May 2016 – Part 1
Home sweet home! Finally, after far too much messing around. I surprised my mum and dad (they weren’t expecting me back until June) and met up with a bunch of people who put up with me for some unknown reason, y’know, my mates.
The first weekend I was home, Ste and I went to The Grapes in Liverpool city centre to do some drinking. We got chatting with a girl was was all dressed up in silver; silver body stocking, silver face paint, glitter, the lot… I asked her if she was an alien or a robot. Turns out she was an alien and going to a fancy-dress house party. I asked if the party was open to anyone. Our new friend Emmy was like… well not really I have no idea who you are.
At that point Emmy’s boyfriend, Marek, comes over and is like, “OMG you’re Graham Hughes!” and I was like, “yep!”. “I followed your Odyssey Expedition!” he exclaimed, “This is amazing! Can I get you a drink?”
“That sounds amazing… now about this party…”
It turned out to be an end-of-year LIPA (Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts… aka the Paul McCartney Fame School) party in the old District Nursing Association building opposite the Co-op bank on Princes Road. The lounge had been turned into a space disco and, friends, they had a bouncy castle assault course.
A good night was had by all.
The next morning my cousin Kenny invited me to the match (it had been a while).
Of course we won, Everton 2-1 Bournemouth. It’s a wonder I don’t get invited to watch the footy more often. But, then again, I do live in Panama.
The very next day I was up up and away for a flying visit to Dublin. Again, it had been a while. Seven years I think!
I met up with accomplished filmmaker and old friend Laura McGann, who travelled with me on The Odyssey Expedition’s Five Nations Pub Crawl and on the leg from Italy to Tunisia. She had moved to Dublin a few years earlier, and was now living with her partner, Anne-Marie.
Laura was working in the morning, so after a cup of tea, I went for a wander around Dublin, taking in the magnificent Trinity College Library. So beautiful!
While I was there, I found a dusty old book, untouched for hundreds of years, called “Irish Dancing Vol. 2: What To Do With Your Arms”.
Afterwards I met up with Laura and we were taken on a guided tour of the locations of the Easter Rising, which occurred almost exactly 100 years earlier, a pivotal moment in the struggle for Irish independence.
The tour ended in the Garden of Remembrance. Laura and I wanted to tip our fanastic guide, Rory, but we had no cash. We ended up walking for over a mile to find a cash machine that actually worked. It was a long way to tip a Rory.
The next day I thought I’d have me a Guinness or two. And where better to do that than the Guinness Brewery?
So then, quick flight back to Liverpool and a day spent helping set up the function room at the Adelphi Hotel with Ste Webster and friends for the annual Tattoo Convention. Don’t let anyone tell you my life isn’t utterly random.
Later I went to the Blue Coat Chambers to see comic book legend Dave Gibbons giving a presentation about his incredible career. What was particularly cool was that I happened to be sitting next to Leah who used to go the Krazy House with us many moons ago, a friend of Mark “Bean” Sabino and all that lot. Turns out she’s Alan Moore’s daughter. Small world eh?
The next day I dropped into Maggie May’s café to see my Global Scouse Day buddy Andy, who runs the place with his dad. I couldn’t go without having me an obligatory bowl of scouse.
I took the opportunity to see my family and friends I hadn’t seen in ages while I could, because I had just got news from Aegean Airlines in Greece.
The presenting job was a go. I’d be flying out to Cyprus within the week. Oh yeah!