The Peony’s

The Peony’s

Rough Notes of Story.

Set in Somerset, the Peony’s Caravan and camping site is a small business owned by a farmer who hates kids….

Character ideas.
Jack and Jill Lovehoney they are Dinky’s. 8 berth static van.
Flo and Ebenezer Over. Retired couple, forthright. 4 Berth static.
Ben Downe, Farmer site owner, widower. Farmhouse somewhat neglected.
Rock Curry, a handyman mid-twenties a bit of a thicko, lives in stable loft.
Fanny and Peter Ayres married 5 kids, always skint, looking for freebies. 8 Berth static.
Kids of the above, Sam, Ben, Roy, Tod, Cos, and Lettuce.
Two teenagers, in parents two berth tourer, a sad van with dead leaves and tired tyres filthy curtains etc. Kaz and Sponger.
Strange man, in tent…..old scout type with no flysheet. It has walls, wooden pegs and is heavily stained.
Entertainments manager….Deep-Doug Holes. A depressive disaster.

“Don’t put your hand on my leg!”
Jack whipped his arm back from his wife’s thigh with much sulking. You could have heard his jaw drop and roll into the depths of Cheddar Gorge from a mile away.
After a few seconds staring at the mirrored ball, Jack turned to look into Jill’s eyes through the smoke fug of the barn. He could see she didn’t mean such sharp admonition, she was aching to smile, and her ruby lips parted and out pranced hysterical laughter which bought all eyes upon her.
Whatever doubts the pair had regarding the disco had now subsided into foot tapping hip swinging participation. The farmer Ben Downe had let some local kids in, and a group of Hells angels from the Gay Lesbian Chapter. The gardener and general dogsbody Rock Curry was pulling pints of scrumpy like mad. Money was pouring in, and Ben was strutting around the barn conversion like a cockerel that’d just been let out of death row.
“Jill, I’m just going for a gypsies kiss, back soon!” a peck on her cheek and as soon as Jacks back was turned a young cheeky made his way through the swingers to Jill.
“Excuse me!” the kid sputtered obviously nervous.
Jill smiled and asked the boy shouting in his ear.
“What can I do for you young man?”
“My mates have bet me that I wouldn’t be able to chat you up!”
“How much?” Jill shouted…but what the hell.
She dragged the kid over onto the dance floor. The pair wriggled and twitched. Jill sensed that the young man was a little shy, and was itching to get back to his friends and brag. The youth turned to walk away; Jill took him harshly by the arm and kissed the kid. She turned back toward their table and was surprised at the fast completion of her husband’s urination. He was sitting at the table twiddling his thumbs.
“What did you do that for?” Jack asked nonchalantly.
“A bet!”
Jill’s husband sat with his hands over his lap.
“The bloody tap came off in my hand!” he explained, briefly showing Jill evidence of incontinence.

Jack took a break from the disco and ventured outside for a fag. He leaned against a fence post with a gait that wouldn’t have gone amiss in a Hollywood Noir blockbuster. It was a dark blue star smiling evening. The heavens were filled with god and manmade objects flashing, ducking and diving, and each and every one was a miracle. Jack was a deep person. A fatalist. He heard slow footsteps approach him from behind.
“You ok?”
It was the camp site farmer and owner Ben Downe.
“Yes, ok!” Jack was not a person to engage in small talk.
Scruffy and huge and stinking and fifty and bitter…Ben carried on regardless.
“And what would you be looking at?” He said, not really interested in the answer but trying to exercise a bit of business advice….get to know the punters.
Jack responded sharply.
“The guy in that old Scouts tent….he was here this time last year wasn’t he?”
“Certainly was, Jack, same pitch, same tent-as you and your wife said, a loner!”
Jack was ashamed of his repetition. He had taken an interest in the guy in the scout tent twelve months ago and Jill had told him to drop the subject. And yet the strange man was here again. Same time, same place- another year.
“Who is he?” Jack hissed as an aside to the guy who should really have the answers.
Ben waved a hand as if to dismiss the question, and the question was dismissed. Jack watched Ben as he continued to walk the site. Ben checked the bins, turned dripping taps off tightly, secured gates that had been left open by unthinking families, and tided the kid’s sandpit and untied the chains on swings.
Jill came stomping out from the barn disco.
“Jack, I’ve ordered a couple of burgers from Rock, are you joining us?”
“Us?”
Jill responded, with a smile….
“Jack the whole school kid thing…..I have….we have- admirers!”

