Bath is - officially - the number one destination for weekend hen-parties. I just looked out of the window, and there were four separate gaggles of them on one small stretch of pavement.
I don't know where all the nation's stag-parties go - probably to go-kart tracks or shooting ranges.
If the hen-parties swapped roles with the stags for a laugh, I wouldn't mind. I would patrol the streets in the early hours of the Summer mornings, looking for young women who have been stripped naked and left taped to lamp posts by their so-called friends.
I have only ever been to one stag-party, and that was a fly-fishing trip to the Lake District a few years ago. We all drank alot, laughed alot, took lots of drugs (at one point we ran out and had to send someone down to Birmingham for fresh supplies) and even managed to get in a bit of fly-fishing. Due to the scarcity of lamp-posts up there, nobody was stripped naked and taped to one.
I was teamed up with the best fisherman in the group, and we (well, he) caught two whoppers. He was also the the one who showed most endurance when it came to sleep-deprivation, and I don't think he had more than about 3 hours of it for the whole three days.
He was about 45, of small build and had eyes which stayed pleading and haunted even when he laughed. Late one night, I found out why.
He was an ex-paratrooper and - like many others I have met - you would not have known this by looking at him.
In the early hours of one morning, he stopped laughing, looked me in the eyes and made a confession.
"I killed someone once."
"How? Did you shoot them?"
"No. I strangled him."
The conversation sort of died at that point and I went to bed, leaving him sitting up for the rest of the night in a chair.
Next morning, the laughter returned and the subject was never mentioned again.
Cynips; the state of play. - Please excuse the bad photo, but I think it does go to show just how badly our Chestnut trees are being affected by this dreadful insect; Cynips. Almost ...
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