Usually, I take the sleeper back from Edinburgh on Sunday night, and while I get into work rather early, I don't usually get the chance to escape correspondingly earlier (joys of the Contracting Thang, I guess).
This weekend was different - I stayed down south for a colleague's birthday meal and pubcrawl. This wasn't a bad thing in itself -- in fact, it was rather fun -- and nor were any of the other things I got up to, but I get a very strong impression that I was missed in Edinburgh...
Anyway, here's what I did get up to:
- Friday Evening
Out for a drink (Doghouse) and curry (Maharajah) with Paul, a former pdc colleague. Followed this with a quick drink or two (Glasshouse Stores) before heading off to join Dave (a former colleague from biophysics days) for a beer (the George, Portugal/Sardinia St). Reasonable bunch of folk, and at closing time we headed for music and shots (Kro Bar). Someone was hoping to meet up with a Brazilian model he'd met there before, but it didn't happen. Took a while to find a seat, and not really keen on leaving when we got one... Longish chat (in so far as it was possible, given the volume of the music) with a friend of 'the Enforcer' from the school of hygiene and tropical medicine, during which the former colleague came down with a lurgi and left early. We left after closing time (gone three, anyway) and set off in search of night buses. A certain level of confusion was noticed, with people queueing at the wrong side of the road and similar (just wondering: is it something I do that causes folk to mention my marital status in a particular tone of voice?).
- Saturday Morning/Afternoon
- Saturday Evening
Headed out to Muswell Hill at about 4ish, planning on getting to the Restaurant (Taste of Nawab) for 6pm. More by luck than good judgement, I made it for 1803hours (included getting birthday card and sherbet fountains en route).
Damn' good -- if the place wasn't so far away, I'd go there again like a shot. Good food, good beer, good conversation (I mostly listened ;-). Sherbet went down well, I think, and started a serious nostalgia thing... Took bus to fake Irish pub "The Church", which was pleasant if rather full and free of 'proper' beer. Drank Grolsch happily enough, though. Left at about half ten, mainly in fear of failing to get back to Feltham.
I'm not quite sure how it happened -- maybe something to do with being near the bottom of the M1 anyway, combined with worrying about not making it back for less than Too Many Pennies(TM), but I suddenly decided to try hitching to Birmingham (luckily I'd the wit to phone the Landlord, presently at Novacon, to check where the hotel was -- so I knew my eventual target was Walsall)...
Set off on foot, quite glad I'd got a new A-Z, and ended up, just at closing time, at a genuine Irish pub (The Last Resort), where I had a glass of good Guinness, watched a music video (designed to appeal to the serious nostalgia market, in that every single song was about the lost joys of some town or other), took part in a word game (what five letter word can be made from the initial letters of the only counties in Ireland (all 32 allowed) to be the only ones to start with those letters), had a final glass (Jameson's this time) and set off for the bus to Brent Cross.
Got a lift from an Afghan minicab driver who was heading home for the night (talked about the bombing -- he's heard terrible things about his family), and ended up stuck at Northampton services for some hours. Gave up eventually, and crossed to try for a lift back south.
I was lucky - I met up with an elderly Aussie roadtrain driver (without roadtrain - he was visiting his family, and had borrowed a more appropriate car). However, he was a tad on the lost side as he was looking for Chiswick. Let's just say I was glad to be able to help (Chiswick is on the night bus route back to Feltham).
Fell asleep on the bus, woke up in Heathrow, and got the first bus to Feltham. Did the sleeping thing intermittently throughout the day -- caught part of the Remembrance Day ceremonies at the Cenotaph -- caught some other mediocre telly and read the rest of The Fanatic, which I strongly recommend. Woke up a bit morer towards the end of the evening, and was eating pizza while watching the BBC2 comedy stuff when it became apparent that I'd almost managed to trap my landlord outside...
Went down, let him in, and watched a little more telly over the clatter of keys and the odd bit of guitar playing... Crashed out.
Today's been fairly productive work-wise, with a possibility of some seriously exciting new stuff to do, and a bit of cosmetic redesign on one of the internal pages.
No time for lunch, but some checking of weblogs and journals -- and a sense of unreality as the news of the New York plan crash came in...
Aargh -- it's almost nine. So much for getting back early and having an early night to reset my body clock!
Still, next weekend I'm in Edinburgh again (and in den Haag after that -- but at least I'll have the family with me)