A Tale of Two Cities
Geezers live up to Great Expectations in 73 Gallon Romp in Caerphilly Club Bar
an apocryphal tale as told by The Prof
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times [enough with the Dickens Ed!]
OK, lets start again.
Great Western Railways (sorry First Western PLC) missed the chance to fund a complete renovation of the railways by failing to have a pork roll concession at the meeting point Reading Station. It was like the beginning of an episode of Mission Impossible as the crack squad of specially trained Euro-travelling Geezers assembled. We had linguists, drunks, gigglers, gourmands, under-cover operatives, trained killers, sparks, a techie and the leader of the group the organiser of GITS (European Branch) a woman who just goes by the initials of RB. The only way this elite group could recognise each other was by the secret handshake, the occasional raised eyebrow and the vast array of emblems on their clothing. The Impossible Mission was to go to Caerphilly and try to geezer more than ever before a tall order when you consider the successful missions to Munster, Glasgow, Beziers, Bridgend and the mythical Players Awards Weekend! According to sources close to the carpet this DG trip was the largest movement of people since the Normandy landings (or was it the Berlin airlift or the Long March).
The DGs got on a train (the correct one thanks to RB) - a Stephenson hokey cokey, triple bogied, de-flanged 404876 Class according to AJB! The Geezer stairlift/field gun team managed to get Lex on the train in record time (0.4 seconds). The timers watch was stopped when Lex Catflap Holding, in time honoured fashion, fired off three <CENSORED>
..</CENSORED> which left a smile on his face and brought admiration from all on the train!
Prof, in his fact finding mode, discovered that train buffet cars can serve alcohol before 11am, much to his delight and First Westerns profit (no sorry there? Ed)
The journey westward continued away from the ugly car park, past the Hanging Gardens of Swindon and onwards. More drinks were consumed by the usual suspects - Terry, Smiler and No Name Andy (who was to get a proper name on this trip but of that more later)
We arrived at Cardiff Station and true to form those Toffs from Sandhurst RB & Andy VIII had a palanquin and team of bearers to carry them to the hotel while the plebs from Surrey, Middlesex and London had to walk to the hotel ably led by Prof and his amazing route finding skills, thanks to hisability to read maps and the metal plate in his head which picks up signals from GPS satellites.
Entering the hotel we were confronted with a locked door but the push of a knob and a few well chosen words hello, we want to check in, can we come in please? were all that was needed. The operations base was then set up.
Bags were dumped and it was decided a drink was needed so a public house was carefully chosen, The Springbok that famous Australian bar according to a certain natural blonde in our party! The fact that Prof had not been asked to leave it in the past (one of the few he hasnt embarrassed himself in by all accounts) may have been one factor, the cheapness of the beer may have been another, the fact that they sponsored last seasons Quins v Natal game may have been another or it might just have been because it was visible from Terrys hotel room! The first of many twenty guinea whips was taken from all and the drinking commenced with gusto (or rather with Guinness because they didnt serve gusto). Some solids were also taken aboard the DGs were happy.
AJB then suggested a challenge we should try to break the record of the number of pubs we had been in on an away trip (four on the Glasgow trip). So we left and were soon in another pub Wellingtons where another large round was bought. Sadly half the group had been dragged off shopping by RB & MrsB so the valiant drinkers had to battle through a large round on their own. But they were up to the challenge and even managed a few rounds of tap tap.
Prof was then seen making sly phone calls and said he had to go back to the hotel because he had to meet someone, and since he was holding the whip and most people hadnt checked in yet it was decided he should be followed. It turns out that he was meeting a stunning blonde and her young son who was wearing a Quins shirt. Could this be an ex-wife or a secret lover? No, disappointing for the rumourmongers it turned out to be his best mates wife Alex and her son Hugh.
Since the DGs had been out of the pub for more than four minutes they became thirsty and started to get restless again so a return to the Springbok was decided. More drinking ensued this time accompanied with pool playing and the full DG group reformed with an extra honorary member Rob Profs mate. At this point No Name Andy was no more and No Name Chalky was born due to the fact he would apply pool cue chalk to anything that was sticking out mostly noses and RobShews knob! It was decided that this great event warranted a celebratory meal so Rob (the local) was sent out to find a restaurant, he returned minutes later with a booking for twenty people in an Italian restaurant. Lobster and champagne may not have been on the menu but they would take 20 Geezers with no notice on a Friday night with no waiting. The Geezer stairlift worked well on the way up and wine and solids were ordered. SleepyHollow then turned up and bravely joined the motley crew, sadly Rob had to leave because he had a proper job to do the next day but Prof bravely ate his main course and it wasnt even pork rolls!
We were only asked to quieten down once by the understanding staff which thinking of the people there was quite amazing perhaps the staff learned some of Burkeys sound blocking and concentration techniques. The restaurant will be appearing on the Solids section of the site soon. The Geezer stairlift worked again but the food and drink had taken its toll and the svelte DGs had trouble standing side by side on the stairs.
