So the end of what developed into a 40th birthday month. The final leg of the extravaganza was a trip to Edinburgh with the lads I go away with in February (See other cultural reviews here RIGA WROCLAW TALLINN and KRAKOW ) It was a lovely early autumn afternoon so we decided to walk to The Albert on Lark Lane via The Fullwood Arms and bang on 4:15 the minibus arrived and the 12 of us set off armed with some hastily bought bevvies from the offy to head up to Edinburgh where I had been earlier on in the year with the missus ( blog here ) So with 12 men on the ale we done well just to have two stops off only twice for a piss stop with the first time being a handy M&S food store in the Lancaster services and the second a boozer called The Cross Keys in a place called Biggar which is certainly what my waist line has got with all these birthday celebrations. We arrived in Edinburgh around 10pm and checked into the Travelodge which we had gone three men to a room which was a double bed and a pull out couch. Cozy indeed. A quick pint in the hotel bar and we headed off out. First pub was just about 20 meters from the hotel called The Waverley Arms. A bohemian type boozer it was not expected to be raided by 12 drunken scouters and despite all our best efforts Ian the owner who must have been 70 plus would not let us have a stay behind so we had to move next door to The Worlds End were one of the lads was questioned about his state but we managed to get him a bevy but it was my nephew who had a little snooze in this bar. What happend to the Fay drinking genes ? A much needed scran was next and a burger and chips was £5.50 fookin capital city prices eh !! Ended up in some metal music type student gaff next called Opium. It was freshers (nearly spelt that Threshers then booze on the mind eh !! ) so it was a busy night. Weaving through what was quite mild weather wise Edinburgh streets I made it home on the first night about 1am. Just a quiet session on the first night of about 12 drinks in readiness for the big all dayer on Saturday.
Saturday morning 7:30am and I was bloody awake. Must be the built-in clock expecting one to three of my kids to wake me up. No chance of getting back asleep so I sneaked out without waking the other two lads who looked cosy together in their double beds, a scene that must have been replayed in the other three rooms we had. So it was a lovely morning in Edinburgh and I had about an hours walk around the city before getting back for a quick freshen up and we all headed down to The Snax cafe who must have been rubbing their hands at the 11 large breakfasts and sausage barm ordered. It was still quite early so being culture vultures we decided to all go on an open top bus trip around Edinburgh. So there we all were on the top deck taking in an hours tour of Edinburgh. Lots to see and do in Edinburgh and a special mention for the tour bus guide who was excellent, Giving good info and having a laugh with us and indeed he was learning stuff about Edinburgh from us to which he excellently summed us up as “A bunch of intellectual’s in the guise of scousers” which not only has us laughing our heads off but the rest of the bus as well. Now we have been on many trips now and been in many states but never have we been described as that. So the bus went full circle and we were back in the new town and the boozers were open. First up The Guildford Arms and then onto Rose Street were whilst sampling the delights of the pavement cafe culture all be it with 12 pints a local busker made a few bob of us with a rendition of “That’s entertainment” by The Jam followed by “I Fought The Law” by The Clash. Needless to say the streets of Edinburgh echoed to our splendid harmonies to both songs. So we headed back up to the old town and our tour bus was there and with our hop on hop off tickets we jumped on and got a lift to the scene of Greyfriars Bobby’s statue. We had passed this on our initial intellectual bus tour earlier on in the day. The short version of the story is Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19th-century Edinburgh for supposedly spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner until he died himself on 14 January 1872. The story continues to be well known as active oral history in Edinburgh, through several books and films, and because a prominent commemorative statue and nearby graves act as a tourist attraction. Now one of the lads is a Greyfriars Bobby denier. OK it’s not as bad as being a holocaust denier but in Scotland you cant piss on their legends. So we had a look at the statue of the dog and also a look at his grave which was covered in sticks and a few toys for the old dog. I poignantly places a leaf on Bobby’s grave as I had heard he liked to chase leaves back in the day which was met with a look of disgust from the Greyfriars Bobby denier. As if by magic ther was a pub called The Greyfriars Bobby so we had a pint in there and then a quick munch in the Pizza Parlour next door and blagged some free cans of Coke for being fellow Liverpool fans of the owner.
Still light we headed into the depths of Dropkick Murphy’s which was showing what was the equivalent of the F.A. Cup final replay of hurling officially called The 2013 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final We decided (obviously) to support the red team Cork who we were cheering on with a song of “Come on you mighty reds” which we were told to stop by the bar manager as he wouldn’t allow footy songs slightly missing the point of us cheering Cork. Anyway Clare won so the reds were not so mighty after all. In here I was presented with my birthday card and present from the lads. The card was a Greyfriars Bobby post card signed by everyone and my blonde hair came in for a bit of stick on some of the messages left. The present was only a DVD of the film of Greyfriars Bobby which I will review in a future blog. So we came out of Dropkick Murphy’s were one of the lads had let his guard down and encountered a special infatuation which he would receive further stick for. By now it was dark and we headed to The Grassmarket area of Edinburgh were we were not welcome as we were over a gang of six !! We did find two boozers just off there who let us have a bevy. We decided to bail out of The Grassmarket and go somewhere were we would be let in and stupidly spotted a student union bar. Sadly only one of us had a NUS card who could sign two other people in and despite efforts to get other students to sign us in we went to the main pub next door called the Three Sisters were there was a hugging incident and later on a dance off. So we headed off back of to The Waverley bar the scene of Friday nights failed stay behind attempt. Needless to say we failed again and were told not to sing along to the jukebox and generally anything that came under the banner of fun was frowned upon by the bar owner who when we left pointedly slammed the door behind us no doubt to count all the cash we had put over the bar !! So all this time in Edinburgh and no scotch this was put right in the hotel bar and then I called it a night and headed up stairs with a can of Irn Bru to scoff my M&S crisps and it was just like a Saturday night in my house.
So Sunday and again I was up early and went for a walk and grabbed a breakfast on my own before freshening up and the three hour journey to Sunderland as we had got tickets for the Liverpool game. As we were not on the ale this time we only had one stop planned but after this we had to have an emergency stop for one of the lads. Lets just say does a bear shit in the woods ? So onto Sunderland’s Stadium Of Light and a quick pint before the match and a great 3-1 win for Liverpool which rounded the weekend off in great style. May I thank everybody for coming on this birthday soiree and for the first time teachers were outnumbered but the names of the schools involved are once again withheld to protect the guilty. See you all in Feb 2014 for a cultural review of Warsaw and thanks for my card and prezzie, though I never did get a fucking cake !!
P.S the hair is back to a skinhead now.
Fay x x x x x