I have my sunglasses ready, but will probably politely decline the offer of one of your spare beds, because I wouldn't want to be kept awake all night by the glare of your shirts - even through the crack in the wardrobe door, it'll be enough to keep me awake.
Just worked it out and I will be working from 1349 to 2320 on the day. Means if I finish and make my way up there it will be toooooo late so I will have to give it a miss. Someone else will have to buy the hound some pies.!
Lady, gentlemen and pooch, it was a pleasure to (re)make your acquaintance. Unfortunately I had negotiated an early pickup due to a busy morning today (knowing that if I hadn't, I would have ended up sleeping under a table in the bar).
Having gone out to the carpark to persuade Mrs TG to come in for a drink, I discovered she was wearing her pyjamas under a fleece and probably not up for a trip to the bar
Anyway, here are a few piccies:
FFF, Keygrip, Pilotwolf and AerBabe. I really should invest in some red-eye removing software...
Skippy the dog
Some serious glare from the reflection in the mirror (or is it the top of FFF's head?
I now need to go and lie down after spending a years flying money on a new 3 piece suite this afternoon
Hmm - still look awful in photos... not much better in the flesh either!
Good evening was had by all despite no Tesco trip and no pies for Skippy.
Oh and the early morning fire drill was a pain in the @rse! Just as well AB had untied me by then! 5 flights of stairs was a bit of a killer at that time of the morning too! Did find it rather worrying that I could get out of bed, get dressed, collect loved ones, etc and walk down 5 flights of stairs before our wonderful under paid ( ) fire service could drive 100 yards to our potential rescue. ...And 1/2 the guests stayed in the hotel foyer smoking cigarettes!
AB has the photos so you'll have to wait for her to post them....
The day seemed to start with a flurry of e-mails and text messages between party guests - most of the initial ones trying to ascertain a starting time for everybody else. The later ones were all saying "I'm late - should be there about 8"
Apart from on line e-mail, I was in a state of lost comms - so didn't get most messages until about 6pm (when the CAA released me from their clutches) - by which time it was all academic.
I arrived at about 7:45, and was invited by the hotel staff to simply abondon my rental car on the double yellow lines right outside the hotel front door. Cool. Decided to leave the two suitcases and few shirts on hangars in the car until I was settled.
I wandered into reception and took command of the key to the three bedded room that I had ordered on the internet - third floor, ok. Then climbed the staircase to the first floor to check out our usual corner - anybody there?
Was met by beaming smiles from Pilotwolf, Flying forFun and AerBabe (who, I have to say, was looking absolutely radiant). I also got one of those canine stealy stares from Skippy, in a sort of "Do I know you?" way. He is a great hound - a good advertisement for the buddies you can get from animal shelters.
Hadn't been there too long when Tony arrived (on the right of the radiant AerBabe, last picture). Another round of drinks. Shortly followed by LDMax (reflection on far right of last pic.)
Another round of drinks.
Then the heralded arrival of Tall-Guy (who did not bring a 152). Another round of drinks.
The late arrivals (mine included) had sort of scuppered the food plans - mine ended up being fishcake and chips (no mushy peas) in the car on the drive up to Gatwick. FFF had eaten - something, somewhere - so AerBabe and Pilotwolf ordered their own bar snacks.....which looked extremely tasty and appealing.
AerBabe and I wandered down to my rental car to pick up some of the trans-Atlantic shopping that I had bought for her (don't ask) - and I took the opportunity to collect my first suitcase and the shirts on hangars. I needed to re-pack, or at least I assumed I did - I didn't think Virgin Atlantic would be too happy with me checking in two suitcases and a few shirts on hangars.
AerBabe and I went to our respective rooms (drat), then she returned to the slowly increasingly noisy bunch of Ppruners whilst I studies the layout of my own bedroom. One double bed.
OK, now Tony and LDMax are buddies of mine - but there are limits, even with copious amounts of alcohol within. I returned to reception and asked for the possibility of the family room that I had ordered. Girlie apologised profusely and whimpered that the only thing they had was a four bed room - a bit further away on the same floor. That'll do.
Had a look round that - two bedrooms. Neat - that'll help for the overnight dragon noises.
