My friend Philly is getting married in seven weeks, and I am his ‘best man’ (groomsman). On Friday we had his ‘stag party’ (bachelor party). It was an all day thing with a few of us going out in the day to do cool ‘guy stuff’ then in the evening we went out to a Teppanyaki restaurant for a meal before heading into Liverpool for a few (a lot of) drinks.

We started the day early heading out to a centre where we had a number of activities lined up that included driving argocats, hovercrafts, archery, and paint-balling.

The first event was driving argocats which are 8 wheeled off road vehicles operated by levers. We had a brief familiarization session in which I utterly sucked, managing to drive the thing into the bushes twice! After that we had to drive the argocat around a course that after a couple of weeks was now extremely muddy. The course also included a relatively steep drop into a body of water.

I was somewhat concerned that having sucked so badly in the familiarization session the ‘instructor’ was showing a little too much faith in setting me free on the larger more challenging course. But he assured me that it was entirely safe and that argocats are impossible to roll.

With Philly’s brother, David, as my passenger I set off on my first lap of the course, all seemed to go well and it was actually a lot of fun. As I began my second lap I once more approached the steep drop with into a muddy swamp. With a laps worth of confidence I headed toward the swamp. As I did David yelled “Slow down!”

Realizing I was perhaps going a little too fast, and that I needed to be able to make the right hand corner in the swamp I pulled hard on the right hand brakes. This put the argocat into a perilous sideways motion forcing it to lift the entire right of the vehicle off the ground.

Seeing this moment of excitement the guys all cheered from the spectator positions, however within the milliseconds it takes for such moments of excitement to go horribly wrong I was thinking to myself “Oh shit!” Then David and I were in the water, upside-down with the vehicle on top of us.

It’s quite amazing the clarity of though one has in situations like that. While I was under the muddy water with my hands trapped and no way to breath, I thought to myself “Damn, I didn’t bring a change of clothes.” I hadn’t wanted to get muddy or wet, and here I was completely submerged in muddy water within the first few minutes of our days worth of activities.

Fortunately the guys were quickly on scene and lifting the stricken vehicle so that David and I could get out. After a few tense moments everyone was laughing with the possible exception of the instructor who exclaimed that he had never seen or heard of anyone who had managed to roll an argocat before.

The rest of the day proceeded, albeit somewhat soggily for me, without any further drama. We drove hovercrafts, found out that we would have never been in Robin Hood’s gang after archery, and shot the crap out of Philly while paint-balling in the afternoon.

Such is the tradition of stag parties, we all headed out in the evening for a meal before hitting the bars. I have no idea what the traditions are in other countries and cultures, but in the UK it would seem that the traditional thing to do is get the ‘stag’ more drunk than they have ever been in their entire life. To me this seems like an entirely pointless and almost cruel thing to do, but Philly’s mates from his football team weren’t going to forgo that particular tradition, despite the fact that Philly himself is not a person you will often find drunk. Eventually though, Philly had drunk enough to render himself unable to speak, focus, walk, or function in any way whatsoever.

Thanks to one of the group, Ian, we were able to get Philly home safely, but not before the nights funniest moment. At his house we went through Philly’s pockets to get his key to the front door. However the key, despite looking right, didn’t seem to fit the door. Together Ian and myself tried to force the key into what we assumed must simply be a very stiff lock. Philly was sat on a wall beside the door dribbling and mumbling to himself. Eventually though, even Philly joined the struggle to gain access.

Then Ian said “Is this even the right house?” We shifted our focus from the unagreeable lock to the house number only to see that we were indeed at the wrong house!

In the end Philly sobered up quite quickly. We sat with him for a while chatting and laughing and plying him with plenty of water. Then as the sun began to rise we left. All things considered I think it was a pretty good ‘stag do’, I only hope that Philly can remember enough to have the same opinion.

[Video] Driving argocats
Pictures from the day and night
Sapporo Teppanyaki restaurant