Sunday, 28 December 2014

Dads are boys too

It's that time of the holiday period when the pace has eased a little bit and you have time to properly review what gifts have kindly come your way.

For my part, this includes my brand new drinking cap - which I'll be testing out very shortly - a pair of Guinness bottle top cuff links and a cocktail-making kit.  Spot the theme.

However, I would be lying to you if I didn't admit to taking more than a passing interest in some of Jamie's gifts.  

This includes his "big present" from Father Christmas, a PlayStation Vita which will shortly add a rugby game to its portfolio - compelling me to order an advance copy (for myself) yesterday.  (I can pretend to be the Ulster rugby team and everything, doesn't get better than that).

The other gift which has caught my eye - and which I may or may not have lobbied very hard for inclusion on Jamie's Santa list - is Electronic Battleship.

As a kid, I always fancied having Electronic Battleship on my own Santa list but it never quite worked out.  This meant I never actually got to play the game until last night when I set Jamie's up to "test" it - without telling Jamie.  Who then caught me in the act and forced me to let him join in.  Kids.

Charlotte soon took an active interest too and, before we knew it, all-out war was being waged across our dining room table.

Later, we're having a Boys v Girls house battle with Jamie and I pairing up against Vanessa and Charlotte.

And I'll not be happy until I see Charlotte cry at the demise of the female fleet.  I'm sorry, but war is cruel and she might as well know that now.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

So there it was, Merry Christmas

Well, that's Christmas kind of over for another year (although I fully intend to tear the arse out of it for a few days yet).  I trust you and yours have had a memorable time thus far.

Briefly and in chronological order, all seemed to go well here for us Whites.

Jamie and Charlotte were eventually carted off to bed after leaving the obligatory refreshments out for Santa Claus and the reindeer with the shiny nose whose name currently escapes me.  

And thankfully they came, leaving two kiddiewinks particularly pleased with the outcome on Christmas morning.

(That's a remote-controlled toilet Jamie is holding, by the way.  "Corners smoothly without leaving skid marks," according to the box).

We then moved on to lunch, featuring special guests Grandma Judy and Granddad Mike.

Following Vanessa's French onion soup starter, it was time for the main event, namely Old Mike the Turkey.

Taking a mere six hours of preparation and cooking, I must confess to having felt a tad smug with my effort.

I'd never done that "shove butter under the skin" lark before, and was apprehensive. My appetite also took a bit of a hit early on when Vanessa passed by whilst I had both hands rammed inside Old Mike.
"Now you know what it's like to be a midwife," she said.  Indeed.

But anyway, that was all good.

Then came Boxing Day when, for the fourth year running, I made the mistake of entering the Chevin Chase.  It's a seven-mile trail race through a country park to the highest point almost 300 metres above sea level, and back down again.  It's muddy, it's cold and it's dangerous (I broke a bone in my foot when I first did it).  It's also traditionally won by one of the Brownlee brothers, reigning Olympic triathlon champion Alistair taking the tape yesterday with younger sibling Jonny not far behind.

Unlike me, who was far behind - in 542nd place.

Poetry in motion.

The low point for me was being passed by a man dressed as a tree whilst running through a clump of trees.  Irony in its cruelest form.  

But I just about earned my afternoon in the pub afterwards, which was the plan all along.

Which reminds me, it's now time to treat the kids to a pub lunch.  Selfless, we really are.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Time for another White Christmas

It's 3pm on Christmas Eve and, being partial to the occasional cliché, I'd like to say it's the "calm before the storm."  But it's not for me, and probably isn't for you either.

For years I tried to reach common agreement on a "traditional" White family Christmas Eve tea - and got nowhere. That was until last year when Jamie came up with the ingenious idea of fish and chips "with a twist."

Twelve months ago we sat down to devour a three-fish roast, albeit from Morrisons, accompanied by my (burnt) homemade chips.   And this evening, I'm going to have a go at fish goujons served with another attempt at (hopefully less burnt) homemade chips.  It'll probably be a disaster, but Santa loves a trier

Later, it will be cheesy Christmas telly, snacks out for Father C and Rudolph, and him and her off to bed.  Before we wrap.  And maybe even rap.  (A pretend Eminem has released a naughty version of Jingle Bells which we might have a crack at).

