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Your Memories and Pictures

Read fans memories and view pictures from the 2013 Convention.

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Si
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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Si » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:12 pm

Will do it soon, for sure. I did see BA at the cinema showing, swanking away after the signing ;) I was sat next to one of our fellow members for the screening. So it worked out well. Splendid chap. Anyway, i'll try get it done soon as :)
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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Tracy » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:10 pm

Good lad Si, your'll do son !
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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Breaking Away » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:34 pm

Si wrote:Will do it soon, for sure. I did see BA at the cinema showing, swanking away after the signing ;) I was sat next to one of our fellow members for the screening. So it worked out well. Splendid chap. Anyway, i'll try get it done soon as :)
You must think I'm a right swanker
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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Tracy » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:46 pm

They tell me your good at billiards !
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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Breaking Away » Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:43 am

Howay! Where's some more stories. There must be plenty of great moments to share.
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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Breaking Away » Mon Oct 21, 2013 10:34 am

Sunday

The morning after. I flicked a text to Lee to arrange collection of my Scanda Sauna t-shirt and Wayne's BMW keyring, and caught up with him at breakfast. What a beauty the t-shirt is. (Get yours for only £18 including postage http://www.awpet.com/shop.html) ;)
Our daughter Gemma was arriving from Edinburgh by train at 11am. She'd been touring the UK the previous two weeks and we were spending the last four days together before we flew home and Gemma was staying an extra month. We had planned to hire a car and go to the Lake District but were feeling pretty knackered so arranged to stay an extra night.
The bus arrived for the location tour about 10.45 and while waiting to board spoke with Hedley, David, and Paul Armstrong who was loading up his car. In went the Thornely Manor sign which there had been a few offers for at the convention. I tried to scrounge a hi-viz vest that the convention crew were wearing off Dave but they were all gone. Dave said they'd had about 50 people asking for them at the convention and one guy had slipped £50 into the Sammy fund and bagged one. The chap who had made the vest was away for a couple of weeks but the thought was that they may do another run of them to flick off.
It was just Si, Norma and Hedley that I knew on the bus. We were sitting up top. We left the Hilton and picked up the rest of the passengers near the Central Station.
The tour took us through various locations of films and tv. There weren't to many from AWP actually. I was hoping we'd see the Angel of the North but it wasn't to be. After about an hour we were driving along the riverside near the Hilton and I saw Gemma, who having dropped off her gear, had gone for a walk waiting for us to return. We stopped a hundred metres up the road and all got off. Ray Laidlaw was talking about how Lindisfarne had performed on a boat in front of the markets along the quayside but the current was to strong and they kept drifting away. Gemma caught us up and she ended up joining us for the rest of the tour. It was the first we'd seen of her for 6 weeks.
Near the end of the tour we stopped at the Bridge Hotel. I'd only just got the drinks in when Keith, a PR man for the weekend asked if my wife and I would mind being interviewed for the TV news!
" You talk about Breaking Away? Would you ask him to come outside please? They want him for the television news."
We were asked what was it that attracted us to AWP and how did it feel being in Newcastle. I can't remember the name of the interview chap but he liked some comment because we took a second take and that was the bit that appeared on TV. Afterwards I felt a bit embarrassed about it and wished I'd answered some stuff differently. I didn't try and watch the news.
We'd only just finished the interview and then it was time to depart again. I'd hardly touched my cider. Hedley said he was staying there and walking to the train station to head home so I gulped down some, and then topped up his glass. Hedley, it was fantastic to meet you and share a few drinks and throw in a few quotes here and there. We finished with
"If you're ever in New Zealand..."
"I very much doubt it"
Meeting the lads of the forum helped make the weekend so great. It was fantastic to be among friends. Funny when you think that I'd never met any of them before.
We jumped on the bus and headed back to the Hilton. I looked around for Si but he hadn't got back on the bus. Later on, I think I can understand why. Obviously the goodbye would have to emotional for him.
It was great meeting you Si, and Norma. Thanks for the bruised hand and the laughs. Thanks for flying the flag for NZ. You've proven that size doesn't matter on that count.
Arriving back we found the Hilton very quiet. It was quite eerie. Lee and Tim had already gone. It never occurred to me that they wouldn't be there and I was disappointed we didn't get in some goodbyes.
It was very strange. I looked into the function room where everything had taken place the night before. The room had been cleared and all the tables and chairs stacked up. The only reminders were the numbered cones from the tables I found in a corner and the Transporter Bridge. I felt very empty. The comedown was massive and I was feeling very down.
We went for a walk back towards the Monument and found ourselves back at the Bridge Hotel where we grabbed a bite and couple of drinks. We carried on to the Monument and did a small walking tour. We looked at St James Park and popped into a few shops before heading along the Quayside and coming back to the Hilton via the Millennium Bridge.
Mrs Away was shattered and had a snooze. Gemma and I went for a walk along the High Level Bridge and I snapped a few photos.
Later Corsa Tim rang. It was good to chat for 5 or 10 minutes and say goodbye. Tim had taken off after the dinner and was home well before we'd woken that morning. It was great to meet the man from the videos. Please keep it up mate.
I spoke with Lee the next night. It was a relief to know that others had been feeling the same way I had. Lee, you did a fantastic job with the convention. I hope you realise how much it has been appreciated. So many people went home happy after that weekend. Cheers mate, it was an honor to meet you. For me, the weekend couldn't have been what it was if you hadn't taken us under your wing.
Back at the Hilton someone mentioned Chinese food and we got a takeaway to take back to our room before having an early night. The weekend had been so fantastic, and now it was over. Coming off the high was enormous. I felt lousy. :(

