SoftelChristmas Party

Softel's annual christmas party, this year (2001 that is) held at Salford Hall, near Stratford On Avon, on Saturday, December 15th. It was the first fancy dress party for a while, and the theme was London Underground stations.

16:04. The hall, on arrival, following a surprisingly difficult time following seemingly very simple directions.

16:04. The other side of the hall.

18:21. Russ, with his exceedingly cryptic costume.

18:23. Gordon and Penny, who came as Mornington Crescent I think - I'm still not quite sure how to work this out from the costume!

18:24. The Rowlands family - Waterloo (also included musical accompaniment).

18:26. Duncan and Alison - Shepherd's Bush and Angel respectively.

18:40. Simon - Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3 & 4 (go figure!) plus David as Vauxhall - a lot more obvious!

18:42. David and Cheryl (Baker Street), possibly an additional pun concerning former Bucks Fizz turned TV Presenter here. Or maybe not.

18:50. Rory, whose costume, possibly due to a design oversight, lead to him being unable to use his arms for the first hour or two.

18:52. Why this didn't win the most outrageous costume prize I'll never know.

18:53. Rory eventually manages to regain use of all four limbs.

18:54. Angel and St. Pancr(e)as. Nice.

18:57. Although it may look like more than one of us chose Parsons Green, it was of course necessary given the plurality of blah blah blah blah rhubarb.

18:58. French maids are always a winner with me...

19:02. ..and two in one night! Chie on the left hand side here is missing some cottage cheese to make her costume complete.

19:04. This must be a story from the bible, surely...?

19:22. The whole vicar theme proving very popular. Garry does Blackfriars, whilst Jeremy has opted for Wimbledon - but just to confuse everyone, he didn't bring a Tennis racquet.

19:25. David with the Rowlands family's 17th century harpsichord.

19:37. Andy does a marvellous Bank, with Judith presumably an equally great Bank robber. However, I can't help but have slight concern over the positioning of the arrows.

19:38. George and Diana looking at least slightly unwilling to be photographed.

19:43. Sitting down for dinner now.

20:14. Simon and Vanessa.

20:17. Louise and Chris, our first table quests in the Aston rotation policy.

20:22. George explaining the rotation thing to a somewhat reluctant Lou and Chris.

20:33. Jim potentially saying something rude here.

20:36. Ermmm...?

20:37. Here I was kissing the chicken. Jim seemed quite insistent about this.

20:54. Mike, a bit of a late arrival, who managed a near miraculous feat of catch-up where drinking was concerned.

20:55. Graham, as ever, thoroughly relishing the opportunity to be photographed.

20:57. Nice.

20:58. The vincents plus Steve.

20:59. The Woods looking jubilant.

21:00. John and Viv looking tired! (Well, John at least).

21:01. Aren't they sweet?

21:01. Aren't they also kind of sweet?

21:01. Now this isn't sweet. There's just no excuse for this kind of behaviour.

21:02. Penny attempting the rolling-pin threatening with slightly less vigour.

21:03. Nice though the simles are, it makes the whole domestic violence thing so much less convincing.

21:03. Peter and me, no rolling pin in sight.

21:04. Jolly nice too.

21:04. A very convincing Mornington Crescent from Cyndy here.

21:06. Rory standing up to receive an award.

21:06. I can't remember which one though! Maybe largest cubic capacity?

21:07. Lovely.

21:08. Apologies for being a bit out of focus here!

21:08. Money makes the world go around, the world go around, etc...

21:09. Oh dear... Duncan!

21:10. The Simpsons, undoubtedly the most yellow costumes of the evening.

21:11. Rory's rather charming offspring.

21:12. It was only a matter of time before someone took a picture of these two together.

21:12. ...and an even shorter amount of time before we took another one!

21:12. The kind of picture that single handedly makes buying your camera worth it. Nice.

21:26. Not sure where the goggles came from.

21:28. I think they suit me though!

21:29. Jim looks pensive in a slightly aggresive way. A tricky one to reproduce.

21:38. Amazing how well the green hair picks up the flash.

21:38. Jim collecting his prize - most unused line ?!

22:04. Russ going up to do the ltters lottery thing which no-one quite understood.

22:05. ...possibly not even Russ.

22:06. Darren certainly looked lost!

22:10. Hmmm, errrr.

22:11. Nope, no idea what I was trying to take here.

22:17. Russ demonstrating his patented hangover simulator hat.

22:19. Gmnfglkorradug.

22:19. Down it goes.

22:36. Must be after dinner now, and it's amazing how quickly some of the costumes disappeared!

22:42. Garry and David's little wine incident.

22:42. ...and the consequences thereof.

22:43. Possibly neither Garry nor Graham realised they were actually being photographed here.

22:43. Nice oak panelling in the background there.

22:44. Duncan looking a bit suspicious here. Nothing unusual there then.

22:46. Penny almost has Gordon in a headlock here!

22:46. ...unfortunately we missed the close (or is it clothes) line and double duplex, errr, insert your own random wrestling moves here.

22:48. Let's all give ourselves cricks in our necks.

22:49. Looking a bit dark.

22:50. David after having changed out of the Garry accident t-shirt.

