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This is a question The Worst Journey in the World

Aspley Cherry Garrard was the youngest member of the Scott Polar Expedition when he and two others lost their tent to the winds of a night-time snowstorm. They spent hours in temperatures below -70°F stumbling about the ice floes hoping they'd bump into it as it was their only hope of survival.

OK, so that was bad, but we reckon you've had worse. We know how hard you lot are.

(, Thu 7 Sep 2006, 12:40)
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Epic. I wished I was dead.
One Saturday afternoon in February this year, my mate J and and I were working our way through a couple of bottles of wine and lamenting the fact that we don't seem to have any crazy adventures anymore. So I said "I bet you wouldn't go to France right now!". This was a red rag to a pissed bull so we set off for France there and then which was Brighton at 9pm. We took Js campervan aka "the partybus" which only needed the battery changing (in the dark and pissed) and a couple of gallons of vegetable oil (instead of deisel). We made it to the channel tunnel for the midnight train via the Offie) and got some pretty funny looks from the police there but were allowed on. France Ho! We drove down the back roads to St Omer hoping to find some clubs - it was now about 3am and we were trolleyed. It all looks a bit bleak until we spot some flashing lights coming from a boat in the canal - it was a floating discotheque and still going. Bribery and half an hours persuasion got us into the club/boat where we got very trolleyed and had a great laugh with the locals until about 6am.

What's so bad about that?? The next bit. I wished I was dead.
Not wanting to sleep in the campervan in the centre of town, we headed off towards coutryside.
We saw a trail up to a few trees and thought we'd stop there untroubled for the night. Down the trail J drives the partybus onto a field to turn it around - it gets stuck. It was about 1 degree outside so after half an hour stumbling in the mud and dark trying to dig / push our way out we give up and sleep to sort it out the next day. 11am, the gas has run out in the night and we wake up shivering badly and we discover Js partner has helpfully taken all the food and even t-bags out of the van. We spent about an hour trying to dig the van out - me pushing it nearly collapsing with exhaustion - to no avail. We walked to the nearest village about two miles away - every (both) shop was closed, even the bar, it was completely deserted. Phoning the RAC was met with the blunt response that there was no European cover and if we wanted help it would be about 4 hours and 400 which we didn't have; their enquiry as to exactly where we were was met with "Err, we don't actually know". By this time, we are panicking big time, we are freezing cold, covered in mud and thirstily hungover. It is snowing. Horizontally. More attempts at the van get us 2 yards so it completely blocks the track (not that we've seen any motorists anywhere). We now discover that the wheels won't turn and there is the stench of a failing clutch and after all this revving we pretty low on fuel. At this point we start to suspect we are totally fucked - absolutely fucked with nothing to turn to. Our mobile phones have run out of batteries. After half an hour or so of abject despair a dodgy looking French bloke with a shotgun comes ambling up the track - of course we fear the worst as we are starting to get a little delirious. After a bit of tutting he points us over a hill saying there is farm! We trudge up to the farm with a glimmer of hope - explaining the problem and our subsequent absolute desperation, he disappears and re-appears with a tractor. He pulls us out and we head back to Calais BUT WAIT we can't find any open petrol stations we tried four (unstaffed) but they wouldn't take our English cards. Panic panic - head for the motorway, we keep winding down the window to get rid of the stink from the clutch (which we are praying won't give out) but we are shaking with cold. The back door of the van flies open and we lose a bunch of stuff and I nearly fall out trying to close it. J starts having a proper panic attack (flailing arm grabbing things and screaming) whilst driving in the snow, high wind and failing light on the wrong side of the road so we decide to stop few minutes to calm him down, at least to scream at him "I KNOW THERE'S NO FUCKING DEISEL BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FUCKING CLUTCH". On starting the van up again, we discover the electrics are gone. No indicators, no windscreen wipers. I want to die - it would be much easier than this. We try to carry on regardless but the snow was obscuring the windscreen and we nearly crashed into some cars that weren't looking for hand signals. So we spend an HOUR fixing the electrics (with a paper clip). Some time about know, Js partner is reporting us missing to the police and our parents (we are 27 and 30 - wtf?). We keep going for Calais with the fuel gauge on zero, below the red, fully expecting to die at any second. We made it somehow and joined the queue for the Channel Tunnel - very very relieved. But no! The French customs think we're drug nutters and search every square inch of the partybus and us. This takes two hours and we had to stand outside still shivering from the cold, covered in mud, stinking of booze and looking like scarecrows. Eventually we get clear of them by 20 yards only to be stopped by the English customs (on the French side). They just laughed at us a bit while we sobbed out some of the story. The trip back to Brighton was pretty much in silence, punctuated with a few little crying fits. We were both physically and emotionally at breaking point.

On getting back home my luck changed - I bagged the fittest shag ever in a nightclub. Js luck didn't change - his car got towed away and crushed for having no tax the next day.


Thankyou for your patience. I'm never going to France again.

*I don't condone drink driving. I only do it when I'm drunk. (Seriously though, I know it was fucking stupid.)
(, Tue 12 Sep 2006, 17:37, closed)

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