Friday, April 29, 2005

Doctor Who

I read tonight, with interest that the new Doctor Who, David Tennant, was born in Paisley.
I am hoping that he is a St. Mirren fan and once he has had time (ha ha) to settle into the TARDIS, he will go back to the past and stop my beloved team from sacking Alex Ferguson!

David Tennant

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Jim & Wendy's Housewarming / Hammey & Wendy's Birthday

On Saturday 23rd April, we were all invited to Jim and Wendy's new house in Neilston for a house warming party. It was also Wendy and Hammey's birthday that weekend so a double celebration was called for!

Fiona and I arrived at 8.00 to find that Hammey and Kay, and James and Susan had just arrived, Robert would be joining us later in the evening. Unfortunately, Kath & Thomas and Ann & Colin couldn't make but it meant there was more room for the rest of us to sit.

James Snelling, our resident home brewer had made a batch of filthy danger juice, however it had been judged to be unsuitable for human consumption and therefore the old favourites of Miller and Warsteiner and Blue Label Smirnoff were the drinks of choice for the evening. I poured Fiona a large vodka, forgetting that it was blue label and she recoiled as she took a sip. She asked me to put more lemonade in it - first time for everything!

The guys who had not seen their house got the obligatory tour, but since I had helped with the flitting and seen it before, I sneaked into the living room and picked the seat that would give me the optimum conversation/snack reaching/close to the kitchen/being able to see the words on the karaoke game, ratio. Of course, Fiona ended up sitting there and I was banished to the floor.We did a bit of catching up and the boys had hushed conversations about the previous weekends events in Estonia.

Robert arrived a little later and we chewed the fat for a while and he had his tour. As the night wore on and the drinks flowed, it was decided that it was time for the games to begin and the DVD of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire was brought out and teams were picked. They were; Me, Hammey & Kay in one team, Jim, Wendy & Fiona in another and James, Susan & Robert were team 3.

This game was the replacement for The Weakest Link board game which had almost started boxing matches on previous nights and I was reliably informed that it would never be played again. So, on to Millionaire and Chris Tarrant took control, and I mused that he must have absolutely minted due to the success of the whole Millionaire franchise. However, in the heart of many 30 somethings (myself included) he will be best loved as the host of Tiswas. Anyway, we played a few rounds and our team was royally humped. We seemed to get all the hard questions, but like Chris says "it's only easy if you know the answer".

We took a break for a while and chatted, ate and had a few more drinks. Jim disappeared into the kitchen for a few minutes and returned with a home baked birthday cake covered in icing and topped with a couple of candles. We sang "Happy Birthday" and the birthday duet blew out their candles. After the ceremonial joint cutting of the cake we tucked in to the delicious cake. Well done Jim! I tried not to make eye contact with Fiona who is on the Atkins Diet to lose some weight for Del's wedding, and instead was eating carrot sticks and bits of cheese! She's lost 18 pounds in 4 weeks. Not bad. However, her boobs are shrinking and I am less impressed with that!

Onto the main event of the evening, the PS2 game Singstar in which you have to sing along to the words of a popular song in perfect time and pitch, as the words roll along the screen. Glorified Karaoke, basically. The battle begun, and we took it in turn to crucify some pop classics. There were some, not too bad singers,amongst us however, when it came to my turn, I decided to go for quantity rather than quality, and belted out my song of choice as loud as I could. The people sitting near the speakers swiftly moved further away. Can't say I blame them.

Click here for a video clip of Hammey and I murdering a Tiffany song!

By this time James Snelling, would had been at a Beer Festival during the day was now flagging badly and went for a snooze behind the chair. Sympathetic as always, we continued to belt out tunes in an attempt to disturb his siesta, all to no avail. Robert decided that now would be a good time to leave as we were all fairly well oiled and the decibel level was rising swiftly. Susan and James decided to hitch a ride and we said goodbye and got back to singing.

Usually at this time the party is still in full swing and no-one is going anywhere. Evidence of this can be viewed here with footage from a previous night with what is now infamously known as the "Chairdance"!

