Sun Aug 20th, 2006 at 08:17:08 PM EST
...with some political discussions too, as a footnote.
Saturday morning saw the usual suspects (except for Migeru, who was late) meeting in the sunny/rainy/windy/showery location of upscale Knightsbridge tube station, suspiciously close to the Westminster no-protest zone.
A minor comedy moment with half of the party waiting upstairs, while the other half waited downstairs, didn't dampen our enthusiasm. After assembling the troops we marched to Wagamama, covert noodle temple of Pastafarianism, for lunch. (Or, in my case, breakfast.)
Digital documentation abounded. Here you can see Helen, Northsylvania, the back of Sam's head, the side of Colman's head, the back of Metatone's head, and some of Migeru's head. And back.
Duelling cameras became a fixture of the rest of the day.
But there was political discussion too. In fact we started just after mid-day and finished at 11pm, and continued more or less without a break between those times.
After Wagamama, we settled at the Star - one of those London pubs that looks like it hasn't changed since 1940. We were loud enough that at this point people were taking photos of us. I watched a miserable-looking Tory-type glowering at our politics from a dark corner. I suspect we're now all on file somewhere in the MI6 HQ for potentially seditious activities. Even more suspiciously the scowling Tory grandee was replaced by an enthusiastic photographer with an SLR. There were some old duffers playing chess too - just like a spy movie. Hmmm - clear evidence of a conspiracy.
Naturally there was beer, but you'll have to ask Helen about that.
ET shoeblogging revealed! Clockwise from bottom left - Sam, Colman, Migeru and Metatone.
rg explained that once upon a time he'd studied Physical Geography, and still had footwear to match.
Helen added a note of pink, while Northsylvania settled for more conventional black.
As did your humble correspondent, with this fine pair of 'What do you mean it's time for a new pair? I've only worn them every day for three years' man-boots.
The Star gave way to a walk around Hyde Park. rg and I expressed solidarity with both cows and political economics by having ice creams - in fact a peculiarly English ice cream called a 99.
Helen now persuaded us to move to The White Horse in Fulham...
...with a slightly younger and louder demographic than our previous venue.
As is traditional, lemons were ritually eviscerated, and in this case drowned. (Even though pancakes weren't available - a near-apocalyptic culinary oversight.)
While the cabal hunkered down to discuss a hostile takeover of News International...
...I experimented with turning inside close-ups of a gourmet crisp packet into abstract art. Migeru and rg played Backgammon, and a peculiar paper-based version of Go with an apparently arbitrary board size.
Finally at 11pm the pub shut and we were thrown out, drunken, raucous and reeling, to make an unsteady way to our respective homes and hotel rooms. Helen sneaked in a mysterious quick raid of Budgens before the tube train arrived. But what was in her carrier bag? Will we ever know?
Overall, an excellent day out. ET in real life is a lot like ET online, only faster, and with better table service. And Progress Was Made on a number of topics.
Next stop - Dublin...