I did not wake up in the bath unfortunately, but Barry was already awake and had eaten breakfast by the time I rose, in fact most people had been awake some time. Because the pizza place across the road was not doing pizza yet and breakfast was long gone at the hotel we ventured to the shop and bought supplies for sandwiches. Among these supplies were Pringles (good) and some weird bouncy sausage (bad); the longer the sausage was out of the packet the more it turned green and the more we tried to make other people eat it. In the end the bread and cheese was enough so we got the Frisbee and decided on ‘Red Arse’, when I say ‘we’ I mean the boys.
‘Red Arse’, if you don’t already know (then what were you doing at university?!)is a game that can be played in a number of ways, this time we chose a frisbee. Very simple; stand apart, ideally in a spacious environment, have a beer in one hand at all times, throw the Frisbee to your fellow players and if you drop it or it is a bad throw then you get a letter. First one to spell out RED ARSE is the loser.
Now the punishment is in keeping with the name of the game, it’s a little homoerotic and when you lose you get given a red arse. There was a very convenient and aptly named ‘Bum Dungeon’ just up from the river and to those who didn’t know what was going on and heard screaming from below them, drunken idiots were spanking each other with a Frisbee.
Some time had passed before we buckled to the ladies venting their boredom at watching us play our extremely mature game so we appeased their appetite for balls by playing a spot of crazy golf. At a glance I thought the course was a nine holer maximum and about nine holes in we all realised it was actually 17 due to one hole being out of action. This doesn’t seem very interesting now and as I write it I realise that it isn’t but I’m emphasising the point that when you consider there were eight gently inebriated, regressed, student golfing enthusiasts with varying degrees of competitiveness wandering fairly aimlessly around the place just lumping balls about and betting, it took quite a long time.
Anyway, for that select few that used to care but it was so long ago that they definitely don’t now, here are the scores:
- Bungle - 3,3,3,4,3,3,3,2,3,6,3,3,3,3,3,3,5 = 56 «< Seventh worst
- Drakey - 3,2,3,4,7,5,3,4,2,3,3,4,4,4,3,3,4 = 61 «< Fifth worst
- Hunny - 3,6,3,6,2,3,5,4,4,5,5,4,4,3,3,3,5 = 68 «< Third worst
- Peggs - 3,2,4,4,3,4,7,3,4,10,3,6,4,3,4,3,4 = 71 «< Second worst
- Andrea - 4,2,4,4,5,5,2,5,10,2,5,8,3,2,7,5,4 = 77 «< LOSER
- Jolly - 2,7,2,2,4,8,3,2,4,3,3,3,5,3,2,3,2 = 58 «< Sixth worst
- Twatty - 3,4,3,4,2,3,2,3,4,2,3,4,3,2,2,4,3 = 51 «< Least worst
- Lynn - 3,2,3,2,4,3,2,3,5,10,4,5,4,2,3,3,4 = 62 «< Fourth worst
Even with Andrea’s blatant cheating she finished last, if only her golfing ability matched her competitive spirit. I often found myself in the rough with my own ‘maverick’ style of play and Twatty’s continued shouts of ‘Get it in from there and I’ll buy you a bottle of Jager’ gave me many an opportunity to become a hero in Bosnia but it wasn’t to be. If there is contention about the scores then next time you do ‘em.
A few more games of Red Arse followed the golf, one of which ended up in me having to retrieve the Frisbee from the roof of the hotel. I was surprised none of the staff noticed me up there what with my good friends berating me from below; needless to say when I got down I received ample punishment in a very red bottom.
Monkey business like this carried on into the night, we played more drinking games and had a generally wonderful time. As people flaked out in drips and drabs I found myself with Duncan, another man with a beard, and a couple of others watching Jackie Chan beat people about in most imaginative fashion until it was definitely time to go to bed.
The next day I had to get to the airport and I should have got out of bed when I first woke up. Peggs and Drakey had been allocated to drive me because they were also going but this meant an annoyingly early start for them seeing as they didn’t have to be there until about another 4 hours after me; thank you so much Irfat for suggesting the idea!
My ill-advised complacently about taking it easy in the morning became evident as I was sat in the front passenger seat navigating for Drakey. We all kind of knew how tight we, or in fact I, was for time and that we didn’t really know exactly where we were going, just that I was making sure we stayed on the right line.
We hit all the names we were supposed to on the map and then got to the Bosnian/Croation border. I gave the man our passports and because Drakey and Peggs had hired a car I gave the car details as well, this meant that our checks took a bit more time than we thought they needed too and again gentle nerves started to tingle.
As I was escaping my inner panic with external laughter and tomfoolery I heard a ‘Nick!’ from behind us in the adjacent queue and when I turned around I saw Irfat with Tristan, Joss and Kat in the car. We shared hellos, smiles and waves and, somewhat unsurprisingly, they seemed to ooze with ease through their check point and onto the motorway.
As soon as we got through ours we decided that it would be best to catch up with Irfat and follow him to the airport, at least we thought they were going to the airport, where else could they be going? We did catch up and thankfully enough they were going to the airport. We arrived with time to spare and I got to say goodbye again to Tristan and Joss again which was nice. I left Drakey and Peggs at the sandwich shop and wandered through customs to jump on the plane to Russia. ‘Russia…’ I remember thinking, ‘I hadn’t thought that far ahead’.
I’m not sure what would have happened had we not met Irfat at the border, it was complete chance. There was a turn he took that we definitely would not have taken and whenever he slowed down for what we thought to be no good reason it turned out it was because there were police up ahead. I never did get to thank him for that personally but I’ve sent flowers to him and Margareta since. I don’t think he had intended it to work out that way, he just kind of became a guardian angel for a little bit of my journey.
It was a fantastic wedding, up there with the best and people helped me out all the way through; Irfat and Wadey picked me up, Drakey and Peggs dropped me off, Twatty brought and took back my suit, and his superchamp girlfriend Lynn even hung it up so it wouldn’t crease, it’s the little things. I had a wonderful time staying at the family home; helping out and being fed, talking photography with Irma, playing Shithead with Edith and getting to know Tristan and Joss. I’ve mentioned already the size of the Rekic family and the bond they share but I wouldn’t have got to meet any of them if it weren’t for Wadey, he’s a good man. I’m looking forward to when he and Ines have kids and more of my friends get married, I’ll do my best to be at the festivities. For now though I have to fly to Moscow ready to get on the longest train journey I’m likely to take in my life. Thinking about that now I wonder what kind of entertainment it will bring, some, I’m sure…