***

I suppose it’s an abbreviation. Cos, Constance. Lettuce, now there’s a name we don’t hear these days, Lettuce. Sam, Ben, Roy, Tod, names that aren’t that difficult to spell. Cos and lettuce for the girls…now there’s a story. I shall have to be careful. People watching is fine, these are kids.

***

“Kaz!”
“What?”
Kaz and Sponger were trying to run up an awning. Their attempt to do this had drawn a fair crowd of nonchalant spectators. Two teenage adults green and naive from tip to toe had been performing since their arrival at the Peony’s Camping and Caravan Park. Ben Downe had witnessed with horror the lads tightening up of a fresh bottle of Calor by hand, and had raced over with his spanner-expecting to wear wings any second.
“Kaz?”
“What?”
“ Did your Aunt say anything about lighting this gas fire?, I’ve tried to light the bloody thing but just get gas!”
“What’s that knob for?”
Whoosh thump
A voice from inside the van…
“It’s ok, I’ve sorted it!”
“What’s that smell? The young girl asked, “It’s like burning hair!”
A ruddy faced youth emerged from the van like a lobster freeing itself from a boiling pan.
The girl asked of her boyfriend.
“You hungry?”
“I could eat a sodding horse!” why?”
“I’ve found a Tina corned beef!”
The youth picked it up from the grass. The tin had been stored with the awning.
“Can’t eat the bloody stuff!”
“Why?”
“No bloody key ya soft bitch!” he scratched is Ed, and….
“Wait!” there’s a screwdriver in the van!”

***

“Just look at those pair!”
Flo gestured to her husband Ebenezer to witness the debacle of the teenagers attempt at caravanning.
Ebenezer scrambled from his cooking and wiping duties and sat beside his steel wife. Eb did as she said. His eyes instantly fell upon the girl’s legs and breasts. Flo’s gaze homed onto the lad’s shorts.
“What sort of society have we moulded, we have bred such vulgarity?” Flo remonstrated.
The portable television was switched off and two grey haired conscientious objectors fed from the vision of youth verses reality- from the comfort of their balcony high box theatre superior four berth in dust free heaven static. The only thing that was static was the electricity.

***

Doug Holes a writer of poetry and of scant intelligence a lifelong hanger on to his boss and farm owner Ben Downe was busy being the stereotypical entertainments manager. His outrageous ideas at amusing the punters – always been a hit and miss affair, more hits than misses, thus his confidence in his roll was without foundation. Doug, a deep person….so deep he comes across as someone who has a problem. His depression – contrived. Doug cannot quite grasp the nettle of life and individual responsibility so he chooses to throw up a smoke screen of mysterious inadequacy. He is a virgin at forty. Forever trying to find his niche in life, he often suggests to Ben to try something different. So the barn disco is full and heaving with school kids, bikers, campers and caravaners. His CV which would have secured his destiny as never employed if ever written would have read Christmas Cracker Joke writer and Holes in Crumpets operative. Doug has a rival-Rock Curry a gardener and barman.
Doug, along with many a Peony dweller wanted to get to know the stranger in the shitty tent.
Sunday….
…. time for the aroma of rich smoked bacon, the smell of toast and the sound of avalanching cornflakes ringing in bowls.
Somerset, within distance of many a poor family and tight budget, a holiday destination that offers a no thrills trek out, not demanding for the amateur camper and caravaner; its saving grace being the pretentious mysteries of the Cheddar Gorge and Glastonbury. Hinckley Point powers station being a blot on the mind.
***
“Whats up Doug?”
Jack put down his book. In the corner of his eye he had noticed deep Doug walking past plot 21 with his head bowed down, his shoulders rounded. Jack almost felt guilty at lounging about on his sun bed. Jill was all ears at Jacks side knowing what a nosey person her husband was, but was always grateful for the entertainment her husband unearthed. Deep Doug the site entertainments officer as he liked to call himself was obviously troubled and was trying hard to work through it.
“Doug!” what’s the crack? you look as if you’ve lost a pound and found a shilling!” Jack shouted so everyone would here Doug’s reply.
“It’s me it must be, always in the bloody dog house with the misses, I’ve either done something, or not done anything about something I’ve done!”
Jack and Jill looked at each other as they lay idle-acknowledging the profound statement which was fired back at them. This dull guy Doug Holes was not the fool they had him marked to be.
“Go on!” Jack batted back.
She’s bloody hidden all me socks, she’s giving me the big silence, the baths full of soap, bloody shower gel and cans of sodding deodorant!”
“ Mom, mom, that man said sodding!”
“it’s ok, he’s the village idiot!” and the adult and child walked off- big hand tugging at a not so innocent hand.
Jack and Jill watched the troubled entertainments officer stroll toward the barn until their red elbows would support them no more, then slumped back chuckled and returned to their educative books.
***

