03 Jun 2003 - Nicko - Time Off and Donington

In flight from London to Katowice Poland - 2:15pm.
And from Katowice to Budapest/London. 4-6-03.

Here we are after a Kin blinding weekend boys and girls. I can tell you we have had a great time over the last week or so.

Well as you will have gathered we all arrived safely from our trip to lovely France.
I went back to Bruce’s house to pick up my family as they stayed with his family the day before. We arrived there at about midday Wednesday afternoon and Bruce immediately had transformed from a rock geezer into a flying chap and I must say he did look very fetching in his first officer’s uniform. He amazes me, here he is getting into his home saying Hi to the kids and then popping off for a flight to Egypt. No rest for the wicked they say.
He didn’t see his family until the next morning when he arrived back at his home around six in the morning. On top of all the flying he does, he’s also holding down a radio gig. Amazing geezer!

So my family and I leave Bruce’s at around two o-clock. We were on our way to a hotel called the Belfry in Warwickshire. I had been loaned a most spectacular car from Jaguar, from the new XJ series. This particular model was the Super V8. Man this car has so much power; it is truly a magnificent machine.
A friend of mine called Steve Smith who works with Jaguar, arranged for me to have it for a week. At the end of the week I asked if it was possible to extend the loan. He managed to get an extra six days for me. He called another friend of his, Paul Chadderton, and he managed the extra time. Thank you both so very much. I had a great time driving this amazing machine.
So the thirteen days were up and before I could take me family to the hotel I had to drop off the Jaguar. We made the journey to Coventry and I, reluctantly, handed over the keys of the car to me mate Steve. He then gave me another set of keys too a beautiful black S-type that belongs to another friend of ours Mark White. Mark was in Monza with his wife Debbie for the weekend watching the old formula one there. So he kindly lent me his jam jar. It was a three litre and has a manual shift. Lovely, only a few like this were specially made from the factory.

So, after we said goodbye we headed over to the Belfry. Steve gave me directions from the factory and I thought that I would have no problem remembering them. I got terribly lost and me misses was getting well miffed off with me.
After what seemed an age we arrived at the hotel and settled in. This hotel is a golfers paradise. It is the place that the European team won the last Ryder cup. The original game was carded for 2001 but due to ‘Kin Bin ‘Kin Lard face they cancelled until 2002.
The European team were victorious over the U.S.A.
Everywhere you go in the hotel there are picture stories of all the great golfers that have graced the hallowed halls and BARS of the Belfry. I was in heaven. It is also a very nice hotel. The staff there are great. Definitely a return visit is in order.

In the evening we went to the Atrium restaurant for dinner. It is a carvery/buffet style restaurant. I introduced Justin to roast beef and yorky puds, he loved the yorkies so much he had a second helping. Lovely meal.
The next day I had planned on renting some sticks for me and me little one and had slated a tee time for that morning.
Then as we were getting ready my little one had noticed a brochure advertising Drayton Manor theme park. Oops there goes the golf.
He said ‘Daddy where’s this place’, I’m like, Oh no, I’ve got to tell him. ‘It’s just around the corner’ I said. ‘Oh can we go there instead of playing golf today daddy’ He asked.
How could I refuse? ‘OK then’, I said. Let’s go.
So off we went to the park. We had a blast there. Mum went to the wonderful spa at the hotel so we were just the two of us. We rode a bunch of rides and then got back to the hotel for around five in the afternoon.

My eldest son Nicholas was coming up from Weston super Mare to spend the weekend with his family and I had to leave the hotel at seven to meet him in Birmingham. He was due to arrive at seven forty. The train was on time and we were back at the hotel for just after eight fifteen. We all went and had a great meal in the atrium. A couple of bottles of wine, and a feeding later. I said to the misses ‘Shall we go for a boogie over at the night club then’. To which she replied, ‘That sounds good to me’
So we got our little one to bed and Nick settled in and we headed over to the Bel Aire nightclub. It was on the grounds so we didn’t have to far to walk. Not bad as far as nightclubs go, but there were the usual bunch of toffee Kin nosed W--kers strutting about thinking they’re really cool.
Me misses and I had a blast and we danced and drank and we danced and drank, very, very heavily. The walk back to the room was a riot. Me misses could hardly stand up and I was in not to good a state either. We made it back to the room, it seemed that we danced our way home via a couple of impromptu stops to sit down and get our bearings. It must have been very late. We had a great time.

