Stag Do's and Stag Don'ts!
After spending a fantastic weekend, with “The Bucks” (my boys from back home) for Rylar’s Stag Do, I felt compelled to write a few words, well, that and it was requested by Elliot (Rylar’s “little” brother). The last thing he said to me as I waved goodbye to all the boys, for the last time, AGAIN! Was that he wanted a blog about it, so here we are Smeegs, solely for you lad, oh and of course Ry, and, all the lads who helped out a homeless bum by paying for me, which means all of you rascals I guess, although I best give Lewie and Youth a special mention for the bed share, otherwise they’ll be upset!
Unless you knew The Bucks, or had seen on social media, you might not be aware of this Stag Do, so to set the seen Ry (Rylar, Sheep, or Sheephead), one of my best friends from back home is getting married.
His beautiful fiancé, who is quite literally a princess - no messing!!!!
Has agreed to make an honest woman out of Ryan and well overdue if you ask me - Quite hard to restrain myself from going down a best-man-speech avenue here, maybe I’ll come back to a story or two.
Well, this fantastic couple are to be married soon and I’ll sadly be missing the wedding which I’m understandably gutted about, equally so, I’d also intended on missing the stag do, however, I’d also intended on being a LOT further around the “world” by now, well, at least further through Europe.
As it is, the stag do rolled around last weekend and having spoken to Picker (Lewie) maybe a week before, his approach had now changed, from asking/telling me to stay in Germany for an extra month or two “well you’re not far away now are you, just stay!!!”, to him and the boys now asking if I’d come on the stag do, if they were to pay?!?!? There was a spare bed in one of the rooms I could have and I wouldn’t need to spend a penny when I was there!!!
Now that is one hell of an offer!!! How could a boy say now?!?!? Well, firstly, and before I could consider anything, I needed to find somewhere safe and secure to house the Regal Beagle and that would have to be in Barcelona, a city I was still over 100 miles from. Secondly, I felt bad on the lads for being a pure charity case, in all honesty, I don’t think they could really give a monkeys, that, or they’re all far to used to it by now! Finally, I also felt bad on the ride, like I was cheating on it or something, its strange but there is a degree of pressure and/or expectation that goes along with the ride, both from myself and the wider audience for creating content and obviously posting said content.
You put yourself out there to the world and are open to criticism and although I like to do it, and obviously need to in order to raise awareness and money for the charity, you can’t help but wonder about how the content you’re putting out there (or not putting out in my case!!!) will be received!?!?! and whether I’d come under criticism for going on the stag?
Clearly I thought balls to it, besides, when you’re life motto and name of your charity clothing label is ¿Por Qué No? (why not)
, I felt rather compelled to get involved, that and of course I was desperate to see the lads!
Now that I'd at least decided in my head to go, it was just the question of 100 and something miles of hilly costal roads, finding a house for the Regal Beagle, not to mention flights and I’d be there for the weekend. Baring in mind that by the time I’d decided all of this, it was Tuesday lunchtime on the road and the lads were arriving Friday, however, I love a challenge - clearly!!! And thrive under the pressure of a deadline, to which I blame that fine redbrick institute of Northampton.
Needless to say I managed to roll into Barcelona, just!!! and like most when faced with a problem or dilemma, I put out a Facebook appeal to see if I had any friends, or friends of friends willing to house the steed for a couple of nights? Sure enough the Universe answered, in the form of Thea, an Essex girl, with a Brummie accent, at least thats the way I’ve fondly heard her referred before.
Turns out she’s an absolute hero and friends with a load of my friends in London - so, in reality, could be nothing less than a hero!!!
The steed and my worldy belongings safely housed, I’d managed to find relatively cheap and straight forwards flights, instead of the 10 hr stop over I had initially looked at. Furthermore, I’d just been invited out for a beer by one of my mates from Northampton, and my days in the corporate world, hard to believe I know, but I once held down a successful job in banking. OK, by job I mean tellesales and by successful, I mean I was horrendous and left just before they were able to be rid of me, so many tales about this place, but all for another time.
My friend had said a couple of the other guys from work would be there and that he hoped I didn’t mind? “Na, the more the merrier”, besides, I was the one to be gate crashing their evening.
It hadn’t occurred to me at the time, that my brother who has relatively recently switched jobs and companies, was now working for my old company, albeit in a rather higher position. Nor had it occurred to me that one of the two colleagues my friend was with, would be my brothers boss, it was, to my amusement!!!
What are the odds that I would be on the beers with my brothers new
boss in Barcelona, small world!!! Understandably, being the younger brother, I was on my best behaviour and remained relatively tight lipped throughout, only letting slip a few hair related statements, which I think's fair enough and if you’d seen some of the haircuts my bro’s had, well deserved, although, in realty, I think he got off lightly!!!
The next morning I’m up and out the door before sunrise, find the cheapest looking café on route to the tube,
“Yo queiro, una café con leché y un croissant, cuanto questa?”
“Yo queiro dos mass croissant, por favour!”
Some habits are hard to kick!
