Sunday 31st August 2008

I’m back and quite tired and it is after a quick two hour nap this afternoon I have got a chance to actually start writing this blog entry. It is 19:37 and the BBC News is on BBC One. What a weekend, very tiring but it did not go as expected, from the outset (before we even left Wycombe). I will try my best to put together everything I have been up to for the past three days but it may take me a while to write something worth reading. I have just uploaded 116 photographs to FlickR which takes my online photo stream collection to over three thousand. I got over to Ryan’s house in Castlefield minutes before 12pm as pre-arranged. He was just getting the last bits of his stuff packed but had some bad news. Trevor was not coming. He had decided he was not feeling up for it plus had forgotten (he does that regularly) that he had a party on Saturday night. I was very disappointed, it was not going to be a proper reunion without him. We got the car packed and Ryan bought along his big CD case with his full collection of music. I thought I was the only person to write down the track listings on little scraps of paper and place them with each CD. However, I only did this for the few official albums I had (many converted from CD audio to MP3 CD format) For example, taking the Best Of UK Garage from three CDs onto two. Although I would like to point out that I would just put down the track number of my favourite songs rather than the whole track listing. It would just take too long and if Mr. Buckle had access to the internet, he could just print lists from Amazon. He was in charge of the audio, as I punched in the post code for our hotel. (I had put down all the important postcodes on a PostIt note in my wallet, Tim & Charman’s flat, plus the closest ASDA store, just in case we wanted to make use of Ryan’s generous discount!). The ETA was 14:02, not too bad, just under two hours. We were all set, and headed off to Handycross and onto the M40, then M25 then M3. I decided to follow the directions of the TomTom and not do my own thing (as I can do sometimes). As we were leaving at lunchtime, we hoped to miss any traffic but as there was the air show, we expected to be stuff once we got onto the outskirts of the seaside resort. The journey down was good, quite uneventful with clear roads until we got onto the M27. However, by then I was quite tired from the monotonous motorway driving and having to stop start and concentrate was actually a good thing. I didn’t notice until later on during the day but Ryan did not film me at any point until we actually pulled into Bournemouth just after 2pm. We were listening to the disc one of The Very Best Of Drive Time and then Now That Is What I Call Music: Decades (disc one, we would listen to disc three on the return journey but that is on video tape and will be uploaded to YouTube!). We pulled up at the hotel at 14:20, not a bad journey time considering it was the last weekend in August and potentially a very busy weekend in the town. We checked in and then planned what to do for the afternoon. I was given a pass for my car (the car park had been completely full apart from a single spot that we had found and parked in just in time). We had room 207, got our key and headed around the corner to the lift. It was one of those old style lifts, with carpet on the three walls. (In the brochure, Ryan had, the lift and Senior Citizen discount were the two and only features of the hotel). Our room was basic but that is all we needed, with a small television (14″) high up on the stand above the dressing table. The bathroom was slightly bigger than I had expected with a shower. Our window overlooked the Lower Gardens and we could see the Bournemouth Eye out of the window. (A big balloon which rises up above the town and from which you can see Needles off the Isle Of Wight (apparently). There was music booming from a small tent on the right, which was putting on a show for families and in particular the children. We were hungry, so I we headed straight out the door (the front not the back more on that later). We walked up to the waterfront, it was packed but it would get busier the following day. We went for a little walk around the pier to just take a look at the air show and decide where to go for food. We chose, or rather Ryan suggested Harry Ramsden’s and we headed there. There was a short queue but most people wanted to eat outside on the terrace as it was quite muggy and hot. We opted to avoid this (we were both very hungry and had only had breakfast which at that point felt a long time ago). We got seated (although a family behind us took the first available seats inside). We got a seat by the window and just as we were about to order, I looked at my watch. It was dead on 3pm. The Red Arrows had started their displays outside. Talk about bad timing. Over lunch we decided what to do for the afternoon before meeting up with Tim (Charman was working until 10.30pm and would not be back to the flat before 11pm). In a repeat of a similar event back on 18th February 2006 blogged the day after had a similar receipt from the Longwall just outside Oxford. Maybe it is a regular thing for waiting staff to add a personal touch by signing the receipt or in this case, leaving a message.

