Monday, 18 March 2013

The Tudor Arms Boat Trip

When I embark on any kind of trip away without my wife, I am always reminded to do the following three things: 1) Don't get too drunk, 2) Don't do anything stupid and 3) Come home in one piece. This generally goes without saying, as to most people this is just common sense, and I would like to think that I am mature enough these days to not need reminding. I am however aware that in the past I have done the opposite of all of those things on more than one occasion. There has also been the odd occasion when I have ticked all three of those boxes in the same night so I can't really object to a loving reminder to look after myself!

There were 13 players from The Tudor Arms including myself on the boat trip, which was to include a few football activities and the chance to meet Liverpool legends Ian Rush and David Fairclough. Our manager Barry had arranged the event, which was a 24 hour cruise from Stockholm to Turkku in Finland, departing Friday night and returning Saturday evening. We met up at the ferry terminal around 5:30pm on Friday where we enjoyed a few beers and chatted about the trip which laid ahead. I was to be sharing a cabin with two of my team mates from of the Veterans team, James (aka Kiwi) and Dave. I was quite pleased about this as it meant that I would probably have more chance of getting a good nights sleep than if I was to room with some of the younger lads! That proved not to be the case but I will come to that later.

We all knew it was going to be quite a heavy night and as we were boarding the ship we began discussing who were the likely candidates to go to bed early and, more importantly who would be most likely to spend the night in the brig. I have a tendency to slide off to bed unnoticed when I start to feel the effects of drunkenness so I was definitely one of the candidates to throw the towel in early but I wasn't going to mention that to anyone so I put my money on my room mate Dave...............not because he's a lightweight but purely because he was the eldest of the group. I managed to get that prediction wrong as well! I did however have no doubts that my crazy Icelandic team mate Draupnir, aka 'The Iceman', would be thrown into brig. This was purely on basis that he can become very unpredictable after a few drinks......................the question was 'would I be right??'.

Once we were on board, the plan was to chuck the bags in the rooms then meet up at the restaurant for a buffet dinner. The buffet was surprising good. There was lots to choose from and there was plenty of it. Not only was it all you can eat but there was beer and wine on offer too...................that wasn't sufficient enough for us apparently as it wasn't long before someone ordered a round of shots! After dinner we headed over to the 'Moonlight' bar where we met up with Barry, who was setting things up for the nights entertainment. He had also grown himself a mustache in tribute to Rushie....................what a legend!!

The bar began to fill up with Liverpool fans and soon we were in the presence of greatness, as we were joined by Rushie and David Fairclough. The evening began with a football quiz, which I was optimistic about winning as I have a good knowledge of football trivia. I found the questions quite easy actually and I was convinced my team would a least finish in the top 3, but in the end we finished with nothing! The papers were all collected and marked but we never got to know our score! I'm pretty sure we scored high marks based on the caliber of the questions but I had a sneaky suspicion that the prize winners were predetermined! Who wouldn't know who plays their home games at White Hart Lane?? I'm not bitter though!

After the quiz I got the opportunity to meet with Rushie and David Fairclough, and get a few photographs with them. We also got the opportunity to get our hands on a replica of the european cup! Magnus Hedman, who played in the Premier League for Coventry City, got in on the act too.................

Rushie, David Fairclough & Magnus Hedman

Dave, Craig and 'The Iceman'
Three Kings!!
After a few more beers in the Moonlight bar we headed over to a club at the other end of the boat. Things after that point are a bit fuzzy for me. By then the beers had got the better of me so I did my usual thing of sneaking off undetected. As it turned out, I wasn't the first one to throw the towel as when I got back to the room I found Kiwi tucked up in bed!...................his night unlike mine however was far from over. About 1am he was woken by a text message demanding that he return to the club to continue the shenanigans with those who were still on their feet. Having given into the demands he returned to the bar and was on hand to witness The Iceman being taken away to the cells by security! No-one, including Iceman, was fully able to recollect the events leading up to the 'incident' other than that it involved some women and some throwing of drinks. Alex, our club captain, recalled seeing Iceman throw a drink over a guy but could not be sure if it was in retaliation for something or if he was just a bystander who saw some drinks thrown and thought it would be fun to get involved! Either way my prediction was right..................although when I heard that he would be incarcerated until 4pm the next day I wished I wasn't! Both Alex and Kiwi then found out the hard way that there was little reasoning with the security guys either. Whilst trying to intervene Alex had the pleasure of being put into an arm lock and Kiwi had his arm slammed in a door!

