Sunday, February 19, 2012

London Calling, Off to Church Like Good Kids.

Church is not something you should take lightly. I, personally, had no idea what all the fuss was about - but having listened to the boys fret and worry about not being able to source these particular 'animal onsies' from Primark for nearly three days, I was starting to feel apprehensive about what lay ahead. I knew it was inevitable, and I knew it would be a good time, but unfortunately I just wasn't feeling it, and I really had to force down the vodka and apple juice concoction Shaggy insisted that I partake of moments after we arrived back at the hostel with our loot.

I digress - halfway through that Pump bottle, I forgot to care. It was a good mix. And we rolled up to Clapham Junction on public transport none of us really knew how to utilise (me in my faithful jeans and leopard print sweater outfit, good for fun, and the boys dressed as priests - original). Then we lined up to The Grand with all the others, entering in an orderly fashion. We were informed that the cloakroom was upstairs, and were each solemnly handed a post card with a little boy sitting in a graveyard on the front, and the words 'We're in trouble...' written clearly across the top. On the reverse side of said postcard we were informed that, due to the presumed unruly behaviour of past patrons, Church was 'in danger of losing it's license', and could we please remember that it was 1) Sunday afternoon and mothers with babies must be able to use High Street without being disrupted, 2) the local bars (Slug and Lettuce, Windsor Castle and The Falcon) did not want Church customers on their premises and could we please respect their wishes, and 3) Clapham Junction Station is very busy so to please be considerate whilst on the platform and try not to fall in front of trains and the like.


It was then that I knew we were really going to have a good time. Or wait - was it the moment we handed over one 10 pound note each, to receive 3 gigantic cans of apple cider in a plastic bag (which can be viewed in the photo below)...? I don't know. All I know is:

 It's awfully easy to get wasted at this place.

There I am wasted.

I was wearing that Lion's head at one stage.

I allegedly macked that girl in the bikini. It was her birthday.

I got lost in a department store with the Yellow M n M, looking for a bathroom while the boys were at McDonalds. She was cool.

Aaand there we are wasted again. That boy's name was Pierre and I may have macked him also.
I don't know what's going on with his pants.

I also know that Lyndon and I ended up at an empty neon-lit pizza place later that night, hungry as anything and trying not to watch the weirdness of the band playing on the huge TV in the corner. It was led by a girl, and seriously, it was weird. I also remember the pepper shaker being a metre long and wooden, and the waitress struggling to lift it up onto our table. We didn't want pepper really, but we definitely wanted to see her have a go at operating that thing. Lyndon remembers, so I have back-up on this. I also sort of remember running around the bar of the hostel when we got back shouting 'Cracked pepper?! Cracked pepper?!' to every person on premise before taking myself upstairs and falling soundly asleep in my pyjamas until morning...

...wheeen I spewed 8 times before anyone woke up, paid 1 pound for breakfast and we got the train to Maastricht. 

Ahh London. See you again in a couple of weeks.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


All of a sudden, I'm kneeling on the floor of the airport with all my bags strewn around me, desperately rummaging to find something cooler to wear than my great big leopard sweater and polar fleece tights. Settling on my now worn-in flanny and jeans, I venture tentatively out, into the boisterous arrivals hall and into the joyful arms of big brother Jase. Jayne's doing laps of the pickup area to avoid paying parking. I'm home in Australia, just as quick as that.

The drive into the city and through to Toorak is still one of my favourites... up over the bridge and down through the city with skyscrapers towering around, listening to the others chattering about all that happened whilst I was gone, and just embracing being home. I'm back in my city and it's a classic 36 degree summer's day - thanks Melbs, none of this 'easing back into it' business. I'm hot and happy.

11 Jan 12
Bristol, on the other hand, was chilly. Mike leapt into the back seat of the taxi as we pulled up - he'd been sitting out the front of the hostel, smoking cigarettes and speaking Spanish to his comrades, I imagine, as he waited for us to arrive. He was very happy to see us, and we likewise. The following days were sunny, friendly and fun.

My favourite memory of Bristol is difficult to differentiate, close competitions. I remember standing on the street in front of the hostel (which is one of the cosiest you've felt), and soaking in the sound of piano accordions carried down to me on crisp, dusky night air. Walking around Bristol during daylight hours, visiting original Banksies and staring at College Green in wonder. Family breakfast with Bernie and Luke, witnessing a late night street brawl with our noses pressed against the upper windows of the hostel, hot chips with cheese and gravy after deep nightly galavants, the Bear Pit, Katies and plane gazing. Pubs with names like The Bay Horse and White Hart. Drinking free Vodka Cranberries at Hush Hush, learning later that you should never watch The Nightmare Before Christmas whilst under the influence of Marijuana. And holding hands. And Seinfield in the cave and sleeping all day.

All good memories (except for that Tim Burton movie - that was a bit hectic). 

We left Bristol for London on the 5 o'clock bus after three heady days of fun and recklessness. I slept some of the way, but I was very tired, very cranky and very hungry when we arrived at Victoria Street bus depot later that night. We spent our money on greasy McDonalds and a cab to our hostel/pub, which was nowhere near as cosy or pleasant as the Bristol, and I fell asleep with my head less than 2 feet from the roof - having copped the topmost of three bunk levels. I love my eye mask... over the next few weeks it helped me through much less desirable situations, so I could sleep cosily and in peace. 

Lucky I got sleep. The next day, Sunday, Shaggy and I were up and about - first job on the cards being to try and find somewhere that sold cigarettes and booze at 9 am. Getting ready for Church...