Suffice it to say, it was slightly more eventful than an average evening down the pub. Here, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the full report.
I flew over the day before, on Thursday. On the flight, I had an aisle seat, and at one point the catering cart was parked immediately next to me and the flight attendants both went off to the galley to fetch something. Did I really have a choice at this point? I limited myself to stealing only 4 bottles of airline wine, so that wasn't too bad.
Went to the hostel and got a phone call from the Canadians (256, ni and misslake) inviting me to go drinking. I was of course happy to comply and met them at the absolutely crap pub at London Bridge Station, then on to their hostel bar, which was pretty good actually. I had an early night, mainly because I wanted to get the last tube service back to the hostel. As far as I can tell, this was the last sensible decision I made.
I spent most of Friday killing time first around Picadilly Circus and then at the various Camden markets, where I proved my uncoolness by managing to buy nothing at all. I did find a Somerfield's with a 2-for-1 Ginsters offer, which I took them up on. Then back to the hostel to meet gazbo, whom I recognised immediately from the famous photo  despite his having clothes on. We proceeded to the Anchor, where the fun started.
At this point, it gets a bit hazy. I think the following people were there when we arrived: Phage, Herring (who claimed he was Phage, though I saw through this dastardly deception), hulver, DrH0ffman, TheophileEscargot, jump the ladder and Vulch. During the evening we were joined by Dr Thrustgood, BadDoggie, misslake, ni, 256, TPD, ambrosen, breaker, motty, and some people's friends...
hulver smoked a pipe the whole time. It seemed somehow comfortably fitting for his role as leader of our ragtag band of ne'er-do-wells.
Plate I. Herring and Hulver. Note tobacco-smoking pipe.
At some point, 256 and ni decided they needed to go for a swim in the Thames. I'm not really familiar with the details, but the upshot of the thing was that 256 and ni transgressed a fence and at some point started fighting, ending in ni getting wet and wounded and 256 with mud all over himself, and misslake broke her shoe and would be dead if Vulch hadn't expertly caught her.
Dr Thrustgood, intending to have "one pint" in view of his driving test the next day, ended up having four pints. Misslake particularly enjoyed the pudding, and got the rest of us (all red-blooded males as we are) all hot and bothered with her spectacular plate-licking skills. Breaker got us a round of tequila shots. The salt came out of the shaker quite fast.
I didn't manage to start half the conversations with people that I wanted to. I suppose I will just have to go to the next LHusi drinks.
Plate II. ni, 256 and Dr Thrustgood
Plate III. misslake, Vulch, ni and gazbo
Plate IV. ni, 256, Dr Thrustgood and TPD
Plate V. misslake
After chucking-out time at 11pm (LOLWHAT!), breaker, gazbo, ni, misslake, 256, motty, ambrosen, hulver, BadDoggie and myself went to the Blue Maid and continued to drink a lot. I believe there was even dancing involved. After a few hours Hulver bought a round of champagne, but soon after that we started to get bored and left. misslake and ni retired to breaker's house, leaving the rest of us to fend for ourselves. BadDoggie suddenly got quite insistent on ingesting a massive amount of food, stealing my spare Ginsters and dragging us into a chippy, and could only be torn away from the shop after getting the exact details on Savloy. The six of us then managed to miss the only 6-seater cab in London and had to make do with two 5-seaters.
Now at this point, only gazbo and myself had checked into the hostel into a four-bed room, which we would obviously not all fit into. So we took the drunken executive decision to smuggle 256 in unpaid to sleep on the floor with ambrosen, hulver, gazbo and me, while BadDoggie got a separate room with, apparently, the roommates from hell within. I produced the Kirsch (cherry schnapps) and we continued with the drinking, managing to finish half the bottle. Quite suddenly, 256 passed out. We took this as the cue to go to sleep ourselves. We pushed him off hulver's bed onto the floor, which made an enormous thud but didn't wake him up. hulver shoved his pillow under 256's head, gazbo covered him with his towel and ambrosen bravely removed 256's shoes, in a quite tender fashion I thought. 256 was totally oblivious and slept on the hard floor into the morning. During the night, we all farted at each other. What better way to build trust?
Plate VI. 256 asleep at the hostel.
Incidentally, while many people mutter incoherently in their sleep, ambrosen trolls lucidly in his sleep.
Hulver and BadDoggie both left at the crack of dawn before anyone else was up. The rest of us were up around 9 and had a quick breakfast of cherry schnapps and toast (gazbo was quite skeptical about a new technology called the "toaster") before we decided to go to Breaker's flat. Ambrosen took charge of navigating the Underground. We went to London Bridge, and ambrosen confidently declared: "Breaker lives near Southwark station". So we took the tube to Southwark.
"Actually", he said while we were on the train, "we should have gone to Bermondsey. That's where he lives". Which was in the opposite direction. So we got out at Southwark and took the opposite train back.
