13 Jul 2003 - Bad drivers and good golf

On board Virgin flight from London to Florida.
Time: 4:15pm local.

Well, well, well,
You wont believe the day we had yesterday boys and girls. It was a doozey I can tell you.
Read on!!!!!!!!!!!!

It all started Saturday afternoon with photo-shoots with our old pal, Ross [who?] Halfin. Well more of that story in a minute.
Friday evening we played in Jerez a fantastic part of Spain. It’s where they make the best brandywine, known as Sherry. It is a famous location for that libation.

We arrived at around 2 o-clock in the afternoon after a flight from Faro of just over 45 minutes. It seems that Dave and meself aren’t in too much trouble for missing the crew party.
So anyway after we arrived at the hotel in Jerez which, by the way, was a resort hotel and had a very beautiful golf course. Of course I went out for a round. What are you thinking you lot!!!!!!!

After I checked in I headed for the pro shop. Just before I was leaving H asked if he could join me. It was nice to have some company. We hired some dodgy clubs for H , as I have mine with me ALL of the time on the road, bought a half dozen balls and headed for the first tee. H hasn’t played a lot before so it gave me a chance to teach him a little of the art of golf. He played 8 holes with me and then I drove him back to the hotel.
He did really well for his first real bash on a proper golf course. I was very happy with the way he listened and I enjoyed the way he was improving as we went on. Of course, you’re really supposed to practice on the practice tee and not on the course. It was OK then, as there wasn’t anybody on the course. After I dropped him off I went back to the 9th tee and carried on playing. I caught up to two three balls and they graciously let me play through. I shot a 12 over 84 that day and as it was a new course I was very happy with me score.

After the game I went back to my room and had a wee spot of room service and a rest. I had a very nice steak with some very salty French fries and veggies. It was Ok. I don’t use salt so it threw me taste buds out of whack for a bit.

We left for the show at 9 in the evening, my friend Patrick Hegan was at the hotel and was waiting there when we left. He was meeting some friends of his so he didn’t travel with us to the venue. The gig was only a short drive from the hotel. Stage time was 10:30pm.

We went on on time and had a fantastic show. All the guys were on top of the game and we really enjoyed the Spanish fans. There wasn’t any crazy stuff going on either, that makes a difference to how you feel and play. When we got to the point in the show when we play ‘The Clansman’ I turned around and found me mate Pat had taken up his usual position behind me. He likes this song. He’s a bit of a tub-thumper himself and likes to watch me play this tune.

After the gig we headed back to the hotel and I took a shower and then met Pat and his pals in the bar for a wee nightcap. I only took the one drink with them and then made my way to bad. As you will recall from me previous diary. I had had a few bevies the night before in Vale do Lobo so I decided to take it easy this night. I said good night to all and went to bed.

So the next day started with the shoot with Ross. Dave Pattenden was over from London to co-ordinate the pics with Ross. You know, location and type of shoot so on and so forth. They found a place just up the road from the hotel. Only problem was the wind, no not that kind of wind, STEADY. The real stuff you know, it plays havoc with your hair. We did 3 different locations and were done by 4 o-clock. We headed back to check out of the hotel and made the journey to the airport.

We were on route to Albecete for our show there by 5 o-clock. Only problem here was that the gig was 150 miles North of Alicanti, which is where we had to land the plane. Apparently you can’t fly out of Albecete in the evening, so on and so forth. Blah de blah.’Kin great. We had to drive to the venue, which took a little over 2 hours 45 minutes. We were in a fairly nice bus but the driver couldn’t take it over 100 clicks so it took a wee bit longer than if we had three jam jars. We decided that instead of the big bus that we should travel in 2 mini vans. At least we could make up a little time on our return to Alicanti after the show.
It was put in place.

