As I mentioned in the last post Bill Buchan PDF (Portly Domino Fellow) and fellow GONAD came to DYM's stomping ground in the frozen foggy tundra of North Derry. I recommended he stay in the Magherabouy Hotel, Portrush a hotel used by my company when we have folk visiting from the 4 corners of the coorporation. It is a nice wee hotel, free WiFi, decent beer in the bar and a rather nice view out over the Atlantic when not shrouded in freezing fog!
When I wandered out to the hotel on friday evening for some pre geek beer, I was rather surprised to find the hotel HEAVING with people, anoraked people all clutching toy tractors. 1:32 scale models of John Deere, Massey Ferguson, Fords and Izuzu's tractorial goodness were seen in large numbers and the dull rumble of half heard conversation in the bar was of die cast representation of Powertrain Doobries and the relative horsepower of whatever was considered the "ferrari" of the tractor world. There even was a martial dispute behind me over the fact that "she" couldnt get an iPhone because "he" had spent all their money on a 1956 Dinky Massey Ferguson 350 "still boxed" in immaculate condition. I felt she was making a fair point but as a Blackberry chappy I felt it was not my place to comment.
Bill arrived in good time and we had a few beers with the good people of "The Northern Ireland Toy Tractor Collectors Christmas Party and Curry Night" (F**K you couldn't make something like this up, I live a weird life that surprises even me from time to time) It soon became clear that they had organised a full evening of entertainment and had not cut back on the expenses in this credit crunchie time for they had both Country AND Western music!
Now Bill and I both possess savage, uncultured souls and our ears are not tuned correctly to appreicate the the delights of Billy Ray Sirus, Setsons and going YeeHA! Rather than spoil the tractor-o-phile's evening by singing along with "Achie Breakie Heart" we departed in a taxi for the throbing heart of Portrush.
Now I have long held the view that the Harbour Bar is up there with Sloppy Joes in Key West as a bar you HAVE to do before you die. They tried to change it a decade ago but there was such a public outcry that the pub has been left alone, although there is a fine bistro behind it and you no longer have to go outside to pee on a wall. (Well you had to pee on a wall if you where a chap, lassies I am reliably informed had normal sit-upon thrones) Basically the Harbour Bar has "character" lots and lots and lots of character which when combined with lashings of Guinness, Black Bush and the odd song equates to Craic in abundance.
I delivered Bill back to his hotel at midnight were the Toy Tractor Liberation Army had consumed their chicken curries and line danced themselves into a disel powered stupor. We had a wee whiskey and had an early and sober - ish night. Well i was in bed before 1am and I managed the stairs which for me is a symptom of sobriety.
Saturday arrived frosty and foggy and Bill did his geek stuff which he posted about here and after a quicky spot of retail therapy we repaired to the Harbour Bar Bistro for a spot of grub.
Mr Buchan was instroduced to CHAMP one of the 1001 things Irish people do with potatoes
and was scared shitless by the cheesecake, which initially he felt he was morally obliged to try but when push came to shove he decided that a Harbour Bar Cheesecake was a delight best left for another occasion.
Having satisfied our calorific requirements for the day, we repaired to the snug for more Guinness and Bushmils's. Beside a roaring fire we fell into the company to two lassies orginally from Glasgow or in their delightful patois "fray glazgay". Sensing a dialectic similarity they engaged us in conversation and rather worryingly assured me that Bill was infact Welsh. This was a startiling revelation as there were no sheep (either real or inflatory) in the vicinity of Mr Buchan and his usual dulcet tones hinted broadly of kilts, shortbread and skirl of the pipes (Bagpipes that is .. not the plumbing). They were "waking" an absent friend and had perhaps consumned a wee bit too much funerial punch which goes some way to explain their inability to correctly pin the sporran on a highlander ... metaphorically.
Our slightly sozzeled comapanions departed in search of champagne and were replaced in short order by The London Irish Veteran's Rugby Team and the birthday celebrations of a lassie called Wendy, whose daughter Laura had the voice of an angel and really really really needs someone to sign her up for a recording contract!
The Rugby chaps, having beaten Ballymoney's finest were in fine fettle and treated us to rousing renditions of "Four and twenty virgins came down from Inverness" and "Father Chistmas do not Touch Me" It has to be said that these songs that require no great skill to sing but they do need nerves of steel to listen to. The birthday party responsed with a medelly of Queen's greatest hits, American Pie (who was that... Don McLean??) some Abba and a dash of Muppets
Not to outdone it was decided that Notes World would be represented by Mr Buchan who gave a resounding and well received rendidtion of My Brother Bill - The Fireman Song. Much cheering ensued both because I had not joined in and caused people's ears to bleed and the fact that mr Buchan IS the lost celtic tenor!
Several Irish traditional songs were then sung, accapella , by Laura, the pub (and it was crammed to the rafters with revellers) was suddenly quiet and grown men were seen to weep! She really did have the voice of an angel!
The evening closed at 2am with demands that Bill sing again, and this time on bended knee Mr Buchan and myself seranaded the birthday girl with a rousing chorus of "happy birthday". People had consumed enough alcohol to blunt the effects my voice usually has, although the bar staff had to hide behind several full barrels of Gunniess and cover their ears.
I must have got home because I woke up in my own bed....although the details are some what hazy.
So all in all another unexceptional weekend in Northern Ireland ;-)
ohhhh and remember it is considered rude to hang your sporran on an Elks Antlers without asking