Ray's Exploration Rantings

Conquest 2002 - Part Two:
'They Have Come For Us': The Forage of Saturday 30th November 2002

Post-Hospital Greetings once again. Well well well and thrice well on top - what an interesting weekend excursion that turned out to be. Bahgumbuggery'n'shit indeed.

The plan was set, and both myself and Messr Carrond were thoroughly prepared for exploration - with recording equipment and foraging apparatus at hand. We zoomed along in Dolmal's newly-constructed vehicular vehicle (red, with tyres - as opposed to the helicopter we used last time) until we reached the welcoming sight of the Feathers Inn/Tavern/Pub/Drinking Establishment, whereby we parked up and ambled once more toward the beckoning ruin of our favourite abandoned building.

The weather was good, slightly overcast but welcoming nonetheless. The time was 12.10pm. Stopping by the main gates for a quick reconnaissance, we saw that the gates had been ripped apart slightly more since our previous excursion (no doubt by other, less 'Keep Britian Tidy' explorers). Peering through into the site itself, it was obvious from the start that something was afoot. There were some new, bright blue pipes laid, stretching from our far right (up the path past the Sentry Hut) and leading off in the general direction of the Main Entrance. Or vice-versa. Who knows? Not I.

We climbed up the small muddy slope leading to our entry route of old and promptly located a ladder, propped up on the other side of the wall. With a few words and a couple of grins, we dragged the aging wooden climbing assistant over and used it to scale the mighty (well, pretty tiny) boundary. We breached the defences in record time and seconds later were standing in the pleasant and homely grounds of the hospital (aka Colin) once more.

My grin spread wider and I believe a small dance, not unlike a jig, was performed at this juncture. We strolled casually toward the Main Building, only to be taken aback slightly by the unexpected presence of an upturned car, formerly residing within the 'parking lot' methinks - an old Morris Minor or something if I am not mistaken (which I could be, due to the events that occured later). Pausing, I took out the Digital Video Camera of joy and filmed a quick and not-quite-as-smooth-as-I'd-like pan of the entrance. Thinking I'd have plenty of time later to get decent shots, I motioned brave Dolmal toward the collapsed stage area (sob sob), for our first objective was to uncover some of these Hospital Plans which the gods have seemingly decided to bring forth for all explorerkind only now.

We foraged our way up to the Boiler Room area and trudged along the external corridor. It was then that we heard the voices. At least two more people were within the hallowed walls of the hospital that day. Darting rapidly (though in a suave and sophisticated type way) into one of the doorways to our left, we intended to remain silent in order to evaluate the situation. Unfortunately, the ground beneath our feet was metal and made a rather resonating din as we crossed it. Listening, there were words exchanged between the other hospital infiltrators, followed by some footsteps. As a seasoned hospital veteran, I confidently believed that most other explorers, amateur hacks for the most part, would almost certainly take off towards an exit after hearing the eerie din we had inadvertently caused. Thus, I simply began foraging for goodies, with nary a care in the wildebeest. That was the last we heard of the other explorers - safely bottled it and ran I suspect.

After cleansing the room we had retreated into, we emerged and headed toward the area where we heard the others talking and rummaging. The rooms were in a terrible state. Everything had been ripped apart and open, kids these days eh? No respect for ageing medical establishments at all.

I briefly checked the corridors for signs of life, but there were none. So, with walkie-talkies operational, Dolmal and I split up to quicken our search for the elusive Hospital Plans. A couple of minutes later I picked up a request from my manservant, asking me to head in his general direction. I pocketed the few amusing pieces of memorabilia I had come across and wandered into the Engineer's Office where, with great joy, I found Dolmal leaning over a spread out plan of one of the wards (not spread out by us - but perhaps by Michael and his cohorts during one of their late-night expeditions) Hurrah for Hospital Plans!

We moved to an adjoining room and, for the next twenty minutes or so, went through every imaginable scrap of paper lying on the floor. We uncovered around thirty, possibly more, large (mostly A1 in size) detailed Hospital Plans- covering not only the hospital itself, but Taplow Lodge and other nearby places of interest. Along with the Hospital Plans we found some lovely blueprints of random areas around the site. Placing the almost-neatly folded maps in our new, extra large Foraging Basket (a solid wicker and stainless steel ForageMaster2000 Pro Deluxe Limited Edition model), we rubbed the itchy grime from our fingertips and both agreed that it was time for lunch.

Lunch resided within the depths of the magical basket, but was well wrapped to prevent infestation of Itchings. Cheese and pickle sandwiches, low-fat crisps, bananas (of course!), satsumas, and a WHOLE packet of Chocolate Digestives. Chew. Crunch. Munch. Edvard. Belch.