Then tomorrow I cook again.  But enough of all that, you might have your own bird to worry about (if so, I trust you bought her something nice).

I hope you have an excellent night tonight, that your hangover is eased when you discover Santa has been good to you, and you don't fall out with too many cheating in-laws once the Monopoly comes out.

Or put more simply, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

I trust there's cash in his sack

With Charlotte's birthday celebrations finally at an end (she's the one on the throne, obviously), today it was time to get back on with Christmas.

Enter Santa Claus.


Yes, Christmas has changed a lot since my day.  And one of the most noticeable "progressions" has been the birth of the omni-present Santa. 

Honestly, Jamie and Charlotte must've met the old giffer eight or nine times over the past few weeks.

He's been everywhere. And every time the meets them, he gives himself extra work.

For example, neither Vanessa nor I were aware until this afternoon's encounter at Aireborough Rugby Club (above) that Jamie wanted an Iron Man suit in his big stocking.  And now Father C (or maybe his accompanying elf) will have to knock one up. 

Serves him right. 

I hope he's also happy to pay for it.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Rainbow princess

I suspect I'm not alone in having spent a lifetime wondering what lies at the end of the rainbow.  And today I discovered the answer.  That's right, a car park.

If you look closely at my not very good camera pic above, you'll see the rainbow continue down in front of the trees onto the road outside Asda in Guiseley.

And it was kind of appropriate that I saw such a memorable sight today, Charlotte's birthday.

Four years and a few hours ago, this was her look.

But she's worked very hard on her image since then, and this was how she processed around the house after nursery late this afternoon.

Understated, I know. Inevitably, there were further costume changes.

For example, this was her early morning "opening family presents" attire.

And this was her coffee and mints look not long before bedtime.

Okay, milk and biscuits, but same idea.

It's very nice to have her around.

Monday, 15 December 2014

They wish you a Merry Christmas

A special moment at Guiseley Infant School first thing this morning, when Jesus was born for the eighth time in the past week.  According to headteacher Mrs Bell, two further births are expected over the next 24 hours as reception and year one stage their final performances.

Yes folks, it's the nativity season and I was one of many proud parents in attendance today as year two did their thang for the second and last time.

Jamie was one of the three kings on show - some traditions are thankfully unbreakable - and I've helpfully indicated his regal presence for you above, together with his formal title.

Following his casting a few weeks ago, I asked him a few questions about the nature of the role.

"Do you have any words to say?"

"Er, no."

"Do you get to hand your gift over?"

"Er, no."

"What do you have to do?"  

"Stand there.  I just have to stand there."

"Right, excellent.  Sometimes I find it hard to stand at Christmas time, so that's a tough one.  Good for you.  Do you get to sing?"


"Brilliant.  Sometimes when I'm finding it hard to stand, I like to sing really loudly.  You'll be great."

And he was.  He didn't fall over once and his lips were definitely moving every time Mrs Wotsit struck up the piano.  Just like his classmates, who were all equally wonderful.

I hope Father Christmas is kind and generous to each one of them.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

One card trick

Here's a bit of fun.

You'll hopefully be aware that Vanessa I recently set up a PR and communications company, VANBAR associates, which we hope will make 2015 a year to remember.  

Things have been progressing and we expect to be able to announce news of some new business very soon.  

But we've just had another little win.

I went to my first Rugby Business Network meeting in Leeds on Wednesday evening, which you can read more about on our blog, VANBAR VIEWS.

On the way into the room, guests were invited to drop a business card into a champagne cooler as a means of entering a free prize draw.  So I did and thought nothing more of it.

To avoid hanging around waiting for a train on a dull and dirty night, I left shortly before the meeting ended - and presumably missed the winning card being drawn by England rugby coach Stuart Lancaster .

It was therefore with a mix of surprise and childish excitement that I opened an email no more than 20 minutes ago.

And this is what it said:

"Congratulations Barry!!

You have won the business card draw from the Leeds Rugby Business Network Event on Wednesday night!

You have won a meal for two to the value of £50 and a bottle of wine @ the Midtown Grill at the Marriott Hotel, Leeds.

I have sent the voucher to you in the post to your offices

Hope you enjoy it

Have a fab Christmas and a Happy New Year!



