Happy birthday Jonny!
It was finally the last day on tour, and most of the team woke up a little bleary-eyed and fuzzy-headed. Roo woke up in a persistent vegetative state until after his breakfast (lunch?). All that the team had to do today was to pack up and head home, though this was going to be quite a lengthy task even for those without headaches.
Our only timing for the day was to leave the hotel by coach at 4pm, so everybody had different ideas about what to do with their day. Some were woken by snoring earlier than they would have liked (thankfully for the last time), some got up as normal, and some had their sleep interrupted by rumbling tummies. Since it was Jonny’s birthday, he was on a pancake and bacon mission, so headed to the hotel restaurant to satiate his hunger, though can you really call 3 pancakes a stack? Steph and Trem went too, and whilst the chief coach stuck to a healthy diet of fruit and eggs, Steph wanted a breakfast bigger than the heftiest trucker could finish…then she ate the whole thing.
I’m afraid without delving into the boring details of packing rituals and long lunches; there was a dearth of activity until about 3:30pm, when people started panicking and throwing clothes into bags. Almost everyone forgot something until the last minute, so there was a bit of sprinting to and fro in order to collect all the things that weren’t important to make the suitcase first time around. The coach ride was a few hours from Ottawa to Montreal, and the chatter soon died down as some of the octogenarians started to fall asleep. Up the back of the bus, however, the younger team members had brought cookies, sweets and cokes for the journey; allowing them to stay awake to see all the incredibly flat and boring views along the way.
Thanks to Stephen’s organisation, the team arrived early for check in, flew through with their bags (once the desk opened) and even customs was a breeze – sticking the rifles through an x-ray machine and onto a conveyor belt. It’s almost like they’ve handled firearms before! When we got through some pretty painless security, we were sure to come unstuck when trying to blag our way into the lounge weren’t we? Nope! Straight in, the power of the blazers and Mr Dix’s infallible charm was obviously still working.
Once on the plane (the same one we arrived on – thanks Henryk) Steph had decided to take one of her elephant strength sleeping pills, which worked remarkably quickly. She went from consciousness, through 70s-style trippy confusion, to fully unconscious in 15 minutes flat. We attributed some of this to her eating like an off-duty Police Chief Wiggum all day. About 2 hours into the flight, an air stewardess arrived at Jonny’s seat with a little surprise…a bottle of fancy champagne for his birthday! With just 30 minutes remaining on the day, he gave a glass to every team member that was still awake, polished off the rest of the bottle himself – before the empty was swiftly removed from him. British Airways have a zero tolerance policy on giving Scottish people bottles.
By the time we landed on Monday morning, there were some people who had slept a lot (Steph, DC), some people who had slept a little (Rich, Stephen, Gary) and some who hadn’t slept a wink (Jonny, despite all the alcohol). Once again, baggage and customs were an extremely efficient affair, even Captain Crossfire (Dom) hadn’t managed to lose anything, so the team headed almost directly for the bus stop. I say almost, because en-route was a Krispy Kreme donut stand – something Jonny was powerless to resist, even at 9am.
After another sleepy bus ride back to Bisley, all that was left to do was to unpack, throw everything in the cars and head off in our separate directions to get home. Not before all the hugs and handshakes that solidify the unique friendships that can only come from a victorious shooting tour.
Finally, we would like to extend our very grateful thanks to all of our friends, family, supporters and sponsors for the tour. We certainly couldn’t have done this without you!
Keep your eyes on the website for a final tour gallery in the coming weeks…featuring some bloopers!