I land in Stuttgart no issues and having let a German lad in-front of me at the queue for the ticket machine, he asks if I need a hand? Clearly resembling your generic tourist. However, he and his girlfriend, who were a lovely German couple, helped me successfully navigate my way to the city centre, a quick shower, fix up and I was
in a taxi on route to what, in reality I had no idea what, no idea the state of the lads, no idea the attire, no idea what to expect, nor the incredible size of the place I was heading.
I spoke to Lewie, who somehow unbeknown to me, was about the most coherent and switched on of all of them, fortunately he came out to meet me, best dressed to impress, equipped with his €29 chicken hat with fully functioning clapping legs. What a site for saw eyes he was, at this point excitement was palpable, moments later some fast thinking from Picker saw us side step security through the smoking area, avoiding a £50 entrance fee - great start!!!
Then, well then it went from 0-100 mph in a heart beat, as I imagined, the lads were in high spirits to say the least and despite the fact they ALL knew I’d be showing my face at some stage, I think
they were all a little taken a back to see me, particularly Youth, who had made some rather outlandish wagers on the fact that I'd be a no show! and although Bozzy and Eastaugh’s, who, by thens wonkydonky, wigglyeyed appreciation and disbelief was pretty funny, the best response had to be from Rylar, the Stag himself, who shed a few tears, bless him, he’s a sweet lad! Hahaha.
As is compulsory amongst any bunch of lads, on arrival and in particular late arrival to a stag, I was made to see off a drink! With the nature of being at Octoberfest (which, by the way, I was completely oblivious to), the only thing to drink is a 2 pint stein of beer, so that was thrown down my neck at a great speed, only to be followed by at least, one other half stein of beer, all of which now felt like it was stuck to my chest, unable, nor willing to move.
“New Game, New Game!!!” - stag do’s tend to have a number of rules/laws etc, all of which I missed, but one thing which did become evidently clear, was that if someone had something in their mouth and turned to pass it to you, you had to take it and pass it on (we’re a close group!), now this varied from coins, to chicken bones, to worn socks, I wont go into too much detail but fair to say there have been a few sore throats, throat infections and the likes since, we all basically gave ourselves the lurgy!!!
The last day was equally as amusing/dangerous as the first (well, my first) and having not booked a ticket for the evening event, everyone got in except Ryan (the stag), Ben (his brother) and myself, well, and Nicko, a German lad we’d picked up somewhere along the way, so our mission was simple - Get in!!!
We set about trying to buy wrist bands off people who were leaving, finding them on the floor, we tried everything, tying a couple to our wrists, three of us actually managed to get in, the only one who didn’t, Ryan, so we instantly left, reconvening outside to re-assess the situation.
Its fair to say Bennyboy doubted we’d get in at all and I was quite vocal in saying, “if you think like that, we wont ever get in, just have some faith!!! ALL of the lads are in there, its Ry’s stag do, we ARE GETTING IN!!!!
In life, well in my life at least, I’ve found its all about positivity, if you believe and have a little faith, anythings possible!!!
Sure enough, not long later, all four of us, Nicko included (who, by now had binned off his lads and joined ours), were stood stein in hand, bouncing around and having a jolly good time!!!
But, as quickly as it had all begun, it had ended, with the sun setting on yet another great few days, with a great bunch of lads, we had our last supper together, said our goodbyes, again! Then me and youth hopped into a taxi and made our way to the airport.
I didn’t tell the lads too many tales, about the trip, it wasn’t really the occasion, but it was interesting to hear how many of them hated the idea of many aspects of the trip, like the fact I was going to be flying to Barcelona, alone, with no idea of where I would be staying, nor how I'd be getting there, like many of my days/nights on the trip.
They were equally interested and unimpressed by the darker side of the ride, when things are hard or going wrong, which, being a positive person, I’m far less vocal about, but its fair to say its not all rainbows and butterflies on the road. Something I think I may share a little about in the future, so you don't all think its always beautiful sunrises and "beautiful" beards!
Its quite surreal, but when I’m on the bike, I am 100% on the bike and although your head is often alive and buzzing with thoughts, something which can actually be difficult to switch off from, in that moment, cycling is all I know! Likewise, when I’m off the bike, I very easily and quickly get caught up 100% in whatever my situation and surroundings may be, whether its working in a fish restaurant in Switzerland, or meeting my mates for a beer (or 30) in Stuttgart. In that sense, it was very easy and normal to say goodbye to all the lads at the restaurant.
In retrospect, I wish I’d enjoyed and savoured that moment a little more and spent more time with them all, who knows what could happen between now and my return (should I make it that far!), but I prey to god that we’re all able to replicate that situation, with all fingers, thumbs, limbs and organs in tact, in a few years time, OK I don’t mind, in-fact, I would be rather amused if any of us lost a couple of digits, as long as they weren’t important ones!
Anyways, "The Bucks", muchas, muchas gracias!!! I love each and everyone of you, I wish you all the best and cannot wait until we're all reunited for a stein or 50 in the future!!! Until then I'm forever in your debt!!! (as always!!!) and y'all forever in my heart!!! (as always!!!)
To everyone else, much love and thanks for reading!!!
Peace out!!! x