Archive | March, 2011

I even put a video in this one. Like a frickin’ WIZARD.

9 Mar

Originally posted at Three Blog Night.

In my last blog post I said that I was going to go hitchhiking for charity with my friends Conor and Yasha, and since then I’ve been hitchhiking for charity with my friends Conor and Yasha, which is a pretty lucky coincidence I guess. We went with a Hitchhiker’s Guide theme, and at about 9pm on the day before we did it we decided that we should probably think about sorting out costumes or something. Conor and Yasha said that they’d picked up a cardboard box from a construction site that we could maybe make into a robot costume if I wanted to go as Marvin. I was sort of confused about why neither of those two wanted to dress up in the awesome robot costume that we were about to build, but I said yes anyway. I was pretty excited.






The main issue with my Marvin costume was that it wasn’t going to fit in a car. I mean, there were a lot of issues with my Marvin costume. But the not fitting in a car thing was definitely the main one, so I tried to make a smaller robot torso. I also made some robot arms out of foil and paper. It was beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything more beautiful in my life, apart from maybe the team picture that I made.

Unfortunately, I’d paid so much attention to the aesthetic design of my costume that I’d totally neglected practical details like the ability to withstand wind or rain or the cruel laughter of passers-by, and it fell apart before we’d even left Oxford. We tried to fix it on the coach to our AS YET UNKNOWN DESTINATION 100 MILES AWAY, which turned out to be POOLE, and it stayed together for roughly 30 seconds after we’d arrived.

In this picture Yasha is holding my foil-face together and I am telling Pac-Man that his costume is shit.

Marvin is currently at a recycling plant somewhere in Poole. I like Poole. Here is a nice picture that we took in Poole:

Yay! Poole!

We realised quite quickly that it was going to be really difficult for us to get a ride because before we’d dumped our robot costume we looked like a band of homeless children, and now we looked like a band of homeless children that didn’t even have a robot costume. We found a petrol station and decided to stand outside it to increase our chance of getting picked up because you hardly ever see homeless children without robot costumes standing outside petrol stations, and also because there would probably be some cars stopping there. We got a lot of apologetic looks and “good luck!”s as people drove straight past us, and then after about 15 minutes a car stopped and offered us our first lift! Well, the car didn’t offer. The driver offered. But the car didn’t object.

The driver’s name was Keith, and he told us that he had lived in Poole for all of his 54 years. From the minute we got into the car he told us a relentless stream of jokes. He said that he was on his way to the pub. I liked Keith.

Keith told us a joke about nuns bumming.

Keith is great!

We love Keith.

Then Keith asked if it was okay if he took us on a “5 or 10 minute detour” because he wanted “to show [us] something” and I sort of accidentally said yes.



It was okay though, because we’d remembered to send the event organisers our location, car model and registration number when we got in the vehicle. Team LOST would save us!

We hadn’t remembered to send the event organisers our location, car model and registration number when we got in the vehicle. Rookie error.


Luckily, Keith didn’t make us bum. He took us to an amazing viewpoint that overlooked all of Poole, and pointed out Sandbanks and Corfe Castle in the distance. He also asked whether we wanted to get some tea or coffee from a snack bar there but we declined because Conor still had his “STRANGER DANGER” face on. I think Keith noticed, because as we were pulling out he said, “I bet you were worried that I was taking you to star in a grubby porn movie or something for a minute there,” and I said that we’d actually expected that to happen and were a bit disappointed that it didn’t, and we all laughed, and lo, there was no bumming.

Mostly Homeless.

Keith dropped us off on the A348, about 15 minutes away from where we’d started, and as we got out of the car he asked whether we would adopt him if we won the lottery. I really liked Keith and decided that he wouldn’t take up much space, and that if I won the lottery I could just buy a really big shed or something to keep him in, so I said yes, but thinking about it now it probably won’t happen because I forgot to get his contact details. So if you know a guy called Keith that drives a car and lives somewhere in the south of England, let us know because that’s probably him.

We were still on that same stretch of road 2 hours after I’d agreed to adopt Keith, and during those 2 hours quite a lot of inexplicably angry people had shouted racial abuse at us, or told us to “get a fucking job” as they drove past. Someone pulled up with 2 spare seats in their car and said they could take us if I agreed to go in the boot, and they seemed really hurt and confused when we said no, but that was all we got. For 2 hours. There is no way that we could have gotten any fewer lift offers if we’d been wearing hockey masks, carrying blood-soaked chainsaws and naked from the waist-down.

