London, you are doing it wrong.
Its 3am and here I am writing a blog to you. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be sleeping. I started work at 6.55am yesterday and managed to walk out the door at 6.45pm, and I do it all again tomorrow. But instead I am here tapping away on an illuminated keyboard looking over the Thames as London sleeps on.
We were at the London sevens this weekend. Dressed as Monsters with about 85,000 people, apparently intent on watching rugby. London sevens is a completely different event to Wellington Sevens. Similar in its sporting activity, but generally ruined by public transport.
Of the two people that read this blog, one of you may have been to Twickenham before. However for those who haven’t, let me paint you a picture. Imagine Eden Park. No strike that. Imagine a Eden park with 32,000 more people at it. So basically, Eden Park and the Wellington Cake tin. Then imagine all those people trying to walk from the stadium, down essentially one residential lane and across a pretty major roundabout (the A3) at the pedestrian crossing, only when it turns green of course.
Maybe I am just bitter over the events that strung together my Saturday, who knows. But I’m sorry Twickenham, you are sitting pretty far behind Wellington as the ‘best Seven’s event’.
Saturday started with a 7am start. Normally reserved only for weekdays. In saying that, a 7am start for me is a sleep in. Anyway… 7am, with a hasty cup of tea heading out the door starting our journey across London. We were meeting up with the rest of our Monsters in Putney from 0830. From East London, Putney is a good hour travel. I once heard Londoners describe travel as only having two options, an hour or a good hour. Going out for milk, an hour. Going out for milk to Putney, a good hour. Everything in London is an hour they say. Unless it is a good hour. Then who knows how bloody long it takes.
Relatively uneventful to Putney, then Iain’s navigation was employed. So instead of walking a lovely sunny 7 minute walk from the station to our destination, we walk 15 minutes in the wrong direction, and another 15 minutes to correct ourselves, before the original 7 minutes. Oh well standard. A day can’t be ruined by one mans inability to follow a blue dot.
From there a few beverages, a cheeky kitkat and bag of Kettle Chips for breakfast were enjoyed. Well half a kitkat, I had to share some with Iain. And we were on our way. I would say we started to make a move toward the station about 1045, maybe 11am. It must have been quite a sight to see, all of us wandering through suburbia dressed in purple and blue, sweeping up passers-by, most of which were on their way to their mundane job. This was the most exciting thing they were going to see all day.
On arrival to Putney station, we suddenly realised the challenge ahead of us. A train every 10 or so minutes, absolutely rammed with Monsters already. We started off darting from platform to platform to find that no running up and down stairs really helped. There was no magical empty train for us to all have seats in, chat quietly and generally enjoy our transport adventure to Twickenham. This was war. Survival of the fittest, and the most conniving.
I am apparently not destined to survive the challenges set out by urban life. Picture me standing on a train platform, watching Iain inside a train and trying to mime – ‘you have my phone, 7’s tickets and train tickets – you have left me in Putney with a pair of sun glasses, you… insert-whatever-loving-affectionate-name-you-think-I may-have-used here.’ He has on the third train to come past. I didn’t manage to get on, until about train number 9. Even then mine went around, past Twickenham, and then back toward it as it returned back to central London. A 15 minute journey, was 35.
On arrival to Twickenham, I stupidly think, yeah no problems, I will find 1 person in the sell out crowd that is dressed as a monster like everyone else. Piece of cake. An hour and a half later, I finally ask a police man if I can use his phone. Oh good work Iain, don’t pick up. So here I am leaving a message with a police man listening over my shoulder trying to be as accurate as a possibly can be about my location… all whilst trying to be polite. Very difficult by this stage.
About half an hour later Iain arrives out of the masses and I have to make a very quick decision whether to punch him in the face or burst into tears. I don’t think I really decided. The later happened. Lucky for Iain. By 3pm we finally enter the stadium for the first time.
I would tell you about the epic saga that entailed getting drinks at the bar after this point, but I think you can probably imagine. Just before 4pm, we reach our seats. Ridiculous day.
At this point, we watch some rugby for a while, see people in the same outfits as us, see people we know, see people I went to high school with all very sociable, with some cheering for sport in the background.
After a the final game we start to leave, and I realise the gravity of the journey we have to take just to get home. However, I am beginning to ponder this horrendous thought, I am brought crashing to the ground by a 6 foot 3 man hurtling down the stairs, like the boulder in Indiana Jones. Actually I lie. I didn’t see it. I just all of a sudden hit the concrete stairs with no warning at all. Cheers. How does that concrete taste?
An event filled journey home, meant that we finally arrived in our local pub just before 10pm. A 4 hour journey home. Iain and I had definitely treated ourselves to a day out. At this point, I didn’t really care that I was now 14 miles from the action, and still dressed as a monster. I was starving. And about 10 metres from my home. Maybe I should have dressed as a monster and just watched it there on TV. Probably would have had the same reaction from the local punters, and one less bruise. Next year I am definitely upgrading to West London digs for the night, or a flight home in February for Wellington.