Click here for a video clip of the one and only...Chairdance.

The night went on and all of a sudden we realised that it was 4am and perhaps we should all be going home and getting to our beds. I was shocked when Kay said that she was up for work in a few hours. Rather her than me.
The taxi eventually came and the tranquility of Neilston was shattered as we bounced out of Jim and Wendy's house and slipped into the taxi.

Fiona and I were dropped off first and Hammey and Kay went on in to Paisley. Fiona went straight to bed, but I made a cup of coffee and watched the news for a while. I was sensible enough to drink a couple of pints of water before I hit the sack. The early morning pee would be a small price to pay to avoid a hangover the next day. As I lay in bed in bed waiting for sleep to arrive I noticed that my throat was a little sore from all the singing and I mused that perhaps one day, we would all need to grow up and stop acting like teenagers.

But not yet...

The guys enjoy drinks and nibbles.

Wendy and Hammey cut their Birthday cake.

Robert and Susan.

Kay has a wee sing.

Susan, enjoying some "filthy danger juice".

Bob grabs the mike.

The Portrush Pig feels the pace.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Del's Stag Weekend in Estonia.

The following account is from my perspective and much of it was clouded by alcohol. Obviously many details have been left out as it was a stag weekend after all!


My friend Del is getting married to Estelle in Huningue in France on 20th May, 2005. To celebrate this momentous occasion Thomas (his best man) had organised a stag weekend to Tallinn in Estonia for his friends from Scotland and his work colleagues in France. The whole idea was, of course top secret, however, the game was given away months in advance by a slip of the tongue from Tristin.
So, the fun began with Jim picking me up at home at 5.00 on Wednesday 13th. I was, of course running late and a little bit stressed having spent the day organising the house to score some browny points with Fiona who was understanding enough to let me go in the first place. It was the least I could do to make sure the house was immaculate. My bags were packed and after some help to adjust my kilt, we left.
Thirty minutes later and we arrived at Glasgow airport and went straight to the Tap and Spile pub in the airport where ironically all the guys had worked in years earlier and had become friends. There we met Thomas, Hammey, James and Jim (whom I was meeting for the first time) and it became apparent that there were too many people called Jim there. Thomas had a unique solution to this problem and promptly handed out the "stag weekend t-shirts" which were to be worn as frequently as possible over the weekend. On the back of them were our "stag names" which of course were not very complimentary and I will not explain them here, but leave it to your imagination.
They were:
Hammey - Huffy Pants
James Snelling - The Portrush Pig
Thomas - Boaby Muncher
Jim Arthur - Tinky Winky
Jim Muir - Bawbag
Liam - Tight Arse
Me - Sir Wanksalot

Beer flowed and the excitement was almost tangible as the lads, who should have been saving themselves for the rest of the stag weekend, started to get rubbered.
Eventually it was time to catch the flight to Stanstead Airport where we would stay overnight in a hotel and catch the early morning flight to Estonia. After checking into the hotel, we found ourselves at the bar again and any chance of an early night soon disappeared as we paid over-inflated hotel beer prices and dreamt of all the cheap beer and fun we would have in Tallinn. Sleep arrived at around 2am. I think!


The next morning we were up very early to catch our cheap and cheerful flight to Estonia. The boys gathered, dazed and confused but ready for the stag weekend to "officially" begin. We were meeting the star of the show, Del and his friends from work, in Tallinn as they were flying directly from Basel.
We arrived in Tallinn at 12pm (local time)and were pleasantly surprised to see clear blue skies and a temperature in the mid-fifties. Not what we were expecting at all as apparently the temperature had been minus 30 degrees several weeks before and after all we were in the country next to Russia!

We sat down in the airport and awaited the arrival of the rest of the troops who duly arrived an hour later. I was introduced to them and instantly forgot their names but luckily Thomas once again had the situation in hand and ceremoniously dispatched the t-shirts to:
Del - Le Dobber
Kevin - Ballet Poof
Frank - Fatty Phinn
Stewart - Zorba the Geek
Andy - The Badger
I realised that I had obviously been given the worst t-shirt name and hoped that there were not too many people in Tallinn who would understand it.

