Monthly Archives: October 2007

Past life regression..

.. it’s been a weekend of revisiting for me, which has been quite interesting! It started on Friday when – with a day off from work in the bag – I headed off to Castleton in Dirtyshire to meet Phillip for his birthday celebrations. Upon arriving it became apparent that the mobile number I had for him wasn’t up to date, so I had to revert to simple use of logic, trying the nearest pub to the postcode he’d given me – and sure enough, there he was!

Also there were Penny (Phil’s mum), Steve (her fiance), Rachel (sister) and Jon (her fiance), now Jon aside, it was a bit surreal as wind back the clock 10 years and you’d be highly likely to find us all the same proximity, yet in different locations and circumstances. But it’s reassuring how little people change over the years, and as the beers started flowing so did a few memories that had been cast into the mental flotsam and jetsam…

A few beers later, and a curry and it was out into the wilds of Castleton, without Phil who opted for a powernap instead. The earlier beers soon took their toll on me, and with a substantial layer of curry on top I opted for sensibleness and switching to coke. In between this a terrifying local fancy dress party was in full swing – and whilst I’m aware I’m getting older, if all the patrons of that particular pub were over 18 then I’ll be the next pope!

After a few local hostelries we caught up with Phil and eventually returned to Penny and Steve’s cottage, and eventually retired – waking up on a settee at Phil’s mams house, even after all these years, didn’t feel all that strange if it comes to it! After a decent breakfast it was time for Phil and I to head back to Nottingham, for part two of the weekend of regressive therapy.

Thanks to the wonders of Facebook, Ray and Che had organised a first attempt at a reunion in ‘The Arrow’ – a distinctly average pub that retains a soft spot for most of us as much of our formative years were spent there! Upon arriving on saturday evening, it wasn’t a massive turn out – but it was great to catch up with people who for reasons of geography, laziness and pure chance that you don’t stay in touch with as often as you should.

It’s fair to say that most of us have changed very little – some folks alarmingly have aged very little, but in mentality too people were exactly as I remembered them, so it was great fun reminiscing and making up ridiculous stories about some of the folks who couldn’t make it (well, mainly Jez). Also a top effort by Steve who drove all the way from Chester (and then back again that night), just for about an hour and a pint! It was also good to catch up with a couple of non-Facebookites who were in the Arrow anyway.

After the Arrow booted out an intrepid band of six of us tried to get a taxi into town, with little luck – until we wandered up Vale Road and eventually managed to bribe a black cab into allowing six of us inside (thanks to the smooth talking of Che and Ray), and we duly headed to the Casino, where more drinks were available, and generally the group of us all came out winning too, except for me, of course! Ah well.

And what night in Nottingham, particularly for those of the group who’d been away for a while, would be complete without a visit to Victoria Kebab? So that’s where the journey ended – a top night, and hopefully the first of a few more gatherings like that – as it was great fun. Of course, as I was about to get into the taxi on the way home, I realised my camera was still sitting unused in my pocket… d’oh!

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Calendars, clocks, and hickory-docks..

.. my calendar seems to be filling itself up lately, which is pretty alarming.

Last night we had the usually-annual trip to the badlands of Long Eaton to see Jase and Siobhan strut their stuff on stage with the Long Eaton Operatic Society. This year’s production was ‘Pirates of Penzance’ – a Gilbert and Sullivan musical.

Whilst not being a classic play or musical lover as such, I have enjoyed their past productions very much – and this one was no exception, although was a little heavy on the warbling for my delicate ears! It was definitely a lot more uber-musical than past shows, but still a suitably good laugh, where many swashes were veritably buckled!

Tomorrow I’m off to Derbyshire to catch up with Pip (and family!), before returning to Nottingham for a school reunion of sorts, that Facebook has thrust upon us! Next week I have been pressganged into playing football in a league game – which should be, um, interesting! Still, Forest are playing on tuesday so it will be a good replacement game.