"Come to think about it", ambrosen mused as we pulled into London Bridge again, "he does actually live closer to Southwark". So we got off and got on the now familiar tube to Southwark.
As the doors slid closed, he muttered, "I am such an idiot". That's right, he decided he was mistaken again and at Southwark we took the Tube back to London Bridge. We were pretty much pissing ourselves laughing at this point - we (well, mainly 256) had finished the remaining half-bottle of Kirsch. We decided to get out at London Bridge and walk to Breaker's. Of course, nobody knew the way except ambrosen, so we very reluctantly allowed him to lead us there. Amazingly, he actually went in the right direction and we soon arrived and woke up breaker and misslake and ni. breaker, who had been expecting me in the late afternoon, was a bit confused, but being the top bloke he is he immediately offered to take us out to a pub called the Hartley for a quick breakfast (though of course not before we had drunk some cognac in his house).
Diagram I. Optimal route to Breaker's residence as determined by A. M. Brosen
Well, the quick breakfast turned into a 10 hour pub crawl. We stayed at the Hartley for a good 2 or 3 hours. The breakfast was excellent and I enjoyed it very much. misslake particularly liked the pudding, and repeated the plate-licking show. Ambrosen had the presence of mind to secure video evidence . But he got totally thrashed by 256 at Scrabble.
After a few drinks, we briefly moved on to a different pub where the bartender had no clue what a Bloody Mary is supposed to be like, then went on to the George, where gazbo suddenly remembered he knew someone in London called Duncan, who was forced out to drink with us. Dr Thrustgood, having driven across instead of around a roundabout (the clue's in the name, you know) and hence failed his driving test, also turned up, and we consumed more beer. 256 left for Oxford at some point.
ni mentioned that he wasn't quite familiar with the rules of Mornington Crescent, so breaker, gazbo and I played a standard game (1968 rules) to get him started. Living outside England, I had of course got quite rusty and was expecting to get a beating, so I was rather shocked when gazbo foolishly left his Central Line diagonals open, handing me a surprise win.
We must have stayed at the George for 4 or 5 hours; it started to get chilly so we moved inside and confirmed that one can, indeed, cover the rankest farts by lighting a match.
People started to get hungry, so breaker took us to an excellent Turkish restaurant. At this point I had a massive alcohol crash and basically stopped functioning properly. I was unable to eat my food. This was only about 8pm, but it felt for everyone more like 10pm. The wonders of all-day drinking. Breaker's WTB was invited to a barbeque party and we were all to come along, but misslake, ni and gazbo fell out of the game and turned in for the night, while Dr Thrustgood, Duncan, breaker and myself continued to the barbeque, where more beer was consumed. The house was full of people I've never met, which is something I don't generally function well in (especially not after having been drinking for 13 hours). So I was looking forward to a good night's sleep when breaker + WTB and I returned at about 1am.
I was asleep for about 10 minutes when WTB's Aussie hottie friends, Kacey and Jenna IIRC, showed up. One of them unwisely made a disparaging remark about Bovril, which immediately rose gazbo from his slumber. We then decided to have some red wine with them on breaker's rooftop lounge. They turned out to be charming girls and we spent a further 2 or 3 hours on the roof chatting with them (well, they kindly did 95% of the chatting, which we gladly permitted them to) - breaker joined us at some point after having gone out for a curry.
In the end, I think we finally slept at around 4 am. It was a brief affair though, as by 10 am we were already awake again, and soon found ourselves at the Hartley for more Bloody Marys, breakfast, plate-licking and Pimms. It was going-home day for gazbo and me, so we finally disbanded and said our farewells at around 1 pm. I still had to do some shopping for Ginsters.
Plate VII. breaker and gazbo
Plate VIII. breaker and gazbo again
Plate IX. misslake and ni refuse to open their eyes.
Unfortunately, I totally failed it. I ended up spending hours in Oxford Street buying cheap clothes and shoes. Then I walked to the end of Oxford Street, on the Hyde Park end, where I vaguely remember having been in a Tesco years ago. Well, there was no Tesco and I was beginning to get nervous. Where would I get my Ginsters? I remembered the 2-for-1 offer in Camden. So I took a tube there, only to find it shut and my flight just two hours away, and suddenly all those hundreds of corner shops flogging Ginsters simply disappeared and I couldn't find one to save my life.
I had to admit defeat, I'm afraid, and reluctantly took the DLR to LCY, arriving just 3 minutes before the check-in deadline. I do have a small selection of items from M&S, but it's not the same. What this means, of course, is that I will have to go back to London, or at least England, quite soon.
All in all, a highly successful and fucking expensive weekend. It was great to finally put faces to names, and to be around people who aren't Swiss. My English, I realised, has totally gone to shit and could do with more regular immersion.
AAA++++, would do again - after my liver and bank account have recovered.
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