Saturday, 9 July 2016

Lake District lamp-posts

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.


  1. Hen parties? We didn't have them in my day. Nobody had a car and nobody had the money to spare after we had bought our wedding outfits. This week end my hairdresser is going to a hen party dressed as Tinkerbell and next week end spending the whole week end at one in the Lake District.

    1. That's funny. All the hen party women here look like hair dressers.

  2. How many years ago was this stag-do?

    1. I can't remember. I never can place things in a time-line. Maybe 10.

  3. Back in the seventies, when I was teaching remedial English to college freshmen, I made an anti-Vietnam war remark. One student stood, told me unless I had killed someone in the dark with a piano wire to save the platoon, I had no business discussing the war. He never came back to the class. His remark did not change my opinion, but certainly tempered my mouth. A mile in someone else's shoes.

    1. I suppose he had a point, but his was not an ordinary experience.

  4. Tom, once again your post has taken us a distance from candlesticks. I do hope you've received payment for those valuable antiques featured in your previous post.

    I received three or perhaps ever four, depending on who's doing the counting, marriage proposals, yet have yet to marry. Proposals no longer appear.

    I am very fortunate never to have seen warfare, although many of my friends faced the draft during the Vietnam War era. Now there is no draft, and the young men I've come in contact with in recent decades have no idea what they missed. Or maybe I am wrong and they do have an idea.

    Hen or stag parties seem completely stupid to me...a show of how money can be tossed away. Perhaps I am wrong about that, too.

    I will keep an eye out for the August Interiors magazine. I used to buy copies, but now rely on the magazine stands at Barnes & Noble for my research.

    Best wishes.

  5. I've only been to one Stag Do, and that took place at The Metropole Hotel in Brighton. My son recently went to one in Latvia. How things have changed.