And in early November, Rich and I are off to watch Carl Froch at the Nottingham Arena. For those of you who don’t know, Froch is a local boxer who’s been doing rather well lately. I’m not particularly a boxing fan, but haven’t ever seen a live fight – so figured I might as well break my duck with a bit of local interest – best of all, he generally arrives at the ring in a Forest shirt!

Then the Christmas shenanigans will start in earnest!.. scary.. I foresee an expensive few weeks ahead!…

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A weekend of failure..

.. on the sporting front, well, kind of.  I’m not remotely interested in egg-chasing, so didn’t join the clamour to be temporarily interested in the loathsome sport, and I’m almost as non-plussed by the recent resurgence of F1 since we have a decent driver from England all of a sudden.  So I suppose Forest drawing 0-0 with Doncaster meant I got off lightly on the sporting front, particularly when you consider England losing to Russia last week too!

In the world of Alan it’s been a lot of same old same old really.  Thursday’s football saw an unprecidented 14 people squeezing onto a 5-a-side pitch in a very hotly contested game of football, with very little room to manoeuvre – we won in the end with the sixth of our goals coming with the last kick of the game to win 6-5.

And aside from the inevitable trudge to the City Ground at the weekend, it was all about fence panels, with three more made and in place that takes the total to seven, which is pretty much half way there!  Then of course we need to make like Mr Miyagi and ‘paint the fence’ – arf.  We need to find something to put along the top too, whilst they’ll be fine as they are, they look a tad incomplete…

.. this week we’ve got the joys of Jason P and his operatic chums on Wednesday, which is always an entertaining evening, the usual games of footy on Tuesday and Thursday – and on friday Pip should be heading over from Poland for a long-overdue catchup which I’m really looking forward to 🙂

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Bambi on ice..

.. we went Ice Skating as part of a marketing away day yesterday, I dimly remember ice skating when younger, and being reasonably competent at it (ie, I could stand up and move about a bit).  So I was quite looking forward to having another bash at it – particularly since the council are installing an outdoor rink in the Market Square for Christmas.

You see, the C&MI team have their Christmas bash in December, and it’s in fancy dress – fancy dress on ice would be amusing.

Sadly, I proved to be incredibly inept at Ice Skating!  Usually when I undertake a new physical activity that is by no means impossible, I’m usually able to get reasonably good at it – so I found it really frustrating when I didn’t seem to make any improvement whatsoever!  Being a bit stubborn in such situations, I carried on regardless…

… so now I have a lot of bruises and aches and pains as thanks for that!  Still, despite my left knee being quite sore from a particularly vicious landing, I opted to play football tonight – I’m glad I did, it was a rip-roaring game which finished with just one goal in it, with yours truly putting in – if I do say so myself – a rather solid performance in mainly in defence.

The other thing of note lately is that I’ve been quite amusing to discover a Freeview channel called ‘Dave’ – it has some okay stuff on it too!

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Alton Towers is ace…

… and that is all!  Well, almost…

Went there today, it’s great during term time – it’s quieter so you can leg it straight on to the best rides.  I remember going during the summer just after Oblivion opened, and queuing for a good couple of hours just for one go on it, today we did Nemesis three times (twice on the front row), Air twice (once on the front row), Oblivion twice and Rita Queen of Speed three times (once on the front), as well as a few other diversions.  All in all, a top top day!

Off for drinks now, but feeling a bit tired from both the adrenaline I’ve got through today, and the fact that I’m still in recovery phase from a cold, so I’ve decided in my infinite wisdom to take the car in and stick to the soft drinks, which is much easier.

But yes, Alton Towers – top day out.

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If you believe it, don’t keep it all inside…

I’ve come down with a reet bastard of a cold, but the weekend does bear some writing about, I reckon.   It started on Friday with work-drinks, which was – as ever – a thoroughly enjoyable evening featuring lots of drunken shenanigans, and the inevitable trip to the casino… and me feeling suitably fragile come saturday morning…

… well, more like noon-ish, at which point I headed to meet Rich, Ed and Lothario to go and watch the mighty Reds, via ‘the Globe’, where my squeamishness saw me restricted to drinking Coke for the time being.  The Reds beat Hartlepool, and we duly hotfooted it in Eds car up to Manchester for further debauchery in honour of Rich and JHH‘s birthday.  After a while I felt man enough to tackle a couple of the cans that some kind soul had brought with them, and finally – no thanks to some shonky navigating from yours truly – we ended up at a, erm, cheerfully cheap hotel in Salford – within walking distance of the centre of Manchester.