The Dirty Dozen set off to the hotel which was right beside the ferry terminal for ferries to Finland. The hotel itself was pretty good. Clean, friendly and only 15 minutes walk from the town centre. Perfect.
After we got booked in, found our rooms and got cleaned up we met in the hotel lobby, ready for action.
We set out towards the old town which I have to say was lovely and soon found our way into the first pub called the "Scotland Yard". Del was made to wear a Jimmy Wig and Tartan bunnet and numerous jokes about Thomas' chest hair ensued. Here we were introduced to the local ale, "Saku Beer",which makes McEwans Lager taste like Dom Perignion, however, when in Rome...

We moved on and visited various other bars and generally ripped the piss out of each other and of course Del. However, it would be later that night before things stepped up a gear. Thomas had arranged a tour guide for the weekend the lovely "Kadari" who's job it was to show us the best places and generally keep us out of trouble and after visiting a few bars we visited the local lap dancing club but being typical Scotsmen, stubbornly refused to pay for a dance with the semi-naked dancers. Our miserableness payed off as they danced for free, anyway!

I was punished by the lads for wearing boxer shorts under my kilt as they were promptly ripped off me and thrown at one of the dancers. Unfortunately, she did not return the favour!

In the next bar there was a taste of things to come as a complicated set of rules was decided, mainly it has to be said by Kevin and Thomas, with drinking forfeits having to be "endured" as a result of breaking the rules. They were as follows:

  • Call someone by their real name instead of their t-shirt name - 3 fingers of beer.
  • Mention that someone had farted - 3 fingers of beer.
  • Throw a strop - given a packet of tampons and 3 fingers of beer.
  • Last one to stand up and shout "I'm Spartacus" - 3 fingers of beer.
  • Last one to say "Estelle" and put thumb on top of head - 3 fingers of beer.

The locals must have loved us!

Needless to say a good night was had by all and we were all the worse for wear. We eventually went back to a bar that we had been in earlier which was having a karaoke night and found out that Estonia is stuck in a musical time warp. Every song seemed to be from the eighties, which I didn't mind in the slightest. Never one to shy at murdering a pop song I quickly signed up to sing a couple of songs and it must be said we took over the place. The crowd loved us as we got them up to dance and sing and had numerous requests to see under our kilts!

The icing on the cake was Del and I's rendition of the Kylie and Jason classic "Especially for you" for which we won the karaoke contest and were rewarded with a large bottle of beer each! Shows you how bad the other singers were.

We returned to the hotel, triumphant and a wee bit drunk.


Jim, Hammey and I were sharing a room and Jim was up first the next morning for breakfast. I made it too, but Hammey decided to give it a miss. My day did not start well when faced with a Continental breakfast and still in a druken, sleepy, haze I ate some Gherkin which I had mistaken for Cucumber and felt instantly nauseas. The rest of the guys looked just as bad but we chuckled as we recalled the previous night's events.

When everyone was organised we decided to do some sightseeing around the town and of course hit the bars, too. Jim Arhtur's face lit up as he spotted the golden arches of McDonald's and he quickly purchased some junk food . The rest of us found a nice little place to sit outside as the weather was lovely again. It was a medieval themed bar/restaurant, which although sounds like a terrible idea was actually really nice. We ordered food, with many of us opting for the "Meat Soup" including me, and were pleasantly surprised at how good it was.

We moved on and eventually found ourselves in a kind of German theme pub, with large casks of ale and brewing equipment as part of the decor. James Snelling was delighted as he has been known to brew up the occasional batch of "filthy danger juice" and his face lit up like a kid at Christmas. Upon reading the menu, Liam noticed that you could hire a sauna and take your beers in for an hour for 600 Kroons which was very reasonable and then in all seriousness tried to ask a non-English speaking waitress about it by using the international phrase for "can we hire the sauna" which according to Liam is saying "Sssssssssssssssssssssssssssss" and wondering why we were all falling about laughing. We didn't bother as the thought of seeing each other naked obviously lacked the necessary appeal! On the way home as we passed a filthy white van that was parked at the side of the road and Thomas decided to write some useful advice on the window, "wash me". What Thomas didn't know was that the driver was sitting inside the van and was not best pleased with Thomas' suggestion. We made a hasty retreat.

