Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sunday Lunch

THIS is one of those entries, a bit like that film Memento, which needs to be written backwards.

So let's start on Monday morning, 9.15am, waking fully dressed, barely able to stand, bleary eyed as I try to answer a knock at the door. Worst still, every brain cell available to me (about 15 at a guess) can't figure out how to open said door, the most menial of tasks on a normal day. But not today, oh no.
In anguish, after various attempts at turning the key by brute force alone, I admit defeat. "I'm sorry, the door won't open."
"Ok, don't worry, it's only the postman, I've posted next door's letters to you by mistake."
Thank God he knocked, though. Otherwise I would have slept in until 4, forgotten to take my car to Charlies for an MOT, forgotten the guru, missed my doctor's appointment and well, basically, buggered up my entire well-planned Monday and well-planned week.
Struggling back upstairs I look into the spareroom to see a mirror-image staring out at me, white as a sheet, bloodshot eyes and fully dressed under a pitiful attempt at a quilt covering. It's Pete... least it vaguely resembles Peter. "F**k" I murmur. He nodds.
Pete's presence explains where my leaving do before my trip to Oz went horribly wrong.
I blame Pete...

Sunday started well with a big slap-up Sunday lunch in the Queens Vaults. Pete turns up on the train from Newport brandishing a return ticket and a fully printed list of all trips from Cardiff Central to Newport Station going from Sunday at 5pm right through to Sunday at midnight.
"I'm definitely going home tonight, I've got loads to do on the house," he says, in all seriousness.
I concur. "Yeh, I've got a busy day too. I've got to get the car MOT'd..."
We actually believe this is going to happen. There's just something nagging at the back of my brain that tells me we've been here before.
To be honest we're too stuffed to knock back the beers straight away anyway. Roast beef, Yorkshire pud, plenty of roast potatoes plus lots of veg and we're sitting there like two bloated predators on the serengetti after catching up with a wildebeest.
Gareth arrives and enjoys a pint with us and then it's time to move on to the Yard.

Beer 3 is not long coming, followed by Kempy, Coggsy and Rosey (the three degrees), shortly followed by Roberts, who has a regular date with his mams cooking and won't risk it for ANYTHING.
Beer 4 and Becks shows up with Owenov in hot pursuit and by the time we have drunk up it's pointed out that the Arsenal-Liverpool game is about to start.
Because The Yard is a bit sniffy about football and will only show rugger, we have to hotfoot it to O'Neills. Shutts joins us as we cross the road.
Bloody hell, the place is absolutely packed for a Sunday and we stand there, half watching Arsenal giving Liverpool a tonking, half jabbering away. There's a good quorum with Marc turning up too, although the fabulous Baker Boy can't drink on account of his bad tooth that's being removed the following morning.
The first sign of a row emerges when Rosey returns from the bar to find that Kempy and Coggsy have gone over to McDonald's for a big Mac.
"They've gone without me!" he storms. "... And I was busy buying THEM a drink."
Awww, bless. I have to point out that there is, in fact, just two people in that relationship. I'ts a crushing blow to his sensibilities.
Meanwhile, Pete and Shutts, two Newportonians, are getting on fine and it seems that Pete is sorted out for a lift home. Everything is going to work out hunky dory on account of the fact that Shutts has the car and doesn't drink.
After the match the survivors head back to The Yard. We are accosted by an ex-marine character who reckons Pete and Roberts are members of the SAS. I haven't the heart - or the courage - to tell him he is wrong and that it's actually Kempy, Rosey and Becks who are the military recruits in our team.

Someone mentions a new club called the Buffalo Bar and we file off there. It's then that the evening gets a bit hazy.
At some stage I remember the new shoes, which look a bit like teddy boy shoes, come off and the next thing I'm weaving and wobbly on a chair to the music.
I soon return to earth, however (and I'm taking Shutts' word for this on account of he is 100 per cent sober) when a group of breakdancers take to the stage to show me up. Kempy and Coggsy immediately extend them an invitation to appear at the wedding.
It's my turn at the bar, and we've now been drinking 10 hours solid. I notice that some of our number are calling it a night, well actually all of them apart from Pete, who is slumped in his chair, totally content to carry on.
I turn to Shutts: "Have you forgotten him?"
"No, he said he'll make his own way home."
I know what that means. It will all end in tears.
Anyway, all in all it was a bloody good Ashes send off.
Not such a memorable morning.

I will endeavour to keep this blog going throughout my tour of Australia, but whether that will be possible we will have to wait and see.
A footnote: The doctor has told me that as a result of recent blood tests I must now cut down on drinking. Bloody hell! Two months in Australia without a beer? What do you think?