Harry Ramsden Receipt

The plan was this, go back to the hotel, grab my camera, then head over to the pier to catch the remainder of the air show. After this, head into town, take a look around, then giving Tim a call around 6pm to meet up with him after work. That was the plan and very much what we did. We walked back through Lower Gardens and then walked through the Beau Monde Bistro Restaurant up into our hotel and to our room. I insisted on taking the stairs as the small lift made me feel claustrophobic. We then headed back to the pier and in the crowds, try and watch the last hour or so of the air show. We headed out onto the pier, Ryan generously spending the large sum of &1 to go through the barrier. It was busy but not too bad, we stop at various points so I could take some photos but with the heavy cloud it was difficult to get any great photos. The EuroFighter had appeared just as we had got back to the waterfront. It made a piercing sound across the sky as it flew past, breaking the sound barrier. The volume was so high that many people covered their ears or jumped at the first appearance of the latest combat aircraft. However, I did not get any photographs of it, it was just too fast and it was just so cloudy, it would come in and out of the fog in a flash and my finger was not quick enough on the trigger. However, a few pictures from the day, the beach and the eye!

Bournemouth BeachBournemouth Eye

After making a circuit of the pier, we decided against going on the Dorset Belle boat trip. We didn’t know how much it cost but it did not seem to go that far our into the English Channel. Instead we headed into the amusements. I was not really in the mood for gambling but happy to have a game or two on the arcades. We however, went for the more traditional football related contest. Fusball (as it known internationally) or table football. However the result was to set the town for the rest of the competitions this weekend. It was a complete whitewash. I lost ten nil, including three goals I scored into my own net. Not a good performance at all. What can I say? My hand to eye co-ordination is just beyond useless. Ryan was victorious and the photograph was taken before the game, but perhaps the smug expression is over-confidence oozing through. We then went into the centre of the arcade and found the Deal Or No Deal. I have to confess, although I have never really watched the show and do not understand the addiction, I knew how the game works. (Completely useless information but I recall the crazy student Will from Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks watching a Deal or No Deal marathon early last year). I could not understand why Ryan turned down each of the deals, even when the points on offer were very tantalizing. In the end, he made the right choice. In front of an audience of thousands (no, about three people, maybe even five at a push). Mr. Buckle won 1,000,000 points! The ticket is below but this equates to either a box (small) of Cadbury’s Heroes or a wireless headphone set. Not sure why but Ryan declined to pick up his prize until tomorrow.

