Monday, January 29, 2007

Transpocalypse (written with the benefit of a good night’s sleep)

What a strange 48 hours it has been.

Friday was spent rushing around, packing everything I thought I might need and making a HUGE packed lunch (good call as its turns out – I had enough for the journey home). A friend helpfully points out that a local garage rents out Tom-Tom sat -navs. Sadly I will be 50 miles away before they even open. One for next time maybe. Eventually I manage to get to sleep.

Saturday morning I awake at 6.30am and have a decent breakfast and check my turnips (Animal Crossing: Wild World). Then I washed, dressed and loaded the car, with more luggage than I normally take on a long weekend. A quick text to Richard Eichmann to wake him up, and I’m off.

The drive to Norwich is clear and stress free, but I forget that getting to Richard’s involves a 15 trek through the city.

And he’s been awake for 10 minutes when I arrive.

After a panicked search for his passport (he looks younger than he is, and worries about over-zealous bouncers) we give up and set off.

The bulk of the journey is pretty smooth sailing, if tiring, and we also discover than when you get further west than Newark on Trent, all the services dry up. The Derbyshire Dales are spectacular although the route is very twisty and on the edge of huge drops, and I have flashbacks to Sega Rally (“Easy right baby!”).

We got to Liverpool in an amazing 6 1/2 hours.

It’s when we exit the M62 and enter the greater Liverpool area that it gets a bit tricky. AA directions are woefully inadequate and ignore useful things like landmarks:

Richard: “We’re looking for a turn off for the Royal Liverpool Hospital.”

Me: “Errr. We have two exits labelled for the hospital.”

Richard: “B5340?”

Me: “Neither of then. Oh bugger, let’s stay on this road. What are we looking for next?”

We get directions from a local who was very helpful but seemed incredibly puzzled that we were asking, and eventually find the hotel. And the full car-park.

Minutes away is a bit of waste ground marked as a car park. Except it closes at five. And doesn’t open on Sunday, so I can’t leave it locked in overnight. The owner suggests we leave it in his car park and keep an eye on the long stay by the hotel.

It works out OK in the end, and I get a space.

We spend the next couple of hours chilling, watching some film with Judi Dench and Stephen Fry in, and speculating why the lobby of a Liverpool hotel is full of local girls checking in.

We get tarted up and head for the proposed meeting in the Lisbon. The receptionist has never heard of the Lisbon, but confirms the road we’re heading for is correct. And then we discover why all the girls earlier – the front steps are covered in a fluffy pink hen party. And they are overjoyed to see a tranny! Smiles and cheers all round – its great to be a tranny!

We get to the Lisbon with no problems, and have a drinkie. The regulars barely raise an eyelid, and the lace seems nice. We’re soon joined by Joanna and Valerie who look amazing (and make me feel a little like a backwater novice, but it soon passes). And within minutes we are joined by a whole gaggle of trannies and partners. Many I didn’t know, but I recognised Becky , Jane , Chrissy , Beth, and Clarissa . Apologies to (among others) Sophie, Isobel and Penny who I know I met, but can’t connect the names to the faces in my camera.

We head off to the Mandarin, and get there as planned for 8. This is probably the most sociable part of the evening and much chat ensues. Although Bex does the rounds the seating plan sort of splits us into two camps, but it’s all good. We are joined soon after by four locals and another Norfolk trannie with her partner (making 30% of the group from East Anglia). Unfortunately we don’t get the main course till 10! The food was pretty good (stingy rice portions though) but I’ll draw a veil over the bill. Maybe paying separately might be a good idea next time though as down on the low table we were pretty thrifty with food and drink.

Clubbing is where is sort of goes a bit Pete Tong. Liverpool is freezing, and we all suffer for our miniskirts! Navy Bar is our first stop, and I’ve got to admit that even by comparison to Great Yarmouth clubs, it’s a bit of a dive. Big room with a bar and a DJ. And a ratty sofa. The music is way too loud for me and there is nowhere to escape the din.

We huddle in the corner and finish our drinks before moving on again.

