Birthday in Windsor

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Saturday 13th March 2004. A day out in Windsor to celebrate my birthday, completing bypassing all the normal attractions, and instead concentrating on Windsor's drinking establishments.

11:20:42 Here we all are on the train, I think it's still waiting to leave Reading at this point. Along the back row we have, from left to right, Mark, Simon, Kev, Simon, Shu. On the front row, Rob, Barry, Chie and Susannah.

11:21:47 A failed attempt by Rob to get a picture of Mark. My camera, thanks to a bit of a delay, has a bit habit of ending up with crotch oriented pictures.

11:22:03 ...followed by another artistic failure.

11:22:31 A set of profiles taken by Rob. The train still hasn't set off yet it seems.

11:22:45 Errr not really sure what Rob was aiming at here. Probably another delay related problem, resulting in unwanted crotch area picture type phenomenon.

11:22:56 Rob thought it wise to get the obligatory feet picture out of the way fairly early on in the proceedings. It's also not in any way interesting to note that most people are wearing jeans.

11:51:02 At Slough, we had to change, although this potentially painful process (8/10 for aliteration there) was made somewhat more bearable by the provision of beer. Yes, we were all issued with a bottle of Beck's each for the six minute onward journey from Slough to Windsor.

12:00:31 Of course, you're not allowed to drink on the streets in Windsor, so we had to get them down pretty sharpish.... and on arrival at Windsor we thought it best to be responsible and neatly dispose of the empties.

12:00:37 ...sadly the bin wasn't quite large enough for him as well.

12:15:45 In the first pub now, the Catpisser's Arms. Everyone else had happily sat down at a table up the top somewhere but I forced them to join me in the dank cellary bit down the bottom, which had a distinctive odour of feline urine. Well I liked it anyway (the table that is, not specifically the smelll of cat piss).

12:15:53 The right hand side of the table, also soaking up the cat pissy ambience.

12:37:08 Still everyone is bravely smiling and putting up with it. I mean, if you can't subject a big group of your friends to an unpleasant lingering smell of cat piss on your birthday, then when can you?

12:37:20 Me and Barry, who it seems was sitting temporarily at the head of the table. I'm sure that should have been me there.

12:58:08 A blurry picture of everyone tucking into their lunch, undeterred by catpiss. I think it's important to point out here that it is in fact a very nice pub, and only a small part of it smells of cat piss... and indeed really it might not be cat piss, but just a damp smell... although having said that there were a few cats wandering around.

12:58:25 This picture seems to have broken, which is a bit of a shame. Maybe it was the damp that did it...

12:58:35 Me looking a bit odd. Perhaps I ought to say cat piss a few more times.

13:25:25 A picture of the whole table, illustrating what a nice part of the pub this is - how many pubs can you get eleven people round to eat lunch...? Despite the cat piss.

13:25:55 Pretty much a repeat of the previous. Oh, cat piss.

13:47:24 Outside the Carpenter's Arms here, I got this crafty picture of Chie of which I'm rather fond. I particularly like the cobbles.

13:47:51 I'd asked for a nice group picture, and this was what I got. The proportions are all wrong, and Rob is throwing it all off kilter.

13:47:58 I'm totally convinced this strange brush like object was left outside with exactly this purpose in mind.

13:58:03 At the second pub now, The Two Brewers. No smell of cat piss here, which personally I found a little disappointing. On the trial run the previous week, this was mine and Kev's favourite pub, but it perhaps wasn't as well suited to a large group. The lack of space on the inside forced us to sit outside, and although it looks nice and sunny it was actually very windy and therefore bloody cold.

13:58:23 Ian, Mark, Rob and Mel all sitting around a table. Very nicely posed there boys and girls.

13:58:45 This clearly highlights part of the reason it was so cold outside this pub - we were all sitting in the shade, and the street with a big wide open park at one end was acting like a wind tunnel.

13:59:07 Rob and me must have swapped places for this one. Mark appears to have developed a side parting, although this may have just been an effect of the wind. Presumably facing head on into the window would achieve a centre parting, and sitting with your back to it would get you a French crop.

13:59:30 What with it being windy and everything, Rob could do a fairly convincing bloke-out-of-the-Matrix impression...

13:59:40 ...probably the first picture looked the most plausible...

