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New Year, New Shock

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Happy New Year! Time is cracking on and no mistake. 27 years old, and my close friends and I have all decided a night in with drink, food and games is a better and cheaper alternative than going to a crowded, high-charging pub or nightclub. Actually, the “cheaper” part was a false dawn – Michelle and I invited people round and then proceded to stock up with food and drink until the fridge overflowed. Jac, Debbie, Nick and Sarah popped round, and together we eat, drank, played Buzz and sped our way into 2005. Selfishly, Nick and Sarah stole the show. They announced that they were now officially engaged – a fact I’d almost ruined earlier in the day when I spied them looking furtive in a Guildford jewellers. This is a big moment, Ladies and Gentleman – Nick and I used to trawl Guildford nightly for about a year back in my Sun Microsystem-employed days, and the final marital nail and been planted in that coffin.
(pause for sigh)
So congratulations to both of them, and for goodness sake don’t let any more of you get engaged…

And another year passes by…

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“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”
Anonymous

The last couple of weeks have been a blur of parties, presents, turkey and trimmings.
There was my first office Christmas knees up since I started there, which went amazingly without embarrassment. There was in fact two parties – one traditional Christmas meal and one booze up in Guildford. My manager and I had tried for weeks beforehand to organise the booze up, and despite having to change the date we all managed to turn up and boogie until 3am on Saturday morning. Our chosen venue was the Voodoo Lounge and the cheesy music enabled me to bop until closing time. Limbs flailing and outrageously out of time, I felt it was only fair to apologise for my dancing to the rest of our group the following Monday. No matter though – all agreed it was good fun, and excuses are now being finalised to have another one…
And then there was Mel’s birthday meal at a pub in Fulham. Being so close to Christmas, it was compulsory to have turkey and trimmings, a fact that our stomachs were most pleased about. Jac, however, had promised his girlfriend that he would be round for Chistmas dinner with her that night, and late in the evening, after his second three course meal of the day, I got a text message: “I fell full. And bloated. And about to explode. I don’t think I can manage the eleventh After Eight of the evening…”
Christmas Day was the usual family-based affair, with the largest turkey I’ve ever laid eyes on sitting on the dining table at my grandmothers house. We tucked in, and barely made a dent. My presents were prolific and wonderful, and amongst many other things I am now the proud owner of a tie rack, a cocktail shaker, several DVDs, an XBOX game and a fibre optic light. Playing on my affection for elephants, I’m also now a proud sponsor of a newborn elephant called Tume, with a complementary ticket to go and see the little rascal. A trip to Whipsnade in the near future, I think…
Finally, there was New Year. My usual plan is to leave everything undecided until the last moment, and accept a party offer at the 11th hour. However, this year no-one seemed to have plans. And why, Michelle and I thought on the 30th December, should we go out, spend loads of money on virtually nothing and not remember a thing? As it happens, Jac and Debbie felt the same, so Michelle and I piled round to Jac’s farmhouse, to be presented with a magnificent 3 course meal on a fully laid up dinign table, complete with Winnie The Pooh christmas crackers. It was a grand effort, and 2005 came round with the greatest of ease.
So, there goes another zippedy fast year. I hope you all had a good Christmas!

Michelle’s 24!

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Michelle (and, of course, Becki) was turning twenty-four, and that was a promising excuse for a knees up. What’s more, Jac, Debbie, Nick and Sarah all were booked to turn up, an occurance rarer than a turnip in winter. So off we went to Bar Med on Saturday night for a flask or seven of ale. Before the drink took hold, discussion was held on Shrek 2 (VERY amusing, I recommend a visit), and the lateness of most of the rest of the group. We contented ourselves with a new discovery – plastic shotglasses filled with “intense” flavoured vodka. 3 shots later, and Jac and I were wincing in agony at the vaguely “Tequila and Lime”-flavoured concoction.

The night descended into a haze. We managed to get to The Drink nightclub, where we boogied until 1am, and then our increasing years took their toll, returning us home in the early hours. A splendid night.

Cranleigh Tour

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Few things are more pleasant than a village graced with a good church, a good priest and a good pub.”
John Hillaby
And so, by rights, Cranleigh is as pleasant as can be. Many a time I’ve been out in Cranleigh, and the drunken antics are legendary. Last Saturday was no exception.
We decided to give Jac’s new girlfriend Debbie (welcome to our world, Debbie) a tour of the local hostelries, all five of them. Lucky her. She was treated first to Little Park Hatch, a pub on the outskirt of cranleigh, for a swift tipple to start the evening off. Michelle and I rocked up at 8pm to find the place full of partygoers, dressed in all sorts of fancy dress (the 118118 guys were particularly inspired, I thought). After queueing for an eternity for a drink, we managed to get a round, and joined the group. Nick, as expected, turned up a little while later, and we merrily buzzed with the thought of the night ahead.
It was then that the night took a turn. One of the 118118 men suddenly lashed out at a man next to him. A considerable fight ensued and, brave souls that we are, we all stood back, backs against the wall, and watched in lurid fascination, wincing as head hit table, gasping as chairs flew. Only Simon H managed to be brave enough to break it up, and after several compliments, he suggested now would be a good time to move on. Event Number One had passed.
Event Number 2 happened mere moments later, when Lucy crashed into an unsuspecting car on the way out of the car park. Someone, we thought, was plainly out to ruin our night.
After a few minutes, we reached a sleepy tavern called the White Hart, confident that we would not be interrupted in our quest for fun. A darts board provided entertainment while I again waltzed to the bar in search of a hearty drink. The barman appeared confused as he served us – nothing unusual in that, I thought, the old soak was probably craving his next pint of bitter. But this shaking hands were a definite cause for concern. I asked around, and Lee piped up that he usually asks for a “pint of bitter, shaken not stirred”. Duly amused, I thought nothing more of it.
Until, of course, Event Number 3 decided to introduce itself. A loud crash signalled that all was not well behind the bar, and we leaned over to see the barman laid out on the floor, convulsing, dribbling and with a trail of blood dripping from a large scar on his cheek. Odd, we thought, and while others had the presence of mind to call an ambulance, we merely stood, stunned at our misfortune. The barman’s colleague fussed around, claiming she didn’t know what to do, and in a rather macabre moment, began serving customers again, mere feet away from the poor wretch shivering on the floor.
It was then that I discovered that Cranleigh is not a place to be if you’re planning on being severely ill. A full half an hour passed before the ambulance turned up, by which time the barman has righted himself and plonked down on a convenient bench, bucket in hand, looking utterly confused. The bench was considerably inconvenient for our bowels however – as Simon H quipped, “The man’s sat in front of the toilets, and has in his hand the only other way we could empty our bladders…”.
We ended up in the Cranley Hotel, which managed to calm our frayed nerves. We supped pints, shorts and shots, and got very merry. Simon H began to utter highly inappropiate comments, and we decided to leave while the going was good. Michelle and I wearily got into bed at Simon H’s, a welcome sight at the end of a very bizarre night.