Pink Phizz

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

A ghostly shade of pale

So a couple of weeks ago I was cruising through our local weekend paper, and my eyes lighted upon this nifty little advertisement about 'A Ghost Night at Upnor Castle.' I decided to alert Walrus to this little advert for an exciting evening.

"Hey, Walrus, I found a great advert in the paper about a ghost night on the 21st of May. So instead of us going to the pub like we always do and me having to be bored and fidgety 'cause it's just you and your mates, why don't we ring up about the tickets and go to this instead."

Walrus peruses the advert and says," Sure, why not, sounds like fun. We'll get two more tickets and see if Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum will come too."

And this is how Saturday night came about for me, Walrus, Twiddle Dee, and Twiddle Dum. A night that we will always remember. A night that will go down in the annuals of Saturday nights, never, ever to be forgotten. A one-of-a-kind night, a one-off.

Saturday night finally arrived, the Twiddle's picked us up, and we set out to a nice little pub for a few round of drinks and a great meal. Conversations centered around what both couples had been up to since the last we all got together, and about the fantastic night that was waiting for us. Twiddle Dee and I talked about how it was great to get out and do something else, instead of always heading for the pub like lemmings to the sea.

Finally, 7:15 rolled around and we, along with our group, are standing around at the gate like a bunch of sheep, waiting for our group to be called. After we are briefed on the historic value of the castle, we are solumnly told to stay together and never, ever wander off alone. We are reminded that when we see the "Lady in Black," we are to follow her wherever she goes.

So we did.

We went to the magazine area, where 5, 206 thousand barrels of gun powder were once stored, where our guide gravely and oh so thoroughly explained how important it was to never, ever let a spark of anything enter that room, or the "Big Bang" would be repeated, on just a slightly smaller scale. We were told about a ghost sighting there by two old biddies, in the day time no less! They called him the "Man in Black." Twiddle Dee kept referring to the ghost as the "Black Man." We giggled over that.

We stayed there for about 30 minutes. No ghost to be had.

The next two hours were spent going all around the castle, inside and out. Listening, listening, and yet more listening to the droning of the various guides talking, talking, and yet more talking about the four hundred (or is it five hundered) years of history of the castle. We heard about Elizabeth I; heard about how the Dutch whooped the English (which you will find in the Dutch schools' history books, but you won't find in the U.K. schools' history books); and heard about all the other uses that Upnor Castle had been used for. Finally, for the final treat of the evening, we all got to listen to a ghost story that had absolutely nothing to do with the castle Upnor, but was read by a gentleman all dressed up like a Charles Dicken's street player tripping over the words like a drunken sailor tripping over cobblestones at night. I fidgeted, others slept.

We listened to talk all night long. Didn't see a ghost. Not one damn ghost. None.

When the Twiddle's dropped us off, they laughed and voiced what a great time they had had with us. How it was an experience that they would never, ever forget. And, they actually suggested that they would be doing the calling, instead of us calling them for the next Saturday night out.

Gee, I thought that that was kinda nice.

"Hmmm, I thought tonight went rather well," I remarked casually, walking through our doorway. "I mean, dinner was great. The castle was a bit boring. Okay very, very boring! Might have had more fun watching paint dry. And why was it called a 'Ghost Night at Upnor Castle?' We didn't see any ghosts."

"That's 'cause they were all at the pub."


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