Lance was our much loved 1983 Bedford Ambulance. (The long type). Lance's insatiable drinking problem was worse than the entire band's put together (and that was going some), he did less than 15 miles per gallon but he was worth it. He would be packed Tetris style with no space to spare as we went festival hopping and gigging. We somehow managed to park outside Bunjies in the West End every Friday night. He was fantastic to have onsite at festivals.
This photo was taken from the Sunday Times, 25 October, 1992. That morning I was in a petrol station with Maz, stopping off on the way to a rehearsal. I was standing next to her in the queue as she was buying a few things. The cashier had the paper open on the counter. Two broadsheet pages were spread open. The photo was a quarter of one page. Lance is quite small in all this space and his number plate is tiny (less than 1cm x 0.5cm). It was upside-down to me yet as I gazed absently, while waiting in the queue thinking nothing, that number plate filled my whole field of vision and it dawned on me that I was staring at a photo of Lance in his working life. "Maz! It's Lance!" She humoured me and bought a paper. That night in The Railway there were also 3 copies randomly left on tables after the gig. Spooky eh?
I didn't even notice the "condemned" stamp for a long time after. It was referring to St Bart's Hospital not Lance, who was obviously not condemned but treated to the most glorious retirement with us.
One year in the tipi field at Glastonbury (when it was behind the Field of Avalon) we had to hide him. We were told "if I can see it, it can't stay" - ("IT"?!!) With the help of low trees we stupendously hid him and had a fantastic camp there in our invisible ambulance.
We had a tradition (Brian and I stuck to it religiously) that if anyone said "Lance" twice in a row (surprisingly frequent) you had to recite the Lance Prayer.
Lance, Lance Ambu-lance,
How you send me in a trance,
When I see you I want to dance,
Lance, Lance, Ambu-lance.....Amen.