Well I never.  It can double up as our staff Christmas do.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Christmas Story by Charlotte White (aged 3 11/12)

With Christmas Eve now just a fortnight away, Charlotte thought you might like a quick refresher on what happened in a stable in Bethlehem around about 2014 years ago.

I hope it helps get you into the festive mood.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Pre-Christmas Gift

You might recall that I took on the Great North Run in September in memory of my sadly departed friends Mags and David who passed away over the last 18 months.

Many of you were incredibly kind in sponsoring my little venture which was in aid of Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.    

When I crawled over the line, the "running total" (HA - gets me every time) was just over £1,100, and a couple more donations came in shortly afterwards.  But I forgot about the Gift Aid.

I was therefore very pleased to receive the following email this morning:

Dear Barry,

I hope that you are well. We have just received the remaining funds from your JustGiving page which has now expired. All of the sponsorship has been transferred safely and securely.

I just wanted to take a moment to express our thanks and gratitude for your support. I hope that you enjoyed taking part in the Bupa Great North Run 2014. We received an amazing £1445.99 in donations (inc Gift Aid) via your page and this will be invested into future blood cancer research. We cannot thank you enough for your efforts and I hope we’ll have you on the team again soon.

If there is anything else that I can help with then please do let me know.

Kind regards,

Jenny Desborough
Sports Events Coordinator
Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research  

Thanks again if you did put your hand in your pocket.  

Saturday, 6 December 2014

'Twas the Whites before Christmas

A year goes fast, and today it was time for the annual Guiseley Infant and Nursery School Christmas Fair.

Having spent four hours at the school yesterday helping to set things up, Vanessa was determined to reap her rewards at the adult tombola.  She failed.

But thankfully another treat lay in store.

On the way out, we called into a converted classroom to see our friend Ruth - a proud servant of Guiseley Baptist Church - who was taking some pics on behalf of the congregation.  And they were pics with a difference.

Ruth doesn't do things by halves.  And so the sight of a full-size stable and manger set shouldn't have been a shock.  Neither should the rows of costumes on offer to families wishing to dress up for their very own Christmas picture.

Needless to say it was an offer we couldn't refuse.

My mother has always said I'd be a star one day.

Let the festive season begin.        

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Can cook, does cook

A rare treat this afternoon, when I was one of several proud parents invited along to sample the culinary delights lovingly prepared by the chefs of the Guiseley Infant School Cooking Club.  

For five weeks now, Jamie and pals have been discovering the secrets behind a range of signature dishes including Big Snack Bruschetta (no meat), Sunset Pasta (ditto), Fruit Muffins (clearly) and Apple Crumble (not a sausage).

And whilst I trundled up the path with fatherly pride in my tummy, as a committed carnivore I also felt a bit sick at the prospect of tackling something a little but, er, "drab."    

But I need not have worried. Because today's special offering was nothing less than Cheesy Bacon Jacket Potatoes.  That's right, BACON!  Get in there (i.e. my mouth).

Plus, being from Ireland, potato is obviously a vegetable I was force-fed in the womb so no problems there either.

And I have to say, they really were rather good.  So much so that I queried whether the kids had really had a huge amount of personal involvement in their preparation.  (Yes, bad daddy, I know).  But Jamie quickly put me right after revealing that two fellow mini-cooksters had independently impaled themselves on the cheese grater.

My thoughts are obviously with them, not to mention the school governors who must be praying the parents don't sue.    

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Is this Britain's smallest dad?

People keep asking me what's happened to my tiniest pal, Wee John, who hasn't featured on here as often as before.

Well, the short explanation (do you see what I did there?) is that he's been preparing for fatherhood.  

And for those who don't already know, I'm thrilled to report that at 9.35am yesterday, Baby Josephine India made her regal entrance, weighing in at 3.355kg (or 7lbs 3oz to my mother and me).

Mummy Rosie and daughter are doing well.  And, 24 hours on, Daddy still hasn't slept a wink

I'll raise a glass to all of that, although someone seems to have beaten me to it.

Congratulations wee man.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Black and White Friday

Unless you actually have a life, you'll probably be aware that today is Black Friday.

And I'll be honest with you, I'm still not entirely clear what that means.

