Early Christmas In London

Having lived abroad pretty much solidly for the last three years or so, there are far too many people I used to be close to who I just haven’t seen for years. I’d honestly say it’s about the only downside, so when I got an email through about some of my old uni friends having a Christmas party, I wasn’t going to miss it. If you’re a bit of an avid reader, you’ll already have noted how the weekend ended (see last entry), but that really was the only bad part of it.

The number of familiar faces waiting when I turned up at Toms was… about four, as everyone else was yet to show up. I’d forgotten that Christmas dinners always happened in mid-afternoon those days, and taken the ‘come at half one’ invite at face value, but it did mean plenty of time to get stuck into the wine. It’s amazing how much food you can actually fit in over the course of a Christmas dinner. The gym has it down as 7000 calories on a typical Christmas day, and I’d guess just the dinner’s not too far short. Ouch.

Anyway, despite spending a lot of the day distracted by the Villa vs. Manchester United game (ok, a bit rude, but Villa hadn’t won in at United in my life time, so a 1-0 away win was worth missing a bit of Pictionary for I reckon – I’m still buzzing from it now), I got to catch up with a whole lot of people and find out what everyone’s up to now. Which is largely impressive, high-powered city stuff which keeps them busy and working their way up through multi-national companies. As much as I can see the draw, the more I hear about stuff like that, the more I’m glad I don’t do it, I only hope that when the recession finally clears up I can do a bit better than what’s definitely a case of ‘making ends meet’ right now.

At about nine I left the Christmas dinner crowd watching X Factor (and didn’t catch up with them again, as it turned out), and made my way to Camden to drink copious amounts with Dickon in the World’s End pub. I still remember the place from years ago; It’s about the only place around their that’s even half affordable, plays good music (except for the rubbish that started to sneak in for the last hour) and stays open until the early hours without charging, so it’s difficult to argue with. We found a random Belgian couple extolling the virtues of Antwerp and I found a few Manchester United fans to play with, so all in all a good night.

Not so nice the next day, of course, but Dickon lives right next to The Emirates (Arsenal’s new stadium), so we took a walk round to shake our hangovers, amusing ourselves with their choice of players stuck around the outside of the stadium (oh the might of Steve Bould and Ray Parlour…). Great stadium, though, it looks really futuristic, and I got a few good photos. Guess who were the first away team to ever win there? Just thought I’d say….

Having messed around on the Xbox and eaten enough fried food to extinguish hangovers, I only had about two hours left before having to go home, so we killed them in the Science Museum, looking at planes, F1 cars and space craft, as well as some really weird mathematical shape representing things. London’s museum’s are fantastic, never fail to impress. Sadly I am one of those people who could happily kill hours in one. I wont be moving to London imminently though – both the BBC and a law firm turned down my applications to become a full time writer for them, so I’ll be staying freelance, which is fine in the short term. It might even be for the best, when you take this into account!

Nearly time for skiing, can’t wait!

James x

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