Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Happy Days

Sometimes life gets a little tricky. Sometimes there are bumps in the road, the occasional anti-personell mine upon life’s great highway.

Last weekend was not one of those weekends.

Last weekend has been one of those weekends that come along every now and then. The ones that you think are going to be good, but turn out to be ace. I know I’m a lucky man at the worst of times but last weekend was, frankly, fecking brilliant.

The IMA and I were north of the border again and we had a busy itinerary planned for Saturday, starting at 9am in a Glasgow florist, with a million and one people to see and things to do after that. I had to work until 1pm in Corby on the preceding Friday, which meant that we wouldn’t be setting off in the car from Leicester until 1.45pm at the absolute earliest. It’s generally around a 6 hour drive if you’re lucky and given the prospect of the M6 on a Friday afternoon getting more choked up than an X-factor contestant talking about their gran, we made the only sensible choice available to us. We arranged to go for a night out with a couple of the IMA’s oldest friends.

On Friday Night.

In Edinburgh.

It was ace. The hotel room was stunning – this was the view from our bed:

We had pre-drinks like a pair of students in our room, and then we went to meet up in the restaurant. I had a chicken and haggis burger, we drank, we laughed, we went over the road to a pub, we heard tales of accidentally-stolen guinea pigs, we laughed and drank some more. Finally, after a nightcap and a carefully devised plan for peace in The Middle East mainly revolving around pygmy goats (did I mention we’d been drinking?), we collapsed into bed. At around 1.45am. They were lovely people and I had a hoot.

The morning continued at 7am, when I was surprised to find that the Scottish beer had done a pretty good job of making me sound like a cross between Chewbacca and Tom Waites. We had breakfast looking out across the Firth at the bridge. A bleary-eyed drive west got us to Glasgow in time to meet the florist, which was followed by staccato meetings with various other wedding-related johnnies. I did my best to appear awake and I think, by and large, I pulled it off.

Finally at 2pm we rolled up at the hotel where our wedding is to be held. We were there to go through the menu and decide what we were going to eat on the big day. The doorman, resplendent in tartan trousers and geeky glasses (yet still somehow managing to look cool) picked up our bags and showed us to our ‘room’.

Yes, that’s all our room, you can see the IMA gazing out of the East window if you have good eyesight - she was a long way away. If your eyesight isn't 20/20 these days, click on the pic for a larger version. I think the timezones changed somewhere between the dining table(!) and the sofa area(!). There’s also a bathroom containing a bath that probably had a wave machine, such was its size. I have lived in houses with less surface area.

We mooched around for a while, being suitably bewildered. The IMA had a makeup trial whilst I sat and drank espresso from the machine by the Bang & Olufsen TV and read my book.

The menu tasting was yet another eye-opener. Course after course of top-notch food, accompanied by a run-down of the wine choices by a sommelier who was clearly very knowledgeable despite looking like she wasn’t old enough to buy alcohol in the first place. There were samples of reds, whites, roses, champagnes and proseccos plonked in front of us, we tried to keep pace. The service was impeccable. The restaurant manager turned out to be from Nottingham and suggested I borrowed the Leicester Tigers mascot costume to get married in. I laughed, The beautiful IMA refrained from punching him.

Eventually, being suitably fed and having wangled a tour of the wine cellar, where I stood within knocking-over distance of a £2,200 bottle of wine, the IMA got a call from the hairdresser who was scheduled to do the hair trial. We met her outside the room and it soon became clear that she was very much from Derry and very much bonkers. She did a brilliant job on the hairdressing front and also made me laugh quite a lot with her summary of haute cuisine – “Champagne foam? That’s just a load of shoite right enough.”

We collapsed into bed around 10 and slept the sleep of the just. Or at least the sleep of the well fed and beautifully coiffured.

More of these weekends please.



  1. Worse places to spend a weekend than The Mother Country...

  2. Blimey. I'm going to get me some of that type of living, sounds brilliant.

  3. Sweet Baby Cheesus.....fancy having to hoover that! looks fantastic.

  4. AG - Love it North of the border, my intended is from Glasgow you know...

    SB - I can thoroughly recommend it. They even let the likes of me in.

    NB - It's alarmingly easy to get used to.

    Libby - I think a person does that for you. I suspect if you phoned reception and asked them to send someone to give you a piggyback from the bed to the sofa, they'd send someone right away.

  5. Wow! Those are BIG, BIG windows! Your eyes must have been restless with the panoramic view of the city from your window. I love the color of those draperies that are adorning it. It fits the overall design perfectly, and it's big enough to give you privacy when you need it.

    Roxie Tenner