Dear Member The fourtharch Old Boys Tankard Club NEWSLETTER
Outing to España April 2012 or My search for Dr Evil in Spain and Three new games for the under 1-year-olds created by William The fourtharch outing to Spain consisted of, Richard, Claire, William, Uncle Mogi and your writer Great Uncle Paul. Apologies Apologies were received from Uncle Matt and Uncle Gez who is busy getting married. Day 1 – Welcome to Benalmádena I began my search for Dr Evil in Scotland where I had been in Oban for a few days visiting the Islands of Mull and Iona; I had an early start so there was plenty of time to take the train to Glasgow airport for the flight to Malaga and after a long day travelling it was very nice to be welcomed at Benalmádena train station by Richard, Claire young William and mogitravel.com. It had been a long day for all of us what with Richard and Claire keeping young William entertained on the flight from London and mogitravel.com dealing with the pressure of making sure everyone arrived on time and settled into various booked accommodations in the exciting resort of Benalmádena – our base for the fourtharch Easter 2012 outing in Spain. Mogi then took charge and led us all in the direction of my accommodation for 3 days – the Hotel Bali, on the way William provided a very appropriate Spanish sound track to the walk by shaking his Maraca. Once I had checked into the Hotel it had already been decided that we were off for a Chinese, your writer was happy with anything as after my own day of moving around Europe all I required was a long, tall and cool glass of beer. We were soon sat in a very nice Chinese in the marina area with expensive boats moored and no sooner had we sat down and beer served than both Mogi and Richard were away to the serve yourself buffet returning with two hearty meals. Before I knew it they had cleared their plates completely – gosh, they must have been hungry, meanwhile I had hardly touched my beer so I apologised and said that I would quickly down it and we can get off – before I knew it, they were away again to the serve yourself buffet returning with what seemed to be even more food than the first time. On their third run to the buffet they also brought a plate back for Claire who was in turn busy looking after William and not for the first time during this Spanish outing I thought I was hallucinating as I witnessed Claire bring out all sorts of fruit, food, drinks and wipes from a very small bag that seemed to be bottomless, I was not however hallucinating when I saw Richard and Mogi head for the buffet once more. William with a little help enjoyed walking in between the many rows of empty tables in the restaurant as we seemed to be the last customers for the evening.
We eventually got out of the Chinese and walked back along the promenade and I said goodnight to Mogi, Richard, Claire and William and began the climb up the steep hill to my Hotel. The Hotel Bali was extremely comfortable but was full of old people – maybe mogitravel.com couldn’t get me into the Club 18-30 hotel, after all they are always busy. Day 2 – Dr Evil’s hat blows off near Malaga Cathedral The next day was a train ride into Malaga and our first stop was the Cathedral and as we gazed up at the height of the ceiling, Mogi and I wondered where Michael Angelo would have bought such a long paintbrush. As we left the Cathedral and moved outside a sudden gust of wind caught Mogi’s summer hat and it blew down the street so fast that he could hardly keep up with it – when Mogi returned with hat and two hands on his head it was at this point that I began to wonder who blew the hat off, was it the FBI and could Mogi secretly be Dr Evil? We decided upon the Castle next after a quick lunch that turned out to be more helpings of food called Tapas. What with William and pram we decided to use the lift for the top of the Castle ramparts and as Mogi and I looked down over Malaga we wondered why a tourist attraction was built at the top of a hill and so pram unfriendly – why even a military man would have trouble scaling its walls – ridiculous! William Game #1 – The Shoe Game After returning to ground level in the Castle lift we went for a stroll along the old harbour and docks area that has now been transformed into a wonderful new family friendly marina. William decided to test his first new game by dropping his shoe out of his push chair at the entrance to the new marina and then waiting for us to walk right the way around to the other side before making us aware that he was wearing only one shoe – we walked all the way back to the entrance and there was the other shoe where he had dropped it – great fun! I split from the team near the metro station to take a look across the road in El Corte Inglés, Spain’s version of John Lewis. Mogi said that he didn’t know why I was bothering as the place is exactly like John Lewis – in fact it was just like John Lewis. We were to meet up again at Mogi’s apartment in Benalmádena and from there to eat at Mr & Mrs Morgan’s favourite restaurant in town and if as I suspected, Mogi is in fact Dr Evil there could only be one reason why he placed me in the Hotel Bali, a hotel full of old people that constantly played all the old tunes from the 1960s – he must believe that I was no greater a threat to his evil plans than Mr Austin Powers himself! These evil villains usually have eyes everywhere so how would I get out of the hotel tonight without raising suspicions and being spotted? To blend in I was going to have to dress in 1960s fashions like the rest of the hotel clientele and was soon sporting a blue velvet jacket, flared trousers and gold medallion and decided to reprise the dance from the opening titles of the first Austen Powers movie - I began with the twist as I made my way along the corridors to the reception area where I then took part in a dance routine with 4 women in their late 50s – I said goodnight and told everyone that I was Welsh Television’s Jason Mohammed – to which the ladies replied – “Twat” I think I got away with it.