RyanDeal Or No Deal Winning Ticket

We headed down the beach in the direction of Boscombe. There was a fair taking place, we could see the ferris wheel from the end of Bournemouth Pier. The air show was drawing to a close with the final fly past by some historical aircraft. Ryan wanted to catch the train but I insisted on walking and we walked about half a mile or so down the beach. (On the path, not on the actual beach itself). Various stalls were still open and trading, one which I should have made a comment about at the time, selling personalised belt buckles. However I do not think Ryan noticed. It must have been around 5.30pm when we decided to head back to the hotel. I wanted to drop off my camera before heading into town to meet up with Tim. I had text him earlier in the afternoon (around 14.30 when we arrived and I was sure that Charman would have mentioned we were coming down). The stop off at the hotel was a pit stop, we headed straight out again a few minutes later. Ryan wanted to go to Borders. We went downstairs to the DVD and music section while Ryan tried to pick up a DVD for his Dad. He eventually decided upon Stella Street 2 as there was not anything else worth purchasing. We then headed for a little walk around the town before calling Tim at 6.40pm. He was still at work and would be finished in a few minutes, we had been headed in the direction of his flat but he would meet up in town. We took a little walk around and then waited at The Square. I sat down on the wall and picked up a flyer for local radio station , Hope FM which I then picked up by accident when I grabbed the map of Bournemouth, Ryan had brought along from home. We waited for the phone call. It eventually came and I got up to try look out for Tim as he walked down Richmond Hill. I spotted him, as did Ryan, in his dark suit and navy tie. We had just been speaking before about whether he had changed or not, I expected his hair to be different, it always was and he had not let me down. It was great to see him again, it had been almost (but not quite) eight years. Tim as usual was very polite and asked us where we wanted to go for a drink but we told him it was his town and he should be directing us. We behind us to The Slug & Lettuce. It was quite busy with a mixture of tourists down for the air show among the local office workers out for a pint after a short four day week. We took a seat outside on the balcony, so that Tim could smoke. He had not changed and apologised for being so hyperactive! We caught up for a while and then planned our evening. The minute I had found out that Steve was working late, I knew that Friday night was going to be a night in and hopefully we would make up for lost time on Saturday. Things never turn out as you plan them but more on that later. We walked back to the flat, taking a diversion by Tim’s office block. We then went to Nisa Local convenience store. We got some pizza and drinks, much cheaper than ordering and waiting for a takeaway. We then walked through the park under the by-pass to the flat. As soon as we walked in, I was shocked by the size of the television. Sure it was not HD but it was a 52″ screen that you might find at the back of a pub. We watched the Super Cup Final (Manchester United were losing one nil) while Tim took us on a mini-tour and put the oven on. It was a good evening, we chatted for ages and reminisced about old times at school and college. Tim put on PES 2008 on his PS2 and played Ryan. I had a go but as usual was useless and did not want to suffer another embarrassing defeat so passed the one controller back to Tim. (Yes, only one controller so we had taken it in turns to play a half each). Around 11pm or just after a figure walked through the door. It was Steve, he smiled but looked very tired. It was great to see him again, I put out my hand to shake and then gave him a hug. It had been too long, particularly as Steve had been my best friend at school. He sat down and we chatted for a while but then after a smoke said he was too tired and off to bed. I wished him good night and turned to Ryan to say that I told him that Steve would do this and go straight to bed after work. He disappeared to his room. It must have been coming up to midnight. However a few minutes later, Tim shouted out for Charman to come out of his room and he appeared and spent the rest of the evening with us. I went outside to kick a ball around with him in the small garden area and catch up. The last time I had spoken to him he was working in finance but was now back in retail management. We chewed the fat for a few hours and next time I looked at my phone it was 1:40am! Could not believe it was that late. Charman was hungry and going to make some tuna mayonnaise sandwiches. We decided to make a move back to the hotel, it had been a very long day, I was very tired. Plus we had plenty in store for Saturday. So we said goodbye and made our way back. Tim was going to meet us in the morning just before the air show and told me to give him a call when we got up after breakfast. Steve had to work Sunday too so Saturday night was going to be a bit low key but we promised to make the most of it. While we had been waiting for Charman, Tim had lent me his laptop and I had had a chance to update both my Facebook and Twitter. I also logged onto my blog and let Ryan read a few of the past entries to get a flavour of what to expect sometime later this week when I get to right up the weekend antics. We walked back to the hotel back the way we came (even though it would have been quicker and more direct to go via the subway down Richmond Hill). When we got back to the hotel, I had to take a photograph of the beds and television for some strange reason and then fell asleep quite quickly.

Hotel RoomTV

Ryan is an early riser, so was up and about by 7am. I on the other hand got up at 7.30am, as I’m not a morning person. I was pleasantly surprised by the beaming sunshine coming through our window. Looked like it was going to be a glorious hot day. We planned what to do over a cooked breakfast downstairs in the hotel restaurant. We were going to see if the Bournemouth Eye was going to be running and get on there, if not, go for a round of crazy golf before heading back up to the Pier to watch the air show. When we got back to the hotel room around 9am, I called Tim and woke him up. He answered the phone but took a while to actually speak. Later he said he had little recollection of the conversation. He said he would meet us in town in a few hours and give me a call. We headed out into the Lower Gardens and directly to the Eye. It was getting quite busy with many people headed in the opposite direction with their deck chairs and windbreakers for the beach to get a great view before midday kick off. There was activity at the Eye but no queue, so we took a seat on a beach next to the ticket office, which was still closed. When we walked back past, it said it was not flying due to the windy weather, so we headed to the Crazy Golf course. It had just opened and a big family had got in there first. We decided to sit and wait for them to make some progress before we went to pay and collect our clubs but two and three groups jumped ahead of us and we decided to walk back to the Eye. The ticket booth was open now but no tickets were being sold as the Eye was not flying due to the windy weather. We thought we might be able to buy tickets for the first trip but it was not the case. We headed into town and into the Bourne Gardens.

