Hijacker Training Camp 2007 was possibly our best yet, we learnt many more skills, talked politics, drank plenty of beer and nearly killed ourselves on several occasions. Heading down to Haywards Heath near Brighton, we spent a weekend sword fighting, mud wrestling, fire breathing, developing our own fighting discipline, discussing post world war two international development and learning how to hand brake turn cars!
Agents Batman, Bristly Pioneer, Diving Arms Dealer, Gelatin Agent, Greenman, Hardcastle, Obsequious Profit Margin and Undecided all made it along to the camp this year. All with very different ideas on how to survive a weekend with the Hijackers. Some opted for a few changes of clothes and some chocolate, others like Hardcastle and Undecided decided flak jackets, gas masks, blank firing guns, huge knives and commando face paint were essential items to pack. Of course everyone was sporting our red tank fund t-shirts, and matching underwear.
Most of us set off on the train to Haywards Heath on Friday down to Waspsbourne Manor Park a place that advertised it self as a quiet organic getaway. Intelligently the campsite managers decided to put us at the very end of a field mainly used for storing farm equipment, rather than anywhere near the rest of the happy campers. We began to set up our tents next to a huge digger, when we realised a communal space was required. With a huge tarpaulin, a bit of an old roof and several logs hammered into the floor we soon managed to knock up a large covered area to store food and provide extra sleeping space. A little later in the evening agent Obsequious Profit Margin arrived after a mamouth trek from Northampton and settled down for a beer with us.
Hijackers get to action hammering logs into the floor and building a communal tent.
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The first night was a fairly quiet affair (mainly due to a very messy evening the night before at the Hijacker Monthly Meeting), with us cooking and getting used to our new non polluted surroundings. Sitting around the campfire sharing a beer, Gelatin Agent pointed out that she thought there was someone watching us from the bushes. Hardcastle walked over to investigate and suddenly a cross dressed agent Undecided made his entrance to the camp bursting out from the undergrowth screaming. Finally we had all arrived.
We had somehow managed to pick the wettest weekend in history to decide to come camping, and during the night several of our tents flooded, others proved their rain protection was an utter lie. So wet and soggy and slightly hung over by saturday morning we were all looking a bit worse for the wear. Little did we know what depths of utter chaos the camp was due to turn into.
The sun finally came out and we noticed agent Undecided had dissapeared back off to London, apparently he had forgotten his catapault and several other dangerous weapons. The rest of us decided to make the trek to the nearest pub for some lunch. This was the first time we realised we were no longer in London, a 45 minute walk through muddy bogs and past giant plants later we finally arrived at the nearest beer to our campsite.
Agent Obsequious Profit Margin pulls his shoe from the mud
We trekked back to the campsite full of warm food and cool beer ready for action. The sun had come out and we were beginning to get into the swing of things, plus Undecided had returned from London with his missing equipment. We had recieved a tip off that the UK's largest second hand military vehicle show was happening half an hour's ride away, so we picked Undecided and Hardcastle to act as Hijacker reps and to go along and see if they could find our mystery contact. They hopped into a car and headed off, hoping to come back with a tank.
Gelatina declares the start of summer.
The rest of us decided to get down to some serious Hijacker training. First however a bit of sunbathing was in order.
After warming ourselves in the sunshine and letting our tents dry out agent Gelatina took us to the field next door for some yoga and stretching exercises. It was at this point that many of us realised how unbelievably out of shape we were.
Just before she managed to snap us all in half, we were interupted by Paul the campsite manager who came along to to give us a quick lesson in international development and industrialisation.
Taking us through from the second world war onwards he explained (in a very very excitable 10 minute presentation) how the Bretton Woods summit had gone on to attempt to industrialise the planet via the IMF, World Bank and WTO. But that in his opinion (as an organic farmer) that the industrialisation itself was our main cause of concern for the future. That left or right, we all had to work to save the environment rather than abusing the worlds resources. Paul is now planning on becoming a politician, good luck to him!
Freshly reinvigorated with both mental and physical stretching we decided it was time to break out the weapons and get on with some serious physical exercise. Agent Greenman led our tuition, as we gradually put the foundations together for our very own fencing style. A mixture of sabre fencing, boxing and wrestling, with more expletives, Hijacker fencing is a dangerous sport.