And then a man called Graham picked us up in a pink limo bus with disco lights.


Even though we were in there for about 20 minutes, it’s really difficult to describe what it was like being inside a pink limo bus with disco lights. Here is a video that I found on YouTube of the pink limo bus with disco lights. IT IS ENTIRELY REPRESENTATIVE OF OUR EXPERIENCE IN THE PINK LIMO BUS WITH DISCO LIGHTS!

Graham dropped us off just outside of Ringwood, and we took his card because DCS Limos, based in Bournemouth and Poole, can guarantee that you will arrive at your destination in the ultimate of style and luxury! From there, we managed to get rides pretty easily, probably because after our ride in the pink limo bus with disco lights we were looking really smug, and smug homeless children without robot costumes are adorable! We got picked up by a couple driving to Reading, one of whom asked whether we’d gone with a Hitchhiker’s Guide theme (FUCKING YES, IN YOUR FACE PAC-MAN!) and said that her name was Lintilla, which was also the name of a character in the Hitchhiker’s Guide radio series, and that she had a book signed by Douglas Adams. Shamefully, I can’t remember the name of the guy that was driving. I can’t actually remember much beyond the pink limo bus with disco lights. Mostly because I was doing a 100 mile hitchhike on 45 minutes sleep and I started to crash. Also because my mind was consumed by the pink limo bus with disco lights. I do remember that we drove through the New Forest, which was beautiful, but that in my sleep-deprived state I got it mixed up with the National Forest and was really confused because I live in the National Forest and had no idea that my house was so close to Poole.

By the time we were dropped off in Reading it was dark, a bit rainy and really cold, and I was starting to think that the decision to not wear a coat in order to accommodate for my awesome robot costume was misjudged. One passer-by saw me shivering and offered us bus fare to get back to Oxford, and when I told her we were doing a charity hitchhike and weren’t allowed to pay for any transport she sponsored us for £10, which was very generous of her. As we were talking to her, we were offered a lift by a man on his way home from Sandhurst that was wearing cream trousers and a blazer and a bow tie, and we unquestioningly said yes because he was a man that was wearing cream trousers and a blazer and a bow tie. He took as far as Wallingford, where we got a lift from a young woman called Izzy who was exhaustingly enthusiastic and chatty and lovely, and whose front passenger seat was broken so every time she stopped I nearly went through her windscreen. I’m not sure where she dropped us off – somewhere near Dorchester I think. Somewhere really close to Oxford. Flagging down a final lift seemed to take forever, probably because we knew how close we were, and also because by this stage even standing in the cold and the rain I was struggling to stay awake. When a car did eventually stop ahead of us, Conor and Yasha made me run to it with them, which was pretty inconsiderate because they both know that I’m a former cripple and also really really lazy.

Our last lift was with a guy that was in our year, but at Oxford Brookes, and he was nice enough to drive further than he’d planned on going so that we’d have a mile or so less to walk to get back to our student union and finish, which we did at about 8.30pm, 7 hours after we’d arrived in Poole. I don’t remember the half hour walk back to college afterwards, but I do remember waking up on my bed at about 10am on Sunday, fully clothed and with my light still on. I’ve had insomnia for the past 2 years, but if I’d known that all it took to get a decent night’s sleep was a 100 mile charity hitchhike and a ride on a pink limo bus with disco lights I’d probably have done it sooner.

For me, the hardest thing about what we did wasn’t the cold, or the rain, or our deeply upsetting separation from Marvin soon after we arrived in Poole. It was the transient nature of all of the interactions that we had. When we got out of Keith’s car, the first that we’d had a lift in, I turned to the guys and said, “we’ll never meet him again.” I almost instinctively try to make friends with everyone that I meet (much to their annoyance and detriment), so it was weird – difficult, even – to think that this relationship that we’d just initiated with a bloke that was kind enough to let us into his car, tell us jokes and offer to buy us tea was cut dead as soon as we got back onto the roadside. I don’t think that Conor or Yasha were anywhere near as affected by it as I was. They were probably more concerned about, like, not getting kidnapped or something. Boys are weird.

We’re still taking sponsorship (it didn’t close on March 10th like we’d initially thought), if you fancy donating a couple of quid. Thanks so much if you’ve donated already. We’ve raised £510, which I think is properly ace. It’ll make a massive difference to the charities that we’re supporting, and that I outlined in my previous, far less lengthy blog post.

Christ, It’s 6.51am. I should probably go and get my 45 minutes of sleep.

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