Bournemouth EyeWar Memorial

Here, Ryan started taking some film, while I took some shots of the War Memorial and St. Andrew’s Richmond Hill Church. We headed in the direction of the Tennis Centre and found the older putting green. I got two puts, balls and score cards and we headed up to the course. It was flat but had three staggered greens. We had a little difficulty getting in as the top two gates were closed and we eventually got in via the first gate. Although Mr. Buckle was far too eager and just jumped over the gate and got in. We decided to play the holes by green rather than number (as holes one, two, seventeen and eighteen were on the same fairway). What more can I say than it was a complete failure on my attempt to pose any challenge for Ryan. He won, hands down and as I took my last hole, I did not think it could get any worse.

I do not mind having my photograph taken now (although did when I was younger). However, I still hate appearing on film but put up with it because this was Ryan’s way of capturing the moment. We have a lot more in common that I originally thought. While I tend to write things down, he switches on his camera and gives short monologues to the viewer. He had filmed every hole but with a blatant disregard for the amount of tape left on his tape. In the end it ran out, so we switched to my digital still camera which has a video recording option. The face I make at the end of this clip makes me cringe! Afterwards we headed over to the hotel to get some more tape before heading back out to the air show. Just in time to catch the Red Arrows. They were fantastic and below are a few of my favourite pictures, although it was really difficult to get pictures considering the bright sunshine and speed of the Hawk aircraft. They used to be the highlight for me at the Farnborough Air Show which I attended several years on the trot with my family. The last time I had seen the display team was back in late July last year at the Global Gathering music festival.

Red Arrows Red Arrows

Time for some lunch, we were both hungry and decided to head upstairs in the Waterfront complex. There was a pub at the top but it was packed. I called Tim to find out where he was, he was going to leave the flat in twenty minutes and would meet us there. We decided to to go Key West the restaurant come cafe at the end of the Pier. This was to turn out to be a stupid decision with the power of hindsight. It was about 12:38pm as we headed across, trying to get past the crowds of families and young children. We got to the restaurant took a table ourselves with no help from any of the waiting staff. They were obviously too busy as we would come to appreciate shortly. We had to wait around forty minutes before we were seen and ordered our drinks and food, then it was over an hour before we got our meal. Even after pestering our waitress on three separate occasions. Tim eventually arrived just before 2pm. We got free drinks for enduring the long wait but other customers were not as easily pacified as us. An elderly gentleman told our waitress to cancel their order, they had run out of patience. A family of four at the table diagonally opposite us, waited for perhaps thirty to forty minutes before just getting up and leaving. We did eventually get our food and then planned what to do for the remainder of the day. At one point once I had finished eating, I was tempted to just walk out but Ryan reminded me that we needed to pay, so we asked for the bill. We watched the remainder of the air show, although had missed the majority of the planes as we had been sitting inside. There had been no tables free outside, but Tim then pointed out the ridiculously cheap barbeque that was on offer. Never mind, you live and you learn. We headed to the amusements for a bit but Ryan kept away from the Deal Or No Deal machine but still did not cash in his ticket. Tim was on the fruit machines for a while before we headed back to Lower Gardens. Although the Eye was now flying we opted to get in the queue for the Crazy Mini Golf course (the newer and difficult version in comparison to the morning). Ryan wanted to film each shot and I am sure we annoyed the couple behind us by taking so long. A grandfather with his two son’s made a cheeky dash from the first hole and got ahead of both us and the two guys in front of us. Perhaps they knew we were going to take a while and opted to get out of our way. It was a tighter contest than before but eventually Ryan screamed into the lead and Tim was not in a position to get it back, even with a whole in one strike early on. I was never in contention, so the less said about that the better. It was getting close to 5pm by the time we finished and Tim headed off to do some food shopping and get back to the flat while Ryan and I head back to the hotel to drop off the cameras and then go out and find a pub to watch the Arsenal Newcastle match. By the time we got to Yates, fifteen minutes into the match. We would have been in there earlier had the bouncer not wanted to see ID. Once again, I gave the completely shocked looked and response, “You must be joking!”. There is no way I look under twenty-five or even younger, as Ryan had me down to twenty-two. We found a good pair of seats at table facing the big projector screen. I was nervous, we needed to put in a good performance and win comfortably. It was turning out to be a great weekend. Three goals and some irresistible football. Could my weekend get any better? Perhaps this was the peak, the climax of my weekend trip. I text Steve to let him know the score, as I knew he would be too busy to catch up unless he had FiveLive running behind the counter. Ryan had been quite passive during the match, almost disinterested as it was not his beloved Liverpool. However he appreciated the second and even more so the third goal. All football fans love the beautiful game, the pass and move, flowing attacking football. No club on the planet plays in the same style as Arsenal. Even if there was a little bit of show boating towards the end and one two many fail back heels. At full time we decided to go grab some food before heading back to the hotel to change and get ready for the evening. We went back to the Waterfront and the Red Panda Chinese restaurant. It was very busy, so we had to wait at the bar for about fifteen minutes before being taken to a table. A very nice meal and the service was very good, considering how busy they were. Or maybe it was because we were so close to the t kitchen door. A wealthy group of four (a table down from us) had been waiting to pay for their meal. However the chip and pin machine had not made it to their table, so the irate middle aged man of the group, went red in the face with anger. He refused to pay for the meal if the waitress didn’t arrive with the device within a minute or so. The next moment, I saw them leaving rather annoyed and disgruntled. After our meal, we headed back to the hotel, just in time to catch the trail of the news and start of Match Of The Day. Tim called, after I had got ready and was lying on the bed waiting for Ryan to decide which shirt of of six to wear with with the three pairs of trousers he had brought! (This boy hasn’t changed much from when I knew him over ten years ago at school!). Charman had just walked through the door, they were watching the football and having a few beers. They were waiting for us to turn up. Eventually we got ready and got to the flat just as the highlights of Arsenal versus Newcastle were being shown. This was not how I had planned the evening out. Never the less, we planned to go out after the Beeb’s flagship football programme. Steve took a few minutes to get ready while Tim, took what seemed like an age. He was listening to The Very Best Of UB40 in his room (mp3s on his laptop) while he got ready. Eventually he came out and as I had brought my camera, I got some group photographs before heading back to our hotel (as the bar was just around the corner).

