The 2nd of my 2 Christmas Do’s.
This one was as bit closer to home, in a marquee right next to the village hotel where I work.
I normally hook up with all my friends over Christmas, and since Glenn was nearby, I invited him to pop over and meet some of our friends. Glenn had actually booked a Twin room in the hotel, which meant I wouldn’t have to leave at 11, to get the train home.
I finished work at 5pm, and went to check in. I made some coffee in the room, and started watching Star Trek 3, the search for Spock on my laptop. I was beginning to relax, when a loud banging noise, came from the room next door which was very annoying.
I decided I would take immediate action.
I put on my iPod earphones so I couldn’t hear it, and waited for Glenn to arrive so that he could sort it out. In life, somebody always has to be Mr Shit, to get things done (for my part, I am to much of a coward, to volunteer willingly).
Glenn arrives, with 2 bottles of Bud. Its discovered that the noise is perfectly normal. After all, we are in the room next to the Squash court !.
They offer us an alternative room, but instead, 2 of their excellent breakfasts are negotiated.
Its been decided that a core of people, will meet up at 7pm in the Waterside pub (a sort of pretend Witherspoons, with much more expensive prices).
Glenn asks me about setting up a VPN backup solution between his 2 sites. Using empty glasses, I construct an infrastructure model and talk him through it. As our project nears completion, the “test network” is dismantled by a barmaid, so the conversation changes to more traditional Christmas faire.
A load of lads from the Warehouse arrive (Joking aside, its been a good year for me, and I’m great full to a lot of people for their help. Among them, the Warehouse lads have never let me down and are always upbeat and friendly whenever I see them).
At this point, its mentioned that some people have cancelled but their tables have been paid for. Its suggested that Glenn becomes an imposter. With this in mind, we buy Pete a pint of Cider, and begin modeling his work practices (the idea being, Glenn will be able to identify where the toilets are, what time break is etc, should hotel staff question him).
Another pint, and we head across the road to commence the formal part of our evening. Tracey and Lisa are with us, and since the navigating is left to them, we wander around the back of the bar, where their employees are smoking, and around the side, where empty bottles have been stacked. This adds about 10 extra minutes to our journey, on a freezing night.
Once in the Marquee, I get some drinks (I wont say that the prices are expensive, but they don’t even kiss you afterwards in there). I catch up with a few people, say happy Christmas, offer pints etc.
We are ushered straight to our table, so Glenn’s “undercover cop” performance won’t be needed.
On another serious note, I had a really good evening. It was great meeting loads of people, I normally only see at work. We had a table with Tracey and Lisa to ourselves.
A DJ, played the usual Christmas stuff, then it was time for food. I really enjoyed it. I sometimes find that organised Christmas parties, throw it on a plate, since they’ve got your money already. The food in this case, wouldn’t have looked (or tasted) out of place in the best Chester restaurants.
A sort of 60’s look band, kept everyone dancing (especially our polish girls who were in high spirits)
The evening ends. With the last squash session booked at 9pm, I thought we were okay. But what’s this, 4 inches of snow have fallen during the evening, and most taxi companies have sent their staff home.
We decide (like most of the evening guests) to head for the hotel bar. We’re fine, but our women-folk are stranded.
I briefly consider going to bed and leaving them, but through my drunken haze, had the following thoughts:
A. I wouldn’t want someone to leave me in that situation.
B, Its Christmas after all.
C, Word will spread around work, and I will be branded a cad and bounder (or perhaps more contemporary versions of those words).
We have a pretty good time, hanging around the bar, there was a real bustle to the evening (which reminded me of the bar in Star Wars).
Last orders at 2:30am, presented us with a problem (and anyway, I didn’t know bar’s closed to hotel residents). We take everyone back to our room as its warm, and we can make a cup of tea and see if the taxi situation changes.
A knock at the door, an hour later, and we have a 3rd refugee. Its getting late now, so bed space, is distributed evenly, and I end up on the floor with a bath towel for a pillow and my coat for a quilt (one of the girls puts a blanket over me, which they found in the cupboard (and I could have found myself, if I’d had any common sense).
The taxi situation is rectified a couple of hours later and our guests leave.
Back in my own warm bed, I wake up (Its Glenn calling me to breakfast, not my Phonak alarm clock, which vibrates and makes me feel like I’m waking up to an earthquake).
We head downstairs for breakfast and its superb (although someone has stupidly burned toast, and the room smells like a house fire).
The excellent start to the day, goes bad. I’m supposed to go to Manchester to meet some friends in Newton Heath, and to celebrate Tony’s birthday in the evening. Trains have been cancelled, and if I get there, its not guaranteed I’ll get back.
Glenn is driving back to Chester, and I’ve got 1 minute to decide. I head for home, and text apologies, to all concerned.
This is the roof of Glenn’s car. We put a water-bottle into the snow to test its depth.
Back home, I’ve still got loads of prep to do for Christmas, and realise I have 9 hours of free time, which I haven’t budgeted.
I’m all set for Christmas now. Near and far, best wishes. Thanks to everyone who came to the party, I had a smart time.
The search for adventure continues…