Hi all, to those not familiar with this nonsense, I have got in the habit of keeping a diary of our various travels. This one is of a weekend in Glasgow to join our good friends Kat & Andy as they got married. It is behind schedule owing to somewhat excessive alcohol consumption and the resulting gaps in memory!
I normally send a day or two at a time but on this occasion have diarised the whole weekend in one email giving you the chance to delete it all in one go!
Anyway here goes, so enjoy (or should that be endure?)
Day 1 - The Journey
The journey to Gatwick was uneventful. We took the car having pre-booked the parking to save a bit, and about one hour after leaving the house we were at the cattle market that is the Easyjet check-in area. The usual chaos prevailed since they no longer have dedicated desks for each flight. In a surprisingly short space of time however we were checked in and made our way to security.
Anyone having the dubious pleasure of travelling through Gatwick will know that there is always some sort of building work going on - what could be called continuing erections I suppose. Anyway, because of this, security had been moved upstairs. We joined the queue and prepared all our Items of Mass Destruction (belts, watches, keys, coins etc) for examination by the x-ray machine. Interestingly, on this occasion laptops were required to be removed from their bag - at Heathrow last month the reverse applied - no wonder people get cynical about 'security'. Having done this we walked one by one through the metal detector. It remained silent for Trev's crossing of the line but went into melt down as soon as my size 10's dared venture over.
So, it was legs apart and arms outstretched for the ensuing touch-up, but nothing happened (honest), neither were any more IMD's found by the security bod who must have grateful for his latex gloves considering the state of my armpits!
Next it was shoes off for their turn through another scanner which hopefully had a good extractor fan attached, then finally we were 'Airside'. We eschewed the lure of London Pride at one bar and with the pennies in mind headed for Wetherspoons and enjoyed a nice pint of Marston's.
Eventually the flight was called and we headed for the back of the plane - with the aforementioned pints starting their inevitable journey south we thought it handy to be near the loo. Unfortunately the rear seats are designed for midgets, so with my knees getting closely acquainted with the seat in front we took off to Glasgow.
Just over an hour later we landed at Glasgow international, exited the plane and made our way to the baggage hall, commenting on how good it was of them to put all the signs in English. The bag appeared quick and we were soon in a taxi on our journey to the hotel.
The cabbie was friendly and talkative, although predictably he bemoaned the state of the taxi business. I've never yet been anywhere where cabbies admit to doing well. It's either too hot/cold/wet/dry and costs are always going up. They always seem to have new cars though. However, twenty minutes and seventeen quid later we were deposited at the Manor Park Hotel in Broomhill, just to the west of the City. We were welcomed by a very friendly Scottish lass (funny that) and upon enquiring as to the proximity of some hot food directed us to a pizza house at the nearby shopping parade. Once there I took the opportunity to get some foreign currency at the atm outside the Spar shop next door and having observed that said Spar also had an off-licence we re-evaluated our dining options.
Soon after we were back at the hotel enjoying our first taste of Deuchars IPA and Caledonian 80/. Oh, and we had some sarnies and crisps as well.
Day 2 - Meeting Up
I had been dreaming of being greeted with an Olympic sized hearty Scottish breakfast, so was nearly drooling with anticipation when we entered the breakfast room. The reality, regrettably was somewhat different. The (very) small sausages were supermarket frozen value line quality and there just wasn't enough of the rest of it. Anyone who's has seen one of Trev's cooked breakfasts will know what I mean.
Some friends were due to arrive from Cambridge lunchtime and we had planned to meet up so with a few hours to spare we headed to the nearest bus stop for a ride into the city.
"All Day Ticket only £3.20" it said on the side of the arriving bus so we promptly boarded it, requested two tickets from the driver and handed over a tenner. Well, not exactly handed over. A thick perspex security screen prevents any physical contact with the driver, instead you place your money in a slot to one side, the driver presses a button, your money plunges through a trapdoor never to be seem again and two tickets are issued. You will notice from the above text that mention is made of any change being received. That's because you don't get any. "No change is given" according to the notice plastered behind the drivers cab - a sign you can only see once you have already been stitched up! No wonder the driver had a smile on his face!
Anyhow, whilst we were mourning the sad unnecessary loss of £3.60, the bus made it's way along the Dumbarton Road to the city. We passed the restaurant where the reception was to be held and the pub where we were to meet up later on before arriving a short will later in the city
Necessary shopping having been completed caffeine was required. Rejecting the usual offerings by Starbucks and Costa we headed instead to Debenhams cafe for a cuppa and maybe even a pastry. "£2.99 Breakfast!" screamed a sign at the hot counter. Half an hour later and with another (much more enjoyable) breakfast inside us, we caught another bus and headed back along the Dumbarton Road and towards the Hotel. We still had time to kill though so stayed on the bus with the intention of seeing a bit of Glasgow not on the tourist trail. We got as far as Yoker before deciding it was time jump off. Determined to get our moneys' worth out of the bus tickets we took another bus, which, although heading back to the city took a slightly different route allowing us to see yet more of the area.
