Worthy of mention is my recent trip to Liverpool, for my old schoolfriend Woz's stag do.
Things didn't look good. Organisation by Andy, the best man, seemed a little patchy, causing a bitter tirade of emails between him and Dissa, one of my other friends. Also, a late announcement of an earlier start-time for carting on the Friday now meant that my long-booked train would result in there being a good chance of me being late. In the event, a little extra planning and a few minutes of patience from my friends ensured avoidance of disappointment.
As mentioned above, we carted on Friday. I was totally last, on account of being run of the track in the last race by Johnny Spoon. Although I'm pretty sure that, unlike my winning race at Dan's stag do in Oxford a few years back, I would have been last anyway. My Midlands friends are pretty much all still boy racers.
But it was good to catch up with everyone again. I've not seen some for years, on account of distance and time and general lameness. I think I'd better mention here that we're all still known to each other by our schoolboy monikers. These read like a list of Billy Bunter's chums, and include Dissa, Woz and Johnny Spoon, as well as Brit, Chalky, Cuts, Harry, and Lamby. I am known as Tommy, which I suppose is better then Ginge.
We went out drinking on Friday evening and ended up in some pretty awful bars around Matthew Street (see above for evidence). One the way back to the hotel, a couple of us called into McDonalds. I was served first, and decided to eat my fries while the others waited for their 'food'. I was surprised to find myself being ordered to stop eating by a member of staff, backed up by two burly security guards. When I asked for the reason, answer came there none. I commented that I was under the impression that this was a restaurant (of sorts), but I was confidently assured that it was not!
The next day, predictably, most of the others wanted to commence drinking during the day and combine this with watching some 'football'. As enjoyable as this would have been, Brit and I concocted a plan to head into town to visit some Beatles-related sites (Brit is very much into The Beatles). This became an extended traipse around Liverpool's music and antique shops, which led us to the Tate. Here we chanced upon an amazing pirate-themed wedding on board a ship in the Albert Dock.
We headed back to the hotel to meet the others (and incur their mock wrath for having a day of sober culture). We found Woz and the gang had come across a children's face painter, and had persuaded her to give the stag a new look.
He went out like this, attracting much attention and comment from the City of Liverpool. Actually, I'm surprised the make-up didn't melt off early in the evening, as the Italian restaurant we went to was insanely hot. The waiter explained that the air conditioning had been 'fitted by cowboys'. We stayed clear of Matthew Street this time and consequently went to some slightly better bars.
The next morning, we said our goodbyes over the Premiere Inn all-you-can-eat-for-£8 'breakfast', as people drifted away to head south by car or rail. My train was not until half-one, so after checking out of my room with a view (see above) I thought up a plan to go to either the World Museum or the Walker Art Gallery, which I knew to be close to Lime Street. I plumped for art, and was rewarded with a free cloakroom in which to leave my bag and an amazing photography exhibition by Paul Trevor, documenting the city in the run-down 70s.