Most Brits will also remember the fad for leaving racks of postcards in wine-bars and pubs which could be taken free of charge, in order to advertise various products, a few years ago too. One night, I took one of these cards from the rack of a wine bar, because it had the same image on it as I have posted above - the poster for the infamous, 'Carry On Camping' film - and I read the back of it before using it as a postcard to send to a friend.
It said that if I texted (SMS'd) the words, "Ooh Missus" to a certain number, I would stand a chance to win one of a series of prizes, the top one being a camping holiday for two - including train-fares - to the village of 'Cockermouth' in the Lake District. This village was only chosen because of the suggestive nature of it's name, despite being a well-known beauty spot, I believe. So I spent the 15 pence on sending the message, then forgot all about it - I'd had a few drinks...
A few weeks later, I was in a different pub when my mobile phone rang. There was a woman on the other end, and she asked,
"Is that Tom Stephenson? Do you remember sending a text to our company a few weeks ago, saying 'Ooh Missus'? Well, I am pleased to say that you have won."
I had a sudden surge of horror at the prospect of me and H.I. getting on a train with a large tent, and traveling all the way up to the Lake District in order to put it up in a cold and wet field, then spending a week wandering around the bleak and desolate hills, trying to find a place to eat hot food and have a hot shower. I already knew that H.I. would never dream of spending even one night in a tent - she has never been camping in her life - and I had, over the years, developed a taste for comfortable hotels with bars and restaurants attached. Then I began to realise that they could not force me to go camping miles away from home, and started to wonder if there might be a cash alternative - say around the £50 that it would have cost them to send us camping. I need not have worried.
"Yes, Tom", she continued, "You have won the entire box-set of 'Carry On' films in DVD format, and all I need now is a postal address to send them to."
The DVDs arrived a few days later, and I gave them straight to the grand-children, who have long since stopped wondering why on earth they were ever made in the first place.