The DGs wandered back to the hotel and found the bar closed so decided to go to bed but a few (Terry, James, Innuendo Andy, Lou and Prof) decided to get a couple of bottles of red because they obviously hadnt drunk enough. This group was joined in Terry & Profs room by Viks the Geezerettes took the two beds and the Geezers ended up on the floor - isnt it always the way! Eventually everyone made it back to their own beds.
Dawn broke and what a dawn it was! Bright sun shone down on Cardiff could this be true? Could this really be Wales?
Most people made it to breakfast and much drunken giggling ensued. Prof tried to recreate that classic scene from Cool Hand Luke by easting 50 hard boiled eggs in record time. Innuendo took on the job of toast master by putting about 30 pieces of bread into various toasters but whether he actually ate any is another matter it has been suggested that James Hayter ate them all. AJB turned up wearing war paint, but it seemed that he had mixed up his toothpaste and shaving cream but at least his skin was minty fresh and free from plaque. SleepyHollow reported on his difficulty with the taps in his room and said he would rather go outside for a handpump which we all thought was pretty strong language for that time of the morning!
With breakfast over another split in the personnel occurred with one group, lead by Headmaster SleepyHollow, heading straight for Caerphilly and MrsB dragging Binkys credit cards and the rest of the group shopping.
The five minute walk to the station was uneventful the WRU was Geezered and the standard denizens of railway stations were met a Glaswegian drunk and an eastern European beggar. AJB called to see where we were and informed us of his state of undress which made Sleepy Hollow lose it for a surprising amount of time it was probably the longest flat-spin of the tour. AJB caught up with us in a fully betrewsed state and when the train turned up he again used his newly discovered railway engineers knowledge to inform us what this engine was called Ivor.
Ivor the Valley Line train sped us through the beautiful countryside and we arrived at Caerphilly on time. It was suggested that we needed a bit of culture before finding a pub so off to the castle we went with SleepyHollow leading the way, chuckling occasionally and mentioning toothpaste repeatedly.
Innuendo Andy turned out to be an expert on the internal structure of the castle and he could answer all the questions asked of him e.g. Whats at the top of the stairs?, Nothing, Are you sure?, Yes, Did you try that door?, Yes, Was there anything behind it?, No, What not even a toothpaste concession?, No repeat ad nauseum.
After leaving the castle we met up with Sally & RobShew who seemed to have spent hours driving round looking for a parking space. The long march top the Pontygwindy Alehouse started. Its just round the corner we were told, it turned out to be a fair trot away which would have been fine had RobShew not had trouble with the repeated big curbs he had to mount. He even managed to lose one of his tyres but the DG pit crew managed to replace it faster than Ferrari would and even added some of the skin off Profs thumbs to act as an adhesive so it didnt reoccur.
The Alehouse was reached and the Geezer Stairlift launched RobShew up the stairs instantly, Prof The Whip was also hurried to the bar because there was already a tab being run (they were very, very trusting) and more drinks needed ordering. The staff were amazingly friendly and didnt mind a load of betrewsed ones descending upon them. One of the barmaids was Geezered by SleepyHollow, food was ordered and consumed and friends were made with some of the local Caer fans.
People started getting nervous when we realised that RugbyBird was nowhere to be seen with our tickets and after a phone call it was discovered that the shoppers had tried to get a train (three in fact) to get to Caerphilly but they all failed could this be a cunning ploy by the sponsors of Caer to stop travelling fans getting to the game? Taxis were ordered but they late comers decided to go straight to the ground rather than having some ales first.
Everyone finally managed to get into the ground and the first thing that was done was a rousing shout of Get your hair cut Sherriff which was to set the tone (and volume) for the rest of the trip. The bar was soon found and the DGs assembled in their natural habitat. Prof immediately started winding up the bar staff by ordering huge rounds when they were already overworked, and each time he seemed to order an extra pint of Guinness which he said was for James Hayter who he was sure was with the group but who no one had yet seen.
A final round was ordered just before kick off and the drinks taken round to the stand opposite which seemed full of Quins fans betrewsed and un-betrewsed alike. Prof and Smiler had both lost their tickets already - RB should have held on to them for a bit longer but by using their natural charm and dazzling smiles made it into the stand. It turned out that the referees name was Derrière (or some such) so it was decided before kick off that he was a bit of an arse a thought that he did little to dispel during the game. With the referee being French the cunning DGs put their linguistic expert (Lou) to work translating that immortal phrase Every time referee! into French Tout le temps referee! She also suggested some other names we could use for the referee but none of them can be published! Cries such as youre just trying to get revenge for Waterloo, Oi Cup (the apparent name of the twins who were running touch) youre merde.
The whistle went, the shout went up, and the game commenced. The match is described elsewhere so I will not repeat it here. There was some fantastic noise being made by the Quins support. Nathan Williams showed us he can not only kick but can also skip, he was also seen flapping his hands in the air a bit like Kermit why he did this we have no idea. Jeweller not only showed he can run very fast but also showed he could enter a flat spin quite quickly too! The banter from the injured players who were sitting with the supporters in the stand was high quality and they had good suggestions as to what to do with Minor Irritants - when it was asked if they were quotable a rather deep London accent said yes, you can quote them as being said by Chris Bell!
