Just two more days to go before it's back to work and the mayhem of the silly season will begin again. But what did everyone get up to in the Christmas holidays? Well, Baumhaus closed on 24th December and I drove Joe (a.k.a Juan or Lady) back home to his family (they live next door to my house in London and regularly throw food over the fence to keep me placid), and no one has seen or heard from him since ...... Normally I see him out and about walking his two whippety / greyhound-type dogs (which look like cows), but this time - nothing. Now this is only a guess, but I suspect that he dropped a mince pie on his foot when he wasn't wearing safety shoes, and now has his leg in plaster.
Hazel doesn't seem to be faring much better either. I received an anguished, nay delirious, email from her yesterday saying she hasn't been able to drink for seven days because of medication she is taking for some horrible illness that she has picked up - probably from Baumhaus come to think of it.
My Christmas was at home in London, and after spending an entire day eating turkey and then realising I hadn't even scratched the surface of the 'European turkey mountain', I admitted defeat and decided to go on holiday to the Isle of Man with Phil and Becky. I was told to rendezvous with them at the Ferry Terminal at Heysham at 12.30pm on Boxing Day, and I did..... only to be dragged onto a leaky tub with no business class upgrades - see I even included a picture of the ferry to prove it (left). On top of that, I wasn't even offered a hot flannel (served with tweasers) for the entire duration of the 4 hour crossing! I know that you feel my pain, so the good news is that things did get a lot better after disembarking. We were whisked to a superb apartment overlooking Ramsey bay and were greeted by a humongous feast cooked in anticipation of our ferry woes (by the old man and wicked step-mama). Hurray! Then the Wii came out and the competitions began (look at Phils dodgy tennis pose below). You might also notice his dubious hairdo - it was a 'home' job and ended up as a mullet, so now he has to pay Toni & Guy a fortune to sort it out! I didn't particularly want to embarrass him, but I accidentally uploaded the picture below showing the extent of his demise.
The next day, Becks and I got a bit tired of all the Wii testosterone, so we went out to visit the Ramsey Lifeboat charity (the Ramsey RNLI even have their own youtube video click here to view it ). We actually got a tour of a real RNLI lifeboat which was superbulicious, and Becks managed to squeeze a plethora of nautical poses in - go girl! She only did it to make you donate lots of money to the cause by the way!
After all the excitement of being on a lifeboat things went rapidly downhill. I was instructed that we were going to a 'Pantomime' called 'Aladdin' at the Douglas Theatre. I told them that I would rather chop my own leg off with a rusty blade than go to a pantomime, but as usual they weren't having it. We arrived, took our seats, I put in my earplugs, fired up my Ipod touch and
started watching 'Quantum of Solace'. Less than one minute later, my earplugs were forcibly removed by Phil despite my desperate 'windmilling', and I was told that I "wasn't getting into the spirit of things".
Phil certainly didn't have a problem with getting into the spirit of things - he bought himself a Princess Jasmin crown at half time. Then after another 4 hours (or thereabouts) of "he's behind you!" and gratuitous 'booing', the curtain finally came down and I hot-footed it out of there (could I just point out, that I might be a miserable git, but Becks actually fell asleep during this virtuoso performance!).
It was our last day on the Isle of Man, and we felt the need to pay 'homage' (pronounced in the French way) to the TT Races. But without any motorbikes with us - what were we going to do? After a brief sweep of the local vicinity, our problem was quickly solved as Becks demonstrates below. Hang on though - she is our Logistics Manager, but look at the rubbish aerodynamics coming from that elbow configuration!
Now here is an interesting fact - In 1998 I took a borrowed Honda CBR600 (because my bike had been nicked the week previously) to the TT races and managed to pull off an 83mph average lap with a pillion on the back! It sounds good, but at the time, the pros were doing 113mph average laps. AAAAH, but back to reality - with a final few hours to go before the ferry of hell departed, we decided to vist a really cool place called Peel (see pic below).
At exactly the same time, Phil decided that his new hobby was jumping in front of every photograph being taken, and then a seagull plopped on my head. Right, enough of seaside resorts! take me back to England!
Post-haste we boarded the ferry, realised that the bar wasn't open. Panicked, found a smaller bar, got some beers in, declared the ferry 'brilliant', ate loads of pringles, started throwing pringles at each other, got told off, started eating pringles again, debated why people play on gambling machines, watched a movie on my laptop, battery ran out, had a fight over who was going to watch 'finding nemo' on my itouch, I won, had beer mats thrown at me, called them gits, ferry parked at Heysham, we got off...... and it was bloody freezing.
Yes, I mean it was REALLY freezing - minus 2 degrees. And it was 11pm at night. So we all decided to go and stay at Phil's house in Lancashire because it was only an hour away. I nearly died of hypothermia that night, and when I woke up, I could only tune in to Bumpkin FM on the radio. It was at that point that I decided I needed (1) a cooked breakfast (and man alive did we get a fine feast at a place called 'Dianes' in Padiham); (2) to get out of the north as quickly as possible because even the sheep look like they don't want to live there.
I set cruise control, hit the M6 and within 3 hours the south loomed ...... no sheep, no hypothermia, and no walls built without cement. Bliss................ more coming soon