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Sarah’s Party

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“No party is any fun unless seasoned with folly.”
Desiderius Erasmus
And Nick’s girlfriend Sarah’s pre-Christmas party was no exception. Last Friday night, we rocked up, got merry, played games, stripped off (ish), flung meringue, and had a lot of fun. Pictures are shown in the Photos section (click the link on the main menu), courtesy of a bald headed man whose name escapes me…

London Stansted Airport

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London Stansted Airport” the sign finally informed us.

What would you deduce from that simple, triple-worded name? That it was an airport, obviously. That the area of Stansted housed the airport, of course. And that it was either either in, or very near, London.
All correct. Apart from the London part. Getting from Guildford to Watford, a regular trip for friends of Jac, is under an hour away, so I willingly agreed to pick Nick and Sarah up from Stansted on Sunday afternoon, looking forward to the trip. And then, come Sunday morning, Michelle printed out the AA directions off their website. “84 miles” it informed us with a papery grin. “1hr 45min” it added with emphasis. “Bloody hell” I replied, “that’s just one way too…”
And so it was that we toddled up the A3 round the M25, up to M11 and took a left at the signpost for the Outer Hebrides. Still, it was a fun trip, with Michelle and I hastily constructing an amusing sign out of a broken-down box to raise, airport chauffeur-like, on Nick’s arrival.
So, Nick’s back, and very burnt. In fact, Nick’s back IS very burnt… (ah ha ha… ahem…)

Two Open Mike nights. Spoiled, I am

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So, finally you get an update on last weekend. It was actually a very musical one – on Friday night, as Michelle swanned around at a hen night, I went to a nice little bar in Guildford, Jo Clarks, with Nick and Sarah. We watched my good friend Simon Broadhurst play with Michael Taylor. They played one of my favourite songs – standing in line, marking time – waiting for the welfare dime, and I was frankly in awe of them. I was in awe again two days later, at the Cranley Hotel on Open Mike night. Sparky, the resident Open Miker, was backed up by Jac and Shaun H, and it was a very good night.
And here I am, back in the five-day working stretch, and looking forward to a wedding on Saturday. Not mine, I hasten to add. Talking of weddings, a little announcement was made…

Bar Mambo and Alex

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Where do you go for a cheap night out in Guildford? Surprisingly, it’s Bar Mambo. Their newest promotion, ?5 entry, free drinks until 10pm, is a corker, especially when you’ve chronically overspent withg 12 days to go until payday. On Friday night, Michelle and I rolled up, found a prime table, and waited for Nick and girlfriend Sarah. We waited some more. Nick is notorious for bad timekeeping, and managed to rock up around 50 minutes late. Sarah blamed it on Nick, and we of course fully believed her. We moved to Bar Med as Shunta and Lucy arrived, and a very good night was had – I got fairly sozzled on the ?5, which I think is probably a financial record. Debtometer WILL be pleased.

Isle of Wight

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The Isle of Wight is very good, you know. Michelle and I have just spent 4 days on the island, staying right next to Shanklin beach. We timed it to perfection. Not only was the temperature never below 34 degrees, but Cowes Week was in full flow. Well done us.
We’d booked the outgoing ferry at 10am. Plenty of time to get up and ready, we thought. Then the tickets came through – we had to be at the port 45 minutes before sailing, which managed to hit the rush hour quite beautifully. Our plan of a hearty meal at a greasy spoon went straight out the window, and we arrived in the nick of time. After a short delay while an escaped dog was chased around the ferry, we set sail.
One of the reasons we chose the Isle of Wight was because Michelle’s brother runs a hotel over there. Very nice it is too – not that we got to stay in it, of course. It was full to the brim. So, we landed ourselves next door at The Lincoln Hotel, a family-run bed and breakfast. Lovely it was too – the owner’s wife was a little too chatty, and our room was a glorified shoebox, but otherwise very pleasant.
Isle of Wight is in a time warp. And I mean that in the nicest possible way. Everyone’s friendly, for a start. One night we decided we should turn in, and left the hotel bar. As we passed the rest of the guests, every single one of them turned round, smiled and said goodnight. You don’t get that around here.
The 3 days we spent there was a mix of beach, sleep and walking, with a nightly smattering of restaurant meals. We visited Cowes twice, firstly to marvel at the boats and buy some sunglasses, and the second time to take in the famed Cowes Fireworks. Very good they were too, although the local decided it wasn’t a patch of previous years. It’s all relative, I suppose.
We also took in a walk through Shanklin Chine, which is basically a walk through woods, down to the beach. The decription doesn’t do it justice though – it really was a beautiful walk, full of trees and rivers and wildlife.
For the final night we dined in splendour at restaurant up the road with Michelle’s brother Matt and his fiance Sarah, who we’d been badgering constantly for help since we’d arrived. It was a very enjoyable night.
So, that’s the Isle of Wight done then.