Here for the coronation chicken? You should be, it’s bloody amazing. You know where you often find coronation chicken? In a sandwich. Guess where you can buy sandwiches? At a service station. What stops at a service station? Coaches. A coach you say? Like a coach holiday? Holiday post? No problem! I know, classic segue right? Hmm.
You know when people say you should never wish your life away? They’re right. It’s far more fun to spend your time wishing great calamity on the wider public. You know how we are trying to squeeze twelve holidays into this year? Well, we recently returned from our 3rd holiday (actually our sixth, but sssh) and I need to get all my love out before I forget any precious detail. You’ll find out how we spent almost £400 to have a burger in Birmingham Airport. Look, here’s a banner…
Do you want some good news? This isn’t going to be one of those holidays that spreads out over several posts whilst I witter on about sculptures and Paul’s flatulence. This is a two entry only deal, much like Alton Towers, or unlike my anus. We decided on a coach tour because frankly, I’d spent enough time stuck behind the fuckers on the A1 that I could rattle off their booking number like my own email address. I thought I’d love it all, me: the camaraderie, the singing, the whip-round for the driver, the toilet stops.
I was wrong.
Before I start though, a quick word. Rather like the caravan holiday, I know a coach trip might be the highlight of the year for some folks, and if it is, more power to your elbow. Different strokes for different folks and all. So keep your angry diatribes and moaning emails for someone who cares.
I should have realised something was amiss when we got on the coach and didn’t see a sea of lightly trembling lilac and nicotine-yellow hair. I was expecting something like what I posted last time, which I’ve had to mock-up in Photoshop as no photo demonstrates my point:
It took me hours to do that, but I reckon you can barely see the joins.
It wasn’t like that. It wasn’t like that at all. A few folks of around our age climbed aboard and we were left thinking how marvellous it would be if the coach sped away down the A19 with just us brave souls aboard, lounging around with plenty of space to do our Puzzlers and gawp out of the window. That would have happened but we stopped in Gateshead where a fair litter of children got on with their parents. I knew straight away that all hope was lost when one of the mothers reached into her PAWLS’ BOOTIKUE bag, pulled a full can of Relentless (it’s like Red Bull, only a quid cheaper) out and gave it to her five year old kid. Now that’s parenting. That shit gives me heart palpitations and I’m the size of a small family car, for goodness sake. Within ten minutes the kid was manic with energy and bouncing around, but don’t worry, she gave him a bump of ket as we passed Middlesbrough which seemed to settle him down.
The next and final pick-up filled the bus to the brim with yet more parents and their darling offspring. A couple behind us were arguing as they got on the coach, arguing as they sat down and arguing all the way to the services. Not an interesting argument, you understand, I lost interest after the eight hundredth ‘naaaw nah’ and ‘like’, but enough to provide background noise. A kid to our right threw up within I reckon three minutes of sitting down, leading to his mother chastising the sod and telling him he if threw up again they’d need to cancel their holiday. Poor little mite – as if he was deliberately sicking up his Cocoaed Pips. I gave her a look. To cap it off, a very new-age mother and her male friend got on, sat together and left their children to sit by themselves across the aisle.
That would be fine, save for the fact he wouldn’t stop shouting for her and she didn’t stop yelling at him.
All of this combined made for a great first couple of hours, didn’t it? I felt like the camera operator on Jeremy Kyle. It was like having tinnitus, only instead of a high-pitched whine we had a Geordie one in 360 degrees. Paul went to sleep, the Big Fat Judas, and my headphones were in my suitcase which was packed away, leaving me with nothing to do but sweat (the bus was roasting) and listen to the badly-tuned radio hissing away above me. I was contemplating using the emergency hammer to stave my skull in when the driver announced we were stopping for a refreshment break. Hooray!
I have mentioned many times how much I love to stop at the services when I’m driving – nothing makes my heart soar than gambling away all my change in the rigged machines and then prostituting myself until I have enough bank notes to buy myself a cup of piss-weak tea and a phlegmy-burger from McDonalds. I adore trying to piss whilst simultaneously fending off obvious cottaging and trying not to pass out from the urine fumes. I get goosebumps now just thinking about the feeling of knowing some fat-cankled youngster is going to scratch my car with a carelessly thrown open door and then get sticky Calippo fingerprints all over the bonnet as she heaves herself through. I can tolerate all of that – and more – for about ten minutes.
Naturally, we stopped for almost an hour. Why? Twenty minutes would surely be enough for everyone to go trembling into the toilets for a slash, then out again, then for another quick try before setting off? Nah. Of course not. That’s not to say that the hour we had was all bad though – our boredom was alleviated by people watching, noticeably:
- the sheer amount of DILFs swarming around – I don’t know if it was because there were loads of construction crew, football supporters and lorry drivers milling about but I nearly fainted from having an erection for 50 minutes – Paul had to bring me a sweet tea and a blindfold before my shoes started squelching; and
- an old woman with a face like an unmade bed smoking two cigarettes at once.
