Saturday, June 14, 2003

Sea Ka-YAK-ing, jeepers, monk and other stories

The formula of a good stag weekend is simple, it sucks you in, something happens, it spits you out. The bit in the middle is impossible to predict. Talk of drinking games, nudity and shaving rarely materialise. For Russ’ I didn’t expect to spend Saturday night having a quiet drink discussing Marcus’ childhood in the paramilitary wing of the Cub Scouts, for example.

The weekend was in jeopardy almost before it started. Fog meant Russ and his two pals couldn’t land at Jersey airport. The best man’s flight from Manchester was cancelled, so was ours although we heroically got up at 4am on Saturday to fly over.

These shenanigans had a profound effect on proceedings. No best man, and for Russ, five and a half hours spent shuttling between Gatwick and Jersey drinking neat vodka. When they eventually landed at 10.30 they celebrated with gusto, helped by the ominous welcoming party of Jerseymen Mike, Marcus and above all JC.

We arrived on Saturday morning and Russ’ hotel room was carnage. He couldn’t get out of bed, complaining his eyes weren’t working. Surfacing eventually, the first activity of the day was sea kayaking. The sky was blue, the sun was hot, the sea was calm. We paddled gently around the coves and caves making weak jokes about the shags and splashing each other.

Then Russ drifted out to sea and began retching over the side of his kayak. We came to a beach and he disappeared, returning to lie comatose on the pebbles. Eventually he gave up the ghost completely and fell in. He was hauled back into his kayak and towed home.

He slept through lunch, but still declined the clay pigeon shooting so he could sleep some more in Marcus’ fiercely hot Land Rover. We had no best man, and now, no stag, Mike’s mates were filling in the gaps left by the absentees making it a re-run of Mike’s own Stag do nearly two years ago. Afterwards, at the pub, Russ had a pint of water, declining ice and lemon because his stomach couldn’t handle it. He had a pork scratching which fuelled the cracking of a joke before plummeting again and racing to the toilet to drain whatever moisture was left in his body.

General stag brouhaha was the plan for Saturday ‘though the fragile Russ wanted to go to the pub for a quiet chat. He was coaxed into the curry house where he slumped on the table raising his head only to berate Mike for ordering a Korma, and announcing that there were only two things he loved – curry and beer – before correcting himself and adding “Sam”. That’s what lead to the quiet portside bar for a few drinks.

Russ did manage a pint which perked him up (everyone said he should have done it at 11am), we ended up in a club until 2am which gave the night an air of respectability. On Sunday, with clear heads, we went to the beach and got burnt to a cinder. At 5.30pm we boarded the plane home that took us away from a weekend that was as normal as it was surreal.


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