Monday.

The plan was to head off to the Lake District today and I hadn't organised a thing. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed about it actually. The ladies headed down to breakfast and I was a bit behind them with my packing. When I had everything in order I went down and saw Paul Irwin and partner Crissi at breakfast. He saw me and waved me over. We talked about the weekend and what our plans were for the next few days before we would be flying home. Paul said that he goes to Keswick in the Lake District often. Talking to Paul about what had happened in the weekend really picked me up. The excitement was back and everything was good again! Paul said to catch up with him after breakfast and he'll jot down some Keswick info for us. Later in his room he'd written down the names and phone numbers of at least half a dozen pubs to stay at, where the launderette was (we needed one desperately) and given me the name and location of a nearby rental car company. I can't tell you what a relief this was. He really was a godsend.

So that was it. We picked up the rental car and headed back to the Hilton to load up our bags. Then we were off.

Auf Wiedersehen Newcastle. Thank you for a few days I will never forget.
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Hedley Irwin
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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Hedley Irwin » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:47 pm

Friday

I travelled up by train from Birmingham on the Friday, stopping in Durham to meet an old schoolfriend for lunch. It’s ok; I didn’t marry her, leaving poor Nora not hearing a word from me since.

Then after a couple of beers and a lovely catch up, it’s onto Newcastle and then walk down to my hotel in Gateshead, passing the Hilton on the way. Sadly, I couldn’t afford to stay here, but my hotel is only about 15 minutes walk from where all the excitement is going to be. It’s a warm day, I’ve got a heavy rucksack, and it takes me about half an hour to walk from Central station. I’m looking forward to getting into my room and having a refreshing shower, but when I come to check in, there’s a problem with the booking. The person who was supposed to be vacating my room has decided to stay an extra night, so they have allocated me a different room, but that is currently having a new wardrobe built in it! Would I mind staying one night in one room then switching rooms for the second night? Well, I really don’t care; I just want that shower, so it’s soon sorted out.

I vaguely recalled a plan to meet up in Arch 16 at 5pm, so I set off around 4.30 with the intention of getting there at around 4.45. I wear my black trilby so that I’ll easily be recognised. Perhaps, as a tribute to Wayne and Chrissie’s meeting, I look like an extra from a Madness concert!