That night, we met Kadari again and she took us around a few more bars whilst wearing a pink mini-skirt which pleased the lads no end. We returned to the medieval bar again for our evening meal, which was delicious and the beers continued to flow. Unfortunately, we were not in good form and the time had come to start drinking shots to kick start the night. For this reason my recollection of that night is a little bit vague and so I will move on to Day 4.


Saturday arrived and I felt as though I had lost a day somewhere along the way. This was our last full day and Thomas had done us proud once again with a full day of events planned. After long lies and showers we headed into the town and the hunt for a nice place to eat breakfast began. We eventually found a place above a shopping centre and food was ordered and thoughts turned to the day ahead. No-one ordered any beer this morning as our first port of call this afternoon would be to a shooting range and for the first time that weekend, common sense prevailed.

After we ate, we went for a wonder in the shopping centre below and I tried to find gifts for Fiona and Ryan. I noticed as I walked around, lots of men and women drinking cans of beer. I hadn't seen anyone doing this since we arrived in Tallinn and obviously Saturday is the day to do the shopping and meet your friends for a casual drink in Tallinn. I thought how strange it was that it seemed a perfectly natural thing to do over there, whereas in Scotland, groups of middle aged women drinking cans of Tennents lager while they walked about Braehead Shopping Centre would be frowned upon. Anyway, after some hunting I found a Russian military medal for Ryan and A Russian Doll for Fiona. There was a very good chance that she might hate this gift, however, when I got home she really liked it.

At 3 pm, everyone gathered in the hotel lobby, all looking a little healthier for not having drank any beer yet. We met Kadari and jumped onto a bus to take us to the shooting range. Thirty minutes later, we arrived at Dr Death's Military Academy. I kid you not, that was it's name! Our guide for the day, introduced himself as Tom and gave us our safety briefing. He sounded exactly like Dom Joly when he is winding up unsuspecting members of the public and I wondered, for a minute if this was all some kind of elaborate ruse. As we listened carefully, a volley of shots from a group already on the range shattered the silence and those of us who were not quite awake before, were now. We all signed a disclaimer that basically said if you get shot then tough luck!

Tom issued ear plugs and began to demonstrate how to hold the first gun that we would be firing. Del was up first to fire the Luger. There were 6 metal targets to hit, approximately 5 metres away. As Del squeezed the trigger for the second time I noticed Jim rubbing the back of his hand. He explained that a shard of metal had bounced off the target and hit his hand! Bloody hell, this really was not too safe at all so I retreated further back from the shooters. When it came round to my turn, I gingerly aimed the gun and proceeded to miss all six targets.

Next up was a Magnum hand gun and thoughts turned to Dirty Harry, you could see it in everyone's eyes! This time I managed to hit a few targets and felt a little more macho. Around this time, James Snelling's whole demeanor changed and the grin of a madman appeared on his face. He was enjoying shooting a little too much. Our guide gave us our empty Magnum shells as a souvenir and I realised that I now had the perfect gift for Ryan. I asked if it was alright to take them through customs and was reassured that it was, by Tom and Kadari..

Click here for a video clip of me shooting.

The lads faces lit up as next we were let loose with a pump action shotgun.
Much hilarity ensued as we blew the crap out of the targets and soon people were buying extra rounds. By this time James Snelling had the look of a serial killer, bless him.

After the last shots had been fired we posed for photographs in various gun-toting styles. James Snelling cradled the shotgun like a new born child and promptly pulled his woolly hat down over face like a ski mask. He looked the part until Liam sneaked up and grabbed his balls. As he waved the (thankfully) unloaded shotgun around, Tom became a little bit uneasy and the time had come to remove anything that could kill us from the Portrush Pig's hands and go home. We got the bus back to the hotel along Tallinn's bumpy roads and the guys retreated upstairs for a quick change of clothes, before our last hurrah.