The Family Ayers were not satisfied with dragging their tribe of five kids and themselves to Somerset. They bought along the dog as well. It bounced big and black- bred by many a father, around the site despite the signs. It had been driven mad with tormenting kids. It was soft mouthed, knew when it was beaten, servile when begging scraps.
“Get that bloody dog under control; it’s as bad as your kids!” Ben Downe bawled until he was red in the face…
“I have livestock; the mutt will be the end of me sheep!”
The Ayres with servility looked puppy eyes at their landlord, promised again, and pulled the canine from a small tree which it had the habit of scratching under.
“If it happens again I shall be asking you to leave, there’s rules…I’ll bring you another copy directly!”
Mixing reproach with slyness, Farmer Ben then proceeded to sell the family tickets to the Sunday evening barbeque. Deep Doug had never organised a barbeque before. He had Chicken pieces, burgers, belly draught, sausages, steak, charcoal, and a sinister looking can of liquid with strange symbols on its side. Ben trusted the profit margin Doug had promised. Their relationship was utter blind faith.
Doug had cut an oil tank in half with a grinder to form the shell of the barbeque apparatus. For the grill he had lifted and swilled stuff from several boot scrapers.
“What do you mean bloody hygiene certificate?”
The Over pair were sticking their bloody noses in again. Eb and Flo had purchased tickets. They worried at the wisdom of this.
Jack and Jill had done the right thing. They had sought out a small Church early morning, and attended a nice little service followed by cream tea with folk who welcomed them lavishly. The newcomers squirmed with delight at the fuss which was bestowed upon them. Jack and Jill’s presence was cooled abruptly when the church warden had whispered to the congregation that they were only fifty pence up on the offering from the previous week.
During Saturday night Peter Ayres, desperate to string out his boozing money – crawled into the barn annexe and lifted a couple of pound of sausage, burgers, steak, chicken portions, and belly draft. He woke his wife-they forced the booty into the fridge and chiller box.
“Remind me to ask Ben in the morning if he would put our ice blocks in his deep freeze or else this stuff ay gunna lastus the wik!”
The site dialogue consists of a continuous battle of wits.. The place an orchard of literary potential.
The strange man closed his notebook. He half bent exited his old scout beige tent. He straightened up. He was dressed like a pervert….a flasher, scruffy and macked, he strode toward the barbeque gathering and the mob made way for him as he advanced to the cook and leader of the evenings proceedings.
Doug was perplexed. The charcoal was without flame, it was sitting there with snow on it. Doug decided it was time to encourage the flames before he placed food on the grills.
“It’s ok, put the stuff on now Doug, its ready!” The strange man advised Doug and his voice was somewhat superior, and Doug heeded the advice…. and a huge cheer from the punters filled the barnyard.
Doug still wasn’t satisfied. Darkness was blanketing the site and no flames could be seen. Doug reached for the gallon tin. The crowd backed off, the strange man ran away with his head down. Doug unscrewed the cap….ran toward the homemade barbeque device, and launched a huge ejaculation of petrol toward the embers.
The result was the first successful launch of animal products into space, coupled with facial tans that made the sun jealous.
Over on the far side of the site usually reserved for troublesome families, Fanny Ayres, was feeding her husband, kids and dog with a bloody good fry up…they all suddenly stopped when the skies lit up – much screaming and shouting jolted the night. The kids soon settled back down to TV and wiped their mouths and hands on whatever was in reach. Their dog chewed at the string he was tethered with, he was patient and hot pawed it into the darkness over to the young tree where he scratched in search of the origins of an aroma of liver. The Ayres fell into pissed up slumber while the kids formed a mini audience….Sam the eldest followed by Roy, Tod, Cos, and Lettuce… watched a film pulled from their parent’s suitcase and learned sex education the easy way.
Rock Curry turned off the pathetic music system used to give the barbeque a sense of wellbeing. He had never seen so many sooty faces. Doug was trying to rescue the evening with boiled jumbo hot dog sausages and French sticks. Ben Downe was in no mood to give re-funds, he asked the campers to look at the incident from the funny side, a memory that would never fade, but things got hostile. It took alcohol to subdue the punters. Reluctantly Ben tapped two barrels of scrumpy hitherto hidden in the barn, and let it flow into unsuspecting mouths. The over indulgence of scrumpy has its consequences. The food launching was forgotten, as were the demands of a refund.
The pagan apple drink had caused many an inhibition to melt, and pent up sexual tensions were exorcised that sacred night. Flo never knew she had it in her, and neither did Eb, and the next morning …
He slapped his wife’s arse, and she didn’t recoil with reproach. Blue holiday skies lit up the hung over eyes of the campers, and Monday morning was started at 11.30am…ish.
The dog “Nigger” had worn down its nails; it dog carried a huge bone in its jaws. The strange man looked up from his book and studied the creature as it trotted off…its facial skin screwed with delight and ecstasy. The strange ma, an academic, recognised the bone as that from a…..
And his mind was slammed shut by a ringing red hot slap in the mush from a plastic football.
Jack and Farmer Ben were in deep concentration. Jack pulled deep on a secret fag, and the farmer drew deeply from his pipe. Jack noticed that Ben always seemed to have flies as company.
“Jack!” if you’re so interested in the geezer then go and introduce yourself…you may have something in common…you a teacher an all!”
Ben tapped out his pipe on the soul of his boot, and left Jack directly.
Jack knocked on the door of the strange man’s tent.
“Who is it” a reply with a hint of humour in it.
“Hope you don’t mind, my wife has buggered off to get her hair done, and I’m in need of conversation!” Jack lied.
The strange man flicked open a tent flap catching Jack in the eye as he was endeavouring to peer in.
“I’m terribly sorry!”
“It’s ok; I shouldn’t have been so nosey!”