Friday was a little laid back to say the least. We awoke late and had a late breakfast. Me misses was a little under the weather and so was I. I soldiered on with me little one and Nick. Nick needed some new clothes so we decided that the three of us would pop out to a mall and get him some new clobber. We drove a wee way to a place called Frazely and found a sports store. I brought Nick some new trainers and some regular and three quarter length track pants. Justin found some roller blades that he wanted and after paying we left to go back to the hotel. Over on the opposite side of the mall was a KFC so we stopped in and brought a family bucket and some bottles of pop and headed back to the hotel. We had a picnic feast it was great. Later that day my friend Dusty Miller and his son Chris arrived at the hotel. They had procured a room for the night. We arranged to meet in the bar for a late night cocktail and exchange passes for the Donington show. My friend Steve Smith and his lass Jan were there as well. Just after I left the bar Dave Cavell arrived but I wouldn’t get to see him until the Saturday morning. You’ll remember Dave from the band Dirty Deeds, he’s their tub-thumper extraordinaire.

The Big Day

So it’s Saturday morning and the day of the Donington show. I’m feeling very relaxed as I head to the leisure centre and the swimming pool to talk with my boys.
When I arrived there, Dusty, Dave and Chris were with them. We arranged to go and have a game of snooker at 12:30 and so we gathered there and had a couple of games. There are two pool tables in the same room so Nick played Dave on one of them while Justin and myself took on Chris at snooker with Dusty being the referee. It was my Justin’s first ever game of snooker and my goodness was he good. He loves to play pool so is not a stranger with the old cue. After the first game which lasted over two ‘Kin hours, which by the way we lost to Chris by a whisker I left the boys to carry on. Just as I was leaving my friend Dave Beal arrived to pick up two passes, one for himself and one for Jay his son. We had a little chat and then I popped off to me room for a little rest.

It was getting close to time to leave the hotel.
We were due to be on site at the gig for 7 o’clock. I decided to leave the hotel for 6-15pm. I gathered me family together and we left on time. We arrived at the site a little before 7 o’clock and got into the mood of the event. I had to pop up to the stage to make a few adjustments to me NEW tubs. They look amazing. Oh I forgot to tell you that on Friday my son Justin and I went to the gig to set up the new kit. It took a couple of hours to set up and then I did some pictures with me mate Danny Clifford behind the lens. The kit IS absolutely amazing. My friend Wayne Saunders came there too just to keep an eye on the proceedings and also to have a smudge done with yours truly and the kit.

We had a meet and greet at 8 o’clock and then we started to get ready for the show. Everything was running a little late but we took to the stage at a little before nine o’clock.
Man the crowd of just around forty-five thousand fans went bonkers. We kicked off with Number of the Beast and then ran into a few sound problems. There was a lot of bottom end rumble running around the stage and it put us all into a kind of tilt that was a wee bit uncomfortable. It didn’t take to long to sort out and before you knew it we were running on all eight cylinders. We had a real great time. Thanks to all you boys and girls that came to see us you made it a very special night. There’s something about playing on terra firma that always moves me.

After the gig we headed back to the dressing room area and got changed and said Hi to some friends that came to see us. My best friend Jeff Hammer and Debbie were there but I only got to see them for about two minutes as they had to leave on their bus back to London. After about an hour I gathered up my family and we headed back to the hotel. After we got me little one settled we went to the bar. Well it went off in a big way. We all got pie faced and had a thoroughly good time. I think that we eventually got to bed at five in the morning. Bryan from Westlife was hanging out and at one time suggested to me that Maiden and Westlife should do a ‘Kin single together, I told him that that would never happen. He was OK about that and we decided to drink to the idea anyway.

So girls and boys that was it for me. I awoke late Sunday and the family had a late breakfast. After which me wife and I decided that we would stay the extra evening.
Dusty said that he would take Nick back with him as he had to pass Weston anyway. I was happy for Nick to have some company on his journey home. So with Nick packed off on his way I decided to see if I could get a round of golf in. No problem they said and so me little one and I bought some golf shoes hired some sticks and went off on the Derby coarse for a game. It was great, we had a marvellous time. After the round we had a meal together in the Atrium. For some reason it was not as good as it was before. Rebecca stayed in bed all day and had some room service. The next day we drove back to London. Me mate Steve from Jaguar had to drive down to London to pick up the black S-type. He arrived at 5 o’clock; he had a mate called Graham with him and he drove Steve’s car back to Coventry.
Thanks again to all my friends at Jaguar you are all truly wonderful people.

That evening my wife, Justin and I went into the west end to meet with Jeff and Debbie. We had a meal in a most splendid Italian restaurant in Frith Street. It was really good food. We spent a couple of hours with them and then took a stroll around Chinatown. We said our farewells and we headed home.

The next morning, Tuesday, I had to head over to Poland for a show as you know from the top of the diary. But that’s another story.
I’ve just finished this story on the plane from Budapest to London so I’m feeling a little tired right now. You lot wont mind if I sign off OK. More to come and I have some lovely things to tell you about the last couple of days.

Stay safe and well.
God Bless you all.

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