Travelling from Cardiff to Newcastle was starting to become a real problem. Flights from Cardiff would see me arrive a day early and leave a day after everyone else. Trains would take six hours and cost a small fortune. I also wasn’t sure of the start time of the tournament so guessed that I would have to leave Cardiff at six in the morning. Driving would logistically pose the same problems.
Eventually I posted an SOS on the RTR forum to meet up with someone on the Friday for a few pints and hopefully share a lift with on the Saturday. Luckily for me Dave “no cash” answered my call.
I had only met Dave once before but that was enough to convince me to jump in my car on Friday morning and head for Blackpool. Dave is one of these rare beasts that can drink his own body weight and he doesn’t care what is put in front of him. I’ve seen him start on Stella, move onto Guinness, have a swift couple of beers before ending with a few ciders. Add in all the Jamieson Whiskey he puts away as well and he’s a handful to go out boozing with. My kind of guy.
I got to Blackpool about two thirty in the afternoon and had a wander around whilst waiting for Dave to finish work. The one thing I can be 100% certain on is that at quarter past three I was in a pub called the Castle drinking my first Guinness.
I met with Dave shortly after that and we had a couple of swiftys in some Irish bars before heading for something to eat with another drink, of course. By this time I think we were on Cider but am not certain.
Next up was the legendary Tower Lounge. Legendary is their description not mine but it was interesting. It reminded me of the night club in the second Bourne film where the Russian assassin is drinking vodka surrounded by a load of gorgeous Women. The club is bouncing and the music is blaring out. He gets a call and walks out and it’s daylight. The Tower Lounge was exactly the same. There were stag nights, hen nights, drunks, idiots, the whole spectrum. We were drinking our third cider in there and I happened to glance at the main entrance. It was a glorious sunny day, six in the evening when you would expect it to be about midnight.
By eight o’clock we must have had ten plus pints. Everything was starting to get a bit messy.
I know we watched a Rugby match on the TV in a Weatherspoons pub and we got chatting to some girls on a hen night in another bar. At some point in the evening Dave suggested we head to the Grosvenor Casino to play some cash.
When the taxi pulled up outside the front door of the Casino I fell out. And when I say fell out I mean fell out. I crawled on my hands and knees to the bouncer who was stood shaking his head and used his suit jacket and tie to pull myself up. He wasn’t impressed and immediately told us we were too drunk to come in. I say “we” but he meant “me”. Dave tried to argue our case pointing out that we were so bladdered we were bound to do a few hundred at the tables. The bouncer was having none of it though so we headed back to the bars. It is at this point that I officially can remember nothing.
Where we ended up is unknown but I was sat at the bar speaking to some random people and Dave started playing pool. At some point Dave beat some guy and gave him a mouthful before doing a little winners dance in front of him. The guy took exception and swung the pool cue at him. Dave punched him and the guys mates who were stood behind Dave jumped in. Dave can remember curling up into a ball as these guys pummelled him and then being rolled out of the door by the bouncers. About half an hour later I walked out and asked him where he had been. Some wing man I am.
Dave thinks we called it a night at this point and headed back to his house. The time was unknown. From the little bits I can remember I guess we averaged two pints an hour up until midnight. Not the best way for the two of us to start the weekend off with a serious game of poker coming up and the reputation of RTR to uphold.
Day two tomorrow.