Pints, Trains, Snores and Friday Nights

Friday nights and drinking are an art that has been perfected by the London working crowd. You will notice this that all workers are done and dusted with work by almost as early as 3pm. The process starts around midday when they gather in clusters outside office, smokes and cups of coffee in their hand, nattering away. That is what Fridays should look like – the prospect of the weekend starting off, armed with cups of coffee and all-important conversations that hinge upon … you take your pick of what they should go like. Go wild.

A Friday evening decides the tone of the night. Will you be relegated to the guest bed or the couch? For your own bed shall be out of limits. Let there be no doubt about that.

That is If you make it back home by morning.

Take my husband’s colleague. He boarded a train from London after a substantial evening of pints to get back to his home in the suburbs. Sleep took over. The worthy man woke up and found himself in the seaside town of Brighton. What a frightful mess you would think. You would also think he would have been alert to the possibilities of what lay after. Think again. He nodded off. Yes once more.

Life is a series of dramatic incidents on any particular Friday evening that starts with an innocent drink. When our friend woke up a second time, he found himself in Brighton, fell asleep, woke up and found himself in Brighton all over again. A vicious cycle alright but brought to a halt the third time when his wife turned up at the station. The aftermath would not have been pretty.

Then there is the husband. After an evening of drinks post work on a Friday, he called to say he would be home after a couple of drinks. Two drinks being the operative words here. Our friends, part of the merry party, called to assure me that he was hauling his behind out of the pub soon. Contrary to what it sounds like, I Do Not sit with a cudgel at home.

That was 8pm. This was 11pm. Barring an evening of books and Netflix, a twinge of conscience made me put through a call. It turned out that Adi had just then got onto a train.

Midnight came and went. Radio silence. Several frantic calls. Now booze, sleep and trains make for best friends forever. Adi, it turned out, had been on a train to Gatwick. No prizes for guessing, but he had slept off in between. Now, Gatwick is an hour away from Euston, the station from which Adi catches the train back home to Northampton. By the time he had reached London again, the last train for Northampton had left the station. Voila.

The story did not end there. This talented husband of mine declared that why he would sleep the last few hours of the morning at the station. Alarm bells started ringing in my head. I was picturing him, a drunk man in a suit by the side of the road, snoring away with his mouth open, not unlike a hobo.

Oh not a scene to be endured even though my thoughts for this pesky creature were not too kind at the moment. After a session of extreme nagging (it is a tiring job, isn’t it?), he tottered over to a taxi and spent a not-too-moderate sum to get back home.

The clock struck 4 when my warrior reached home.

Sympathy had run dry and the guest bed was the perfect repository for all drunken snores.

Lest you are in London on a night out, this time with the errant partner/friend, do give these spots a look-in.

Shoreditch

In ultra-hip Shoreditch, which some poor sod ranted about as being too hip (as if!), the East Enders welcome Friday with a bang. Boho-chic fashion, hipster beards and a chilled-out vibe reigns supreme. The mind boggles to think that the place is supposed to have got its name from some mistress of a 13th century king of England who lay dead in a ditch here. And Shoreditch came to be – her name was Jane Shore. What a pathetic insert into the happy evening we are contemplating, I admit, but then in London it is easy to think that the bench you are sitting on belonged to some earl who sat on it as he played the violin, releasing mournful strains by the minute.

The streets of Shoreditch are awash with colour and you can spend your time watching movies on rooftop cinemas or shop away and scout street art in its various alleys with a tripod and trusty DSLR in your hand. Better still, you can catch a drink in one of its gastropubs and do some pub-hopping. Be a busy bee in short.

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The Owl & Pussycat

Now you would be forgiven for wondering, ‘Why are people spilling over onto the streets? Did the pub throw them out for bad behaviour and they therefore stand around like punished schoolboys and girls. Only with glasses in their hand?’ No these fine men and women just like to stand and drink, okay? It is a London end-of-the-week ritual. This 18th century pub here is a fine place to sit and nosh away, if you get any space on one of its fashionable Chesterfields. If not, just take yourself to the beer garden at its back for my sake and join the many who stand around dreaming away or eavesdrop on others who pontificate about changes in life with a glass of wine in their hands.

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Dirty Burger

The name does the job. A small joint but when you are down a few pints you know what burgers can do. So I shall just quietly step away from the burger. Go on. Make it sloppy.

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Boxpark

A converted shipping container that is filled with options for when you want to eat and drink alongside ‘cos why should you do one thing when you can multi-task. Chomp and guzzle.

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BBB

That stands for Beach Blanket Babylon. Why on earth would they think of beach and Babylon together? My imagination is at a loss. Also because I did not end up inside. But if you do, let me know?

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Dirty Bones

Some more dirty stuff. Here you can truly get working with your hands. Now stop overworking that ripe imagination and wait for the bowl of spicy chicken wings to make its way to your table. Magic.

