A weekend in Royston Vasey

Ok it’s actually called something like Wainscotting or Firfleet but the longer I stayed there the more disturbingly Vaseyesque it became. Michele has been booked up for her dream day out for months: a day looking after parrots in the National Parrot Sanctuary. The only problem is it’s in the arse end of nowhere, or Lincolnshire as the maps call it. So, we thought we’d both go and make a weekend of it. You know; stay in a nice hotel; go out to a nice little village bistro; a nightcap in the hotel bar; that sort of thing.
At first I thougt we could stay in the lovely seaside town of Skegness, but we were emphatically warned off the idea by a friend who’s been there. In fact she did her best to persuade us not to embark on the whole Lincolnshire adventure, but by then we were up for it and so I booked a room in a local Inn I found on the Internet.
So after a surprisingly pleasant 5 hour journey, we arrived in rural WainsWold or whatever it’s called, and walked to the hotel. It was a basic but cosy (and clean) room so we were happy and decided to explore the village; maybe we’d find a nice restaurant for later.
Exhaustive exploration took around 10 minutes and can be summed-up thus:

  • Apart from about 50 chip shops, the only places to eat were the 3 pubs that serve almost identical menus based around sausages and chips.
  • All the people we encountered looked like extras from Deliverance.
  • There’s nothing else within walking distance apart from a charity shop, a butchers, a newsagents,a small co-op and Bateman’s brewery.

We opted for the Brewery as it was only half three and a sign indicated they served food. Obviously, they close at three. As we considered our stifled entertainment possibilities, it began to rain. Then hail. We sheltered in a doorway, pathetically holding the broken remains of an umbrella over the bits of us that were exposed and started laughing at the extent to which our plan had gone-up titwise. Under a busted umbrella
Eventually the rain subsided enough for us to go back to the hotel for a rethink, a pint of Batemans and a cheese and onion baguette. It was then that we noticed the signs threatening a Karaoke that very evening…
To cut a long story short, we ended up eating in an “American Italian” theme restaurant in Skegness. Nuff said. When we returned to the hotel several hours later (the service was spectacularly bad in the restaurant) the Karaoke was in full swing and so we went up to the room and watched the laughable spectacle of the Eurovision scoring before trying to sleep; Michele had to get up early the next day for the parrots and I didn’t want to miss my full English breakfast. Have you ever tried sleeping in a room above a Karaoke ? It’s a bit like trying to sleep through a load of drunk, talentless arseholes screetching through a handful of Robbie Williams and Celine Dion songs. In fact that’s exactly what it is.
Bereft of our nocturnal MP3 player, which was tucked up in the bed at home, we resorted to writing Limericks:

The Lincolnshire town of Wainfl33t
Had very few places to eat
Unless you like chips
The place is the pits
And the weather is rain or it’s sleet.

There once was a town called Skegness
Whose seafront was really a mess
On saturday nights
Its all vomit and fights
As for culture I’ve never seen less

Beneath the floor I hear vocals
The Karaoke of drunk Wainfl33t locals
All through the night
The singing was shite
Did you expect any more from these yokels ?

There were more but I can’t remember them. This helped us laugh ourselves to sleep. I know they sound really snobby but that’s because they are. Go on, I defy you to go to Skegness and not want to write snotty Limericks about it.

The next morning, after Michele got her cab to the Parrot place, it started to get scary. I already had the theme tune to the League of Gentleman stuck in my head as I headed down to the station but when I realised that there were only four trains out of the place all day, starting at two that afternoon, I started to panic. Earlier I’d attempted to do battle with the new costly National Rail voice unrecognition service and assumed it was wrong; there have to be more trains than that…The image of the Royston Vasey sign appeared suspended in front of me together with the disturbingly appropriate phrase “You’ll Never Leave”.
The Brewery didn’t open for another couple of hours and even then, trying to kill 4 hours here would be difficult at best. And who knows what could happen to me – I could end up in that butchers window. So, I called a cab using a number I found on the Internet. The hotel had given me a cab number but of course there was never any answer. After a 20 minute wait at the deserted station, the cab arrived and I was so delighted that the driver looked normal, and wasn’t a gravel-voiced pre-op transsexual, that I accepted the expensive estimate to get me to the relative metropolis of Boston. He turned out to be such a nice, normal bloke that he even bought me a coffee and reduced the fare! Needless to say he’d only recently moved to Lincolnshire from somewhere more normal.

Killing time in Boston seemed like a more reasonable proposition as there appeared to be open places other than chip shops there. The “centre” was pretty grim nonetheless and so I went back to the station and sat in the grim station cafe/bar, Shunters, and drank a nice pint whilst blogging and awaiting the train to Grantham: gateway to normality…who’d have thought I’d ever write that sentence.

Of course, despite the lack of staff, signs, or announcements it turned out that the trains had been cancelled for the day. If it hadn’t have been for a kindly drunk at the bar telling me that I probably wanted to get on the coach that had pulled up outside, I’d probably still be there. In a moment of public spiritedness I went along the platform and shouted to the 20 or so assembled punters that we had to get on the coach or be stuck here; they eagerly followed, grumbling and chanting traditional insults about our 3rd world rail network.

Eventually we did make it home intact though. I was hoping for an argument with a ticket inspector en route but sadly it didn’t happen.

Still it was nice to get away, and the breakfast was pretty good. Michele enjoyed the parrots too.


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