I know it's an American thing, certainly, coming on the day after Thanksgiving.  I know it has something to do cheaper TVs.  And here in the UK, it seems to involve lots of people in tracksuits punching each other.

It was with all of this in mind that this morning I went out for a run and chose to waddle past Asda, which I know has played host to some of the best Black Friday scraps since the British dawn of the phenomenon.

And here was the scene outside.

As you can see, not too busy after all.  So I thought I'd pop in to see what all the fuss was about.  When I reached the man in the yellow, luminous jacket, he told me I'd have to join the queue.

"But there is no queue," I gently informed our hero.

"No sir, but there was one at 5 o'clock this morning," he said.

"Right.  But there isn't one now.  Can I go in please?"

"Certainly, sir.  Once you've joined the queue."

"There isn't one."

"You have to follow line of where the queue was."

"So you want me to walk through all those barriers when the door is just behind you."

"That's right, sir."

So I did, I really did.

And what did I find behind the magic door?  Lots of TVs available at their normal price.  And Terry's Chocolate Oranges on offer for £1.

After brief consideration, I chose to leave empty-handed, mainly because I had no money on me anyway.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Feed the Whites (chocolate if you have any)

You'll probably be aware that Band Aid 30's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" has stormed to the top of the UK singles chart after selling 312,000 copies in its first week.  At 99p a download, that's £308,880 raised - probably around the same as the stars and/or their record companies spent on private jets to get them to the recording studio.  (One Direction apparently needed two because band members don't get on).

Hopefully Bono has bought a copy to listen to whilst filling in this year's tax return.  At around about three minutes, the song should easily be long enough.

I'll forgive Coldplay's Chris Martin for any potential hypocrisy because I quite like him.

But I digress.

As it turns out, "Sir" Bob Geldof's reworked tune has some competition this Christmas time - and there's every need to be afraid.

Because on Friday morning, Jamie and Charlotte will join fellow classmates at Guiseley Infant and Nursery School to sing "a selection of songs which will be specially recorded onto CD available for parents to buy." (Source: School Newsletter).

What a responsibility. So much so that, this afternoon, I insisted that they started rehearsals in our kitchen.

And the early signs were good.

But speaking as their agent, I will nonetheless insist to headteacher Mrs Bell that Auto-Tune voice enhancing facilities are made available.  Better safe than screechy.  

Friday, 21 November 2014

Three shirts, one sad dad

I'm the proud owner of three Ireland rugby shirts, and here they are.

On the left is the original, which is around 30 years old - and isn't really an Ireland rugby shirt at all.  It was actually my "Houston House" jersey at school, which I asked my late grandfather to sew a badge and number onto (they didn't actually sell replica kit back then).  But the great Willie John McBride agreed to sign it whilst attending the Oliver Turkington Memorial Dinner in September, thereby making it more Irish than most things.

On the far right is jersey number two, which I bought early last year and which saw me through two Six Nations campaigns, including Ireland's championship-winning effort last season.

Ah, happy memories.      

So we move along to Ireland shirt number three, in the middle, also known as "the new one."  The Irish Rugby Football (IRFU) changed both kit supplier and sponsor in the summer, leaving me with little option (in my view) but to go to the shop.  But I only did so after conducting some research.

First, how long would it be before the IRFU changed the jersey again?  At least two seasons, I found out, which incorporates next year's Rugby World Cup which Ireland are destined to win, instantaneously transforming my shirt into a collectors' item.

Secondly, how tight was it? These days, rugby jerseys are generally available in three different styles:

  1. Matchday - the actual shirts worn by the players, skin tight and designed to mould to your body shape;
  2. Kids - normally made of cotton and nice and comfy for the young 'uns;
  3. Dads - somewhere in between, not too shiny and a big baggier to allow for beer guts.
Thirdly, where was it on offer?  Answer - Sports Direct in Coleraine.

So, when I was home last weekend, I visited said clothing outlet to buy the dads version of the brand new shirt.  

I intend to wear it for the first time tomorrow when Ireland play Australia.  The game clashes with the Arsenal v Man U football match, which will obviously take precedence on pub big screens across England.  So I'll be watching the boys in green at home on the sofa, with a pint of Guinness as my only company.