“Do you know there is only a gnat’s cock of difference between nosiness and caring?” asked the stranger.
“Never thought about it, but ….”I’m Jack by the way!”
“Socrates!” reciprocated the strange man…they shook hands.
And a sudden overwhelming desire filled the two men to talk and they did, until Jill joined them fresh from a swim in the cold sandblasting Somerset Sea.
The spectacle; a mid-thirties couple stretched out in scant clothing soaking up the sun, and a scruffy fifties ragamuffin in his sixties, sitting on a fishing stool gesturing with his hands like a good Italian. The sounds emanating from the activities of the site where no stranger to the teacher Jack and his children’s nurse wife Jill…it was an orchestrated blend of playground and farm machinery.
Deep Doug Holes the all-encompassing entertainments manager had “organised” a Monday Afternoon country and Western event with a group who called themselves Stormy Monday.
Doug scanned their repertoire.
First song, an ice breaker,
1. You aint nothing but a Well Hung Dog.
2. Twist and Shag
3. Candle in the Convent
4. How can I miss you when you won’t go away
5. You are the reason our kids are so ugly
6. How can I say I love you when you’re sitting on my face?
7. Now I know why they call you two stroke.
8. She had breasts like Wells Fargo saddle bags.
9. You’re well-oiled, inside and out!

Doug Holes surfed the songs, agreed and plugged the group in.
Fanny Ayes walked with determination toward Ben Downe, who was busy drinking.
“Hi Ben!” what happened here this morning the ambulance and all that bloody carry-on?”
Ben finished off his drink, and slid down from his tractor.
“Flo!”
“What about Flo?” she demanded her hands on her hips.
“She ignored all my signs and instructions in the Peony’s welcome book, God know’s what I had them printed for….waste of bloody money….load of illiterates!”
The hands on hips with fat tits grew inpatient.
Ben!”
“Ok, she went into the cow field, she bent over, “oh look she shouted- a four leaf clover!” and my bull got her right up the bloody arse!”
“Is she ok?” asked Fanny whilst in full beaming smile
“It didn’t stop her tongue… her backside has to be examined…suppose the sodding health and safety blokes will be around….still aint found her bloody teeth and hearing aid!”
The strange man sat writing. His primus stove roared, candy floss clouds caused shadows over the farm and wiped the fields clean. The dog chewed its bone producing a subtle sound of sharp teeth cracking a quality toffee apple. Peter Ayres stood watching four of his five children trying to stamp sand flies out of existence. The eldest child had gone up to the farm house to scrounge some ice for the cooler. He returned some time later having been unable to locate Ben. The eldest hadn’t returned empty handed, he gave his father an A4 map he had swiped from a machine.
“Where have you had this from?” asked Peter.
“There were a few of them on his printer” Sam whispered.
“hhhmmm…..Peter sat down on his deck chair and studied the diagram.
“Well done son!”