I rather foolishly cut my self while having a quick shave and could not stop the bleeding. Thomas arrived at the door and promptly attempted to drag me out of the room semi-naked as everyone was waiting for me. I told them to go on and eventually I caught up with them outside the bar. Tonight we were back in the bar where we had won the Karaoke a few days earlier which by now seemed like several months ago as one drunken day blended into another.We were here for a meal and for a couple of lovely dancers to give Del a "personal dance". As the scantily clad dancers arrived I don't think I had seen the boys so happy all weekend (except perhaps when James had his hands on the shotgun!).

The tall dancer with the full length body stocking(!) was definently the more assertive of the two. However, trying to remove Del's kilt proved to be too much for her and she turned her attention to Fatty Phinn who had Del's three inch wide belt placed round his neck like a dog collar by her and was pushed to the ground. She then stamped on his back with her 6 inch stiletto heels (ouch). I started to settle further back into my seat now hoping that she would not pick me as her next "victim". The other dancer just kept herself to herself, but it was nice to watch.

The boys left soon after with a smile on our face and a bruise on the back of Fatty Phinn and headed to the next bar. Kadari, having fulfilled her contractual obligations, left us to our own devices and went away for a night out with her friend.

In the next bar Judge Ballet Poof called order for the kangaroo court and proceeded to read out the charges out against all of us in turn. Kevin had spent the last few days taking notes of all of our misdemeanors and presented damning evidence. Many forfeits of three fingers and shorts were endured and the "I'm Spartacus" and "Estelle" rules were enforced without mercy. We moved on to a few more bars and Liam and I ended up playing pool with a couple of local ladies and I discovered that in my drunken state I couldn't have hit a barn door with a banjo, so we lost. I have to admit that was my most drunken night and I was in a bad way. I got to bed very late that night and did not feel too clever at all.


A few hours sleep later and Jim woke us up for breakfast. Boy, did I feel rough. We made our way downstairs and I could barely eat and I was swaying a little bit and I realised that I was still drunk and would need some serious dettox when I returned home. After we had showered, packed up and checked out, the Scottish contingent said their goodbyes as the French lads were leaving later on in the day and we poured ourselves into a couple of taxis to go to the airport.

The weather was, as it had been since we arrived, blue skies and mild sunshine. We didn't have long to wait before it was time to leave and we wearily boarded the aircraft. It stank of smelly British people (including us) who had obviously overindulged in Saku Beer for the last few days. Jim, Thomas and I played poker to pass the time with a bizarre mix of Kroons, Sterling and Dollars. We arrived two and a half hours later at Stanstead and Thomas, yet again came up with the perfect solution to our major hangovers, the all day breakfast from Witherspoons, washed down with a beer to take the edge off of how bad we all felt.

We caught the plane to Glasgow and arrived around 5.00 to cold Scottish rain, typical! We said our goodbyes to Jim Muir and Thomas and Wendy picked Jim, Hammey, James and myself up at the airport to drive us home.I arrived home to find banners and balloons on the wall to welcome me home and was promptly told that I was reeking. Couldn't really argue with that.

After unpacking and taking off my kilt, which by now was seriously chaffing my skin. I settled down on the couch to do absolutely nothing. After a while Fiona came through from the kitchen and asked me if I wanted a beer. I declined!


The next day, I packed up my kilt and did a washing and carefully folded my Sir Wanksalot t-shirt and put it away safely for posperity. I headed into Paisley to return my hired kilt to Burtons and after chatting with the nice young assistant about how good the weekend had been, she commented that her co-worker had seen us at the airport on the day that we had left. At this moment said assistant arrived on the shop floor and confirmed that she had been sitting at the table next to us at Glasgow Airport before we flew out. I could feel my face going red as I desperately tried to remember how bad our behaviour had been. A wicked smile appeared on the face of the lady as she commented that she had read with interest the names on the back of our t-shirts. "I never knew you were a knight" she said.