Tim & TegTim & Ryan Ryan & CharmanCharman & Teg

So, we headed to Bar So, via our hotel. This was in hindsight a mistake as even before we got to our room both Tim and Charman were making a lot of noise. There were signs everywhere to warn residents to be quiet after 10pm as many fellow residents retire early. Tim was just in one of his crazy moods and even grabbed one of the hygiene bags from our bathroom to wear as a tie?! Eventually we got out of there and joined the long queue outside. Tim disappeared saying he would be back in a second. While we queued and eventually got in. Tim decided to be a superhero and jump through the trees into the terrace come garden area. Luckily he was not seen by any of the bouncers. We queued for a drink but stupidly I had decided to wait by the area where they collect empties, assuming we would get served quicker. In the end we headed for the bar downstairs and Steve put in the order. As both Tim and Charman wanted a smoke, we headed downstairs to the smoking area. It had to probably be the best smoking area I had ever been in. Leather chairs, gas headers and a ceiling (it was a balcony of some description, so I assume that is how they get around the restrictions. There was apparently a private party going on next door, in the adjacent bar but no bouncer had stopped us walking through. Tim had arranged to meet up with his friend Karl and his fiance and her sister. We pumped into them upstairs on the sofa next to the dance floor. I know at this point I need to describe the music policy but I can only say it was perhaps house on the commercial side? (That will never be enough for Pav, even if I got it spot on!). Charman was in the mood for a party, even though he had early told us at his flat that he was not going to be drinking and leaving at 1am to see his girlfriend. I watched as the clock ticked past 1am and then past 1.30am! Charman at this stage was on his four or fifth pint and up on the dance floor going crazy. Eventually I was on there too but Mr. Buckle would not budge. He told me that after his holiday to Ibiza he had made a vow to never dance again. Not sure why? What is wrong with having a boogie on the dance floor. No one cares what you look like. We were joined by Karl, his fiance, Jo and her sister Eva. Tim was there too now and again, dancing for a bit before going to have a smoke outside. At 2am, the music died and we were ushered outside by the bouncers. Charman at this stage was heading to his girlfriends and Tim was trying to convince Ryan and me to stay out for longer. To head to another bar and dance the night away. I really did not hold the same enthusiasm as him. I wanted to crash out. He did try hard to convince us, including his friends (after they had got some chips from the takeaway. However there was no point, we had both made up our minds that it was time to get back to the hotel and crash. We left saying our goodbyes and said we would Tim a call in the morning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.