13:59:44 ...although Rob is leaning at a slightly unusual angle here...

14:00:21 A small caterpillar had found it's way onto Susannah's bag. Simon was very keen for me to get a picture of this, but I'm not sure the results are very satisfactory.

14:03:40 LAMPDEATH!!!! Some of us (particularly Susannah) were nearly killed when the wind blew this lamp of it's post. If I lived in Windosr I'd probably be writing a letter to the council about this. Interestingly it has landed on double yellow lines, and one wonders if it'll be issued with a parking ticket.

14:05:17 The fallen lamp next to the post it came off. Being the kind hearted responsible citizens we are, we moved it out of the road a bit, to stop any small children accidentally eating it.

14:06:56 This is meant to be everyone illustrating their terror at the prospect of wind induced lamp death. The cold weather seems to have hampered their ability to act a little, particularly Barry. Who knows though, perhaps this is what Barry normally looks like when terrified.

14:51:17 A little while later and we are in the safety of pub number three, the Prince Arthur, devoid of both cat piss and lamp death. In fact, nothing unpleasant at all. This was something of an experimental pub, me and Kev not having covered it on the previous week's scouting mission, but as it happens Simon had been here before and assured us it was nice.

14:52:02 I was very pleased with this pub actually - exactly what was required for this stage of the afternoon.

14:52:09 I quite like the hazy lighting in this picture... It's the sort of mental image you'd have when you're having a boring afternoon at the office and you're daydreaming about being in the pub.

14:56:51 Statistically speaking, it would be very hard to take the sort of quantity of pictures taken during the course of the day without at least one roughly adhering to this person-through-pint-glass paradigm.

14:57:21 Quite arty really, whoever took this one.

14:57:50 Kev and Simon, either looking at something on the wall, or possibly impersonating one of my typical facial expression adopted when having my picture taken.

14:59:13 Mel and Ian enjoying being in the corner.

14:59:44 Rob looking pretty evil.

15:00:11 Mark looking pretty unwell.

15:19:16 For some bizarre reason, I was forced to kiss Shu here, I was naturally very apologetic.

15:20:19 Unfortunately this seemed to prompt a round of male affection. Ho, hum.

15:21:47 I'm not sure if the word "FIXTURE" was deliberately placed so poignantly above my head here or not...

15:22:06 Me and Ian again... and what a lovely pattern on that blackboard.

15:24:57 A whole table full of people here. If only we'd had a bit of chalk, we could have written "Lampdeath" and "Catpiss" on this blackboard here. Oh the glory of hindsight... and chalk.

15:27:41 I'm sure there's a running theme in the characters of today's pubs, albeit a tenuous one. Perhaps it's gravity - cat piss, lamp death and Jenga all rely heavily on gravity. Errrr, anyway, this was the pub where we played Jenga.

15:31:55 Look at the precision engineering here. Not quite the Millenium Footbridge, but close.

15:37:34 Seemingly Rob and Simon have swapped shoes. Apparently this was some kind of Jenga variant with forfeits.

15:37:41 Interesting. I think Rob and Simon are still very involved with the shoe swapping exercise whilst Mel and Ian seem to be enjoying a private joke...

15:37:47 Try that one, advises Mark. This is a really classic point here, first used by the Earl of Colchester at the 1794 Henley Regatta.

15:43:53 Not quite sure who is helping here to be honest.

15:45:13 Barry here, possibly wondering if you can smoke the green ones.

15:45:25 All eyes are on the Jenga tower.

15:48:39 Oooooh not long til this ones goes.

16:21:21 Aha! Thankfully, we're now in the next pub, The Merry Wives of Windsor. I was starting to get a bit fed up of writing comments about Jenga. Anywho, here's just about all of us around a big table.

16:39:30 I was forced to make a speech, which was a little unpleasant. I did the best I could manage on such a small budget.

16:39:40 Ten seconds later, and I still appear to be droning on. Or perhaps this is a dramatic pause.

16:54:19 I think I've stopped now. There appears to be a generally held feeling of relief. Lots of empties also denote it must be time to move on...

17:19:02 As much as I enjoyed the previous pub, an executive decision was made to press on. So here we are in an entirely random pub, which wasn't originally planned as part of the route... I think this pub was called The Criterion, but I'm really not sure.