I was out of the hotel without being recognised, my next step was to find Dr Evil’s luxury apartment, directions for which Mogi had marked out on a map that would take me right through the middle of Paloma park – was this a trap? Would the directions take me across a shaky bridge over a piranha filled lake? No, because the park was in fact full of ducks, geese, pigeons, chickens, roosters, peacocks, emus, mountain goats and rabbits – so no piranhas - but I did get lost. I decided to texty texty Mogi and tell him that there had been a change of plan and instead of meeting at the apartment could we now meet at the Railway station – somewhere I knew I could find. Again I think I got away with it and ended up not looking like a complete tw@#, and only half of one. We eventually met up had a quick drink and from there Mogi led us to his very very luxurious apartment in Benalmádena with all the very latest gizmos and gadgets for world domination [and a pleasant and comfortable weeks stay in Spain] – I particularly liked the yellow striped loungers on the terrace from where either Mogi would sit making plans to pull the barmaid in the Albany or his alto ego Dr Evil would formulate his latest and most evil of plans - but what were they? I had to find out. It was time to leave for Mr & Mrs Morgan’s favourite restaurant in Benalmádena and we were soon tucking in to some great food, meanwhile Claire continued her conjuring act by pulling lots more surprises for William out of her small bag. It was only because we dropped the name of Mr & Mrs Morgan in the restaurant that our host brought over some extra specially crisp roast tatties and when I asked Mogi if he wanted the really crispy tatties and the crispy bits at the bottom of the bowl – he said yes – truly he must be Dr Evil. After a while William decided to take mummy and daddy home early to chill out, later Richard re-joined Mogi and your writer for a quick nightcap in a bar near the sea from where I finally returned to my hotel and made my way back to my room leading a crowd of revellers singing The way to Amarillo. Again I think I got away with it as I heard people in the bar refer to me as a tw@#! That was strange because this time around I didn’t tell them that I was Welsh Television’s Jason Mohammed! Day 3 – A visit to Dr Evil’s underground base Day three would be a ride in the car firstly to visit the Caves of Nerja or Dr Evil’s underground base, a brush with a Russian Spy in Frigiliana and a visit to a bar that literally vanished in front of our very eyes. I was picked up in the car just down the road from my hotel on the main road – Richard was driving and I sat in the passenger seat, there was a lot of noise coming from the back seat from you know who so Claire began to sing very nicely a series of soothing nursery rhymes – it did the trick as I turned to look in the back seat to find Mogi fast asleep and we would now have no more Portland Bill jokes until we reached our destination – William however remained wide awake. The Nerja Caves were discovered in 1959 by a group of boys out playing; the caves were first known as the Caves of Wonders and today are secretly know as Dr Evil’s secret underground base [Entry Fee €8.50, special rates for groups and pensioners] Dr Evil’s cavernous base was just as impressive as the volcano base that Donald Pleasence had in You Only Live Twice but there was no little monorail train for Dr Evil to escape if things went Pete Tong, however there were lots of helpful signs around giving instructions such as “Exit” and “Follow Pathway” – pure evil.