I'm 42 you know.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Memories to try to remember

Welcome to "rehab," otherwise known as my sofa in Guiseley.

Yes, I came back yesterday from a fine but typically unhealthy long weekend on the Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland.

The first evening - Friday - with an air of civility at the Coleraine Old Boys' Association President's Dinner at Royal Portrush Golf Club (home of the 2019 Open Championship).

Until this lot got involved.

If you recognise the faces, you will require no further explanation.  If you don't, best leave it there.

But it was good fun.  I seem to recall.

After some rest and recuperation, it was off to the home of football, the Coleraine Showgrounds, to watch the Bannsiders make mouths of themselves in a 2-1 defeat to Dungannon.

The last time Dungannon won a game was the two teams' previous meeting (according to my mate Dean).

A few pints later, and it was out for my dad's birthday.

Praise be.

Then a boozy Sunday lunch not many hours afterwards.

Followed by the Ireland rugby match in a pub and a night with friends in another pub.

I stopped taking pictures at that stage as pointing the camera became an issue.

I'll be off to bed shortly.  I expect to be there for some time.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Good things happen to good bar people

You might remember, back in August, I told you about the launch of a little campaign to ensure that Clare Johnston - Northern Ireland's greatest living bar person - was united with her rightful title.

Well, last night, it happened.

And here she is with her award.

Yes dear friends, in a glitzy reception in thon Belfast, the Queen of the Railway Arms in Coleraine was formally crowned as Best Bar Person at the Ulster Pub of the Year Awards.  (The Railway Arms also made the shortlist for Pub of the Year).

Those of us who know Clare and understand how deserving she is could not be more proud.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Proper Charley

It's a jaw-dropping day for many on Planet Earth with news that some hairy Europeans have managed to land a dishwasher on a comet travelling at 30,000 mph.  Who'd have thought.

But that's nothing compared to what Vanessa and I were told at Jamie and Charlotte's parents' evening just a little earlier.

Whilst both are reported to be doing well in their respective endeavours, it seems their behaviour is a little different under the school/nursery roof than at home.

Here, their joint presence is like having the TV and radio on simultaneously with the volume at full blast.  

But at Guiseley Infant and Nursery School, their teachers/carers advise that they are relatively quiet in comparison with many other inmates.  This has come as something of a shock.

Let me give you an example of why.  With Jamie at Beavers tonight, I was making tea for Charlotte and chose to address her as 'Charley Farley' (as I do from time to time).

"My teacher doesn't call me Charley Farley," she enunciated without a breath.

"She says, 'Good morning, Charlotte.'  Can I have my tea now please?!"

That's my Charley Farley.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The War game

I spent a large chunk of yesterday morning trying to convince Jamie that, in life, it's the taking part and not the winning that matters most.

Fast-forward 24 hours, and this morning's lecture was all about the many brave soldiers who died fighting for our country.  This was to ensure he was fully briefed in preparation for joining big cousin Jack in the Guiseley Remembrance Sunday parade.

I explained that this year's commemorations were all the more special because it was the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.

And I told him about his great grandfather Jack Layberry, an Englishman, who was posted to Northern Ireland with the British Army during the Second World War.

"Did he win?" asked Jamie.

OK, so sometimes winning is a little more important than the taking part.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Ginger winner

I was going to entitle this post "Ginger whinger" (which rhymes) - until I had a bizarre bit of luck.  Let me explain.

Like many fortysomethings, I'm a fan of Chris Evans' Radio 2 Breakfast Show.  (As a twentysomething, I was also a fan of his Radio 1 Breakfast Show until he went mad and they sacked him).  And thankfully Vanessa - almost but not quite a fortysomething herself - has bought in.

If you have too, you'll know all about CarFest - allowing you to skip the next paragraph.

For those of you still here, it's essentially a three-day family music festival with added cars, planes, helichoppers and fairground rides.  And there are two, CarFest North (in Cheshire) and CarFest South (not in Cheshire).  Musical entertainment at CarFest North 2015 includes the Boomtoom Rats, Billy Ocean, Texas, Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, Seasick Steve, Level 42, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Midge Ure and Level 42, with more acts to be announced.  So all good.  And tickets for both events - held next summer - went on sale this morning at 8am.  You're up to speed.