Soon, we were back at the Hotel and were there to greet our friends from Cambridge, then we all headed off (on the bus!) to meet up with Kat & Andy at the pub. Kat's email said 'meet for a drink and a snack', however the snack part was soon forgotten as the ale and conversation flowed. It got to about 5.00pm (ish) when the bride to be had to depart in preparation for the big day. The rest of us headed out in the general direction of a restaurant and another pub (or two) on the way.
After what seemed an age (even my liver thought it had got a reprieve) we entered another boozer which, Andy announced, was most definitely a 'mans' pub. Not a mans pub in the Brighton sense (I.e no skimpy t-shirts, tight jeans or pounding house music), but a real 'mans' pub - it's doesn't even have a women's loo in the front bar. The emphasis here was most definitely on drinking, conversation and drinking. The three women with us might as well have walked in naked for the glaring looks they got. They brazened it out though.
Then it was off to the restaurant - the same one in which the reception was to be held tomorrow. They had a deal on for three courses which were soon devoured. It was tasty enough, but considering the activities of the previous four hours or so a more thorough critique was not possible. Soon it was off to another pub, however a couple more beers later and it was time for bed. Did manage a wee dram before we left though!
Day 3 - The Wedding
Thanks to a couple of Alka-Seltzer last night, the belly wasn't doing it's impression of a washing machine this morning. A strong cup of tea and a couple of paracetamol suppressed any thought a skull ache might have had of putting in an appearance.
Breakfast was, well the same as yesterday really except we were now down to one sausage, however we stock up on toast to prevent any hunger pangs mid-morning.
After breakfast, the Southern Six took a taxi into the city, not necessarily to shop but just to stretch our legs and get some much needed fresh air. Did come back with a new shirt though which would do just fine for the wedding.
So, it was back to the hotel, showered, shaved, then suited up for the big occasion. 'Slim Fit' the label on the shirt said, and it wasn't lying - the suit had also shrunk - honestly a straightjacket would have been more comfortable!
Anyway, to the ceremony itself. The bride looked beautiful in her dress - the fact that she was wearing one was an occasion in itself. The groom was very smart too. The only surprising thing to me was the lack of kilts - only one was in evidence.
Anyway, with vows uttered, rings exchanged, documents signed and pictures taken we headed outside to await the taxis. Transport was laid on from now on - from here to the reception, and from there to the evening do. A wise move as walking may become more tricky later on!
We were greeted with a very nice glass of bubbly at the restaurant, then tucked into to the meal. I had more or less the same as yesterday ( I think) but it was much tastier. Maybe several accompanying glasses of a delicious cab sav helped!
There were no embarrassing speeches, mainly because there were no speeches, so shortly after the toast was made and the cake cut and scoffed, it was in the waiting taxis to the evening do.
We elected to make a small detour via the hotel and get out of our straightjackets and into jeans. Another glass of bubbly greeted us on arrival which was a little early as the DJ was still setting up. This gave us time to put into practice some of the laws of physics and before you knew it several cans empty of Tennants were suspended in mid air having been first attached to some of the helium filled balloons previously anchored to the tables!
What Can I say about the rest of the evening other than it was thoroughly enjoyable. The Tennants flowed, the music played and at least some of us danced our socks off. It's worth noting that the bride excepted it was the shy reserved southerners leading the charge on the dance floor - maybe we'd just drunk more!
All too soon though it was all over. We hugged, kissed and waved goodbye to the bride and groom before pouring into our own taxi and back to the hotel to bed, but not before being invited to go clubbing by the staff at the centre and entering into a debate about our egregious prime ministers shortcomings.
Day 4 - Departure
No significant hangover this morning - just feel bloody knackered. The Southern Six met for breakfast for the last time, then it was more hugs and goodbyes as two had a lunchtime flight home. The remaining four of us took a taxi into the city and jumped on a tour bus - one of these hop on, hop off things - very enjoyable, an excellent tour with a very engaging and enthusiastic guide
A swift lunch (and a pint) followed, then it was our turn to head for the airport. We resisted the lure of another bus trip and jumped in a cab.
Nothing remotely interesting to report about the flight back to Gatwick. On arrival though we exited the plane and had to queue up at the end of the pier to have our picture taken. We were handed a piece of paper with a barcode on and proceeded to the baggage hall. At the entrance to the baggage hall, the piece of paper was handed in, the barcode scanned and we continued through to collect our bag. The piece of paper mentioned that it was all done in the name of security - isn't everything that inconveniences us today? It just seemed all so pointless.
However soon after, we were on our way down the M23 and home.
So that's it, the story of our weekend in Glasgow. If you've made it this far without falling asleep or hitting 'Delete' well done - it can't have been easy. If you enjoyed it, please let me know, more importantly, if you didn't please let me know and I'll take your name off the distribution list.
Until next time......maybe...