Monday, July 21, 2008

Hangover cure

I have just added another string to my bow. Not satisfied with being world-renowned letters editor on the South Wales Egg Cup, Meeja Wales exec ed and the only bloke who can operate the computer on the hub, I have now become a champion balloon archer.
You may well ask. And I will try to remember as much about it as I can.

It all began on Friday night when the Wonderful One and I were downing more than a few hard earned beers. At some point in the evening, as I chugged down The Yard's pitifully flat Carling Lager, I came up with a brainwave - in my case, more like a brainstorm.
"What if we held a surprise engagement party for Wren?" I suggested to my erstwhile sidekick and future best man (oh Lordy, whatever possessed me!)
"Good idea," he volunteered on the basis that if there was a party he would at least have something to do rather than sit in alone mumbling miserably to himself on a Saturday night.
All agreed, I went through my entire mobile 'friends' list hoping that I would at least get some takers - it all sounded promising, now all I had to do was keep my gob shut and not blurt out my secret in the traditional drunken call to the fiancee on Friday night.

Hmm, seemed to get away with it anyway. Saturday morning I stayed in watching England getting savaged by the South Africans at cricket, and waited for Wren to finish her Saturday stint on the Bristol Evening Post. She duly turned up at 4 and I suggested we nip around to the Tut that evening for a quiet drink.
We had a tasty tea of spag bol (of which I am sure I have printed my recipe on this blog at some stage) then got dressed up for the evening. At 7.30 we entered the pub, bought a beer and a glass of wine, then sat down.
The first clue Wren had was when the Fugitive stared in through the window, but I don't think she knew exactly what was going on, putting it down as a pure coincidence, even though he lives about three miles from our chosen venue.
Then I had a bit of a shock. The Internet jukebox started banging out the opening bars of XTC's Senses Working Overtime and I wondered if The Wonderful Withers had already arrived.
Going outside I bumped into Scooby, the Fugitive and former flatmate Gareth puffing away on ciggies. It was time to unveil the surprise.
I must admit Wren was pretty shocked and, I think, delighted. The guests kept coming: Smashy, Paps, Prince of Darkness, Wathanovski, Paddy the Clown...
Now you may notice a startling co-incidence here. All those turning up were male (apart from the teacher, who accompanied Wathanovski). "Why are there no women," I whispered to the Wonderful One.
"Because we don't know any, or they don't like us," he replied.
Well, not sure if that's really the case. Truth is that if you arrange a "surprise" party you must schedule it 10 weeks in advance to get women to attend. They are either doing their hair, or must have time to buy a new dress or have already made a really important appointment with the manicurist. Spontaneous? Of course, but give me six months notice, for God's sake.
Guess I'm being a bit unfair, and at least Wren could discuss everything with the Wedding Planner. That's the barmaid at the Tut who I haven't forgiven since she introduced Wren to the Wedding channel on Sky. Now every time I go back into the front room to catch up on the cricket I find the channel has been mysteriously changed and the TV dibber is nowhere to be seen.
Anyway the night wore on. Paps had not brought his camera, shock of shocks! Apparently he had tried about eight batteries in the house and they were all spent. Can't imagine what he does with them all.
Everyone enjoyed the juke box, though, singing along to XTC's Sergeant Rock. It was then the turn of the Prince to turn wowy wowy as Sonic Youth blasted out through the speakers.
Finally, Paddy the Clown introduced balloons to the proceedings. The man has certainly perfected his technique and made Wren a bowl of tulips, and a crown that looked like some bizarre boxing aid, a mini punchbag drooping down in front of your eyes when you were wearing said device.
Eventually he ordered the Wonderful One to sit down, blew up a green balloon and placed it on his head.
Then, by clever trickery, he made me a bow and a sausage shaped arrow and allowed me to become William Tell for the night. Fine, though a proper bow and arrow would have been more amusing.
My first two attempts were pathetic, embarrassing really seeing that the whole of the pub now seemed interested in the impromptu sporting event. But with a bit of gentle coxing from Paddy I pulled back and let fly... sending the balloon-arrow sailing across the pub to knock the balloon-apple from the Wonderful One's head. Magnificent performance, if I say so myself, accompanied by a round of applause.
After that there were a few more drinks before Wren and I tottered off home, weighed down by balloons, while the others disappeared into the night.

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