Ah Bristol, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… This weekend was another resounding success. Despite the struggle to actually get to the place – about three and half hours going through Hereford and Newport; contending with the hoards of Welsh fans off down to cheer Wales against France at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff and the bitterly harsh winds on Saturday (not to mention the fascist ticket inspector that frequents the Hereford to Birmingham line) – I got there eventually. Rocking up to Number 8 I found that everyone was still asleep or in no state to emerge from their respective pits. The door was finally answered by a random. I introduced myself and stepped inside whereupon I encountered at least three more randoms. These strangers then proceeded to explain how they infact lived there now. It seems the change I believed the house to have undergone had been somewhat understated and these FNGs were not squatters but the new residents. And what lovely people there all were. Max and Rob have clearly landed on their feet and hustled themselves some very friendly and wholly charming new housemates in the shape of Jenny, Becky, Si and Annette. The apathy and quiet resentment that had been allowed to ferment in the house before had been replaced by something more positive and akin to mutual respect. It was a real breath of fresh air. It transpired that the reason everyone was feeling under the weather had been to do the previous night’s drinking session that had ended at four am and had comprised of the whole house apparently (apparently they had been in an establishment I know only too well called Sloanes). My Friday night had been somewhat more restrained in comparison but I did my best to enthuse about the solitary Guinness I’d enjoyed before dinner.
Rob was just about capable of sitting upright and talking (sometimes both at the same time) so we chilled out that afternoon. We then all got ready to go and out and er, went out. We stopped off in the Cotham Hill which had shed the “Cotham” part of its title and was now just known rather ominously as The Hill. Then we paid a visit to the Roo Bar which is an amusing Australian (no, really) Bar that has been installed in what was part of the Clifton Down railway station buildings. Feeling suitably brave enough to venture down to The Triangle we made a move and ended up in a bar called Mbargo which surely had the most pleasant bouncers anywhere on The Triangle (in that they didn’t refuse us entry and try and to break our arms) and got on with the serious business of having a good time. I think I must have blinked at around three because I suddenly found myself back at Number 8 with everyone who was from the house and everyone who wasn’t. The tunes were on and people looked as they still had a lot of energy in them so we sat around, smoked, drank and did a lot of laughing (not least when Max decided he wanted to do nothing more than climb into Jenny’s pink dressing gown and rampage around the house unloading a fire extinguisher at stuff). What a classic flourish! I think I got to bed (in what had been Shannon’s ridiculously small room) at about eight which was a good result for me. Since one wall of the room comprises of an entire window and is east-facing I was awake shortly afterwards wondering where I was, who I was, what year it was and who the president was. I then stumbled around trying to make sense of everything and generally feeling sorry for myself as one does in these situations. I could only now empathise with how everyone had been feeling the day before; except they were almost certainly feeling worse having been wrecked the night before and the night before that. And the night before that. This seems to happen to people in Bristol – it almost makes no sense to not do a lot of drinking. The place seems entirely suited to an alcoholic lifestyle and there are no shortages of great places to gather people together and drink till you’re sober again.
Fortunately it was a beautiful sunny day in Bristol (which really looks its best when it’s bright) and the addition of a heavenly breeze meant that starting the first leg of my homeward journey proved far more pleasant than I’d thought it would. I left knowing that the future of Number 8 was secure and I don’t doubt I’ll be back when my system has recovered. Thankfully the trains behaved themselves and I was home in time for the fantastic roast that my stomach had been crying out for. Everything it seemed was alright.