My Final Lads Weekend…

So I’m back, alive and in one piece, from my trip to Harrogate. I realize some of you may have been concerned (or at least I’m going to pretend that was the case) because I didn’t say anything yesterday, but worry not. Why was there a delay? Well, I was back Monday night as planned, but yesterday when I went to blog, I, uh, fell asleep instead. Crashed mid afternoon and didn’t wake up until it was time for tea. As a result, I’m running a day behind. Sorry about that.

Anyway, I’m home, fully awake and ready to blog. Here’s a quick recap on my extended weekend away.


As the courier arrived with my passport (I will update you on the visa situation later) before 2pm, I was relieved to be able to get a lift up to the train station. Can you blame me? Lugging a heavy case across Durham on a hot summer day while dressed all in black wasn’t exactly an appealing prospect. No way I was going to do that when a lift offer was on the table.

So, I got to the station with plenty of time to spare. In an attempt to kill some of it, I went into the little shop. And during my perusal of the drink cabinets, I discovered on the shelves my regular American tipple, Diet Mountain Dew! This was an exciting moment. All my previous searches had suggested the UK’s Mountain Dew stock was strictly limited to the regular Dew, but here, in this little shop of all places, was the low sugar version! For somebody who can’t stand 30 plus grams of sugar sticking to his teeth, finding Diet Mountain Dew over here was a revelation. Finally I can drink my American beverage even when I’m not with Vanna! Granted, it was a bit pointless considering I’ll be in the States permanently in a matter of weeks, but I got it anyway.


But man, it was awful. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly was wrong, but I can definitely say something has gone amiss when the recipe was passed over to the UK production team. It was nasty, not my DMD. Obviously I drank it anyway, but it wasn’t the enjoyable refreshment I was hoping it was going to be. Bah, sooner I get to America, the better.


The rest of my journey went by fairly quickly. I got to Gary’s late afternoon, and spent most of the evening outside in his garden. We had a barbeque and a catch up, all very pleasant. As Kev was arriving from Glasgow early in the morning, we decided not to stay up too late. So after a couple of hours on Titanfall (I’ll talk about that and the Xbox One later this week), we went to bed.


Kev got in shortly before eleven (okay, not that early). As the weather was questionable, we chilled out in the living room on the Xbox. Kev brought a crate of Buckfast, Scotland’s finest beverage with him. I’d never had it before, so I grabbed a bottle…

Heart attack in a bottle.

The taste was…unusual. I guess I liked it enough to drink the full bottle, so it wasn’t too bad. I wasn’t stupid enough to chug it however; with the caffeine content equivalent to 8 cans of coke, plus a whopping 15% alcohol, there was no way I was going to do anything other than sip that baby slowly.

As you’d expect with the potent alcohol I was consuming, I had a good afternoon. Later that night some of Gary’s friends (a few I’d met before, others I hadn’t; though I knew all from Xbox) popped around, and we relaxed with some more drinks in the garden. I pilfered these blurry pictures from Facebook.

About 5 pictures were taken in the next few minutes. My expression didn’t change for any of them. I was happy though.
I honestly have no recollection of this.

Yep. Good times.


Ugh. Sunday was not my friend. Woke up at around 6am with my mind racing and my stomach crying out in pain. Turns out I can’t handle that much caffeine. Oh boy, it was not fun. Nothing eased the discomfort either; painkillers, water, food were all ineffectual. Though I felt completely sober, my abdomen would not let up. Horrible pain. Would have rather had a hangover. At least then I’d have been fine by mid-afternoon.

It was a shame, really, as it was a nice day otherwise. We went out to Harrogate for lunch. Lovely walk, but as I was trying not to be sick, I didn’t really enjoy it (understandably I didn’t even consider bringing my camera, sorry). Didn’t risk the Chinese buffet, opting instead for a tuna sandwich. I can’t say it helped much.

Back at Gary’s, we spent the evening watching films. First was The Wolf Of Wall Street. Very long (like seriously, it is just under three hours) but I really enjoyed it. Probably the best film I’ve seen this year (I’ll do a more detailed review later).

After that, we watched Last Vegas. It was better than I expected. I can’t say I was too keen for it when Gary put it on, but I got into it pretty quickly. It offered a different perspective on the ‘guys to Vegas for a wild weekend’ and I laughed a lot which, given how much pain I was in at the time, spoke volumes. But again, I’ll review it fully later.

That was about it for Sunday. I went to bed hoping the caffeine would be out of my system when I woke up. Honestly, it was just horrible.


Thankfully I did feel better in the morning. Still not fully right, but at least I was able to sit for a couple of hours without grimacing. Having a big fry up at lunchtime helped immensely.

So, the final day. We didn’t do a lot, all told. Watched This Is The End, which I’ve already seen a dozen times (it is okay, but a fairly standard comedy…a 6/10), and The World’s End, which I will talk about later for reasons I will explain…later. Otherwise, we just relaxed until it was time for our train. Said goodbye to Gary at his house, then to Kev when I got on my train at York (his was twenty minutes later). Home by nine. No problem.


It was a very good weekend, and I enjoyed it. The weather was mostly sunny, and I had some great food. Being ill all of Sunday wasn’t ideal, but that was the only real negative to my time down there. I was well looked after, had some great laughs, and got to see everybody again. Of course I’ll miss them, and I was sad to leave, but hopefully I’ll see the gang again in the future…maybe over here, or maybe in America. Who knows? We will always keep in touch through the Xbox, however. After all, what is better than killing hundreds of virtual people while also having a laugh with your mates?

Until next time,



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