I text Lee and Si to check the arrangements. It’s 6pm for the meet apparently, though Si is aiming to be there at around 5.30. Even so, I’m going to be ridiculously early, so it allows me some time to spend on the other love of my life – geocaching. For those who don’t know what this is, imagine a cross between orienteering and a Treasure Hunt and you’re about there.

The texts between Si and me are coming thick and fast, with plenty of Pet quotes contained. I’m getting excited now, and make my way to Arch 16 for around 5.30. I’m the first there, and having already been drinking at dinnertime and expecting a session on the pub crawl later, I settle for a cappuccino and wait. The staff tell me that they’ve just seen Lee walking past. I wait for someone else to turn up and it’s not long before a couple walk in. Is it Lee or Si? Turns out it’s Si and his sister. We start chatting, and Si tells me that he has already sussed out where Vicki’s room is. The dorty bastard!

It’s not long before we get a message from Lee telling us to head to the Hilton bar where “we won’t be disappointed”. We dash round so quickly that, in our haste, I forget to pay for my coffee (though I do go back the following day to pay my debts).

We arrive at the bar to find Lee, Dave and AWP Corsa Tim. Tim, your Youtube videos may be famous mate, but this wasn’t quite the scoop I was hoping for. Lee is right though, we aren’t to be disappointed. We’re soon joined by the wonderful Lesley Saint John. She doesn’t stay long, but enough for a chat and a few photographs. I get the feeling that most of us feel a little bit like star struck kids.

It’s soon time to start the pub crawl. We head back to Arch 16, a few more of us by now. Dave supplies interesting snippets at the various locations we visit – Arch 16 “the sleazy snack bar mentioned in the lyrics of Fog on the Tyne”, The Central “Prefab Sprout shot one of their videos upstairs” etc, and a great evening is had by all. We catch up with Paul Armstrong in the Crown Posada, and are also joined by Mr and Mrs Breaking Away, who have just flown in especially for the convention. Si seems more star struck with this than he was with Vicki!
Finally it’s back to the Central. Although I now live in Birmingham, I’m from Sunderland originally, and I have to confess that I’m much happier on this side of the river. We bump into a few more Pet fans from Ireland, I chat to Mr & Mrs Breaking Away when Si isn’t shaking his hand, and also to Tim. The planned meet up with Melanie Hill didn’t materialise, but we had the consolation of bumping into Roger Bamford when we arrived back at the Hilton.

A great day, and only the start of what was to become a truly fabulous weekend.

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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Hedley Irwin » Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:56 pm

Despite the excess alcohol on Friday, it was an early start on Saturday. For starters, I needed to change rooms at the hotel, but as it turned out, I didn’t need to. Another rearrangement meant that I could stay in my original room. Nobody told me until after I’d packed though!

The plan was to meet at Arch 16 again, but I decided to head straight for the Hilton instead. I waited downstairs in the bar area, and Lee soon appeared. Nipping to the toilet and passing Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais sitting chatting, then bumping (literally) into Mel Hill on the way back was a truly surreal feeling.
Not for the first time I misquoted Den “I can’t believe this weekend, me.”

More and more forumites were appearing now – Ally Fraser Marbella, AlreetPal, Andy H and Peng as well as those from last night (apologies to those people I’ve forgotten). Tim and I stood on the balcony chatting Pet. You could varnigh be in Manhattan. Shortly after we came back inside, Mel was being interviewed on that very same balcony by the local TV news. Drat, we’d been right there only 10 minutes earlier.

We spoke to Lesley Saint John again as she was leaving the hotel, then Tim Healy and Kevin Whateley both arrived, as did San Hey. I managed to get pictures of everyone as they arrived. Lesley then returned with a Wilkinson’s carrier bag and informed us that she’d been buying hairspray. Tim responded with “Do what you do best Vicki, shop”.

The morning passed quickly and it was soon time to head to the Tyneside cinema. Tim booked some taxis, although there was some confusion with the driver, when I gave Tim’s surname, and the driver was expecting a woman called “Kim”. We eventually agreed that the name must actually have been “Tim”, and Breaking Away, Mrs Breaking Away and I piled into the first taxi, the others would follow later.