On the way to G-Bar we are offered pills by some very friendly locals, right there on the street, but they seem OK with our refusals.

We stop for a cash machine, and I finally get to have a chat with Jane. Smart girl, and very nice.

We get to G-Bar and it’s a fiver to get in. We try Garlands, and that’s £10. We mill around a bit pondering in the freezing cold, and Becky announces that Jane is not feeling too good. She apologises and they go off home. We decide to give G-Bar a go. It’s packed. And I don’t mean “a bit full”. It’s completely wall-to-wall with bodies. It is impossible to dance, and drinking is difficult.

I try downstairs with Richard, Chrissy and Beth. There’s much more room, but the music is crap. I get chatted up by a couple of blokes, but I’m not interested. Well I say “chatted up” the second bloke had an impenetrable scouse accent, so he may have been offering me drugs or discussing Proust.

About 2 we find Joanna and Val going home, so walk back with them to the hotel. And meet the hen night also turning in! They’ve had a pretty good night at least.

Sleep is easy but I have to get up at 7.30 to feed the meter. I’m not alone! No idea why I can’t just buy a two day ticket, but there you go.

We get up around noon and head off. After a crappy Big Mac at Lymm, we hit the motorway. After turning off and heading for Knutsford we miss a turning and are only back on track and hour later. The Dales are trickier this time with fog and rain, and by the time night falls we are only as far as Lincolnshire. After a very tedious night drive, I drop Richard off and am looking forward to a short drive home and a cup of tea. Only some bugger has caused the Acle Straight to be closed off, and it’s a 40 minute slog through back roads and pissant villages before I can finally rest. (And discover my mum has left me new bathroom mats, the jobs page of the local paper, and some Malteasers – Thanks Mum!)

Overall it was great to see everyone; even if I didn’t get to speak to everybody I wanted too. Nice to put names (and voices) to faces. You’re a lot taller than I expected Bex – must be all those photos with Siobhan!

So in closing – congratulations to Becky on a tricky job (herding cats springs to mind). Next time though, a more anal-retentive approach to researching clubs might be a good idea.

I might be in touch with some of you later in the year if you want to meet up for drinkies in smaller groups.


Joanna said...

Was nice to meet you and Richard...

Last year we did a set menu across the board (meat or veggie) and it made doing the bill a lot easier... maybe we'll try that again next time.

I think I may have seen you at the ungodly hour of 7.30 when I went to feed the meter too, but I was half asleep and only realised when you'd gone....

I guess the locals were happy to offer us pills since, given our outfits we were unlikely to be coppers! We were hardly in plain clothes!

Hope to see you out and about again soon!

Kat said...

As an exile from Merseyside, I'm:

a) very impressed you ventured out in Liverpool. The thought terrifies me. Suppose it's too close to home, and too near the bone, as Morrissey once swooned.

b) Pills in Liverpool are cheap and tops. Allegedly.

Penny Morris said...

Oh, there was a downstairs was there? Still I don't expect we could have had much of a chat down there either.

I don't understand the pills thing. Why bother with asprin in the evening, its the morning after you need them :-)

Sorry we didn't chat more Pandora. Next time...

Chrissy said...

Ahh... that's why we couldn't find anyone else when we emerged from the basement! You'd all sloped off!

It was really good to meet you (and Richard) as well. We must do it again, soon...

Thanks for your discretion re the Beth 'thang' as well. xx
We had a long chat on Sunday morning and we know where we stand in each other's minds, now.

Isobel said...

I was that other Norfolk tranny - the one with the deathly pallor. I just can't shake off the goth in me ;o)

It was great meeting you, and I only wish that a club could have presented us all for an opportunity to have a propper natter.

Pandora Caitiff said...

Thanks to you all. No matter how short it was great to finally meet you all. Thanks to Flickr I think I can put names to all except the Liverpool contingent.

And to Kat: Hi there. Cheers for the input. I've just bookmarked your blog, so I'l take a look later.

richard eichmann said...

That was a fun weekend. Would have liked to have spent more time at G-Bar though. Nice to have met everybody.