But we’ve only got one bed

English: Buccleuch Dock, Barrow-in-Furness

English: Buccleuch Dock, Barrow-in-Furness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mum used to take in lodgers. It was great to have someone different around the house and they helped to pay the bills. One day, Two quirky young guys from Barrow-in-Furness knocked at the door. “We’ve come about the room” they said in a heavy Northern accent. Each of them held a large kit bag with a spirit level sticking out the top. One had a mop of curly blond hair. The other had long hair and bad skin. 

Mum explained that we only had a single room. They looked crestfallen and pleaded with mum to let them stay but she was resolute. After a short pause, one of them asked if they could at least leave their heavy kit bags at our house whilst they went off to find somewhere else to stay. Something about them made mum acquiesce and off they went without their bags.

A few hours later, they knocked at the door again, obviously drunk. “It’s too late to go anywhere else now and our bags have caused you no bother and neither will we – one of us can sleep on the floor. Go on – please!” For some reason, mum agreed and allowed them to stay, but just for one night. I can’t remember exactly how long they stayed with us, but it was a few months.

Their names escape me now, but at the time they spent a lot of their social time with me and my younger brother. They were great fun, but they were a bit of a handful. If they ever saw a police car driving past, they would insist on flashing their bare buttocks regardless of their state of sobriety.

One day, one of them invited up to Barrow-in-Furness for the weekend. If I shared the travel costs, his mum would put me up when we got there. His mum’s expression when she saw me on the doorstep suggested that she hadn’t been consulted.

It was an eventful weekend.

The first night, he took me into the local town to meet his girlfriend, Rose. Barrow-in-Furness is one of several towns in the UK that lays claim to having more pubs than any other so it was lively. Within half an hour, they had a blazing row in the street. He stormed off. Rose proceeded to rip off all her jewellery (which took some time) before storming off in the other direction.

I stood in the middle of a strange town on a Friday night, holding a large pile of jewellery and the only two people who knew his mum’s address had buggered off. A policeman noticed me standing there and approached. “This had better be good sunshine” he said. Luckily, the boyfriend returned as I clumsily tried to explain the train of events.

The following day, we joined a load of his friends to drive around the lake district. At one point, the convoy of cars screeched to a halt and everyone jumped out and ran down the hill. I ran down after them and found them urinating in a river, laughing maniacally the whole time. They were still laughing when they drove off. A few hundred yards further on, the source of their amusement became clear. Around the corner people drank from the river thinking it had healing properties. 

They were two of the most colourful characters I’ve met and I wonder what they are up to now.

The sort of characters that would be good in a story…


3 comments on “But we’ve only got one bed

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