From what I told the rest of the night panned out in usual fashion, with several of the players suffering the  indignity of being carried back to their cabins, followed numerous bouts of projectile vomiting. Those that were still standing decided, in true 'boys will be boys' fashion, to carry out a few pranks on those of us that were out for the count, with myself and Dave falling victim to the old 'tooth-paste in the hair' routine. A well known classic! Fortunately for me I woke up just as this was being carried out so I was able to identify the culprits. Unfortunately it was too late to prevent the inevitable, so I spent the rest of the night with some very questionable hair gel! I did however make it my goal to seek some form of revenge on those responsible before I left the boat.

The next morning those of us who managed to drag themselves out of bed headed to the restaurant for brunch. As I turned in at a reasonable hour I didn't feel too worst for wear the next day, although I did have a slight headache. After some food and a couple of aspirin I felt much better, and my mood was further improved with the sight of The Iceman walking through the restaurant towards us! He had been released early from the brig much to everyone's relief. Despite being locked in a cold prison cell all night, where he spent most of his time doing push-ups to keep warm, he was very upbeat about it all. If it had been me I would have been livid, having felt my trip had been ruined, but for him it was as if nothing had happened! He just grabbed himself a plate of food and headed straight for the bar!!

After brunch the plan was to meet in 'The Whiskey Bar' and watch premier league football for the remainder of the day. Now that might sound boring to some but for us it was heaven! Everton were playing Man City at 1:45pm followed by Southampton Vs Liverpool at 4pm, and for that game we were to be joined by Rushie and David Fairclough again. To make the first game more interesting we decided to run some sweepstakes among ourselves for the first goalscorer and the correct scoreline, with each bet costing 20 kronor (£2). As it turned out, Leon Osman scored the first goal and Everton went on to win the game 2-0.....................and wouldn't you know it, I had bet on both!!  I did feel a little bad for my team mate Konstantinos because the second goal was scored in the final minute of the game and he had picked 1-0..................however it wasn't because I had won the first bet that I felt bad for him it was more because he showed up to the bar with only shoe having lost the other one of the previous night!

Having won both bets I did the honourable thing of buying a round of fireballs for my team mates with the winnings..................which for those of you who have ever tried 'Aftershock', you will have some idea of what a fireball tastes like! Now it was time for the Liverpool match and with Rushie and David Fairclough in the house, the bar began to fill up quite quickly with Liverpool supporters. As it turned out the bar wasn't legally allow to show the game so we ended up having to watch another game instead! It didn't spoil the atmosphere though and both Rushie and Fairclough got up to say a few words to the punters to keep us entertained...............not that we needed entertaining!!
Konstantinos and Steve

The Iceman and Dave
It was at this point that I suddenly remembered that some form of revenge was in order for the toothpaste fiasco....................and I knew just the thing to do. The 'condom on the shoulder' routine is an old favourite of mine and will be fondly remembered by those who used to flock to The Millhouse Pub back in the day. It's a very simple prank, in fact it does exactly what it says on the tin. You buy a pack of condoms, open one then subtly lay it on the shoulder of your intended victim and then sit back and watch whilst they continue about their day completely unaware. Very immature, very funny, exactly what was needed! I managed to get all of my intended targets so justice was done however Barry was the subject of biggest laugh courtesy of The Iceman.

I only intended to get back at those who had pranked me with the toothpaste so I had no reason to do it to Barry but Iceman had other ideas. I tried to talk him out of it as I had reservations about playing a prank on Barry particularly as he was entertaining Rushie and Fairclough!!...................but as it turned out even Rushie got in on the joke! He saw the funny side though and by his own admission he couldn't have looked any more silly than he already did haven't given himself a 'Hitler' tache earlier in the day!!

After that the boat docked back in Stockholm and we headed our separate ways. All in all it was a very successful trip and a right good crack. I didn't get too drunk, I didn't do anything stupid and I came home in one piece. Mission accomplished yet again!!

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