Stowing our rubbish and most of a pack of biscuits away for later misuse, we then prepared to move north - for our primary objective of the day was to locate The Mortuary. Dolmal however had more pressing plans, as he was preparing a tube of ignitable herbs for me to enjoy. Having left my Cuban cigars in my other trousers, we had to utilize some local homegrown wonderfluff or somesuch. I grabbed a quick bit of footage of the Rubble Formerly Known As The Stage Room whilst he was pootling with the plants, seated semi-comfortably as he was on a wheelchair outside the former Stage Room entrance. After a short whirr I rejoined him and we inhaled and exhaled awhile, discussing the hilarity of our recent summer jaunt around the Caribbean. There were more grins and a certain numbness to the forehead, and an agreement that we had done well so far. However, it was now time for some real action.

Refreshed and slightly fuzzy around the edges, we began our assault around the top of the site. I diverted a couple of times, most notably for a rapid in-out DVcam of The Deadfiles before walking toward the northern edge of the metal fence. It was then that we knew that something was wrong - The gates to the Sawmill were wide open.


Quickly slipping into Stealth Mode, we navigated quietly and with much care. A quick backtrack and a situation assessment were called for - as Sawmill=potential discovery=potential capture, torture and dismemberment. Or something, perhaps. Who knows? For Ray Hurley-Castle has never been caught alive.

I suggested we move inside the hospital, utilising the Grand Corridor and the doorway at the north, using various rooms along the way to get a better look at The Truth out there. I kept the DV camera rolling for some of it, thinking that if we were going to have to make an early departure, I'd at least have some footage to show for the day.

Things became stranger. The physiotherapy rooms had seen humans - very, very recently. There were newly-sawn lengths of wood stacked about the place, sheets of chipboard leaning against walls, and the doors were wide open. The place smelt strongly of freshly sawn wood.

Looking out the doors, I was surprised to see that the vastly junked-up area by the Rubble Formerly Known As The Stage Room was once more a simple path - all traces of random trash had gone. Hell, you could easily drive a car down there now with no fear of a puncture or even a bumpy ride. Curious.

We methodically went through each of the rooms as we moved north, attempting to see with a little more detail what was going on. There was more evidence of recent Sawmill action scattered about - mostly wood and plastic bags. After visiting the stores in order to get a better look at the open gates (and finding it difficult to see properly through the overgrown windows without making a hell of a noise getting there), we ventured to the northernmost door of the Grand Corridor. Seconds after we peered through there was a roar of an engine and a green Escort van came speeding in our direction.

At least two people were inside.

We turned and fled rapidly (though in a suave and sophisticated type way) down the corridor, hearing the car come to a halt right near our position. Following the slamming of car doors, we darted into the next ward on our right (which, having later consulted a map, I believe was Ward 10). Unfortunately this ward was still very locked at the end, providing no possibility of quick escape, so we secreted ourselves in the depths of one of the offshoot rooms, hidden pretty effectively.

And in silence, we waited. Adrenalin and amusement. The herbal concoction was beginning to come into play. I captured the moment on DVcam as I just had to really. We stayed put, listening and deliberating for around ten minutes, until we were sure that they weren't heading our way. re-entering Stealth Mode, we moved back toward the Grand Corridor and hovered awhile in the room by the doors to the ward, listening for another five minutes (whilst enjoying an impromtu game of travel Scrabble®). There was a fair amount of noise, but it didn't seem to be getting close. We both tentatively agreed that the green Escort people were not Professional Explorer Hunters(or even shonky amateurs for that matter) but simply workers doing whatever it is they were supposed to be doing with those lengths of wood we spied earlier. So, without further ado, we crept out of the ward and moved quietishly along that most magnificent of corridors, heading south this time.

Those of you who have tried will know that it isn't easy moving quietly in the depths of the CRCMH. There's so much junk about, and even the smallest noise seems to act like it's been played through loudspeakers. In order to confuse our would-be assailants/sawdust covered yokels, I suggested crossing to the small corridor via the kitchen. Along the way I got a bit more footage, and discovered that sadly more of the rooms had been thoroughly smashed up. The kitchen was in a bad way also, and there was a new-looking umbrella sitting on the floor, looking quite out of place.

We popped into the Save Our Hospital Petition Room/Pwürg Cemetery and rested up for a while, still Aware but hearing nothing heading our way. Around half an hour must have passed since the van and the men inside had come into our hospital equation. The homegrown was beginning to VOOM, which was an unexpected pleasure. Venturing back into the kitchen, we headed to the small corridor, pausing for a second to adjust something on the DVcamera. All was silent. No footsteps, nothing. It was as if we were alone once more within the haven.

And then it happened.

A booming 'OYYYY!!' resounded around the walls. We both turned to face the call. A figure - I saw some trousers and Dolmal saw a red jumper (far from being The Flincher, but oh! The horror...If only I had that trusty Thwacking Stick from the Black Room). We turned to face the oncoming Sawmill Men for a very short time, then we turned back and legged it (though in a suave and sophisticated type way).

Heading to the right, we zoomed down the small corridor. The VOOM made every movement seem sluggish and fractured, but I guess we were actually moving at NormalSpeed rather than the StuckInSyrupSpeed that it actually felt like. I remembered that the front entrance had been forced open, so it seemed our best target because the possibilities of escape were always going to be higher out there. With some deft footwork we outpaced and outmanoeuvred our slack-jawed woody pursuers - having intricate knowledge of every nook and cranny within the hospital playing no small part in our escape.

