Forgive the delay. It doesn’t mean I’ve just got back, I’m just lazy.
Chris called the event an “unqualified success”, which is all you can ask for. I think it went well, and I enjoyed it myself.
It was a London-based stag, which Chris discovered moments after we drove off from his house when Micky blabbed accidentally. Engineering works between Cambridge and Royston meant we headed to the latter to catch the train, as it seems did everyone else: the car park was full, and we parked in a side street. We then suffered the interminable, fruitless haggling of a couple of students with insufficient ID who were trying to save money on their tickets but just bounced repeatedly off the cheerful intransigence of the ticketdroid.
Finally ticketed, trained and travelled we met the other attendees in a rather nice hotel: the Thistle Euston. We checked in and had a beer, then moved on to a semi-random pub in the West End: Chef led us to Leicester Square, draped in tourists and late summer sunshine, and into All Bar One where it was declared Pimm’s o’clock. And also chips o’clock.
Booze led to ice cream, as it seldom does. Then a short walk to the theatre for the matinee performance of Avenue Q. Chris had no clue we were seeing it until we stopped outside and I started doling out tickets. It was very good (again) – I’d seen it, as had Andy and Chef, but Chris and the others hadn’t.
Another pub followed for an hour before food at Porters English Restaurant in Covent Garden. Decent stuff, and reasonably priced too.
The official organised events over, an unscheduled trip to the Comedy Store was mooted. We found it but the bouncers deemed Chris’s brother Paul to be a danger to shipping (he’d been drinking since about 11am on the train down, and it was now 11pm) and refused him entry. All for one, etc, so we gave up on that idea.
Someone – Chef? – then convinced us that we’d have more luck getting another drink in a random, dingy side street in Euston than in the bright, bustling metropolis itself. So we found ourselves wandering vaguely in the vicinity of our hotel, looking forlornly at dark, deserted, closed pubs, until chancing upon an establishment advertising itself as a Sports Bar-slash-Indian Restaurant.
It was open and served beer, which was incentive enough. We ignored the old man with wild eyes who looked upset that we’d punctured his evening’s grim alcoholic silence with our jollity, darts, pool and dozing.
By the time 1am rolled around some of the party had taken to attacking others in the group with flying beermats, and we left before we could be thrown out. Most of us found our way back to the hotel relatively easily; others took a bit longer, having somehow got lost.
The hotel bar was shut, but they sold us beer from behind the counter and let us sit in the bar to drink it. I lasted until 3am; Chris, his brother and dad kept going until 4.30am.
Breakfast was English, cooked, late and subdued. But very welcome. We caught the train back and were home by 1pm.
So Chris wasn’t tied to a lamppost, or shaved raw and placed on a container ship bound for Ecuador. I’m sorry if this disappoints.
Chris took some photos. I took a couple too, but I haven’t uploaded them to Flickr yet.