22:51. We all look a bit demonic here.

22:54. If someone asked me to stand in a really boring way, and for no real reason, they got exactly the picture they wanted.

22:55. George seemed very reluctant to stand near me for a picture.

22:55. Meant to be a picture of Me and George. A whole kind of background / foreground issue going on here.

22:55. If only I'd taken this opportunity to ask permission for Duncan to come to the pub more often...

22:56. Look! You can see Duncan's feet.

22:56. Pointless picture of glasses #373584.

22:57. Chie suffering from a problem not unlike when people get their heads stuck in automatic doors.

23:01. Spot the grown-up.

23:06. Chie by herself, just for the sake of it.

23:09. Simon, David and I enjoying a rest in the reception area bit.

23:09. Pretty much the same as the last one.

23:10. Here are some girls.

23:12. One of the hotel staff, quite fun if I recall correctly.

23:13. Hat swapping is alive and well in the Midlands.

23:13. One of the few electronic devices Chie hadn't previously seen in Japan smaller and cheaper.

23:14. Dilys also wants a go with the famed hat it seems.

23:14. Much of the same again.

23:16. A right mixture here.

23:17. Chie particularly liked the wicker mooses. Or possibly deer.

23:20. Yep, this is a picture of Simon kissing Cheryl.

23:21. Vanessa looking very unphased.

23:23. Chie with a nice Dutch bloke who worked at the hotel.

23:24. Not sure what the point of this is.

23:24. Suspicious rolling pin placement there. Thanks Simon.

23:27. Garry plus some women.

23:28. Yep.

23:28. Not much to say here...

23:28. ...or indeed here...

23:28. My arm looks unusually long here.

23:29. Generally lots of non-sober people.

23:29. ...and again.

23:31. Murder on the dancefloor?

23:31. If there isn't already a nursery rhyme about a robber and a maid, there bloody well ought to be.

23:32. David looks jubilant, I look scared.

23:32. Somebody please make David stop. Quickly. Please.

23:33. Gordon and Chie.

23:34. Diana and George.

23:34. Simon, possibly "larging it".

23:34. Hmmmm. Was this necessary?

23:43. I'm sure there's an old Irish proverb along the lines of comedy wigs are meant to be shared...

23:44. ...although the consequences might not always be totally desirable...

23:45. Strangely suits her I think.

23:46. Not so sure about this one though.

23:46. Definitely not sure about this one.

23:47. Nice.

23:47. No end of comedy wig photos to be had.

23:48. Looks like the dancefloor again.

23:49. Possibly the third time I was dragged back here for the "last song".

23:49. What you might see if you were being strangled by David.

23:49. Possibly during New York, New York...?

23:49. Ooops, seemed to have missed just about everyone.

23:50. Mental note, use the viewfinder.

23:50. Well, could have been worse.

23:50. Seem to have missed a few bits with the green hairspray here.

23:50. Still doing the odd circle dance thing then.

23:51. Not sure if I took this or not.

23:52. Amazing really that the camera hadn't been dropped yet.

23:52. Not sure if we'd taken any pictures of me and Chie yet, so got one in here just to be on the safe side.

23:53. More circle/line dancing seems to be occurring.

23:53. Yup.

23:53. ...and yet more still...

23:54. A dancer far more talented than I takes centre stage.

23:57. Hmmm.

23:58. Lots of white here.

23:58. Amazing how huggy David gets after a bottle or two of wine.

00:03. A second later and Simon would have been out of shot.

00:03. Another David-strangling-you simulation picture?

00:06. I have many name badges and I'm inexplicably looking mean.

00:06. Because double glazing has feelings too.

00:06. Hmmm... errr...

00:07. David amazes all with his rolling pin balancing act.

00:07. You fighting? You asking?

00:08. Not too happy with this one.

00:08. Some kind of martial arts going on here?

00:16. Thankfully the disco bit closed around 12.

00:20. everyone retired to either the reception area or the bar.

00:21. Simon and Vanessa. Again.

00:28. For Incubus fans - a chance to select a certain shade of green.

00:29. Mike amazes all with his superhuman lifting powers.

00:30. Mike fulfilling one of his lifelong ambitions - to pick up a vicar.

00:30. Thanks Graham!

00:31. Ermmm... too dark.

00:31. This would be Gary then.

00:31. A random assortment of people generally milling about.

00:31. Number 163, Graham's legs.

00:32. Chie pretends she's an emporess.

00:32. A second check to make sure we got a picture of me and Chie.

00:34. Russ bafflingly lies on the floor.

00:41. The management.

00:44. No piercing required! Honest!

00:47. There must be a pun involving a halo and a lip ring... surely?

01:00. Chie looking very relaxed.

01:13. Well, good.

01:14. Graham has had enough clearly.

03:00. For those ladies present that didn't get to see what the inside of the Gents looked like.

03:03. Down to just myself, Gary and Andy now.

03:05. The last three survivors.

03:11. Me on the way to bed.

03:11. Ermmmm...?

11:07. The next morning, just wanted to make sure it was all still intact.

11:07. The little annexe bit.

11:08. What a nice building. Nice to see it wasn't permanently scarred at all.