So on to the event. That evening it was blowing a gale out there and we were doing a festival. It was a little bit worrying to say the least to look up and watch the lighting truss swinging harder than we were, I can tell you. Very worrying indeed. On the same bill was Mr Dio’s band and I got to see Jimmy Bain just as we were going on stage. I also saw me old mate Mickie Dee and Phil from Motorhead. They were all having a great time. I shall see them all at the end of this week [21st July], as they are both on the same bill with us in the U.S. So we took to the stage and jammed our last show on the European leg of the tour. It was a great gig to finish on we all had a great time.

Thanks to all of you that came to our shows all over the continent. You made this tour the best yet for us.

After the show we did a runner. We got into the 2 mini vans that had been arranged for us that, by the way, only arrived just as we began the encores. We drove for a couple of miles and pulled over to drop off our running bags to the guy that is supposed to be in a car following behind. Well we pulled over and there was no one behind us. Ian was not happy and neither were we. We had a long drive back to Alicanti in front of us and the last thing we needed right now was some idiot holding us up. It was decided to leave Michael, the promoter’s rep, on the pavement with the bags to wait for the driver. As we were getting ready to leave the guy turned up. Michael was about to jump into one of the vans and it was decided to leave him anyway as it left a wee bit more space for everyone. We said our farewells and proceeded to head out of town. In the front van were Ian, Geezer Gadd, Bruce, Steve and Davey. In our van following was Wally, H, Jan, and meself.

Well we were on our way by 1 hour and then the first van pulled into a petrol station our ‘Kin what they need gas. That’s out of order, came the general consensus. Well it turned out to be worse than that. Back at the drop off point Geezer Gadd had asked Michael if the driver of the front van new where he was going. Oh yes came the reply he’s a local lad knows where he’s going NOOOO PROBLEM! Yes right, it was only when Bruce realized that we were getting closer to Madrid that they made the guy pull off the road and confirm that he did in fact know where we were going. It turns out that he kept insisting that he new where he was but in fact didn’t have a ‘Kin clue. Well we wanted to kill the guy honest. Picture this; we’re all standing, with the exception of Steve, outside the vans wanting to do this geezer a harming. That would not do would it boys and girls, but I must say that that was what was on all of our minds. There’s Ian with his laptop out and his world map pulled up and it showed the guy what road we were on and how ‘Kin far out of the ‘Kin way we had travelled. It was about 80 miles North of where we had started from, and so it took us 2 hours out of our way. We originally planed to be airborne for 2:30ish and be back in Blighty for around 3:30am. The flight was expected to take just a little under 2 hours. With the 1 hour time change, that would mean a 3:30 arrival.
As it happened we got to Alicanti at 4:30 in the morning. Now bearing in mind I have a flight back to Florida today right, and that flight is scheduled to depart Gatwick at 10:45am.
We boarded the plane and made our way home to Blighty.

We touched down at Stansted at 6:20am Colin and Paul our flight crew did a great job to get us home in that time. Thank you guys!!!!
So I pulled my entire luggage from Geezers jam jar and loaded up the car that was waiting to take me to Gatwick. The driver had me there in just over 50 minutes, great going. I went straight to the drive through check in and was fortunate to have someone there that could do that for me. I checked me bags in and then decided to pop over to the Meridian hotel for a shower and a bit of sleep. I did both and was woken up a little after 9:30am and made me way over to the terminal. I was met and escorted through the old security and was happily sitting in the Virgin Clubhouse having my usual lovely sausage sandwich and cup of Rosie.

I had a nice chat with the Virgin Lasses and then made me way to board the plane. On my way out of the clubhouse I was told that the Miami flight is going back to Heathrow, The problem with that is I wont get to see my lovelies back in the house. Except when I’m off with Virgin to some other destination.

Well I had about 4 hours kip on the plane and am now writing this diary. It’s 1:45 local time now, not too long before we land so I’m going to go now boys and girls. I’ll be in touch later in the week.

Again a BIG THANK YOU to all
Stay safe and well.
God Bless you all.
Love
~Nicko~
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