If you're rejoining me, welcome back. Right, so as tickets went on sale, I had my laptop, desktop and mobile phone all tuned to the CarFest North ticket buying page and ready to rock, with Vanessa perched on her iPad. The 8 o'clock pips went.  And the scramble began.

At approximately 0802, my laptop advised that one family weekend ticket with camping had been reserved.  Easy.  I entered my details and pressed the confirm button.  I was taken to a page saying that all tickets were sold out.  It was 0804.  Great.

Spitting ginger feathers, I went onto the Chris Evans' Facebook page to find out how other people had fared.  Many had experienced the self-same outcome.  But then a lady commented that she had refreshed the ticket page a few times before being successful.  So I had a go.  I got nowhere.  At 0851, I refreshed again and was asked for my payment details.  Bingo.  I entered my details and pressed confirm.  I was told all tickets were gone.  Great (again).

As 0930 approached and the Breakfast Show reached its end, Chris Evans announced that both CarFest events were officially sold out.  Well done him.  I pressed refresh one last time.  I was asked to enter my payment details.  I pressed confirm.  I was taken to a new screen which advised that we were going to CarFest North. The ticket confirmation email arrived shortly afterwards.  And thank goodness for that.  I now need a holiday.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Mr Fickle

"They" say the gym is good for you but I've always hated it.

That's why I've just signed a 12-month contract at LA Fitness.  Great, just bloody wonderful.  (I invite you to spot the irony).

The thing is, after last month's Great North Run endeavour, it was painfully obvious to me that my half-marathon days are definitely over.  Too far, too much training required and too old.

Also, whilst running up and down a road is healthy in lots of ways, it's also unhealthy in lots of others.  Think knees, feet, ankles, back.  Plus, although it leaves you with big leg muscles and lots of puff, the rest of your body is pretty much neglected.  That's why I, for one, have weak arms and not a single can in my tummy pack.

So the gym it had to be.

I went this morning.  I ran there, I concede.  Before 20 minutes on one of those exercise bikes with a proper chair for middle-aged people.  Followed by another 20 minutes trying to make my arms stronger by lifting weights.  I'm sure they were longer rather than stronger by the time I'd finished, just like Mr Tickle.  Then I ran back home.

Tomorrow I'm planning much the same.

As I (hopefully) get more into the whole thing, I might attend some spin classes.  Plus a visit or two to the in-house bar; not something recommended to me in my induction but, if they don't think it's good for you, they shouldn't have a bar.

But the truth is, I really can't be arsed and would much prefer to release my inner fat bastard.

Maybe in 12 months.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Daggers (over)drawn

Last week I complained about London bar prices.

But there's little point in getting upset about these things.  They exist and it's best not to think about them.  A bit like Piers Morgan.

It was in this spirit that I returned to the capital on Saturday for a day trip with the male in-laws.

And here they are.

From right to left we have my nephew Jack, brother-in-law Jonathan, stepdad-in-law Mike and - last and by all means least - other brother-in-law Dagenham Dave.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may recognise the location, Twickenham, where England can often be found trying and generally failing to play rugby.

Thankfully two proper teams were on show at the weekend when Australia took on the Barbarians.

It is obviously customary on such occasions to have a pint or two, which we did (other than Jack who's not old enough and is the son of a policeman).

And lo and behold, Dagenham Dave stepped forward to buy the first round.

A couple of quick facts about Daggers if you haven't encountered him here before.  Number one, he's actually from Guildford (but Morrissey didn't write a song called Guildford Dave so he's stuck with the nickname we've given him).  And number two, he's officially the tightest man on the planet, making his decision to crack open his little purse all the more surprising.

But, gloriously, an even big shock lay in store - for him.

"Four pints of Beck's, my good man," said our hero, trying to sound thrilled about his selfless deed.

Four pints poured and handed out, it was time for the fun bit.

"£24, please sir," announced the barman.

It was, without question, one of the happiest moments of my life.

What was not fully appreciated by old Dave when he volunteered to be so generous was that, at Twickers, you also have to buy your "souvenir" (plastic) glasses when purchasing the first drink, which they then change if you go for a refill.

I've rarely enjoyed an alcoholic beverage quite so much - whilst Dave almost choked on his.

Yes, even London prices have their merits.