Our next stop was a very attractive little village up in hills north of Nerja called Frigiliana and we were soon all sat down enjoying another great meal in a charming little restaurant with a wonderful view of the town. Claire was now bringing out ready cooked meals from her bag that just needed to be warmed up and the kindly waiter insisted that he would help out that William showed his appreciation for by making a satisfied yum yum noise while munching on all the goodies – hot and cold. Suddenly a pram pushed by a young woman crashed into our table – was this a Russian spy and had she identified Dr Evil sat at our table and could her name have been something like Miss Honey Trap? As we began picking up stuff knocked off the table during the collision our next step was to return various belongings to the correct owners, Richard held up Mogi’s sun cream to which Miss Trap acknowledged that it was hers and scurried away down the street – she would have got away with Mogi’s shorts, hat and sunglasses if it were not for the waiter warning us that she was indeed bad news, so Richard realising his mistake set off to chase Miss Trap into the distance eventually returning with all Mogi’s belongings. After the shock of a brush with a possible Russian assassin we decided to calm ourselves down with a walk around a rather pleasant little town that turned out to be quite a climb eventually finding a café with terrace not only looking down on our climb but with a fabulous view of the whole village. Time for refreshments and what with the bright sunshine and a table near the edge of the terrace, Claire commented that she felt like she was sitting on the set of a James Bond Movie – with Dr Evil possibly sitting only inches away on the same table she was absolutely correct. William Game #2 – The empty milk carton game. Meanwhile William accidently knocked his empty milk carton off the table so I picked it up and William knocked it off the table again – I picked it up once more and before the carton came back down on the table it was back on the floor again. This created a lot of fun for William as I picked the milk carton up yet again – it was so much fun that the café waiter came over and joined in and which point William took some time out and I continued the game with the waiter – great fun. Claire volunteered to drive to our next destination – Nerja itself and she was doing really well until back seat drivers Richard and Dr Evil suggested that she was taking the wrong lane at roundabouts for continuing straight on, so far as I could see Claire was in the correct lane for going straight on – was this all part of Dr Evil’s mind bending tactics? We parked up and after a walk along the cliff overlooking the sea we all ended up with an ice cream on the Balcony of Europe, meanwhile William tried out his third new game for the under 1-year-olds. William Game #3 – The step. The Balcony of Spain is a kind of giant circular terrace projecting out over the Mediterranean Sea and has a nice round staging at its centre with one big enormous circular step that William thoroughly enjoyed climbing up – there is a little floor in this game that has yet to be ironed out before production and that’s coming back down again.
It was time to head back to Benalmádena and to what would be the strangest bar on the planet, meanwhile Richard took over the driving and managed to drive over every smegging rumble strip that the good lord created on the A7 – and then some [Claire didn’t drive over any rumble strips by the way] At my hotel drop off point I said my final goodbyes to Claire and William and made arrangements for later and a time to meet for a farewell drink with Richard and Mogi, I then made my way back to the Hotel Bali popping into the nearby chemist for some rumble strip cream. I was soon walking [gingerly] along the sea front promenade to meet Richard and Mogi for that farewell drink and we found a great little bar that looked like a bar when we went in? We sat near the door* at a table* on some chairs* *Note: I promise you dear reader that when we walked into the bar there was a door, a table and at least 3 chairs. We were soon served with some cool beers and the evening began as normal with your typical beer related topics such as weddings, well not weddings as such but how we could get Gez to say a swear word at his up and coming stag do that I would find the answer to hidden in this very script. But I digress and as usual with guys and beer we got around to talking about beer itself and as we touched on our last 11/9 tour to BurySt-Edmunds - suddenly the landlord jumped into the conversation and said that he knew the town well because he used to live in Watton in Norfolk but he sounded like a Dutch/South African – very suspicious so from now on this South African, Dutch landlord shall be called Terry Watton As the evening progressed I either thought that the beer was rather strong or that I was beginning to hallucinate again when I saw stars where the bar ceiling used to be, then Richard said that he could see the sea where the front door was and when Mogi stood up to check and confirm that the bar front door was in fact no more his chair then disappeared. Before we knew it the whole bar, tables, chairs, fireplace, walls, ceilings, Karaoke machine, fixtures and fittings had all gone and we found ourselves sitting out in the open on a public bench holding desperately onto our glasses of beer, in case they also disappeared like a bunch of rough sleepers. The whole bar had vanished off the face of Benalmádena the only proof of its existence was the landlord, Terry Watton who waved us goodnight saying “Hope to see you again soon” Was this the work of Dr Evil? One conclusion that I made there and then was that Mogi could now not possibly be Dr Evil as he would never want to make bars disappear or indeed pubs, breweries or any outlets for beer, so who would want to vaporise all the bars in Benalmádena so that you could only buy alcohol at a very expensive price on flights back and fore to Bristol airport? I was looking for a person so evil that travellers such as young families, the elderly, fatties and the disabled would live in fear of him at airport check-in desks. I did not find Dr Evil on my tour of Spain this time but if it is his intention to make all pubs and bars disappear then I call on every male in the land and say that it is your duty to Queen and country to visit your local pub every evening to make sure it is still there! [It’s as good an excuse as any if you don’t have a dog] Next Outing 21st July – A Wedding in Bath.