The heat of the past week coupled with a few juicy hangovers has laid me low. Certainly too low for me to find the desire to author anything insightful. As ever, I refuse to apologise.
Having recovered from having my inner ear irrigated on Friday night, Saturday morning saw me and Housemate Reggae - whose ribs were still sore having heard about my encounter - lunching on our poorly turfed lawn, absent mindedly listening to the South African who resides across the other fence effortlessly dropping profanities into his conversation with the frequency only he seems able to manage. Our proposed road trip to Leeds had been called off - which I, not fancying four hours in a hot car, was quite glad about - and we were mulling over what alternative excitement we should instead seek out in our fair city.
And then it struck me. Today was the day of my old schoolfriend Jon’s annual Monopoly Board pub crawl; an event which was entering it’s 5th consecutive year and one which, despite having been resident in the city and never more than a stone’s throw away from at least one square for each and every one, I had never managed to attend. I got on the phone and found out they were at Liverpool Street, having thankfully already got the dirty browns out of the way, and were heading in my direction to Angel. Thus, the day’s entertainment was sorted.
Having jumped on the Angel bound bus on Holloway Road, who greeted me on the steamy and crowded upper deck but the Cute Swedish Waitress. My immense satisfaction at this pleasing coincidence lessened as I noticed that the temperature inside the bus was comfortably in the forties, and this could only mean I was going to get a spectacular sweat on (and I am blessed with The Gift of the Sweat at the best of times). Although London on a hot day can swelter with the best of them, such occurrences happen about 9 times out of the 365 available days, and therefore it's perhaps understandable London Transport doesn’t stretch to providing any form of heat relief on its buses (in fact, it's quite common for them to leave the heating on on days like these). Any hope I was harbouring for a breeze of exhaust-filled air to whip through an open window and across the upper deck was nipped in the bud by Holloway’s inevitable congestion. As we sat and made inane conversation I stealthfully made use of her glances out of the window to remove the gathering reservoirs of sweat on my brow and splash them onto the aisle floor. Twenty perspiration filled minutes together later (and not of the sort I'd really have liked) our bittersweet encounter ended and I peeled my drenched back off the seat and made my farewells, smoothly recovering from a near arse-over-elbow slip on my own puddle of sweat.
We'd been unsure what to expect of the crawl and were pleasantly surprised to find a veritable army of crawlers on arrival at Angel, and we swiftly got stuck into some lush pints of Magners (on ice). I hadn't seen Jon for ages - we know one another from when we shared a table for Maths with Mr Smith when we were thirteen - and but we share a very maintenance-free friendship which means we can happily pick up having not seen each other in years.
The beer and cider continued to flow throughout the day and the temperature continued to soar, until dusk brought our sunburnt and muddled group to Leicester Square and the final few squares to be attempted. Soon time was nearly up, and with 19 of the 25 squares imbibed upon (damn you, poxy Vine Street, and your lack of pub), I held the sacred board and watched Jon by twilight dancing in one of the fountains in Trafalgar Square as heritage wardens furiously tried to bait him out from the sidelines. Satisfied, he finally emerged and we headed to the final square of the evening, Pall Mall. Miraculously, on this most exclusive of streets we managed to find a pub, although how happy they were to see us was questionable. "Fucking Monopoly lot" was the specific greeting, if I remember correctly. But the balmy summer evening and Jon's encyclopaedic knowledge of sing-along songs in the absence of a jukebox eventually won them over, to the extent that last orders had been rung and free drinks were now (perhaps unnecessarily) being poured.
I awoke the next morning with little recollection of my journey home but feeling surprisingly unhungover. This was taken as a good sign that the previous day's suggestion that we attend The Church in Kentish Town was a goer. Not that sort of Church, you understand. Rather, one of the larger collections of pickled antipodeans you could hope to come across indulging in some hedonistic Sunday afternoon boozing. By 3 o’clock I was steaming drunk before dinnertime for the second day running, and my 9-tin addled brain was becoming caught up in the heady mix of boobies and compere Neil Sand’s unique brand of Commonwealth patriotism. Forgive me, but I may even have roared "Fuck Yeah!" with the braying crowd and punched the air at one point. Emerging into the ferocious heat of the late afternoon, the weekend was catching up with me and it was the best our motley crew could do to stagger to nearby Hampstead Heath and snore in the sun, providing a somewhat refreshing alternative to the wholesome scenes of happy families that surrounded us.
Sometimes, the weekend can seem like harder work than the week itself.
4 weeks ago