Cousin Iain had suggested spending a few days in London on the weekend after my birthday a couple of months back now, so I’d been looking forward to it for weeks. Although the terrorist bombings the week before made me slightly apprehensive, I was determined not to let the tragedy get in the way of something we’d been planning for so long. To let them affect our way of life is to let them win, right Tony?
As it turned out, other than it taking a little longer than normal to get places, I needn’t have worried at all. Iain met me at Euston station and we made the quick trip to Islington to meet Jess at Chandler Gooding, before enjoying an hour or so of good banter until Jess had to make for home.
Iain and I met up with Andrew at Angel, then headed back to Iain’s flat from Euston, where I collected my left luggage. Despite my tiredness and the heat of the evening, by the time myself, Iain, Binnie, Andrew and Mark were sitting in a bring-your-own-beer indian restaurant that evening, the great food and the good company made for a top night.
On Saturday things kicked off in earnest, and after a trip to a nearby cafe for coffee and a snack, we set off to the small park at Brook Green to play some football and frisbee. All the running I’ve been doing recently didn’t translate at all into the quick burst fitness required for football, so with the heat I was literally gasping for breath in no time. The rest of them seemed to cope okay, though, so I must need to get fitter.
Charlie, a friend from WipeoutZone, came to meet me during the afternoon and his addition to the group evened up the sides, so we split into teams of three for more footie once I had my second wind. It was a good laugh, but I’d stretched and strained so much by that point that I was hobbling for the rest of the day.
We went back to Iain’s via Tesco, buying odds and ends for the barbeque we were having at Emily’s as well as getting busted by a security guard for trying to take pictures by the beer shelves. Strict lot those Tesco cops. The brief stop at Iain’s allowed the others to play some Pro Evo while Charlie and I played Wipeout Pure. I say played, but I was merely there to make a noise while Charlie was around the other side of the track in the lead. In the end I felt happy with two victories out of 12 – it could have been worse!
The barbeque went well, with the arrival of Stuart Rae among many other guests, and the whole night seemed to go by very quickly. At about half nine I went back to Iain’s for a shower and a rest, as I was totally whacked from the day’s activity. By the time I returned Stuart had everyone playing party games, as usual, but I sat those out and chatted instead. When we got back to Iain’s at after one in the morning, everyone wanted to play more Pro Evo, which made a long day longer and a late night later, and at two in the morning when we finally went to bed I was asleep almost instantly.
On Sunday we were all feeling a bit jaded, but still made it to the park for a short kick around before Stuart hurt his ankle. This was a good excuse to retire to the beer garden of a nearby pub for some food and drink. The rest of the day went by in lazy fashion, as the rest of them went to church and I hid from the heat in Iain’s room.
Later that evening we said our goodbyes to Binnie and Mark, before Iain and I went back to the indian restaurant for a top up. We finished the night playing yet more Pro Evo, before the second coming of Binnie. ;o)
Monday morning was a little rushed, with Iain and I finally playing some Pro Evo together – I owed him after the amount of Madden time he’s put in over the years. By mid–day I had to leave for my train back home, and with that the weekend came to a close.
In all it was a great three days – check out the London July 2005 gallery for some some of the more memorable images.