Festive Drink Rewind

I was reminded earlier, during a visit to the social networking wonderland of Facebook,  that on this day a year ago I took a train journey up to Newcastle for a Christmas night with friends in the north east.

This gentle memory jog transported me back to that rainy north east break, in the company of amiable bunch of guys who surround themselves with positivity……. Although, admittedly for me personally the evening drinking beer was the main selling point!

The flashbacks commenced with recollections of a Saturday afternoon East Coast locomotive trek north. In particular, the outside views of heavy rain, dark unforgiving clouds and a woman running along the platform at York shouting “Come back you b*******!” after her tardiness meant the train left without her.

With a positive attitude an essential attribute of for the guys evening out, God only knows why they invited me to make the 100 mile journey to join them. I don’t know definitively, however, I suspect it was to entertain them with my eccentric party trick of whistling the Croatian national anthem whilst downing a pint of beer.

When I say it’s my party trick, that isn’t strictly true as I’ve never actually successfully completed it. It’s an incredibly difficult fate to achieve and my attempts generally result in me choking badly around half way through the pint!

So if truth be told, my party trick can be more accurately described as nearly choking to death drinking a pint while simultaneously whistling an eastern European anthem.

On one occasion, I tried a different strategy to try to successfully achieve the trick by using a bottle of beer instead of from a pint glass. I didn’t choke, although it still wasn’t successful as I ended up blowing beer all over the place when I started whistling down the neck of the bottle.

My brother Ian mentioned I may have more success whistling the Bulgarian national anthem, as opposed to their Romanian neighbours.

On reflection, though, I suspected the trick was falling over as its nigh on impossible to whistle and drink at the same time; not at the difficulty of tooting the Croatian anthem! …….. Anyway, I couldn’t undertake that as I don’t know the Bulgarian national anthem!


I recollect the night twelve months ago as a success with plenty of beer and a superb curry at the end of the evening. The nights success mainly thanks to the meticulous planning by Darrin.

Some see him as a control freak who is too obsessive, but I admire the way he ‘grasps the nettle’ and organises us all….. It’s no mean feat I can tell you.

Despite protestations to the contrary, I really don’t see what’s wrong with working out timings for the lads toilet breaks before we go out. Admittedly, though, I was relieved I needed pee at 8:47pm & 9:58pm that evening and that D’s  plans weren’t disrupted.

Another of the crew, who I’ve known for over 40 years, is a friend called Gary Hannah. He’s a very affable lad who is probably the nicest guy I know called Gary…… Well apart from my mate Gary Simpson and the baker Gary Baldibiscuit. In fact, coming to think of it he is probably the unfriendliest Gary I’m acquainted with, the bald get!….. Strike that!

A few of the lads who were out that night are musicians, who’ve played in various bands together over many decades. Possibly the most accomplished is Tim. What he doesn’t know about music isn’t worth knowing. He even knows the Bulgarian national anthem the bloody smart arse! ………. Although, I’m not sure if he can whistle it while downing a pint!

My brother Ian was also out that night. What he doesn’t know about getting absolutely shit faced isn’t worth knowing!…….. Only kidding our kid! I’m sure you can acquire further knowledge on the subject if you really try! …… That’s not a challenge by the way, Ian!

Mick, Tony and Graeme made up the group that night. I’m reticent to make tongue in cheek remarks about these guys as they have a penchant for litigious undertakings. I don’t want a letter from their solicitors Haddaway & Ballicks hitting my doormat anytime soon……. Although, if it hits the doormat I suppose I could counter claim on its behalf for Actual Bodily Harm.

Unfortunately, circumstances dictate I’m unable to attend this years annual festive drink up in the north east as my diary is stuffed on the scheduled weekend……….. Incidentally, I’m alluding to a prior engagement that day, not that I’ll be packing my organiser like the festive turkey with sage & onion stuffing.

Anyway, I’m going to have to dash, I have Bulgarian national anthem whistling lessons at 6pm!

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