Saturday night was brilliant. Lots of fun and lots of money raised – not to mention a few pints sunk.
Sunday morning and a few heads were a little groggy. Sean “Geezer” Lacey managed to convince Paul Abrahams to stay out and hit the town in Belfast. They were last spotted on CCTV around 4am, staggering out of a night club called “Yellow” - a little ironic as they both looked a little green as they came down to breakfast.
Paul Kelly on the other hand was looking surprisingly fresh faced – a big thank you to Paul’s mum for keeping an eye on him and knowing when to step in and tell him “no more”. Mum always knows best Paul.
We bid Sean goodbye and left him to return to the bar for a quick hair of the dog.
A lot has been made of my navigational skills on this trip, but I don’t think any of the Irish lads will be able to criticise me from now on, as our promised “5 minute cruise to the docks” turned into a 30 minute tour of the back roads and alleys of Belfast – all very interesting, if a little worrying when there’s a ferry to catch.
Andrew’s sense of timing was as impeccable as ever as after 30 minutes of standing around waiting to be let onto the ferry, he decided to get the charger for his phone just as we were told to board.
They say that there is nothing like a smooth ferry crossing, and this was nothing like a smooth ferry crossing. 30 minutes into the journey and a couple of the lads were beginning to regret eating that extra egg and onion sandwich. Having chosen the seats right next to the smokers’ balcony probably didn’t help.
“A” for effort for Paul Kelly who managed to collect £3.42 from passengers on the ferry by posing as a tramp beneath a few sheets of the Irish Telegraph. A few grand short of the “Colchester Duo” but keep trying Paul.
The dodgy crossing was well worth it. When we set off on the bikes for Ayr we were treated to spectacular views and probably the best 50 miles we have done to date - very little pedalling and the sun on our backs with a fair tail wind – just how cycling should be!!! Having said that it did become a bit too much for some of the lads who had over-indulged the night before. There was some fierce muttering and swearing under breath as we took the turn for the coastal route in to Ayr and were met by one final hill – great for purging those beer-sweats.
As we finally descended the hill into Ayr with Jim leading the pack, covered from head to toe in blue paint, it looked like a scene from Braveheart.
And I think I speak for all the lads when I say we were particularly appreciative of the great welcome from the girl with the ford escort.
PS one final note of concern - Paul Collins photo collection of naked men continues to grow – they say that every man needs a hobby but I’m not sure this is appropriate for a married man.