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Travel: I lost my virginity in... Hastings

Not far from Battle, six miles north-west of Hastings where William, Duke of Normandy, met, fought and conquered Harold's beleaguered army in 1066 after the latter's exhausting suppression of a Nordic invasion near York, is where Mick, punk of Pimlico, succeeded in winning me, Lilian, over, and where I, exhausted by his incursions, lost my virginity at the age of 17.

To be specific, that fateful day in 1982 dawned on a dismal, decidedly unbucolic caravan site where we repaired each summer holiday with 30 or so of our friends to terrorise the holidaying families and taunt the locals with our spiky hair-dos. In those days, to go on holiday meant taking a London attitude (Streatham, in my case) and your 30-strong gang with you. Hastings, that sleepy left-over from the glory days of the Cinque Ports, was perfect for our intentions. It seemed caught up in its own time-zone of postwar austerity and cheerlessness, and thus ripe for our action.

Ten minutes after arriving at the station, we were promenading on the front, hair carefully back-combed upwards, safety-pins in place, jeans ripped at the knee. A formidable sight. We rented three caravans on a god-forsaken site (I hope it has been razed to the ground by now), 10 in each, with Mick and me careful to bag the double room. We knew It would happen that week. But, first, we had other things on our minds.

Skinny white legs needed the sun's attention. So we would stroll down to the windswept, derelict beach and leap into the muddy waters, before stretching ourselves out flat on the litter-strewn sands. Once we were suitably pink, we made our way through the dilapidated resort, stopping off for photo opportunities. Then, there were gallons of industrial-strength cider to be drunk, and fish and chips to be consumed.

All picnicked-up, we would sally forth to the rubbish tip at the top of Castle Hill that claimed to be the ruins of William's first castle in England. (I haven't been back to Hastings since, but I believe the town is seeing better days now. It certainly can't be seeing worse.) Aesthetic appreciation besides, this is an excellent vantage point for planning your invasion of the town. And, even better, it gave us a chance to use the Victorian funicular railway to reach the top of the cliff, launching missiles (flabby chips) at innocent passers-by on the way. What fun we had.

At night, since we'd been banned from the Old Town's pubs on our first night, and the new town was too drab even for us, we stayed on site. Our respective caravans were too cramped so we threw ourselves wholeheartedly into the site's programme of Nightly Entertainment. We jeered at the beauty competitions, pogoed to the crooning of the terminally talentless "Stars for a Night", and threw beer over each other. Again, what fun we had.

Then the long-awaited moment came. It was morning, always a good time for canoodling, I feel, as the pores of the skin are open and highly sensitive. Tender caresses became insistent, a condom was flourished, and we were away. I'd like to report that the caravan rocked to the rhythms of our love-making, but as its wheels were cast in cement, I'd be lying.


The author is arts and glamour editor of `The Erotic Review'.