I was mortified!


Leaving Glasgow airport for Del's stag weekend. Posted by Hello

James doing his best to save on the washing up liquid. Posted by Hello

Stag names on the back of our T-shirts. Posted by Hello

Le Dobber

I think I'll call him Mini me!

Enjoying Estonian cuisine. Posted by Hello

Del and Thomas take to the stage. Posted by Hello

Judge Liam sets up the shots for Jim and Kevin. Posted by Hello

Me, looking a little worse for wear lights up a nice cigar. Posted by Hello

Thomas shows off his fine figure. Posted by Hello

Del's turn to let off a little steam. Posted by Hello

Jim's turn. Posted by Hello

Thomas on the shooting range. Posted by Hello

The Portrush Pig prepares to go mental at Dr Death's Military academy! Posted by Hello

Oh dear! Posted by Hello

Cheers! Posted by Hello

Del slips into something a little more comfortable. Posted by Hello

Me and Kadari with Del making his feelings known!

A "Medieval" barman.

Kadari - whoops, the camera must have slipped in this pic!

Tallinn town centre.

Charlie's Angels.

James Snelling seconds before Liam grabbed his testicles!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Camping at Loch Lomond, Easter 2005

While all the sensible people stayed at home and ate as many Easter Eggs as they could, myself, Fiona, Ryan, Jim, James, Susan, Liam, Thomas & Kath all went camping to Rowerdennan, Loch Lomond.
The day started badly as we had planned to camp elsewhere, however, after Liam had dropped off Thomas and I, and most of the camping equipment (and ruined his suspension) at an excellent camping spot that we had found the previous year in the middle of a dense wood, Thomas and I were horrified to discover that the whole forest had been laid waste.
They had left a scattering of trees at the edge of what had been the forest, obviously to lull unsuspecting campers into a false sense of hope, but apart from that they had cut down the entire forest as far as the eye could see. We were gutted!
After a swift phone call to Liam to take everyone else to Rowerdennan Thomas and I had no choice but to sit and wait. Thomas did his bit for international relations by asking a couple of German tourists if they had seen his forest as he had left it just over there! How they laughed.
A couple of hours later we were all at the campsite, tents erected and beers opened. The weather was actually not too bad, fairly mild. Still, a campfire would be needed and to avoid all the Testosterone flying about from the guys over who could start the fire, I headed to the holiday home on the hill to "borrow" some logs from their supply. Half a dozen trips later and a nice big fire was going. Just as well as it was dark before 7.00.
Jim arrived with Fiona and Ryan at 8.00 and the fun really began with copious amounts of alcohol and the usual banter that we have. The fun went on until 2 am and people started to disappear into their tents. Snoring was heard and I was treated to the hilarious sound of James Snelling telling Susan (who had not been camping before) that she must not touch the side of the tent and then refusing to tell her why despite her asking several times. I think it was a case of "if I tell you, I would need to kill you".

Morning arrived all too quickly and we emerged from our tents, feeling a little delicate. The planned trip to walk up Ben lomond was quickly shelved and Jim made some lovely Scottish cuisine of Links and Lorne sausages on the disposable barbecue.

Click here for a video clip of the beauty of Loch Lomond with us spoiling the scenery.

We packed up our gear as curious hillwalkers walking along the West Highland Way wondered who would be stupid enough to go camping in Scotland, in March.
We walked back to the cars laden down with tents and rucksacks and said our goodbyes. Everyone just wanted to get home, now.

Click here for a video clip of us heading home and James Snelling travelling light!

As we drove away Ben Lomond became wrapped in clouds and the heavens opened with cold, Scottish rain and deciding not to walk up the hill seemed like a very good idea!

Camping trip to Loch Lomond at Easter - Liam, James, Susan, Thomas and Kath. Posted by Hello

Fiona feeling the cold. Posted by Hello

Ryan keeping the fire going. Posted by Hello

Kath. Posted by Hello

Jim packing up his tent. Posted by Hello