Soon, we reached the south fence and darted through a gap, then on through the trees and under another fence until we finally holed up under the wall opposite Winkipop Cottages, just one leap from the roadside. I had managed to get the DVcam back on somewhere along our escape. Resting there, in relative shelter, I freely gave away our position by getting a fine Morrocan shag going in my emergency hand-carved pipe. It didn't matter though as we weren't spotted. Sawmill People are simple folk. So, for another quarter of an hour we pondered our predicament. We came to the conclusion that evading our lumber-bearing cousins was probably the best course of action that we could have taken at the time. We could have just fronted the Sawmill Men and explained that Ray Hurley-Castle, the world-renowned award-winning Adventure Hero was here gracing them with his majestic presence, so would they please cut him some slack, perchance? However, the outcome of such a conference could have gone many ways, and given my ability to comprehend a single word that comes out of the mouth of any tradesman, it's perhaps a good thing that we didn't. Dolmal could have translated I guess but, well, it's all academic now.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation though, we had previously considered other ways of handling Contact whilst we were laying low in Ward 10. Among several options we came up with were simply filming the guy, acting all friendly and professional and saying we were 'ghost hunters' or somesuch and 'Can We Have An Interview Please?' (so you could always try that one if you're ever stuck up a creek without a paddle). Anyhow, after our discussions by the roadside, I decided to venture forth once more into the grounds of the hospital on a reconnaissance mission, armed only with the video camera, whilst Dolmal stayed put with our gear and precious Foraging Baskets. We agreed that if I was nabbed by the pesky IntruderSeekers that my first course of action would be to MOOO very loudly, effectively signalling that I had been taken was was bound for tortures unknown.

So, once more I made my way inside the boundary fence...

I passed through the trees and into the maternity area. I pottered about for a while, seeking The Seekers as it were (and I don't mean that horrible combo fronted by Judith Durham), eyes peeled for the telltale signs of doom: Red Jerseys.

None were to be found. Unsure of my next steps, and concerned that Dolmal may have eaten his own limbs by now, I returned to our hidden vantage point. We decided that, for the moment, walking the corridors would be a BadIdea as we would be visible for quite a distance and we didn't really know the extent of the threat in front of us. I guess it may have been minimal - I mean, red jumpers? - plus, it wasn't as if we were pesky kids messing about in there - we were on honest Adventurer Business. But the Sawmill had been alerted to our presence and The Flincher alone may know what the consequences of that may lead to.

So without further ado, we hopped the wall and began walking towards The Feathers once more. I had a new plan forming that involved a broken fence just north of the hospital grounds - possibly a new route to The Mortuary itself (For that goal was still pounding through my brain, an objective I was 'dying' to meet). We reached the main entrance once more and I kicked myself for not setting the ladder up again in order to scale the walls to get a good look at our situation. The hole in the gates provided some details for me, but nothing that would persuade me to go straight back inside. If anything, I wanted to get some footage of the groovy car perched on its roof that stands almost opposite the main building. So with a 'bahgumbuggery'n'shit' we left the grounds of the CRCMH and went to investigate the hole in the fence.

The hole was situated right on Sawmill property and was very tempting, as it may well have led us in the right direction.

On the other hand though, it was VERY Sawmill, and they were definitely already on our trail. The repercussions of trespassing on Sawmill property would possibly have been quite grave. A clip around the ear or two perhaps, and mayhap a casual interview with PC Bob and his minions if we were not able to battle/talk ourselves out of it. So we wandered on, still thinking MORGUE MORGUE MORGUE, but feeling that today was simply not the day.

When I reached the road leading to the Sawmill I noticed a new sign (memories of Winkipop?) which basically said that there was work going on to remove asbestos from somewhere. Now where could that be I say?

It seems then that the Sawmill gates had been opened to allow the Asbestos Men access to the site in order to perform their evil demolishing task. Hmmm... The days of the hospital now seem to be incredibly numbered. And the number is shrinking. Woe is me.

For now, the Morgue remains undiscovered country, as we ended up going back to the car and heading of for a relaxing afternoon infiltrating hidden parts of Bray Marina instead. But all is not lost, for before the year is out there shall be another Mission into the Known and this time the gods will see to it that the Sawmill gates will be securely closed for us, as The Mortuary must and WILL be found.

Just you wait and see.

Prise The Lard.

Monday 2nd December 2002


P.S. I put in an appearance at the Maidenhead AllStars gig at the Magnet Leisure Centre that very evening, which turned out to be a Maidenhead Music Scene reunion, and strangely involved being called a 'god' many many times over as it seems that finally Pwürg are actually famous in Maidenhead. Everyone enjoyed talking about wheeling themselves in their Buxton Chairs somewhat. 'Twas crazy stuff. I guess that must make Lucas and Isaac 'gods' also. Being told "you just don't understand how famous you are" many times was quite ironic also. I don't understand. PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG PWÜRG ...clap, you bastards. We must reconvene for some more soon methinks. 'Gods' indeed, we'll show them otherwise eh? eh?


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