Two! I appreciate that you probably get to 90 years old and think ah fuck it, I’ve beaten lung cancer, let’s double down, but that’s serious commitment to addiction. We’re not talking holding one cigarette whilst she finished the other, we’re talking alternating between each hand on every other breath, bringing her hands up to her face like she was doing an American sobriety test where you have to touch your nose. Her face reflected every single cigarette she’d ever smoked and was an advertisement for giving up – you’d need to put make-up on with one of those Ronseal-spray guns you use for decking, it was that lined and creased.
We only noticed her because we were standing in the queue which snaked out of the Greggs outlet. You may remember I’m Geordie. She had a place in the queue too but clearly thought that as she was immediately outside the shop and not inside that such courtesies as not forcing every other poor bastard to develop emphysema whilst they waited for a steak bake needed to be observed. I thanked God, who I don’t believe in, that she didn’t climb onto our coach. Her coach was yellow-tinted, ran on lungbutter and hockle and had ‘Golden Tours of Virginia’ on the side.
After forlornly picking at our Greggs dinner and wondering whether or not we had time to set up a gloryhole station in the lorry park, we were allowed back onto the coach. I’d hoped that the driver might have aired it out a little but no, it was still lovely and stuffy. I felt my thigh fat sizzle as I pressed the metal latch of the seatbelt against it. Part of me – and I use ‘part’ in the same way that a ‘fat’ person might want part of a delicious cake i.e. all of it – hoped that our charming seatmates in front and behind had accidentally wandered onto the wrong coach and were bound for a weekend in Runcorn, but no, here they came, Mikey-this and Mikey-thatting all down the bloody aisle. My eyes rolled back so far into my head that I was able to act as a reversing camera for the driver.
The next 100 miles or so passed in an unending, dismal blur of listening to the guy behind us shout at his kid for absolutely any little thing and the lady in front of me doing absolutely anything but FUCKING GETTING UP AND SITTING NEXT TO HER OFFSPRING. I tried to doze but at least every twenty seconds I’d hear MIKEY STOP IT MIKEY or MIKEY GIVE ME THE AYE-PAD or MIKEY BE NICE TO YOUR BROTHER or MIKEY YOU CAN’T GO TO THE TOILET or MIKEY DO YOU WANT SOME HARIBO SOME CRUNCHIE A HAM SANDWICH AN EGG SANDWICH A FUCKING BAGEL DO YOU WANT ONE DO YOU DO YOU DO YOU MIKEY MIKEY MIKEY DO YOU MIKEY CAN YOU HEAR ME MIKEY
AAAARGH! I have never, in all my life, been closer to snapping and shouting at a stranger. It was only the fact that she had her kids with her that prevented me from getting up, kicking the emergency exit door open and throwing myself into traffic. It was infuriating. I know that looking after children is tough but here’s a tip, dear heart, get up and BLOODY MOVE NEXT TO YOUR KID IF YOU NEED TO SPEAK TO HIM! DON’T YELL ACROSS THE BLOODY AISLE. I glanced a look at Paul and his eyes was twitching maniacally so I knew we had barely any time.
Oh and just to act as a cherry on top of this shitstorm, they devised a game which involved her loudly announcing everything she could see on her side of the bus. You try relaxing when you’ve got someone shouting I’VE GOT A HOSPITAL or PATEL’S BOOZE NEWS AND CONVENIENCE or ABORTION CLINIC in front of you. I felt so drained and weak by the time we pulled into Cadbury’s World that had the Fraud Squad got on and asked me how I was doing, I’d have confessed to the Brinks Mat robbery just to get some peace.
Please: if you’re a parent reading this, just remember one thing – not everyone thinks you and your children are darling and just-so. I’m fine with crying babies, I’m fine with fussy toddlers, I don’t mind kids being kids, that’s what they’re all about. But I do mind you making a racket or dragging everyone else into your drama. Have the bloody manners and respect you rightly expect everyone else to have.
Before we get to Cadbury’s World, I’ll say this: all of the kids on the bus were fine! They behaved exactly like how you’d expect kids on a long coach trip to act and I can say nothing bad about them. Hell, one little anklebiter made me laugh out loud when he, in response to being told to quieten down by his exasperated father, replied with a hearty ‘FUCK OFF’.
He couldn’t have been older than four.
Part two soon.
This recipe makes enough for four big servings (pictured is one serving) of really good coronation chicken – plus you can tweak it however you like. A little pot of coronation chicken from ASDA is 22 syns – this is a perfect low-syn alternative!
to make homemade coronation chicken you will need:
- 4 chicken breasts (want some that are way more than a handful? Get some from our fantastic Musclefood deal!)
- 2 tbsp extra-light mayonnaise (2 syns)
- 2 tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt
- 1 tbsp mango chutney (2 syns)
- ½ tsp mild curry powder
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- ½ tsp salt
- 10g sultanas (1.5 syns)
to make homemade coronation chicken you should:
- cook the chicken breasts by heating a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a little oil or frylight
- place the breasts in the pan and leave to cook for about 10 minutes (the edges should start to go opaque)
- after ten minutes, reduce the heat to medium, flip the breasts over and cover the pan with a lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes until cooked through
- allow breasts to cool, and cut into small cubes
- meanwhile, mix together all of the other ingredients in a large bowl
- add the chicken and stir to combine
Now come on, that was a piece of piss, wasn’t it?