Every year, a group (say 30 plus in number) of women loosely connected through midwifery and some, random strangers in real life, embark in a pilgrimage to Scotland where they then proceed to spend the weekend together in a youth hostel all to themselves. For the organiser, lovingly known as Chief F***ing Arsehole, it’s a year’s worth of planning, negotiating, setting up a matrix of phone numbers and setting up an Asda food delivery order (this year, our order filled the entire van).
This year, we were in beautiful quaint Moffat, a small town/village with two pubs, one hotel, one bank, a hardware shop and a mofo of a sweet shop.
And if it weren’t for the fact that a dear friend of mine, Parp, had decided she would come as a tent for a fancy dress party, my most recent act of civil disobedience would not have been born. It all started when I left the smoking porch at 2 in the morning and bounded up to our Poop Deck room, which I shared with several others. I was ambushed by N.Zoo and AB(normal) who instructed that I was to stay put and wait for their return. Whilst waiting, I was to pad out my duvet to make it look like someone was sleeping in it. Both N.Zoo and AB(normal) had stuffed balloons under theirs and in my nicotine induced intoxication, I suppose it looked pretty realistic.
Disclaimer: I only smoke in Scotland.
By this time, I must have somewhat developed Stockholm Syndrome and fell in love with my captors as I willingly conspired with the plot they were unveiling to me once they returned. We were to mobilise Parp’s red tent out of the youth hostel without attracting the attention of the drunken and merry revellers downstairs and set off for Moffat town centre.
At 2:15 in the morning. In Moffat, Scotland, in November, in the rain. With a tent that was broken because it got stuck in the doorway on the way out.
I impressed myself by doing a lazyman shimmy shuffle commando crawl past the window of the hostel’s living room. N.Zoo and AB(normal)just had to point out that there weren’t anyone in the living room anyway. So, at 2:15a.m, we ventured into town, in our pyjamas, carrying a red tent, a handful of balloons and a large piece of paper which originally was stuck on the hostel wall with the nicknames of the weekend attendees on it.
2:15a.m.: we assured ourselves that the chances of bumping into anyone would be near on impossible.
2:20a.m.: we spotted two men having a cheeky cigarette outside their house. A swift crossing to the other side of the road meant that we escaped from being potentially identified at a line-up. The chaps complimented us on our tent, “Nice tent.” AB(normal) was swift to reply with a curt “Thank (don’t-you-fucking-dare-follow-us) you”.
2:25a.m.: we hid the tent in an alleyway and pretended to be interested in the window display of a plumbing supplies shop whilst a party of youths walked past.
2:45a.m.: still yet to retrieve the tent from the alleyway, we decided that we could not tie the black balloons o the tent in account that black balloons are special and that the black balloons tied to the hostel gate would give us away. Operation ‘let’s deflate the black balloons by biting them’ commenced. I couldn’t bite mine so stuffed it under my jumper.
Little did we realise until we returned to the hostel that the inside of the tent was filled with black balloons.
2:50a.m.: N.Zoo and I decided that we couldn’t use the back of the piece of paper with our nicknames on it to write our political message on as we might be identified that way. AB(normal) pointed out that it might have been different for both N.Zoo and I, but her passport does not have AB(normal) as her name.
2:51a.m.: we proved AB(normal) previous point as moot by reminding her that between the three of us, she was the only one with a professional registration potentially at stake and that the Man knows everything. This was in between taking photos of the miniature toilet.
Between 2:15 and 3:30a.m., I reminded both my partners in crime repeatedly that I indeed had most to lose on account of not being a British passport holder and that the government has zero tolerance towards permanent residents who engage in acts in civil disobedience.
3:00a.m.: Tent retrieved from alleyway and set up in the centre of town, right where the town monument stood. We avoided the only CCTV in the town as it was rightfully (snort) monitoring the RSBC bank. I received friendly bitchslaps for the sudden anarchy dementia syndrome which rendered me overwhelmingly concerned about being done for littering.
3:10a.m.: We left the tent erected and proud, in full site of passing traffic with the sign OCCUPY MOFFAT on it.
We waited for the postage stamp sized revolution to kick in. I was quietly thankful that I took a train to Scotland and needn’t go through passport control.
We spent the next 24 hours giggling to ourselves, posting photos on Twitter, hoping for a viral meltdown, but alas the tent was gone by the next morning. There has been nothing in the news and Have I Got News For You did not get back to us.
*all names have even changed to protect the civil liberties of those involved*