not only did not have a car, but also did not have any fears about being sat next to PK for a couple of hours each way.
PK’s car was an old Triumph Herald and was bought because he had the sort of cash that you could run up if you didn’t have a girlfriend to spend it on. He actually had no qualms about driving it around Leamington on his own, but clearly even he thought that driving across two counties by himself was a bit of a risk.
(He also had no qualms about driving after a night of drinking, but that is another story).
In fact, it is probably a testament to PK’s driving that the only thing I can remember about the drives to Ludlow and back is our descent of Clee Hill, a 14% incline (thats 1:7 in old money) on the way there, when Marc suddenly yelled something to the effect of “The sign says to engage low gear. Fourth isn’t a low gear”.
I can’t even remember much of the weekend. I know that we found a local cafe named McDonald’s and that we learned of Bruno’s defeat in Ludlow’s only nightclub. Beyond that, it is all a bit of a blur. But I also know that I can’t hear Roxy Music’s greatest hits – which we played to death in the car – without thinking back fondly to that weekend.