Well what a night that was! Absolutely superb fun all the night through.
After we finished dinner we said our goodbyes to Mark and Martin and headed back to Neil's flat to begin getting ready. There was a small problem in this, that being that Neil had forgotten to turn his hot water on and we would all have to try and get ready with only cold water available (Neil thinks he can live without central heating - I differ in my opinion on the matter).
All of our clothes had been hanging up all day, so ironing was kept to a minimum. I can't remember who was ready earliest, but I was ready pretty early and took the opportunity to call Lorraine. She informed me that my neighbours had taken the opportunity to slag me off to her Dad, which I really didn't appreciate. We had a nice enough conversation but I was agitated. I was worried that it was showing, and that it might ruin the night altogether. I don?t know if it was the best thing to do or not, but I kept the problem to myself.
We were nearly all ready. As per usual for the weekend the video camera was running, and as Neil and Nick had noticed Pat would come out of the bathroom unaware of this fact. Needless to say we got a perfect comedy moment from him, as he reiterated that the camera wouldn?t see any more of him that they had already.
Eventually we left, got into the car, and ventured towards Croydon. Neil provided more CDs and contrary to my worst fears we had a superb singalong in the car on the way up the M23. We arrived in Croydon just after 10pm, parking in a residential area and began our walk towards our destination - McCluskeys. The wonderful weather was continuing and we were all able to leave our jackets in the boot of the hire car and walk up in shirt sleeves.
After a pretty long walk (which passed pretty quickly given some amusing conversation) we were at the club. At this point we followed Neil's plan and split into pairs, given his presumption that a group of four guys wouldn?t get in all at once. Nick and Pat went in first, and after a short wait Neil and I joined the queue a few people behind them. We were all in pretty quickly and the night could really begin.
We went up to the bar and I took the decision to buy first. Right at that moment the classic call, "Who let the dogs out?" came booming out and Pat and I were barking at the bar! I got the drinks in, and given that it was a while since I had bought a serious amount of alcohol I was surprised that three pints and a coke left me with thirty pence in change from a tenner! Never mind, I was prepared to "go large" that night and I wasn't going to let cost be an issue.
Before long we were up and dancing, singing along to songs and having a great time. Some of the music was a bit iffy (IMHO you simply cannot dance to anything by Destiny's Child), but it got better as the night progressed. We were back and forth to the bar, and one occasion the results of one of Neil?s walkabouts was revealed when the DJ spoke the words, "Congratulations to Tony on his big night". The guys cheered and for about the umpteenth time that weekend I felt lost for words. I soon regained them though once Neil started moaning about the DJ playing S Club 7 right after the announcement. "I asked for Spiller!" he moaned, although his manner of doing so was difficult to take seriously.
The night moved on, and despite the prolonged absence of Pat (throwing up in the loos - what he called a "January Sale") we were having a great time, especially once we were dancing in an area away from an obnoxious fat bloke who wouldn't give us any space. Neil disappeared when they started playing "Stuck in the Middle With You", but both he and Pat reappeared just in time for a stirring rendition of "Daydream Believer".
Oddly for a group of guys in their mid-20s we were quite into the 60s stuff that they were playing. A 60s medley went down really well, and the guys even joined in with the "Glad All Over" section. Then some familiar tones started...
"No, it can't be..."
Before we knew it the famous tones of Tony Hadley were clearly evident - "Gold!" It had been a joke between the four of us that it should be Neil's themesong, and although I can't remember fully how that all started it was here that it would be written in folklore. While the rest of the club danced like it was just another song there we were, four guys huddling together, jumping around and having the best time imaginable. We hadn?t even asked for the song, it really couldn?t have been more perfect.
As it was it was the last decent song played that night. After a couple of really bad slow songs were played we took our leave, walked back to the car (deciding against the kebab shop on the way) and headed home. As the guys had been on soft drinks for about an hour and a half I wondered if they had something planned for the way back. Evidently they didn't, and even if they had I wondered if they could have done anything given that Pat had fallen asleep on the back seat.
We got back and digested what a great night it had been. We eventually got to bed around 4.30am.
The next day I woke up at around 11.30am, slightly tired but not feeling too bad all things considered. Everyone else was up, and again we spent time discussing the night before. However the weekend was winding down, and we all needed to pack prior to leaving Neil's flat. Time seemed to rush by before it was time for Nick and Pat to head to their respective homes, and at the same time I returned the hire car to Gatwick.
Following Gatwick I returned with Neil to his flat, but with time against us he decided on an early return to Stansted. It was a good call, as the traffic on the M25 was manic. I had a good amount of time to kill at Stansted, but it wasn't long enough to be bored. Instead I had the time to get something to eat, get Lorraine some nice perfume (the requested present!).
The flight back seemed to go really slowly. Again I was sad to be returning home, back to the pressure cooker of preparations, two-faced neighbours and work. It had been a fabulous weekend with great weather and better friends. Thank goodness at least I had Lorraine to come back to.