Not content with defrauding our overstretched public transport system, BA also managed to avoid his taxi fare too, leaving yours truly to pay the bill. Its not often you see him putting his hand in his pocket, unless it’s to play billiards with himself!

The screening was another once in a lifetime experience – Mel a couple of rows in front, Stan Hey away to the right. The lack of opportunities for questions was disappointing, but credit to Franc, Stan, Dick, Ian and Mel for signing everything they had thrust at them in the bar. Mel was clearly in her element. She attended everything and was clearly loving it. “I just love coming back home” was her response. Like me, she’s from Sunderland, and returning to the North East is always special.

Stan walked back to the Hilton with us, then Tim and I headed back to our hotels to get changed ready for the evening. I was buzzing. The forumites met up in the bar area, where Si unfurled his tiny flag. To misquote Den again “What on earth possessed you to bring that in here?”

Then through into the event area. I was a little disappointed to see that I was on table 33, right at the back, as far away from the main table as I could possibly be. Little did I know that table 33 was to become the stuff of legends – packed with such forumites as AlreetPal, Andy H, peter gordino, JOINERPAULUK and ruggedscot. A couple of drinks while browsing the amazing selection of Pet memorabilia, and it was soon time to take our places for the meal.

The cast and crew were introduced as they took their places on the top table. Norma and Brenda were here too, I hadn’t seen them yet this weekend. It was hard not to be disappointed that there weren’t a few more cast members though.

After grace, said by Tim Healy, dinner was served. Was anyone else impressed with the way the waiting teams served the tables? It was very well choreographed (if that’s the right word), with everything done in unison. My mind drifted to Moxey leading the synchronised swimming in the Oxlade’s pool!

The live music all followed a Pet theme, and then it was time for a break. First the prize for winning the pub crawl. Oz’s trowel signed by the cast and crew members present. And the winner is “Hedley Irwin”. Wow! Though I did feel a bit let down that the compere couldn’t hang around long enough to actually present it to me. Instead I was left to just pick it up from a table as everyone else piled to the bar, which did rather spoil the moment if I’m honest. At least it wasn’t presented by Malcolm MacDonald though!

The meal has had plenty of mentions in other people’s posts, so I won’t dwell on it, other than to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the food, and the video clips, then it was time for autographs. All the cast stayed long enough for everyone to have a chat, photos and autographs, which was great to see.

Then back to the bar area for more forumite chats. Ally Fraser Marbella told his tales of Ally’s villa, Tim talked of his road trips, but the alcohol consumption finally caught up with Si and he went off to bed. Hope he didn’t lay siege to Vicki’s room.

Shortly after 3am, Tim and I headed back to our own hotels, at the end of a truly memorable evening.

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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Breaking Away » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:46 pm

Hedley this is magic stuff. Great to hear another story. Glad I hadn't imagined the handshakes as well.
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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Tracy » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:15 pm

Thanking you lads ! [ Wondered what Breaking Away had been up to, wasn't billiards afterall. Or maybees he was playing billiards ! ] Great reads and snaps, the jumper and jeans and all the beers Ive had. Reading all that was a belting time. Yees legends loike !!!
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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by AWP Corsa Tim » Thu Oct 24, 2013 8:41 am

Nice posts Hedley and 'Breaking Away'... Really enjoyed going through those.. what we all attended that weekend was rare and one of a kind for weekends! what makes it good is meeting people you have never met but you know slightly in your heads, that being with the forum people and even the cast and crew in ways.. im glad i got up there to attend it.. i just wish i had read my text message properly and had stayed through sunday..
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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Breaking Away » Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:30 pm

Pride of place...
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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Tracy » Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:41 pm

A touch of class ! Well done mate. [ A Touch of Class was also the name of a massage parlour here in the 80's ]
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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Breaking Away » Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:21 pm

Oh aye. VIP access all areas? Enough said.
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Re: Your Memories and Pictures

Post by Tracy » Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:48 pm

I was driving taxis and took care of many a bloke in town on business. Majorie was reet !
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