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.
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.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.DAY 5
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.
James doing his best to save on the washing up liquid.
Stag names on the back of our T-shirts.
I think I'll call him Mini me!
Enjoying Estonian cuisine.
Del and Thomas take to the stage.
Judge Liam sets up the shots for Jim and Kevin.
Me, looking a little worse for wear lights up a nice cigar.
Thomas shows off his fine figure.
Del's turn to let off a little steam.
Thomas on the shooting range.
The Portrush Pig prepares to go mental at Dr Death's Military academy!
Del slips into something a little more comfortable.
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.
James Snelling seconds before Liam grabbed his testicles!