Friday, August 10, 2018

The thing you least expect to hear whilst sat on a train at 9.30am

I’m used to packed trains – for years I commuted every day to central London, getting on a train around 7am and feeling lucky if I got my own square yard to stand in, let alone an actual seat. I’d heard of these seats but thought they were urban myths. But on the occasional Saturday trip I actually got to use one and realised that they were indeed real. 

So as I get on the train at about 9.15 one Saturday morning I’m expecting to actually get a seat. The train is far more packed than a usual Saturday but nowhere near approaching weekday levels and I manage to get a seat for the 30 or so minute trip to central London. And then I realise something – nearly everyone is carrying copious quantities of booze. And I mean nearly everyone and I definitely mean copious quantities of booze. There are guys with 24 packs of beers at their feet, others with bottles of spirits, their friends with bottles of mixers and plastic glasses. Then someone shouts out the thing you least expect to hear whilst sat on a train at 9.30am – ever. “Who wants a Jager-bomb?”

From the sounds of it these guys are all going to the same event that I’m heading to – the Army v Navy rugby game at Twickenham. It’s more of a day’s drinking with some rugby happening at some point. Not that anyone is sober enough to stand or remember by that point.

But back to the train – it’s come from somewhere down on the south coast and there are numerous army barracks along the route where these guys have presumably got on. Everyone piles off the train at the same station and I head off to meet some friends – in the world’s busiest bar at 10am. It’s already 4 or 5 deep at the bar. Eventually I grab some beers and pass them through the scrum to where my friends are standing – we’re all stood with 2 beers each at a time but we’re not very sensible and drink 2 in the time we would normally take to have 1. This is repeated until about 1pm when it’s time to head off to the game – it’s a good job too as the bar has quite literally run out of beer and is getting restocked whilst the game is in progress.  

The game is a side event to the day’s drinking so apart from knowing that the Army won (they nearly always do anyway) and that there were close to 80,000 people there (apparently at least 16 were sober but I might have made that up) I won’t bore you with any of the actual sport. A couple of drinks were taken during the game but actually at a much slower pace than we’d been drinking earlier. We arranged to meet up back at the previous bar – it’s a real pain walking from Twickenham to the station then getting on a train even when you’re sober as there are so many people to contend with, doing it drunk is impossible without losing touch with every single person you’re with so making meet up plans for when you can’t find anyone is the best idea. Despite us all leaving together (think there were about 8 of us) only 2 people actually manage to stay together and it’s well over an hour from the first person arriving at the bar until the last arrives. Luckily they’ve had a beer delivery and we continue where we left off.

It’s now about 7pm and someone knows someone who is having a house party – he suggests we all just go. What could be better for someone than 8 drunken idiots (only 1 of which you actually know) turning up on your doorstep unannounced and demanding food and booze? Well it’s not my friend to piss off so we all head off. We do actually stop off to buy the obligatory bottles of cheap booze for the host given that we’re all turning up unannounced – luckily it’s not like we’ve gate crashed a dinner party – more like just more drunken idiots drinking in someone’s garden. But there’s booze so no one is complaining. 

Realising that I actually have to get across London to get the train home I head off about 10pm and crawl home about 12.30am. Dear god I feel bad. It must have been a dodgy pint. Mrs AC has a friend at home and is not amused – well by not amused I mean paralytically, insanely, batshit mad at me. No idea why though. But at least they’ve got a bottle of wine open and I pass out in a chair holding a glass whilst listening to the two of them discussing how all men are pathetic idiots who act like they are 16 years old. Mrs AC’s friend’s husband must be in for a bollocking later – it’s a good job that Mrs AC has such a mature & responsible partner! She at least lets me sober up in the morning before berating me “Why do you get so bad – how can you drink like that all day?” she asks. Now remembering the last time that I’d done this after having been to the Olympics I tell her “at least it was dark when I got home and the neighbours wouldn’t have seen me this time

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