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Indigo

You could look in here and try the gol gappas. Water-filled balls that is. Translations sometimes can put a smile on your face. The spiciness and tanginess of them can act as the perfect antidote to an evening of Bacchanalian pleasures.

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Euston Tap

Lastly, I have to slip in this wonderful little institution outside Euston station. Now Euston is the gateway to London for some who arrive by train from various parts of the country. The location of Euston Tap is strategic. No time is too early or late for a pint. You can choose to slowly get sloshed before taking your train or you can arrive at Euston and get started at this craft beer pub. The only thing is you have got to remember – and this is vital – is to get on the train to make it back home, okay?

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Euston Tap. Where life looks rosy with a drink in each hand.

43 thoughts on “Pints, Trains, Snores and Friday Nights

  1. I literally do not understand any drinking culture. I especially don’t like beer or wine of any kind, it’s just a weird taste. That being said, I liked your story at the beginning. I would lose my mind with worry if Rory ever showed up that late from work (he isn’t the drinking type either though so it seems unlikely), but your story seems to say that this isn’t a worry for you guys (too much anyway). I love the street art in Shoreditch. Very ‘ultra-hip’ 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. See now that I am all in my 30s and matured, Angela, I am not much of a fan of it. I like savouring my drinks now. Only once in a while do I go out for a night of dancing after drinks. Nowadays I would rather relax in my PJs and catch a movie or read than spend my time tottering on heels out on the streets. A few years ago, I never thought I would say this. But yes, it is a wonderful thing that Rory does not go crazy over drinks. Adi is getting there but he has become much better 🙂 Though once in a while the urge to club him is strong! Shoreditch is lovely!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am in the same boat as Angela. I’ve never understood drinking culture nor had any desire to find out. Also glad my husband is not like that either, so we can always agree on what to do. And I never have to worry that he is out getting drunk late into the night. I did like your stories though 🙂 and the street art.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Heh I am glad you are candid. It is indeed a different life. In Delhi when I was working, journalists used to party like animals. But that said, I am done with the entire picture and I have happily settled into a new me 🙂 It is a relief that your husband does not give you sleepless nights. Adi has sobered up after misadventures such as the above. We have had our fair share of partying in London and I have safely come to the conclusion that I am done. Though I would never say never ‘cos that is when things start happening 😛 The street art in Shoreditch is funky 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think it’s spiny Norman! Belongs to another era. Monty Python, Kray twins and all that. Those warriors brandishing spears at his feet have been added – I have a photo without. My sister thought Norm was a rat!

        Liked by 2 people

      4. Enlightening stuff, Tracey. I don’t mind giant hedgehogs at all 😛 Oh but if according to your sister it was a rat, and perchance it materialised in front of me, I would be running for cover apart from shrieking.

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  2. Ah, yes the perils of falling asleep on the train or even getting on the wrong train. As far as I’m aware my other half has never done this largely I suspect because when we lived in London he drove to work but if he’d had to catch a train…………..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tee hee you have escaped the perils of sleeplessness and wanting to take a cudgel to his brow then. I have had near misses. I am usually the one in the relationship to take the wrong trains. Safe to say we have achieved the balance. The yin and the yang so to say.

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  3. I’ve never been a drinker myself and hate the idea of standing out in the cold (apart from the few days when it’s actually warm enough) with a glass in my hand to chat to my co workers. I never got that concept, maybe I am yet to become more English to understand it. We have a few of these pubs around the corner from home and despite the notices on the wall to mind the neighbours, who actually gives a **** I guess that part if living in London and I should embrace it as being part of English culture… When you’re in London next let me know and we could go for a civilised cup of tea somewhere instead.
    Vanessa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That would have been lovely, Vanessa. I wish this was a few days ago but tomorrow we fly across the proverbial pond. I will have to ask for a rain check. If you are in NY though I would love to catch up with you 🙂 I have stopped being the brain-dead drinker now. It is more about enjoying the couple of drinks rather than chugging it all down like a thirsty cow. Living in London with the Friday night revelry in your face would be annoying but I am sure you have found ways of coping with it than hurling down a few slugs 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you Vanessa. I have already and now my husband insists he is waiting to go back home to Northampton 😉 But well it is what it is. I shall look forward to a cup of tea and some laughs in NY then 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. What a funny story about drinking and trains! There should be a warning sign at every train station of “Don’t drink and board”. Lex and I are not heavy drinkers but we do like the occasional wine and beers. We leave the party hearty drinking for the younger crowd. The murals are amazing! They remind us of the Las Vegas Arts District. My favorite is your photo of the “Cycle of Futility” and the men standing under it. The food looked delicious especially the gol gappas (?) Yum! – Neek.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are gol gappas (gol is Hindi for round and roughly the two words put together means water balls) indeed. It was not too bad 🙂 If you like spicy and tangy. Well yeah they should certainly put up a sign on trains. That would stop people from drinking too much. Rowdy behaviour is a given on Friday nights when you are taking the train from London to Northampton or on the underground in London. Which can be quite annoying. If you like the street art in Shoreditch you would love the ones in Camden! Adi is almost there but yes there are these rare occasions. I think drinks should be enjoyed rather than guzzled like cows but well we live and learn 🙂

