Portsmouth – a Lads’ Day Out: 22 July

The ‘Lad’s Day Out’ in Camden was so popular last year that a second (and therefore now traditional) day was planned by the diligent Ian Sutherland. Off to Portsmouth by coach!

Huge quantities of emails resulted in most of us meeting in the ‘Short & Sweet’ for very good cooked breakfasts, only one peeeg opting for the gross, with chips, big breakfast. Lovely, but no beer – too many visits to ‘Spoons! Meet up was at the D&P, all on time with Max arriving by scooter. Luxury D@P coach, a far call from the relics we have used (remember the gaffer tape repairs and jump starting one heap?). Hip flasks away!

Off through the drizzle and murk to our first stop at Petersfield, passing (strange for us) a ‘Spoons with a slow susurrus of ‘Ssspppoooons’ through the coach…. Good parking and we legged it to the Rams Walk in the rain. Finding a spot under a bridge we evicted most of the shoppers and did Spot 1, very good dancing from all. As we left, we engaged with the local vicar who was ever so supportive and happy for us to dance in front of the church. Off to the Brewery Square (which was neither) for some good Fullers in the garden area, lovely, with pallet plantholders with heathers. Most unusual. Rain eased and off to the market square / market / church for Spot 2. Plenty of interest from shoppers especially with our friendly nag and a handy collection taken. Back to Rams Walk (via pub for some for a beer and a wee) and a lively, noisy Spot 3. A quick rush for the bus and off to Pompey.

Communal singing got underway with a couple of fine songs chosen by Ian, ‘Lay me money down’ having a particularly memorable chorus. Next stop Langstone Harbour Spot 4, more tasty Fullers, and some raucous dancing on the pub deck with the horse in particularly frisky mood entertaining a very giggly rowing gig girl for ages! Next rain front curtailed the dancing and we piled upstairs for a sarnies and chips lunch. Great pub, although we couldn’t get the piped brain mushing muzak turned off to allow some live sung songs – possibly just as well! Monty upto his old tricks presenting a badge to one of the serving lasses… Still raining we legged it to the bus. Huge queues into Portsmouth (Ports vs Bou friendly) but our driver dipped and dived and we were quickly at the Bridge in the Old Harbour (Fullers), another great historic pub, for Spot 5. A quick beer and the squire dragged the reluctant lads out of the beery warmth for a few dances for a few sodden punters.

A quick walk round the corner to Spice Island, a wonderful spot for nautical views including ferries serving France, IoW and Gosport: every vista a delight.  Some lads unwisely ventured into Greene King beer territory, big mistake. A minor mutiny as unauthorised dancing took place for a birthday group Spot 6 before we all gathered for Spot 7 cheerfully dancing for a small but delighted and generous audience. Only two breeches failures by now…. Following the historical trail we headed for the harbour walls. Colossally huge and expensive, but never tested in combat – a brilliant investment or a terrible one? Spot 8 was on top of the wet, briny wind swept walls, but not for blooming long! Off to the Dolphin! On the way we spotted a wedding, excellent. Impromptu Spot 9 was a hastily dusted off spot ‘Haste to the Wedding’, near the knuckle horse antics and photos with the new Mr & Mrs. Thirsty now we dived in to the huge Dolphin (another historic pub with tunnels running to the walls) with a good range of beers. Dancing inside to a lively, dressed up crowd included Trump Morris and Baz’s Cap’n Pugwash jig. Spot 10.  Wisely avoided trying out the wonderful acoustics in the cathedral opposite.

Back on the bus, we quickly scoffed the thoughtfully provided mountain of Danish pastries and singing got underway in earnest. Rattling bogs, incontinent dogs, lobsters in chamber pots, burning dun cows and dido/fido etc all featured. We are grateful that the Fool rarely sings…..and that he lost his voice.

Dozers were rudely awakened (too much HSB!) as we rolled up to the Spreadeagle in Liss. Great beers, we particularly liked the Darkstar Hophead. Some families turned out to watch some relaxed and not entirely accurate dancing (Millies Bequest was a hilarious shambles) – Spot 11 – which they thoroughly enjoyed. We were joined by a whittler on a camp chair who presented us with mini carved staddlestones. Rather nice! Final ride home was a melange of songs, burping, where’s my tankard, flatulence and music and we eventually fell out in Yateley.

What a great day! Our thanks to Ian who did a brilliant job organising and running the day. Marvellous historic pubs and fantastic dance spots – Portsmouth is a great city to visit and perform in. Where next? Max may have volunteered for a weekend around Stafford next year! Oooh, sounds good!

Artistes

Rod Crane, Steve Betts, Chris Chapple, Baz Crossman, Ryan Cooper, Peter Stapleton, Ian Sutherland, Tom Brady, Greg Bramwell, Andrew Armitage, Max Haynes, Chris Bartlett, Andy Pobjoy, Paul Montague, Paul Lethbridge, Rob Acreman, Ross Healey.

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