Exploring London

While I’m very familiar with the centre of London and the City, there are quite a few areas that I’ve never been.  However, with the huge number of new places opening up, I’ve finally started widening my horizons.

The new place that’s the subject of this post is Shoreditch, or as it should be called – Hipster Central.  I’d heard a few months ago that London’s first board game café was opening up just north of Shoreditch, and yesterday seemed the perfect time to go and try it out.

Draughts (as the café’s called) is located under the railway arches, just by Haggerston London Overground station.  It was pretty full, but there was a table that its current occupants let us share, which was rather kind of them.  It costs £5 per person, after which you may play as many games as you like for as long as you like, and there’s table service, so you can order sandwiches and coffees and things.  All in all there are around 500 games, with “game gurus” on hand to recommend something new if you fancy trying out a game you’ve not played before.  If there’s a game you want that they don’t have, you can email them to request they get it in.  There’s also a small area where they sell board games too, which is a nice touch.

We ended up playing a new card game – Port Royal, which was good fun and an easy game I recommend, before a quick round of Monopoly.  There were a lot of other games that looked good fun, so I’m sure I’ll definitely be back.  There’s one I played at school in the school French Club called Milles Bornes, which I’ve not played since ~2007 that they have there, so that’s definitely towards the top of my list.  There’s also a great board game they have that I backed on Kickstarter back in 2013 called Cornish Smuggler.  It’s really good, and I definitely recommend playing it.  Other games that are good that they have include the classic Settlers of Catan, (along with several of its expansions), and one I’ve been playing online with some friends a lot lately called Talisman.

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Fun, Feasting, and Final Farewells

It’s time for another alliterative title for a post, and it’s been a busy week this week.

I turned up on Tuesday morning to find one of my colleagues smiling at me, and telling me to be careful when I opened the packet my tea’s in.  I was intrigued, and upon entering the office, saw that the lid was kept shut by the addition of a small rock.  Foolishly I assumed that he’d probably put something like one of those spring powered joke snakes that burst out when you open the lid.  How wrong I was.

Being a cautious fellow, I took the rock off carefully, and tentatively opened the lid, very slowly.  Inside, I saw a leg, and thin, brown, hairy leg.  I should have guessed.  A tarantula (of the same type as I saw on the weekend).  I took the box to my colleague’s office laughing, and asked if it was alive.  It was, and we released it onto the desk, before picking it up.  While the tarantula was rather intimidating, it was perfectly harmless, and a couple of minutes later, we released it unharmed outside.

My new friend

My new friend

 Anyway, moving on.  Last night was my final night at the mine, which was rather sad.  On the upside, we had a big barbecue, of sausages and a huge slab of beef (along with salads etc.).  One of the field assistants was in charge of cooking, and given that he used to be a butcher, was the perfect man for the job.  He cooked the meat perfectly, and it was delicious.

A brilliant barbecue

A brilliant barbecue

After eating, my colleagues very kindly gave me a gift, of some traditional chilean games, including a trompo, which is a traditional chilean spinning top, which you power by throwing.  I wasn’t very good, and definitely need a lot of practice, but apparently it often takes a few years to be good at it, so I wasn’t discouraged.  We played this for a while, and had a lot of fun, before calling it a night and heading to bed.

Anyway, all good things must come to an end, and sadly, today is my final day at the mine.  However, there’s an exciting week ahead, as on Monday morning, I’m off to Easter Island for the week, and I’m looking forward to that a great deal.

Suicide Sunday

Today is Suicide Sunday, (click link for info), which in essence is a day of celebration for not killing yourself due to the tripos.  I spent the morning asleep, and then had a great afternoon at the Trinity Hall garden party (with MK, AC, GC, JT, et al.), with free food, drinks, and wonderful live jazz.  This evening will involve drinks in my college’s gardens with these friends, with a few boardgames thrown in too!

In other news, I was told at the company induction that the three ways of commuting to work once I am living in the desert is either by 4×4, on foot, or by horse.  As a result, my mother has decided that several riding lessons would be a good idea.  I’ll keep you posted on that front!

This Is The Life

Another peaceful and fun day today, I could get used to this.  After a morning in bed with some easy to watch TV (i.e. Friends), I got up for lunch with my friends which was enjoyable as always.  I then popped to the UL for a couple of hours in the early afternoon to do some digging around of Easter Island material, and I was not disappointed.  I spent a while perusing a detailed map of the island, to get a sense of the scale and the layout of the place before I visit in September, and then read a book about it.  After that, I played Uno in the gardens with JT and HB which was a lot of fun.

Tonight is composed of a formal at Homerton, with TI (who I shall be meeting in an hour at the bus stop to get the Uni 4 there), along with native Homertonians SP (big shout out to you SP as I know you follow this blog) and JA, thereby making the group sometimes known as Team Dalradian (after the banter filled summer of mapping we shared). It looks like it’ll be enormous fun, and I’m looking forward to it greatly!