The first stop was a strangely incongruous tudor-looking pub in the centre of Manchester – which was, upon closer inspection, quite clearly a big fat fake with beams painted on the walls!  It was a nice setting though, and gave us a chance to gather as a group before heading into a couple of cabs and hotfooting it over to the Curry Mile for a rather splendiferous banquet of Indian cuisine.

After this, it was more taxis back to the Printworks where there was a bar/club complex with over-officious bouncers called ‘Tiger Tiger’ where – despite having booked in advance – we still had to queue in the ‘guestlist’ queue for a while, before finally being ushered into our own private karaoke booth upstairs in the building.  The area was setup with black walls with silver writing, it was akin to going into a game of laser quest or something!

In the booth, it was basically a padded room with seating, a ‘drinks order’ button, and a karaoke machine.  Now, I’m not a big fan of karaoke, but take me out of the public glare – and provide me with a bit of booze – and it does suddenly become a more appealing prospect.

JHH kicked us off with a Billy Ray Cyrus classic, and over the course of the night we were treated to all manner of genres!  One of my favourites was undoubtedly the epic duet by Lothario and ‘Singing’ Mark of ‘Man in the Mirror’ by Michael Jackson, with plenty of ad-libbing and almost tear-jerking emotion.  As for me, despite going very much thinking “I’ll probably just do one or two and then quietly hide in the corner”, I think I ended up doing about half a dozen!

It all started with New Order’s ‘World in Motion’ – Rich tackling the actual singing, and me doing the John Barnes rap.  A spot of Rolf Harris was duly undertaken, which bewildered many present – particularly since the song still had the very politically incorrect “Let me Abo’s go free, mate” in it – which the man himself doesn’t sing any more.  There was another Fisher brothers collaboration with Boney M’s ‘Rasputin’,  before I unleashed what was perhaps my finest performance of the evening, a rousing version of ‘Inside’ by Stiltskin.

I manfully attempted Nirvana’s ‘Come as you are’ and Alice Cooper’s ‘Poison’ (spotting a theme here in the solo efforts?) before time was very nearly up, and we were treated to a duet by the birthday boys of Stan Ridgeway’s ‘Camouflage’ – which, it turns out, is quite a homo-erotic tale about a man caught short in the jungle, and being saved by a phantom marine.  We were all soon joining in and it made for a great way to end the two hours in the booth.

Apparently someone in ‘booth 5’ was thrown out just prior to us finishing for, erm, getting a wee bit overexcited during their session and deciding to have an impromptu fiddle with their pink oboe – takes all sorts I suppose!  But anyway, that was time to go, and being the early hours in the morning we’d decided to call it a night – and it was rather a good one.

The morning after saw us wandering Manchester a little, getting a Subway breakfast extravaganza, dropping off Lothario at the station and succumbing to the increasing urgent meeting requests from ‘Mr Brown’, before catching up with JHH and heading to the Urbis building (which is mad!) to check out a Hacienda exhibition – which had been cancelled for some nonsense fashion week bollocks!

And so it was homeward we headed, courtesy of Ed who not only delivered us home unscathed but put up with both Rich and I nodding off in the car for a long chunk of the journey which must have been thrilling for him!  It was on the journey up to Manchester that I also first heard the new Happy Mondays album (Uncle Dysfunktional), and it was – whilst not exactly a classic – quite enjoyable!

Should you wish for photographic evidence, then Rich’s are here, and Jon’s are here on Facebook (which you might possibly need to be a Facebook member to see).  Thankfully, to my best knowledge, there is no audio evidence of our endeavours!

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