17:19:19 Unforunately there does always come a time in the course of this sort of event when demented faces seem like a good idea. I can't help but enjoy Kev's sulky looking bottom lip which just juts into the picture here.

17:19:35 Another round of moronic facial expressions.

17:19:40 Look, my head is flat on the table. There is no good reason for this whatsoever.

17:19:45 Interestingly, in 1762 a law was passed banning this exact head/table configuration as it was thought to be an insult toward the King of Denmark.

17:22:20 How about not taking any more pictures for a while...?

17:22:26 Rob forgets whereabouts on his face his mouth resides.

17:22:34 Simon looking quite jolly.

17:22:42 Erm, yeah.

17:22:54 Put the god damn camera down, OK?

17:23:22 One of those pretend arses you make with your finger or elbow or something. Sadly there is an issue of scale that impacts on it's believability, given the edge of a crisp packet in the background.

17:25:02 Sort of arty, but not necessarily necessary.

17:25:29 Rob looking quite thoughtful.

17:25:49 Lots of pints evident here.

17:27:22 Looks like a shot from a hidden camera or something.

17:35:00 Probably some sociology professor could publish some research on drunken photography. From my experience, it always seems to peek at a certain point of drunkenness; where alcohol intake has sufficiently dimmed any kind of inhibition or common sense, but before the point at which you're no longer capable of operating the damn thing. It appears on this particular outing, this phenomenon occurred in this arbitrary pub, of all places.

17:35:15 A small amount of tongue on show here, but not a lot.

17:35:27 Tell you what, how about we stop the photos in this pub now.

17:35:48 ... errr I said let's stop.

17:36:06 it doesn't seem likely does it.

17:52:22 In fact, you could almost be forgiven for thinking we spent half the day in this pub, given the relative ratio of pictures. In reality we were probably only in there for five minutes.

17:52:40 A bit scary.

17:52:58 Perhaps Simon is just finishing of the chorus of a song here.

17:53:40 Erm, no need.

17:54:10 Err....?

17:54:30 For god's sake, somebody put the bloody camer down!

18:02:46 Ahhh.... just when I was thinking we'd never leave The Criterion, or whatever it was called... Clearly we had left by this point, as here are some of the attendees walking up the very bland pedestrianised bit in Windsor. It's called Peascod Street or something like that.

18:02:59 A close-up on Simon, who was hiding with moderate effectiveness behind this post.

18:21:13 Now we're in The King and Castle, a Wetherspoon's pub, where we rendez-vous-ed with Chie again... who had been sneakily off buying me a birthday present! Look!

18:21:24 was a keyboard, if any of you are wondering...

18:23:12 fact you can probably see that in this picture.

18:23:32 I was very pleased with it, as hopefully it shows here.

18:28:50 I think this pose is saying "whatever next".

18:30:26 I'm still very pleased.

19:08:44 ...and still very pleased.

19:34:03 After leaving the King and Castle, we decided to head over to Eton, and also have a think about dinner. Here we are on the bridge 'twixt Windsor and Eton, doing a bit of an advert for Yamaha keyboards.

20:09:31 In fact, we didn't actually stop in Eton, and heading back to Windsor instead for a curry. Can't remember the name of the place, and in fact I probably didn't know it at the time either.

20:10:01 Oooh, what a difference turning thr flash off makes! Suddenly I feel less drunk somehow.

20:40:23 It's largely just a lot of people eating curry for a while now.

21:08:36 Me and Simon... I'm seemingly still very pleased about my keyboard.

21:08:42 Er....

21:08:50 Me and Simon again. Not sure why a second one was required... I probably wasn't capable of noticing at the time.

21:25:16 After the curry, we decided it was time to call it a day, and head to the station. Here we all are then, obviously with the keyboard as well.

21:25:37 ...and again.

21:26:36 Everyone lent a hand transporting my new toy,,,

21:28:02 Everyone presenting the keyboard.

21:35:32 On the train... with the keyboard. I think this is the first little connecting train from Windsor to Slough.

21:49:26 Probably on the second train now, where singing was taking place.

21:49:47 ...Very badly taken close-up of Simon and Kev here. I was barely capable of operating the camera by this point.

22:05:36 A very blurred picture of Barry, who I think stayed on the train after we all got off... or something like that.

22:05:51 Strangely we end on Barry. Well there you go.