Back to the party. By now, we had rumbled across an episode of 'Candid Camera' unfolding before our eyes. There are two lifts (elevators?) in the Gatwick Moat House - but the one on the left (as you look at them from PPRuNe corner) had apparently suffered a cardiac arrest. People would get in, push the button for thier chosen floor and watch the doors slide closed. A few moments later - the doors opened again and all the people marched out........back into the bar.
Strange, confused looks of bewilderment followed before they all returned to the elevator car, pushed the button for their chosen fllor and watched the doors slide closed. A few moments later they all trotted out again - into the bar. Tony started chanting (shouting?) "Get out" to anybody who dared to venture into the potentially vertical world of the left hand elevator.
A guy in uniform arrived some time later and started inspecting the elevator car in a very Inspector Clouseau type of way. He gave up and wandered off - so eventually, in a friendly sort of PPRuNe effort to help, a six foot tall pot plant (Aspidistra?) was borrowed from the bar and dragged into the front of the lift. Nobody else bothered with it. Now people used the one on the right and we got on with our stories and beers.
Tall Guy was the first to quit - though, had he known, he could have spent the night in one of the spare beds in the family room. Don't understand why Mrs. TG wouldn't come up in her jammies - I don't think we would have complained? Would we, guys?
Girlie behind the bar announced that she was closing. Yeah, right. We put a stop to that for a while.
Eventually it was agreed - it really must be bedtime. All too tired for the now familiar early morning trek to the local 24 hour Tesco. FFF was aghast at the suggestion that breakfast should be at 8:15 (but I had a plane to catch). He wandered off to bed whilst we tried to recall what his room number was - then we could book him an alarm call for gawd knows what time in the morning. We gave up and went to our respective pits at some "fairly early in the morning" type of time.
On the way there.....'Grant, the plant' was dragged inside the lift, to stand guard for the night.
Off into deep, deep, alcohol induced sleep.
BAHWOOP, BAHWOOP, BAHWOOP. What the hell is that noise??
BAHWOOP, BAHWOOP, BAHWOOP.
Oh gawd, I fell for it. I usually make a check of the bedside raio to ensure that the previous tenant hasn't set the alarm for some crazy single digit hour in the morning. Don't you just love those pranksters.
BAHWOOP, BAHWOOP, BAHWOOP - it went on, as it slowly dawned on me that there was no bedside raio. Bl**dy hell, can't be the telephone making that noise - must be that the television set has an alarm function like the ones in the USA and the volume is set too high. I had the remote by my bed and tried to turn it off whilst explaining to the awakening Tony that an alrm clock of sort was going off but I couldn't stop it.
I was half right - the volume on the television was set very loud, but now in addition to the other noise.
BAHWOOP, BAHWOOP, BAHWOOP.
Why wouldn't it stop?? Tony suggested it could be a fire alarm. Ah!!. I wandered into the other room - LDMax was rolling about on his bed - also trying to figure out the source of the noise.
Then I heard voices and the sound of many hoofbeats in the corridor outside. Yep. Fire in the hotel. Evacuate.
Got dressed and made my way out down the fire escape. One staff member scurrying up the steps, in tears, muttering about a shower. Not a good time to go for a shower, thinks I.
Out into the car park, into the early morning light. "Hi there, g'morning" I say to the radiant AerBabe, Pilotwolf and Skip. FFF turned up shortly afterwards. Tony and LDMax at my heels. All safe. Good.
Fire department had come from the building next door - literally - but Pilotwolf had made it out of the hotel before they got there (and he was two floors above me).
Problem solved in about half an hour and we all wandered back in - confirmed our plans for 8:15 breakfast.
Tony had departed for a morning appointment, but LDMax and I made it down for 8:25 and found FFF, Pilotwolf and the radiant AerBabe sitting there poliely waiting for us.
Plate loads of bacon, egg, sausage, beans, with toast, orange juice and coffee were consumed for an hour before it was time for me to go 'check in' for the flight to Orlando.
Was interested to note a spot of devotion - as I returned from the restaurant to the elevator, 'Grant, the plant' was still standing firmly to attention in the left hand car. Good plant, that one. Deserves a pay rise.
I think a good night was had by all. Just enough people to keep the conversation flowing, the right combination of attitude and humour. Really enjoyed it - and was a pleasure to meet up with old - and new - friends.
Rounded the deal off nicely by winning a bottle of champagne on the flight home for correctly answering the question, "How many emergency exits are there on this Boeing 747"??
Must plan something else - let's do it again. Another succesfull mini-bash.