Given that December wouldn't be December without a trip to the Bedford to see Riccardi, I ended up resembling a snail with all my belongings in a rucksac on my back (procured from Obi3, given that as I no longer ride a purple bike, I no longer have a rucksac) heading southbound. With the crutches. Which led to my least favourite discovery of the past few weeks - that escalators ARE VERY BAD THINGS. It is impossible to get on them with crutches and even if you do manage this extraordinary feat without losing a toe then there is absolutely no chance that you will end up still in possession of all of your limbs by the end unless you have the balancing abilities of an Olympic gymnast. As you may have guessed - not least by the fact that I went over on my ankle in the first place - I'm not known for my poise and grace. So I studiously avoided all escalators, only swearing loudly about them when London underground decreed that the only way out of the station was by such a monstrosity. If the crutches did yield one good thing, though, it was the discovery that they made me eligible for disabled seating on GNER. Which was all round much more comfortable than the normal cattle shed stylee offerings.
Once I'd negotiated trains, tubes and Nik's stairs (possibly the most difficult bit as this was the only point in the day that I ended up uncermoniously flat on my arse) and got a very-nice-lady-indeed to give up her seat on the tube on the way to the Bedford (Tuesday morning commuters on the Met line take note) Nik and I arrived to the realisation that for possibly the only time in the history of our Bedford outings there were no free tables and yet we didn't recognise a single person in the pub. Not one. So we settled instead for plonking ourselves on the end of a large table that was occupied by a South African who decided that I should tell people that the crutches and the Beachball were as a result of a particularly nasty skiing accident. At least in such a position we were confident that we could outlast the other occupants and claim the table for ourselves.
Post the most expensive double riccardi and coke of my life, it became clear that we were wise to plump for the bigger table as 3 fourths of the Riccardi boys came to join us, if only in the case of Ric to come up with as many foot related comments as possible and of Louis to act as Brand promoter of Sudafed (there are three different types apparently...). We meandered through chips, fancy photos, Griffin's new songs (even though Simon and I were the only ones to have heard them; our considered response being that they're more 'mature' than his earlier ones), Simon's mummy and other topics of randomness; being joined by Gayle and her Jamie Theakston luggage*. At some point the boys left, Billy arrived and we missed the start of the other music because we were too preoccupied with bar prices.
When we did cotton on to the fact that we should have taken our usual spot in the globe some minutes ago, we made our way there as quickly as is possible when one of you is - did I mention it - on crutches. More alcohol, more music and more comments from the Sound Guy who loves Nik and I (we "rock"), Riccardi were finally on. And it was lovely to hear the boys after what had unwittingly turned into months without me seeing them gig. The only down spot was that they ended up finishing rather abruptly and consequently didn't perform the encore the set list told us was coming. Never ones to hide our emotions all three of us made our disquiet known.
Afterwards the boys went to record a podcast (how Chris Moyles of them**) and we made our way back to the tube. The next morning, having come the closest that I've come to projectile vomitting on public transport in a long time (stupid tube), I got to utter the line "I came straight from London" when I arrived at the WYP for my 12:30 shift. It impressed maybe one person and I felt like someone worthy of a place in the Mirror's 3am column, so I think it was worth it.
*As a general point of information for everyone who doesn't know the story, we met Jamie Theakston (fake actor, former Live and Kicking host and now breakfast radio host for a london station that I don't know anything about because I listen to Moyles and Comedy Dave) in the summer of 2004. He was very tall, slightly annoyed with us (he thought that we'd come to speak to him. We hadn't) and was carrying the biggest bag any of us had ever seen. Thus whenever anyone has a lot of luggage it is known as 'doing a Theakston'.
**Chris Moyles has the second biggest podcast download in Britain for anyone that might wonder about that reference (everyone except Nik then...)