After the game the main DG party went over to the club house bar, Prof was sent to the bar and started buying round after round. In fact it had to be arranged that BaldRick would always be given his pint last in a round otherwise he would have finished it before the round had been paid for! More rounds were bought and members of the bar staff started hiding whenever they saw the whip approaching! A few Geezer cards were produced and LittleSharon was lifted to the ceiling to put one in place in the rafters. She certainly had solid lifters in the form of Binky and Prof in fact Binky could probably have just reached up and put it in place himself I wonder why we didnt think of that at the time?
A little while later it was realised that one of our party was missing where was SleepyHollow? A brief search showed a trail of empty pie tins, pint glasses and signed photographs of the young James Garner, it was followed and he was eventually found in the posh lounge bar yes, SleepyHollow, with his reputation, in a posh bar! He eventually returned to the less upwardly mobile DGs (apart from LittleSharon of course). He was in possession of a Caerphilly clubmans club tie, socks, jacket and false teeth once a mugger always a mugger I suppose!
Despite this faux pas the home fans seemed to like the visitors, apparently one even tried to call a live sports call in show on the radio to say what a great time we were having either that or he was trying to call the police to report SleepyHollow!
By this time the singing had started, it was suggested that something Welsh would be nice to sing in the bar so we tried to sing Bread of Heaven until it was discovered we only knew half the first verse and the chorus, so Delilah was chosen and it was discovered that we knew more of the words but very little of the tune! Then a local came to out rescue in the form of Rocking Jonnie he was due to sing later on in a professional capacity but he was happy to join in and lead our sub-amateur attempts. More singing and drinking continued, a few people were Geezered, the Smiler stomp was attempted and much bantering was done. Pooky was seen limping into a car later and was the brunt of some banter along the lines of physician heal thyself.
Then horror of horrors, the Guinness ran out, a round of bitter was bought instead (including the mystery surplus pint as usual). The bar staff were sent to all corners of the ground and eventually another full barrel was discovered and a riot was averted.
It was nearing time to leave, we had just two more rounds (it would obviously have been more if Terry had been carrying the whip) and taxis were ordered by the kind people of Caerphilly RFC they were probably very happy to get us out of their bar, and who can blame them! Various DGs got into various motor charabancs, the final one being a taxi that SleepyHollow, BaldRick, Smiler and The Prof got into. The computer on the dashboard said the pick up was for members of the Harlequins team you just have to wonder what the driver must have thought seeing we four getting in. SleepyHollow being the least svelte got into the front seat and the three ex-props slipped daintily into the back how the back doors didnt explode I cant imagine!
Most met up in the hotel bar which was coloured like the inside of a liver or at least like a healthy leather, something few DGs know anything about. The group then split with some going on an extremely long constitutional to find food, others going clubbing, others to a party in the rooms and others on a pub and club crawl. The Chinese Uncle was introduced to various bars and clubs in Cardiff including the hotel reception which supplied the ginger ale as the DGs already had a bottle of vodka with them.
A little sleep was had by some, a lot by others. Sunday morning was like all Sunday mornings after away games grey and chucking it down. Breakfast was had by some and avoided like the plague by others. Some DGs left by car others left the hotel for the rain sodden streets. The group again split, some went off for coffee others went to the cinema to see Red Dragon (which didn't turn out to be a history of Welsh rugby) which is well worth seeing whilst in the company of RugbyBird apparently if you are really scared the baddie cant get you if your feet arent on the ground bless!
The group reassembled in the Springbok bar and solids were eaten and more pints were bought and consumed. Then it was time to leave for the station. The hotel was checked out of and taxis were ordered. Terry showed that he is still fit by racing one of the taxis to the station on foot and winning!
A couple of newspapers were bought and what great write-ups we found, especially in the Western Mail which we took great delight in discussing with the other people waiting on the platform. The station master was asked where our carriage would be and we were told it would be at the rear of the train. Unfortunately he got it completely wrong (it was a bit like a Tofty drop goal) so the DGs charged up the other end as the train pulled in Lex did a very good impersonation of a torpedo streaking through the centre of the crowd, felling people as he went. The DG Field Gun and Stairlift team worked well and all managed to get onto the train safely.
The carriage we were in was non-smoking but thankfully wasnt non-smirking (soory it had to be said) and the alcohol had certainly not left the blood stream of most present. Papers were read, jokes were told, Innuendo Andy giggled, Prof and Terry headed off to the bar to use up the rest of the whip one of our party ordered hot chocolate!
The train eventually pulled into Reading Station pretty much on time goodbyes were said and most DGs then took about 3 hours to get home thanks to various train services!
And that, gentle reader, was the tale of our trip to Cardiff and Caerphilly.
God bless us, every one, especially RB for organising it and the good people of Caerphilly RFC for making us all feel so welcome.