It’s February and that can mean only one thing and its time for another in the infamous series of blogs “A Cultural Review Of…….” Previous editions include RIGA TALLINN WARSAW HAMBURG STUTTGART KRAKOW WROCLAW This years winning city was Douglas on The Isle Of Man. Due to half term weeks being different in local authorities the more exotic location was out of reach and so with the added joy of getting a flight and different money it had somewhat more of a familiar feel of previous trips. So this is the tale of two head teachers, two teachers, a mild mannered janitor, a financial adviser, two retired people, a benefits officer and just a technician’s weekend away in Douglas.
First up and up at 5.30 to head to Liverpool Airport for the flight to Douglas. As it turned out the 25 mins I waited for a Village cab to turn up was three minutes longer than the flight time to Douglas. Man down number one news was broken to us in the airport with a Daniel Sturridge style cry off. It didnt put us off our airport pint. Before we knew it we were at our abode in Douglas aptly named The Adelphi (Cant forget that pissed) and we left our bags with out host for the weekend Eric and a walk down into Douglas city centre and after a quick bit of breakfast we were in The Nags Head for 10am and the big question was how sober would we be for when the second group of our lads land at 5pm. Now The Nags Head was a strange gaff somewhat similar to The Cantina Bar in Star Wars with one local (A scouser though) not too impressed that the pub opened later then the advertised 7am. Anyway about six pints later we headed out in the the gloomy and grey Isle Of Man afternoon to find some more pubs. Two of the lads had what can only be described as the shittest game of pool I have ever seen. Attentions soon focused on the racing channel and I had the last £3 in my account on the 16/1 shot Rear Admiral. After a few shouts of come on the Rear Admiral I was taking £50 out of my account. No matter where in the world we are the 10 pint arm wrestle challenge starts this time in one of the Isle Of Mans more posher venues. We then ended up in The Market Inn were we christened the bar man “Lofty” for his look of 1980’s Eastenders star and he was for some reason seemingly pretending to play a guitar in-between serving drinks. The night got hazier and my normally prolific note taking on my iPhone was not as good as previous years so many of the pub names we visited passed me by (Those early pints from The Nags Head were catching up on me) Time for survival mode and a switch to Desperados and the vodka and orange aided the cause. In any lulls I got the lads to answer some “Emergency questions” and the late plane comers had managed to catch up with us and were playing catch up but I managed to fall in post 12am after some chips on the way home as eating is cheating when out on the ale. I fell into bed with a hazy memory of a pirate playing pool but he wasn’t in fancy dress this was his normal attire.
So no kids, no wife waking me up going to work early and after a 14 hour plus session on the ale and being awake since 5.30am the next day I woke up at 7.20am and still a bit pissed. After trying to convince myself to get back to sleep I went downstairs for breakfast and Eric kindly rustled me up sausage on toast to get me back in the land of the living. It was time to introduce the lads to virtual reality and I had brought my Google Cardboard box and transformed my iPhone into a virtual reality 3d heaven of nature at its finest. Just adding to the issues of my previous days emergency questions it was time to head out to The Nags Head again and a slightly later 10:30am start. It was here I produced the soccer dice for the first round of league fixtures. Soccer dice is just five coloured dice of which your throw the red dice first and it simulates a footy match. There were a couple of raised eyebrows when the first games had to be played. But the league members soon got the list of it and as we went to a second pub to catch some FA Cup footy live not only was it the beers flowing but the inaugural Soccer Dice Premiership live from The Isle Of Man was in full swing.
Next heading onto an Irish Pub of some description a few of the lads had popped out to a pie shop (Eating is cheating) so I decided to see if they had any sausage rolls. It was OK one of the lads had a box of Rennie on him to fight of any heartburn and as the advert says “Don’t Drink & Sausage Roll” if you want to avoid heartburn. Sadly there were no bloody sausage rolls left and after looking at some iced buns I ended up having them for tea as the other lads waited for their pies to be warmed up by the Isle Of Mans slowest microwave. I got chatting to the lady owner (No I wasn’t after some extra marital sausage rolls) as I done this the lads with me got a sweet tooth just as I did looking at the goodies on display and such was my dialect with the shop owner she said go don’t worry lads have them cakes free. Not that it got to me but I walked out with no sausage rolls and had to pay for my two iced buns as they got the pies they wanted and a free cake each ! So leaving the Irish bar I got to see one of the famed TT Racers who had kindly parked up outside. What a thing of beauty his machine was.
Next up we headed off to The Rovers Return to watch more FA Cup football and finish by now the very popular soccer dice league. Side bets were bow being placed on league games and the two highlights of this session was the geriatric derby (130 years in total age for the two players) and the Fay derby as I played a fellow Fay (No relation) and lost the match along with a fiver as well. With Eddie needing a draw to claim the title he wont his last match to claim the title and soon soccer dice become betting dice as well.
We left The Rovers Return to hit The Old Market Inn again to see Lofty and a lad I knew from Twitter who had given us the steer on some pubs to go to tried to make contact but sadly we never got to meet up for a pint and a game of soccer dice. Speaking of which the whole back room of The Market Inn was playing soccer dice and we ended up with a champions league playoff with our league winner Eddie representing with his team Bristol Citties playing the pub champion we had christened Swinging Susie. Susie left with the title and Eddie left with some everlasting memories from his game. I had bought these soccer dice from E-Bay as I did own a set when I was about 10. Never in my wildest dreams did I think 33 years later I would be playing with them with a load of random people in a pub. If only I knew as a 10 year old the pulling power of soccer dice with the females my life would had taken a very different path ! So if your a spotty 15 year old virgin reading this. Get yourself some soccer dice and get out there. I can just about to recall the gang of people dressed as golfers coming in with their pub score card and with memories becoming hazier and iPhone notes becoming less we ended up in a bar until 1am closing and singing a few songs and there was only one place to end up and back to The Nags Head and rest it was still open. But after a drink in there I was full up and coming up to 15 hours on the grog. It was time for some more chips on the way home and back to sleep at The Adelphi dreaming of no sausage roll and paying for my iced buns not that it mattered at all.
Managing to lie in until 8am Sunday it was downstairs for Eric’s sausage on toast and the latecomers who missed yesterdays breakfast got to have a go and enter the world of virtual reality. The mini bus appeared and we headed off to the airport as opened by Nigel Mansell though we did end up breaking his sky box and thus no TV as we waited for the plane. How great after two marathon sessions to have just a 25 min flight home was amazing and before you knew it I was back lying on my bed thinking of how I didn’t make it to the pound bar where for a pound you get access to very cheap drinks. The soccer dice and virtual reality are packed away for another year with Tenerife being an early mention as host city for the second annual soccer dice premiership. Many thanks to the lads who came and the two new lads I got to meet. big ups to the organiser (Often a thankless task)
And not one mention of the Ed Sheeran lover who can’t get a ticket and the Ed Sheeran hater who has a ticket but doesn’t want to go !!
Faymondo x x x x x x x x