I never thought I would be getting married in the same year as so many of my friends and in particular my best friend Pav. Weddings can be a nightmare to organise, arrange and put together, particularly with so many people to please. However, there is always the stag do to look forward to. I was rather surprised by Pav’s choice of Foxy as the best man. Yes, he is a party animal but would he be able to organise a trip of nearly twenty guys and perhaps even to an international destination? I was yet to be convinced.
I can also provide photographic evidence as to why I believed (at the time) Mr. Thomas Fox was a bad choice for best man. As the saying goes a photo paints a thousand words. In this case, I will just add this is the above forementioned Mr. Fox in a state of intoxication at a friend’s house party – more specifically passed out in their doorway!
After the nightmare of Nige’s stag do last August (which Pav did his best to manage at the last minute) we all had past experience of trying to put something together and knew it was not going to be easy. While everyone enjoys the stag do and the planning process, the actual payment part is tough on everyone. Pav’s original plan had been for a ski trip towards the end of the ski season. This was not going to be a cheap weekend and many people, including myself would have been unable to attend. Once the reality hit home that the dream ski/snowboard trip was not going to happen, Pav went back to the drawing board. In particular he let his best man take the strain. Foxy was on the case early. The initial meet, took place at The Retreat. Foxy even remembered the notepad and pen. Ideas were formulated and the consensus of the group taking into consideration before the master plan was put into action.
A closed group was established on Facebook and everyone contacted. The location had yet to be confirmed but the weekend was easier to select. The final May Bank Holiday weekend, giving an extra day to recover (the Monday) and taking off a few extra days (Thursday and Friday) to give a full four day weekend in a capital city somewhere in continental Europe. Soon afterwards, the venue was set to Berlin. After Foxy flirted temporarily with the idea of Amsterdam! Berlin came out on top as it gave a greater deal of choice in terms of variety plus Foxy had found cheap flights from Gatwick on distinguished airline EasyJet. This is where planning quickly moved into booking and I was momentarily left behind. Foxy blocked booked a group of flights but I was not on that list (only able to book for a maximum of eight people). When I got home that evening, I quickly booked my flight, I was on board, I was going to Berlin! Next stop accommodation, this is where the group split a little. Some with their taste for luxury surroundings opted to book their own hotel rooms (the Stevens brothers). The rest of us let the Fox book us into a hostel which worked out only €62 for the whole weekend (I am sure Paul and Phil will be paying close to that rate a night). With that confirmed, it was just a case of waiting.
With bulk of the planning complete, Foxy switched to perhaps his best known mode. “Sharking” for a party as he would perhaps best describe the activity. Searching for places for the stag group to venture into over the course of the weekend. Several posts were made on Facebook, including a few clubs and venues recommended by our friend Kev.
I soon realised that we had not discussed transport to Gatwick from Reading and had no desire to drive myself (as had been the case for previous ski trips in 2008 and 2009). I offered the option of a minibus for the group of us and got a good price for the return journey. The Stevens brothers quickly bailed out and decided to make their own way to Gatwick. (Phil just does not do minibus, don’t you know! Cannot understand why, it is only for a few hours!) Foxy, on one rather strange Monday morning decided that we could take the Rail:Air service. I had to quickly remind him that this service was from Reading to Heathrow, hence the rather low price he was quoted. In the end the minibus was confirmed for all those heading from Reading.
In what can only be described as a strange twist of fate, The Hangover II is released on the day we head off to Berlin. Which is a shame as I would have liked to have seen the movie before we headed out but will have to catch now either on Tuesday (31st May) night or Wednesday (1st June) next week. I have seen the trailer and it is absolutely hillarious, so much so that I decided to watch the original movie on Sky Anytime a few weeks back when I was off work. It was better than the first time around – Leslie Chow is my favourite character, played to perfection by Ken Jeong.
We had a problem though, it was unlikely that our dearest comrade, Elliott would be able to go. I would rather not get into the details here, but it was a delicate operation to enable him to secure the permission and pink pass for the weekend. It was also well drawn out affair lasting the past few months. So much so, the green-light was given as last as last Thursday. While this meant a much welcomed addition to the Wolfpack, it did give me a logistical nightmare. I am now driving down to Winchester to pick up Elliott on Wednesday evening.
Did I mention it is Michelle’s birthday on Wednesday? I have planned a romantic evening in London, which you may be aware is nearly seventy miles north-east of Winchester, Hampshire. It is going to be a long night. There is no point going to sleep, as Pav constantly reminds me, “You Snooze, You Lose!”. So the Stag Weekend starts early, the moment I land in Reading, Berkshire around midnight twenty five on Thursday 26th May. It is going to be a hell of a ride! Berliners you have been warned!
Depending on your age you may or may not know, that it is currently examination season. They start in early May and go all the way through to early July. I did not enjoy exams and feel sorry for any student going through them at the moment. Our friend Benjamin, has an exam on Friday and this potentially meant an end to his inclusion to our trip to Berlin. However, his friends hunted around to find him a flight for Saturday morning, so he could at least have some of the weekend with us in Germany. The flight was booked and Pav took a screenshot of his iPhone and sent across to me on G-Mail after he received a text message.
After counting down for the past five months, the wait is almost over. We are now days away, from what can only be called an epic weekend in the making. In yet another first for my blog, I am going to check in on Google Latitude during the course of my travels (from Wednesday afternoon until I take off in the early hours of Thursday morning) and you will be able to follow my progress online.
There is little more to say other than (ash cloud permitting) Auf Wiedersehen. I look forward to reporting back part of my adventures at some stage next week. You can always follow my latest happenings on Twitter. I will try my best to give updates over the course of the weekend, 3G coverage dependent. Now where did I leave my camera?