Friday, 17 April 2015
2014 Reunion - Reviewed by Richard Martin
I have attempted a brief-ish résumé of our weekend, partly to ensure my ageing memory can remember it in years to come and partly in the hope that those yet to attend may overcome any doubts (or double bookings) and get along to next year's shindig. Maybe someone can copy it to the non-FB members (please)?
Well it was a long time coming and yet over in a flash! I will confess to having had some reservations having not seen most of you since 1985 but it's fair to say the doubts very quickly melted away. The years in between fell away and we were that bunch of lively teenagers, reliving our antics; some I knew of already and some I definitely didn't! I did have a brief moment thinking it was a shame I didn't go last year but then I remembered I was still a serving rozzer back then! We experienced several Sect 5 Public Order offences, confessions of invasions of privacy, thefts, criminal damage, burglary, harassment, drinking and driving, driving other than in accordance with a driving licence, driving no insurance and the list went on! But enough of my RAF career; plenty of you lot had a similar list of misdemeanours!
I wondered how long it would take to break the ice. In my case not long, a pre-journey couple of pints with Mr Cotter (who by some quirk of fate now lives 5 minutes from me!) and then a lift from Mr Purser (who did actually help me with my enquiries as a serving officer back in the 90's!)....and so the banter and catching up began. I arrived, saw some familiar faces assembled outside having a beer (quelle surprise) and walked across the car park to cries of "hello old friend". OK so actually they may have shouted "bender!" or something similar I think but I was feeling the love.....No, really I was!
Tony (Hodgioni) aka 'Little Big Tony' (see below) had clearly put in a lot of time and effort researching the excellent accommodation, eateries, activities and produced an excellent itinerary. A big thank you Tony on behalf of us all and we promise that next year we may even read it!
I won't give a blow by blow account of the Friday meal and copious drinks that followed, what's said on reunion................and anyway a 'caution' had not been given so nothing was admissible in court. Suffice to say much piss-taking and laughing ensued and speaking for myself and one or two others, there were some 'delicate constitutions' in the morning.
After a hearty breakfast the fun then hit the road with the group splitting down the middle (there you go, doubters of the soothsayer - the group was split asunder as predicted!!!!). Half to walk up some big hill and the others to take the train after a quick photo call at Capel Curig Training Camp (very maturely resisting the urge to have away any 'Gizzits'!!!!).
The yompers made good time and arrived before the train in time for our happy band of brothers to reform and make the arduous final assault on the summit together. All 40 feet of it....but What a View! Sorry, I meant "Where's the ****ing view?!!!". Hey, we made the summit. I know because it said "summit" at the top! Photos (of clouds), more piss - taking, a train ride through some different clouds, collected cars, collected parking tickets and returned to base camp.
Once back at the Hotel some made use of the facilities, mainly the bar and lots of photos (featured elsewhere on this page) were taken before decamping to a restaurant in Betws-y-Coed. A great choice ( thanks again Tony - henceforth known as Tony Hodgioni for reasons only likely to make sense if you were a). there and b) inebriated!!!). Excellent food, plentiful drink (though generally a little less drink than the previous night!) and great company. Much merriment ensued including a poor young waiter being introduced to Little Big Tony Hodgioni by John (The Teflon Don) Purser and Glenn (Poker Face) Cotter. OK so I made the last two up. To his credit the waiter took it well! More drinks in the beer garden, more in the hotel bar and so to bed..........
Sunday morning breakfast was a full house (I think) and a last chance to pass around more of those old photos (how young???!!!). It was agreed that the weekend had been a success despite the lack of clear planning or direction (what itinerary?!!!) and that another trip should be planned for the 30th anniversary year of our passout so discussions ensued about when/where (details to be posted.......Tony Hodgson?!!! ). Most of the group then headed home (but not before queuing up to give Ged a much wanted man-hug from all of us!!!) with a few remaining to make the most of the much-improved weather to go for another walk (and perhaps they will let us know how that went - if they got back?).
A genuine heartfelt thanks to Little Big Tony Hodgioni for all his efforts and indeed to everyone for entering into the spirit and regressing 29 years for a great weekend. Let's redouble our efforts and see if we can encourage many more to pencil in the 30th anniversary of our passout.
Normal service will now resume for 12 months.........
Rich Martin (Turner)