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Big Weekend

7th June 2005 • Dave

It’s been a busy few days, hence the lack of bloggering. As you can see I have finally managed to get the old photo blogging by phone working which is a step forward.

Martin had some work in the North of England last week so he stayed at my gaff from Tuesday to Friday. One of the nights we went out for a curry with Phil. I think Martin has blogged about that on his site at so no need to retell that story here. Oh actually I just checked Martin’s blog and he neglected to mention Philip’s drunken Paul O’Grady impersonations in the taxi!

Wednesday night ended up with Martin and I Skyping with RK. She thought I was mad with her for some inexplicable reason. But then she can be intriguing like that sometimes. I think everything is ok now. Guess we’ll find out next month in Nevada.

Thursday I actually managed to do some house work for once in preparation for JW who was coming up from South Wales for the weekend. After a quick Guinness in the Railway we went to the Fox where apparently we mistakenly walked into a wake. Doh. I had no idea that Andy the landlord of the Fox had in fact recently passed away and Thursday was the day of his funeral. Rather poignantly the Fox was serving an excellent beer called Black Gold. We then moved to Yates’ where somehow cigarette ash got in my drink which rather embarrassingly made me throw up. Yuck.

Walking into a wake and vomiting was not the welcome to Preston I had planned for JW. We then moved to my local where the land lord and his gf were having a dingdong. Could things get much worse? Apparently they could. My xgf walked in and stood at the bar not really talking to anyone. I bought her a drink, tried to make sure she was ok and invited her out for a meal with Martin and JW. Needless to say my offering to pay for her drink was welcome but the dinner invitation and my concern for her well-being was not. This was only the second or third time I’d seen her since the break-up, the other time was a week ago at the wedding reception of a mutual friend where quite frankly I was pretty embarrassed by her behaviour. Enough said.

Martin, JW and I moved on for something to eat. The Ocean Bar and Grill in Preston is truly excellent. The portions could be slightly more generous, and the prices could be a little lower, but then I guess one gets what one pays for. The quality is about as good as it gets in Preston and I don’t hesitate in recommending the Ocean Bar and Grill on Cannon Street.

Friday, JW and I continued the celebrations of Liverpool’s fifth European Cup victory by making a pilgrimage to Liverpool. We visited and photographed the trophy it self as well as joining the stadium tour. The highlight of the tour is undoubtedly the moment one walks through the tunnel from the players’ dressing room to the dugout. Following the official tour we took a few moments to remember the victims of the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster where 96 Liverpool fans lost their lives.
Later on Friday We met with a couple of mates from college in Liverpool city centre. At one point during the evening after untold amounts of alcohol in one of Liverpool’s finest public houses, I ended up deep in conversation, inadvertently on my knees, in front of JW, which was misconstrued by some of the locals as a proposal. lol. We got back to Preston at stupid o’clock after a pretty lengthy train journey and talking to a group of four women who all clamed to be called Debbie!

Saturday, JW and I went by train to Blackpool. We took a pretty bracing walk in the wind along the seafront before partaking in the obligatory fish and chips.

We got hopelessly lost in Blackpool tower which quite frankly is a bit of a disappointment unless you are under 7 and want to jump about in Jungle Jim’s, or are over 70 and are into ballroom dancing and the Charlie Chaplin exhibition. We were both distinctly underwhelmed by all of this. I felt myself becoming ageist by the minute. We had really fancied the Walk of Faith which is a glass panel 500ft above the pavement, unfortunately this was closed due to the high winds. Blackpool Pleasure Beach was only a tram ride away, so we beat a hasty retreat from the tower muttering obscenities about Blackpool’s tallest building into the wind as we went.

While Martin was at the Epsom Derby, the most famous flat race in the racing calendar, JW and I began our Blackpool Pleasure Beach insanity with the Grand National, a wooden twin-track racing coaster, which pretty much rattled my bones and was a good opener for a dash around a selection of the major rides at this world famous theme park. The Wild Mouse, a traditional wooden Wild Mouse ride, was next which really scared the crap out of me. The cars are tiny and you can genuinely feel the car coming away from the track on the endless array of tight bends. I think we concluded the animal theme with the Steeple chace which is a 3-lane steel coaster ride. Bling, one of the pleasure Beach’s newer offerings was pretty awesome, basically this spins you around in every dimension about 100ft above the ground. This was closely followed by one of my old favourites, the Revolution, which according to the web site was “Europe’s first 360 degree looping roller coaster” this is a bit old school but it does take you through the loop backwards which gets the ald stomach moving just a tad. I guess the Revolution is comparable to the Thunder loop at Alton Towers. Next just time for a quick pit stop at the hotdog stand before we joined the massive line of people waiting to go on the Pepsi Max Big One, “The tallest fastest roller coaster in Europe. 235ft high and over one mile of twisting and turning at speeds of up to 87mph”. We certainly needed a pint after that one. We were starting to run out of time and were having trouble finding the end of the queues for the Spin Doctor and Valhalla, so we finished off with the Big Dipper which is another traditional wooden roller coaster. So plenty left for us to checkout if we ever make a return trip. But all told we gave a pretty good account of ourselves, and probably just about got our money’s worth.

With the light fading and the park packing up for the night, after the thrills and spills of the pleasure beach it was time for something a bit more relaxing and dignified. We managed to stumble across a quiet little Chinese restaurant away from the front where JW had the special curry and I sampled sweet and sour pork. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but reckon I could find it again if my life depended on it.

We made it back to Preston for about half ten and met Donna in the Sun for a couple. There was much mirth made about the state of my neck. Eh hem. And we got talking to some random people who invited us to join their pub quiz team on Sunday.

For reasons which aren’t entirely clear we watch the DVD of my skydive when we got back to the flat, oh and also watched Alan Partridge. I’m hoping there is no connection?

Sunday, we did help win the pub quiz in the Continental, although not before having lunch at the Baytree and dropping by the Market Tavern and the Stanley.

With JW’s help Today I fixed Donna’s phone, saw JW on to the train and got some work done. So it’s back to work proper now. Tons of stuff to do. And not much time in which to do it. But that’s my gallivanting over for a little while at least.

I’m slightly concerned that my flight tickets haven’t turned up yet. I’m leaving on the 28th. I’ve borrowed Martin’s iRiver, portable hard disk based mp3 player/recorder thingy, so I need to get comfortable with using that so I can do this Podcasting thing when I embark on my travels.

Right bedtime. I need some beauty sleep.

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