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  5. First of all, I wish you both a beautiful safe journey and welcome to America 🙂 I’m actually a little older than most of my friends so I’ve been giving up on the drinking culture sooner than they have. Not going to lie, we’ve had some excellent times full of laughs and dancing and drinking games. But nowadays, I tell them most often to go on without me. I think that everything is good in moderation. I know how many vodkas I can have before I get loopy. It’s the happy medium. And now that I only do it once in a while, I enjoy it more when I do.

    I love the whole falling asleep on the train business. It sounds like fiction to go around twice while sleeping. Thankfully, in Fort Lauderdale, things are close enough to not spend a fortune on Uber when necessary to get back home. Just that picture of him walking two beers in hand is making me thirsty for an amber ale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dear girl, I am quite looking forward to it now. It has been building up for some time now and tomorrow we catch the flight. Whee! Thank you for the sweet welcome. Amber ale is precious. We love it. Every weekend we try and hit the pubs and experiment with different ales. Well now it shall be in the US 🙂 You put it there alright, about having lived it up and now pulling the plug on going batshit crazy about alcohol. I have to grown into enjoying my occasional drink too. We do go months without it! Who cares now about getting drunk? Just keep the food coming 🙂 But I do not mind the stories that come my way. You have a lovely weekend xx

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  6. That was too funny! I also have never really understood the drinking culture. My 23 yr old niece is currently on her first European trip & is basically spending it drunk. I told her she didn’t have to drink, she didn’t understand that.. now she wonders how she got a giant bruise on her leg, lost her phone & is currently sick… I’ve never been one of those people that drink beyond function & I really have no sympathy for people who do and then end up in the middle of nowhere on their way home haha.. on a completely different note.. LOVE Shoreditch!! My last trip to London was the first time I’d had been there and I am aching to go back on my next visit (hopefully later this year!).. love your photos

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In London, you get these crazy drunk stories. I have a few myself but yeah now I am kinda done with it. Age brings some wisdom. Your niece will be done with it only in some time, I think, till she gets it out of her system. Sometimes you have to live it to know how to temper it. If you know what I mean. It is indeed difficult to sympathise with drunkards 😉 Ask me. I have taken care of Lots of strange drunk girls when I used to party in my 20s. The 30s have calmed me down 😉 If you Love Shoreditch you will love Camden too. Maybe you have been there already 🙂 xx

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  7. This post gives me a good hearty laugh. Especially because I was just reading through my journal from when I was in London (16 years ago–gah!), and there was a part involving late night shenanigans on the train. I rolled my eyes at how ridiculous we had been, but now I know that maybe we were just embracing a Friday night in London. 😛 I am thankful our shenanigans did not involve a snooze on the train though, as I would surely have panicked to wake up completely lost.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heyy you, may I know what kind of shenanigans we might be contemplating here? 😀 I can assure you I have not fallen asleep yet on a train drunk. That is Adi’s department. He had to pay up the next day when we were driving to Cornwall by nursing a dreadful hangover and a grumpy me to deal with on top of that.

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      1. The night was pieced together in my journal the next day, the few details we recalled, at least. Apparently no ATM at our youth hostel, so we thought the best course of action would be taking a train to Victoria Station. Why we needed money in the middle of the night is a mystery, but it became our mission. The best is that we tried to pass ourselves off as locals with what had to be the most ridiculous, slurred, bad accents. 😆 I remember nearly missing our train to Brussels the next morning–I believe we felt a bit like Adi on the way to Cornwall, minus the grumpy you. 😉

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      2. Hahaha the mind boggles but my stomach always calls out to me. I shall veer in favour of food. That is such a cute and hilarious memory, the good thing about it even in the moment is that you made the train to Brussels! A train must have made you want to hurl. So empathies to the younger you with the slurred British accent.

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      3. I agree, it was most likely a quest for munchies. There is just something extra delightful about food after midnight. ❤ Yeah, the train was rough. It was one of those "I'm never doing that again" moments (but of course at 21 years old, the brain falters, the vow is forgotten, and 2 nights later finds you in the same boat) 😛 And thank you for your empathies–21 year old me tips my hat to you with a cockney-inspired "why thank you, gov'nah" 🙂

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      4. “I pray thee let me and my fellow have
        A hair of the dog that bit us last night –
        And bitten were we both to the brain aright.
        We saw each other drunk in the good ale glass.”

        😛

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