Taking it in turns in the blistering heat, agents all learnt the basic techniques of fencing, before then challenging each other to duels. It turned out the cuts and bruises we got here were to be the first of very many over the weekend.
Meanwhile over at the show, Undecided and Hardcastle had narrowed our choices down to a couple of vehicles.
Back at the camp...
What to do after a tiring afternoons fighting in the sunshine? Well why not cool of with some mud wrestling? Oh dear...
Yes the camp had finally started to live up to the hijacker name, as five of our toughest agents brawled it out all afternoon in the muddy fields around the campsite. The rest of the campers were more than a little disturbed, but it was possibly one of the best afternoons of our lives.
By the time Hardcastle and Undecided returned from the arms fair, things were in full swing, we had managed to wash most of the mud off, downed several bottles of spirits and well and truly got the party started. I can't really remember much of the rest of the evening. It was Agent Batman's 30th birthday the next day and we decided to fulful as many of his 'list of things to do before you're 30' as possible. This involved tieing him up and spanking him, mud wrestling, fire breathing, swordfighting with fire works and drinking copious amounts of hard liquor. The night decended into madness the highlight being Hardcastle and Gelatin Agent trying to kill a bride on a hen night, then nearly blowing up their campsite with fireworks!
The next morning was a bit of a mess as you can imagine, most of us decided to try and make it to a pub for some food, as we were too messed up to cook, agent Undecided however chose to head into the woods to practice his skills, chopping up trees and making bush furniture.
Greenman found a pub on a map which looked like a good walk away, and we set off (erm without the map?). To prepare for our walk we took the precaution of painting our faces with camo face paint (well brown camo paint, some lipstick and eye liner) and bringing a supply of chocolate. We crossed fields, rivers, roads, more fields, woods, farms, more fields, bogs, cattle, more fields, dead animals, and a few more fields. Several hours later, and on the point of exhaustion, as if by magic, the pub arrived. In we walked, covered in mud, make up and looking like we were about to pass out.
It was minutes until Agent Batman was due to turn 30, so we got some beers in, ordered some food and toasted his coming of age with a cheer! After dinner however our energy levels finally ran out and we passed out on the garden floor, curiously everyone else abandoned the garden after we arrived?
After waking up sunburnt (well all of the pasty white English boys anyway) Greenman led us on the short cut home. This turned out to be a much longer route than the original one (MUST REMEMBER MAP, MUST REMEMBER MAP!!!) and we finally found civilisation in the form of the pub we had been to the day before. "TEQUILA" cried our Spanish troublemaker, and the whole messy affair of drunken hijackers started again. As we made our way out of the pub, we came across a concerned looking Undecided in his car, searching the area, as our 1 hour trip for lunch had turned into a 5 hour marathon. As he put it "I saw a bunch of random, nutcases walking down the middle of the road, looking like trouble, and I realised that I had finally found you lot".
We split in two, half off to get supplies (beer, tequila etc) half to start dinner back at camp. We met up with Beata, one of the resident campers, and agent Obsequious Profit Margin explained all about the Hijackers and our pirate-esqe training camp. She decided to stay for the evening, informing us that she had given up drinking recently (oops).
"There is no, fucking Tequila in the whole of fucking Sussex! Fucking countryside!" Gelatin Agent was not happy, however the supply run did manage to find several bottles of rum and several crates of lager, so we still had something to survive with.
It was decided that Pirate drinking songs were the best way to get things going, so after a couple of rounds of "What shall we do with the drunken sailor" we got back into the swing of things. Here again I'm afraid your narrator rather lost track of what happened, mostly I remember nearly blowing up a car whilst we took it in turns to learn handbrake turns in a muddy field, some how getting into a dis-used caravan, a voudou ritual, lots of naked men, and free red socks!
The next morning, still worse for the wear we were awoken by the man who owned the digger we had built our camp around. He was rather upset about the fung shui of his field. Thinking we should pack up and get out before the police arrived, we somehow managed to get our stuff together.
Even more amazingly, we actually all made it back home in one piece, one very broken piece but alive and just about well.
Roll on training camp 08!
The camp was fricken' awesome, and so was everyone who turned up.
Camp was an utter blast, I can't think of a better last thing to do with the hijackers. My sleep schedule was completely fucked by the end of it all.
it's not easy to describe the summer camp this year... furiously amazing, painfully funny and definitely unforgettable. we all learnt lots of useful things that will help us in our day by day and future space hijackers actions.