Friday 19th October 2018
Reading time 2 minutes 49 seconds
I’ll be there for you – Theme tune from Friends.
I have an affinity for South Africans. My step mum was one and so is one of my oldest and dearest friends.
What most people see in my friend is a straight talking, very direct and often rude man. Whilst I also see that in him I also see that he is kind, funny, compassionate and loyal and that’s why he is my friend. We have worked together, we have lived together, we have laughed together, and we have cried together. Well that’s not strictly true as he is South African, and as we all know they are a nation of non-criers.
I have visited his family back home and have been treated like a brother. I like to think that I am the Noel to his Liam. He may think it’s the other way round.
Given that I love him like a dysfunctional brother, it baffles me that I helped to abandon him on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere with no money, no phone, wearing only shorts, a t-shirt and a pair of flip flops. On second thoughts it’s not baffling as it was funny. Very funny. And made even funnier because he got very very upset about it.
It was his stag doo and 12 of us were in a hired van on a ‘road trip’ to the Isle of Wight. The IOW isn’t far, but it felt like it and I wondered at the time why you have to travel so far away for a stag doo? I used it to think it was because you couldn’t sneak back home when you realised how drunk you were or how rubbish the nightclub you were standing in was.
The day after we arrived my friend bought a baseball cap at a golf shop. It was a simple, inexpensive item but he loved it and it became welded to his head. While driving along the windy Island roads later that day I asked for a look at this gorgeous chapeau and as he handed it to me I threw it out of the window. The rest of the van howled in amusement at my comedic act (and bravery) but he went berserk. The driver pulled over and the ‘Stag’ ran to retrieve his hat. By the time he reached it a local pensioner had picked it up and claimed it and a small disagreement broke out over the finders keepers law but eventually it ended up on my angry friend’s fat head.
He was frosty towards me but the remainder of the weekend passed without incident with the cap firmly reattached to his skull.
As the Jolly Boys outing returned home we stopped at Fleet Services on the A3. After fuelling up we sauntered back to the van and one of the party grabbed the cap from my friend’s head and ran off with it. An angry South African man totally lost the plot and ran after him. For a moment it was like a speeded-up Benny Hill sketch and before my incensed friend could gain ground the cap was launched into nearby woodland as the stealer sprinted back towards the van. Everyone else was inside our transport by this point and with the doors wide open the driver put his foot on the accelerator and started to wheel spin out of the car park.
The hat stealing hero was running alongside and was dragged into the van whilst the stag tried his best to catch him, and us. It had the hallmarks of The Fast and the Furious, Indiana Jones and the Italian Job and as we sped away into the sunset all we could see was a despairing, and capless, South African man using language most of us had never heard before. If only we spoke Hovitos!
Amid the laughter we spoke about going back to get him, but we decided against it as he was way too angry, and it would be fun hearing how he made it back home with no money. In hindsight this was a mistake and someone’s very kind (and rather annoyed) wife went to pick him up a few hours later.
Between us as a group we had broken bloke code as you never leave a man behind. Even writing this down I’m breaking the taboo of what happens on tour stays on tour.
It took him a long time to forgive me and I know that deep down like a true sibling the thought of revenge is never far from his mind.
I recently visited him in South Africa and had a great time although when he drove me anywhere I never left the vehicle.
Picture: Amanda Cash is a local Kent photographer who took this. Check her out, she’s great and recently worked with one of my favourite bands The Flaming Lips. Twitter @lipslikesugar67