Carry on at Your Convenience, released in 1971, was the twenty-second film in the “Carry On” series of British comedy films. The main plot of the film concerns the goings on at a bathroom fittings factory. The factory’s pedantic union official insists on holding the management to the letter of the rules, regardless of the fact it could result in the company being sold and all the staff losing their jobs.
For some reason, about half way through the film, we follow the workers on a staff outing to Brighton. This has nothing to do with the main plot at all, and just seems to be an excuse to have some saucy seaside shenanigans.
The characters all drink so heavily during the day, that on the way home their coach has to repeatedly stop at various pubs so that everyone can use the facilities to relieve themselves.
I thought that it might be interesting to work out where all the pubs are, and trace their route home. This was actually quite difficult because for most of the pubs, all we see is a sign. But I’ve managed it, and so here’s the route they took…
The first pub they stop at is the Red Lion in Iver, Buckinghamshire, which is about 69 miles away from Brighton, on the outskirts of London. It would have taken them about 1 hour and 17 minutes to get there.
Next they stop at The King’s Head in Albourne, West Sussex. This is about 60 miles in the exact opposite direction back towards Brighton. In fact, it’s about 300 metres from the road which they took out of Brighton in the first place.
Somebody must have left something behind and they went back to get it.
The next stop is the Cricketers Inn in Meopham, Kent. This is about 51 miles to the north-east. They’ve now driven past Gatwick Airport three times. It’s taken them 3 hours 23 minutes, assuming no traffic hold-ups, and they’ve traveled 180 miles in total so far.
It’s quite possible they’ve taken a wrong turning somewhere.
Royal Naval Arms
Next they visit the Royal Naval Arms in Portsea, Hampshire. This is 95 miles away, back down on the south coast. At least a third of that distance is taken up retracing their journey round the south of London. They’ve been traveling for over five hours now.
Either they’re completely lost, or the coach driver is drunk, or he’s having some kind of mental breakdown.
We’ve been assuming that they’re driving directly from one pub to the next, but if that were the case, it would now be almost midnight. The fact that it’s still daylight suggests that maybe they’ve been driving through the night and it’s now the following day. This would also explain why they had to use the toilet in two pubs so close together – they probably took some convoluted route between them to explain the missing time.
The other possibility is that they’re not stopping at this pub to use the toilet, but to use the telephone, in order to ring their loved ones and tell them that they are, in fact, still alive.
The Trout Inn
When they’ve been getting on and off the coach at each pub, they move very quickly. I assumed that this was because the footage had been sped up for comic effect, but it could be that they’re genuinely moving very quickly. If they were running on and off the coach, and driving the coach at twice the speed limit, that might be a possible explanation for why it’s still daylight.
The Man In Space
So the next pub is The Man In Space in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire. This is 109 miles away, getting up towards northern England.
It’s quite clear at this point that everyone on the coach is insane.
Even driving at twice the speed limit, it would now be almost midnight. Assuming normal driving, it would be at least 3:30am. The fact that it’s daylight means that it must be the following day, so they must have been traveling for at least fourteen hours. Conditions onboard must be hellish.
At this point, they’ve traveled 480 miles at the very least.
After the last pub, they then stop at a bus stop in order to get another crate of beer out of the coach’s luggage compartment. They seem in remarkably good spirits. It’s likely that they spent the entire trip intoxicated, or possibly even unconscious.
The bus stop sign has a London Transport logo on it, and indeed it turns out to be the bus stop right outside the Red Lion pub, where they were at least ten hours ago.
At this stage, it feels pointless trying to decipher the logic behind the decisions which led to the route the coach took. Clearly nobody on board had even the faintest grip on their mental faculties. I can only guess that they must have been drunkenly playing the game where you toss a coin at every junction and take a turning based on the outcome.
They’ve traveled well over 600 miles, and still have plenty to go. When the coach finally drops off its last passengers, darkness has fallen, so it must be many hours later. They must have spent over 27 hours on the coach.
I thought that the route they took might have given a clue as to where in the country the factory was, but if it’s several hours from Iver, and the coach has been driving in circles, it could be literally anywhere south of Sheffield.
Perhaps the factory closing wouldn’t be such a bad outcome after all. Clearly everyone involved needs a great deal of rest.