We spent the weekend in London, seeing friends from university and family. We know someone who is going away travelling for a couple of years and this was an excuse for everyone to get drunk together first.
The drinking took place in serious style in a Bavarian beerhouse. There were women serving beer and sausages while men in strange outfits sang and played the accordion.
Saturday morning journey to London
We decided to do our bit for the planet and not travel by plane. We got the 7.25 train from Waverley Station. It headed west out of the city because the south-eastern line is closed at the weekend for engineering works. The train was going via Carlisle instead.
We got as far as Slateford, which is about ten minutes walking distance from our flat, before the driver decided that there was something wrong with the train and we were heading back in to the station again. We spent about forty-five minutes on the train and didn’t leave the city limits.
Our train was half booked; the later train we were bundled onto was fully booked and had one missing carriage. So there were people standing in the aisles as soon as we left Edinburgh. I think some people had to stand all the way to London. That’s seven hours.
On the journey between Edinburgh and Newcastle there were occasional apologies from the PA system. Each time, they mentioned there might be a replacement train at Newcastle to take some of the strain off the one we were all packed into. As we got nearer to Newcastle the references to this extra train became less frequent. By the time we’d arrived at Newcastle (or actually, just outside, since we were “early” and awaiting a slot at the station) the extra train wasn’t even mentioned.
London and the Beer house
Compared to the horror of the journey down, London was a breeze. At first it looked like we’d have to stand in lengthy queues for Tube tickets, but that was just because everyone gravitated towards the first ticket booth they saw. There were announcements that there were no queues round the corner but everyone seemed to ignore them. It took us about twenty seconds to walk round the corner and find a free machine. I think we were back where we’d started, with our tickets, before the big queue had moved at all.
We were staying with h²’s relatives in London. Her cousin had just bought a flat that afternoon, so that’s where we saw them first. Then we had time for a cup of tea before we headed back out into the fray.
The beer house was a bit strange. Parts of it were every bit as tacky as you might imagine. It was more like an Ikea imagining of a Bavarian beerhouse I think, crossed with a Scream pub.
They served an interesting-sounding selection of beers that all turned out to be variations on “foamy yellow”. This was fortunate, because the object of the exercise seemed to be more quaffing and spilling beer than tasting it. On the plus side they did have a great selection of sausage platters of various types.
As with all drunken nights out, the really horrific stuff started when someone had a good look at the non-beer drinks selection and found the “Porno meter”. Yeah, I’m not kidding. It was sixteen small (25ml) shots of schnaps arrayed on a (presumably one-metre-long) plank of wood. Each glass came with a sachet of what was essentially sherbet. The procedure involved emptying the sachet onto your tongue and holding it until such point as a shot of schnaps comes as a blessed relief from the burning.
The pictures speak for themselves, I think.
Sunday morning and the return home
We had to leave the revelry before half past eleven otherwise we would have been stuck at the wrong part of London after midnight. I suppose it would have given some humour-starved cabbie the opportunity to use the “not going south of the river at this time of night” line—except, we weren’t going south of the river. Hmm. Anyway, we left early and so missed out on some of the real brain/liver cell abuse. I felt quite well the next morning. More than anything I was still tired from the journey down.
I did notice the London Mayor-approved Shampoo in the bathroom.
We had a lazy breakfast with h²’s cousins then a short lunch in their local (with raspberry beer, very nice). Then it was back into travelling mode for the journey home.
We got on fine with the return trip. The guy sitting nearest us in the carriage was talking on his phone for about 3 hours solid, but unusually it wasn’t obnoxious. One of the few people who talk at a conversational level on their phones, rather than the “talking English to foreigners” tone that a lot of people adopt…
It was a pretty exhausting weekend. I think if we try that again we’ll leave on Friday night or take a day off so we can move at a more relaxed pace.