(Extracted from Over the Bar 1986.)
Well, we got there - and came back. They said it would never go but there we were, flight weary in Washington (surely some mistake?). The flight itself was uneventful apart from Terry shouting "There are the Brecon beacons" and the pilot saying "Glasgow". Dave Higgins really enjoyed himself; there he was a bundle of fun until the nasty Purser spoiled it all.
At last Washington, dreary immigration, there's the Greyhound bus waiting for us, but where is everybody? They're found hiding in the airport bar with the President; obviously the flight hadn't slaked their thirsts.
The bus drops us at THE MAD HATTER (boy, what a name) - a downtown bar where we were to meet our billets. This bar became the scene of countless drinks being drunk by drunks over the next six days; no matter the glorious weather or the many interesting things to see - no, the gloom and the ambiance of the Mad Hatter would suffice.
From this Mad Hatter, a telephone call led to this scene: a house 30 miles from Washington (in Virginia). Time: 2.30 a.m. Ring Ring. Hello Gordon, George here. Where are we staying tonight? Oh dear, a little problem here. Later, at 9 a.m., another phone call from Washington District Police who had George and brother Dave in custody.
During this period, people roamed from the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia on the trail ... to Annopolis to sightseeing Washington. But meanwhile, back at the Mad Hatter ...
Six glorious days were spent in Washington, so lovely that some even slept amongst the Cherry Blossom; how romantic. It was also rumoured that the Club Captain had been spotted, but it was merely a rumour.
So we've played in front of old Abe Lincoln, drunk Washington dry, so off to the unknown, Doylestown, north of Philadelphia to an uncertain welcome but not for long. This was ·to be the most generous of welcomes yet. What good people and what a nice place.
This quiet, sleepy spot was brought to life by Ealing and their most obliging hosts. Our parting from Doylestown was full of "sweet sorrow", they were reluctant to leave a convenient bar. So reluctant were they that they were almost left behind after two hours of coaxing to no avail.
On the coach and away after many goodbyes, to the "Big Apple". On the journey, Jots of awards were given to various people who had starred in various roles. The "Tourist of the Tour" was won by George (telephone) Higgins a short neck from Kier an Kelly. Both deserved it.
In New York, I booked into the Empire Hotel, they booked into the bar next door - O'Neill's Ballroom. Yes, that's correct and that is where most did their sightseeing - a substitute for the Mad Hatter. Mike Whiteside and I drank in Houlihans Bar beneath the Empire State Building, whilst unknowingly half of Ealing were above us. In Mally's, the world's largest store, Mickey Carroll passes on the escalators a girl from his hometown in Ireland - small world.
Sunday dawns, its pouring with rain, clouds hang half way down the skyscrapers, but it doesn't bother them still in· 0' Neill's Ballroom. A frantic few hours now spent dashing around the City peering at clouds from the tops of buildings - then time to leave.
It was a good tour, a successful tour and a most enjoyable one and our American hosts were superb. By the way, we did play some rugby.
Maryland Old Boys 12 - 11Ealing
Maryland Old Boys 11 24 - 11 4 Ealing
George Washington 4 - 30 Ealing
Doylestown 4 - 20 Ealing
Doylestown 11 6 - 11 14 Ealing
A few Tour 'highs' - or were they 'lows'?
Ian Hockney became the first American! 'Hi there, Ian!'
The Great American Mystery - where was Wally? Well, various places by all accounts. Various local pubs, Georgetown, Baltimore, San Francisco (surely some mistake Ed?), New Hope, Broadway and Grand Central Station - where he met the girl from 'Mad River' - but never on tour.
Graham Johnson made on Executive decision on tour - he threatened to send Kieran Kelly home!
Dave Higgins looked smart in Washington, with his newly purchased $3 dollar Bermuda shorts. They certainly helped him get through the skylight on the coach in New York.
Terry Humphreys and myself were the only two in the elevator to the top of the World Trade Centre. No wonder - the visibility was zero.
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