So just a bit of background for those not familiar with this infrequent event.
Forty two years ago 19 guys started a training course which was to change and define their lives. Twenty five years after first meeting and bonding through a series of grueling and sometimes, soul-sapping physical and psychological exercises, in 1995 we met in Glencoe, the scene of one of the most emotional and demanding tasks we had to perform, and despite the previous hardship remembered by the group in that foreboding location, a great time was had by all.
Now, 17 years after that first reunion, a group of us met in Glasgow to relive old times and past misdemeanors. Two meetings in forty two years isn’t too clever I suppose but as we’re spread all over the place, managing to get two of the original ‘PETs’ in the same place at the same time should be recognized as something of an achievement, so the ten who turned up this year, was a triumph.
I arrived just after lunch on Friday and after a quick trip round George Square and a look at the stunning City Chambers (pictured), I found, surprise, surprise, a few of them sitting in the bar area, looking just like they did 17 years earlier. O.K. – the hair was thinner and the waists thicker but there was no mistaking who was who. They didn’t even have to ask what I was drinking – I was always the most sophisticated of the motley bunch and they ordered my usual glass of chilled white wine.
Herby was just as he was all those years ago. Dougie was a bit thinner on top but we always knew he was going to be folically challenged so it wasn’t a surprise. Eddie M was as I’d seen him on his German website so I recognized him right away. Harry was always going to be a ‘man mountain’ and he didn’t disappoint. We were joined later by another Eddie (Mac) whom I’ve seen quite frequently over the intervening years and Peter who had removed his ‘tache’ and looked like the fit footballer he always was – not!
Word had reached us from some of the wives who obviously knew their husbands were off on a ‘bender’ for the weekend with very unfair comments such as – ‘a group of 60 year olds going off on a pub crawl – don’t make us laugh’ and ‘pubs don’t let you in with zimmer frames’! In the event, our pub crawl lasted for approximately 100 yards and one pub. We must be getting old right enough!
The following day Kenny (a bit hairier) and Chic (a bit less hairier!) joined us and we headed for an indoor golf arena which we’d booked but wouldn’t let us play (booking system issues but we finally got on!) and then an afternoon of malt whisky tasting in Dougie’s suite in the Millenium Hotel (pictured) which looks out onto George Square, which now has a "Jamie's' so I suppose Glasgow has finally made it!
Now I know he was the organizer but how come Dougie got a suite for £50 a night when I was in a room where the marks of swinging cats stained the walls and there wasn't enough room to dry myself in my bathroom and I was paying £87 and poor Kenny all of £175! I think we’re due an explanation.
Early evening and Allister joined us. Like Chic he had changed little although a voice honed from teaching Scottish schoolkids for four decades was definitely more confident. We spent the first part of the evening at the hotel bar before we headed once more out into the driving Glasgow rain for a trip to a chic, and pretty expensive steak-house where we had a great dinner (see picture) which took a huge chunk out of the kitty, before we once again hit the hotel bar which is beautifully situated on Glasgow’s George Square and allowed us to ‘people watch’ which was fascinating in the extreme.
Girls dressed in body-hugging pink plastic dresses tottering around on six inch heels and covered in tattoos (no pictures!), seemed to be the order of the day. Girls dressed as if they were in the Bahamas with little or no clothing above the waist (no pictures) were everywhere, as were the girls staggering around holding a take-away kebab or something similar. Our collective tongues were hanging out, not in lust, but in disgust!
At 2.15am, I made my apologies after unsuccessfully trying to get Herbie to release some more funds from the kitty and made my way to my room. It was a great couple of days – but my liver is now complaining!