The setting was best described by Joey in her WhatsApp briefing message to me: ‘Get off at Chuisi. Ask for La Foce Villa. It’s huge. It’s ridiculous. It’s like an Agatha Christie novel.’
What would you do upon arrival in Dublin, seven hours ahead of your friends? You’d charmingly chat to your elderly AirBnB hostess about the myriad literary delights Dublin is uniquely positioned to offer — Joyce, Stoker — and then you’d go to the Guiness factory, wouldn’t you? Yeah you would.
The day starts properly when Chandler, goofing around, cuts his face on the salt of his giant pretzel and bleeds on it. The first injury of the day — and there will be many.
That’s right, it’s almost October so it’s time for…
This weekend we went to Riga. As you do.
Somewhere between Aussies in uniform, sweaty boys in Bintang beer singlets, plentiful cheap beers, we had stepped through a black hole to an Australia that never quite existed. It was 4pm. We could stay here all night.
There was only one little problem with this genius plan.
So, let’s go back to the dark and rainy and neon-lit Clapham High St, midnight on the verge of Good Friday.
Welcome to a world where the only way into the club on Saturday at 10pm is a £400 bottle of champagne.
…and then we all felt brilliant the next morning and did heaps of really dedicated sightseeing and decided that that was way better than drinking anyway so stayed in the next night and played cards instead.
We’re here for Chandler’s thirtieth birthday. He’s been given a big gaudy birthday badge and he isn’t shy about tapping it and issuing birthday commands. His first? Everyone must order a full litre of the local beer, Dreher at lunch. This, plus a Weiner schnitzel the size of birthday boy’s face apiece, costs each of us about 3000 Hungarian forent, the equivalent of less than ten quid. It’s a revelation. After being persistent paupers in London, we feel like emporers in Hungary.