Earlier in the week, I had made a commitment to LW to meet her at a bar in Putney this morning to watch the AFL Grand Final telecast. First bounce was at some ungodly hour - 5.30am or something, so I figured that making such plans any day - let alone a Saturday - was about as close to crazy as you can get.
Still, when my alarm sounded at 0400 hours, I managed to hear it and get out of bed without grumbling too much. It was a freezing cold morning, as far as I was concerned anyway, and I had to make a cup of tea before even thinking about heading into the bathroom.
I got out of the house ahead of schedule, which was a good thing too because the bus turned up early. The bus driver didn't use his brake the whole way to Putney, so my usual 15 minute commute was pretty much cut in half. It was great. I caught up with LW out the front of the Putney train station and together we power-walked up the High Street in the direction of the pubs we felt fairly certain would be open.
We got to the last bar on the street, a ridiculously-named place called The Wahoo. The last of the crowd was milling outside, lining up to get in and it was then that LW and I wondered whether we should have bought tickets in advance. I seem to recall making a rather loud pronouncement at the beginning of the week that I would never enter an establishment with such a ridiculous name as Wahoo, but I have to say that at 0525 on a cold Saturday morning, it seemed a pretty good spot to me.
But of course the universe has a bitchy sense of humour and as it turned out, the bar had reached capacity. Because we didn't have tickets, the bouncer wouldn't let us in. He told us that the closest bar - as a backup plan - was The King's Arms, across the Putney Bridge, at the top of the Fulham High Street. So across the bridge we went (again in record time), marvelling at how peaceful the Thames looked in the pre-dawn - a sick joke really, as neither of us could really see the River, as everywhere was still pitch black.
Showing some brilliant hospitality, The King's Arms welcomed us warmly, and charged us 5GBP each admission - we gladly paid it. There were loads of people seated around huge flat-screen TVs on either side of the pub, but hardly anyone was standing in the middle of the room. There was nobody lining the bar either, so that's precisely where LW and I stood - with an uninterrupted view of the TV screen behind the bar.
LW is a one-eyed, completely raucous Collingwood supporter and so I obviously wore black and white to keep her company. We chatted a bit during the commercial breaks, we screamed at the TV, we perved on the players, we alternately criticised and praised them; it was a great morning. The fourth quarter was so tense, I don't think either of us breathed and when it was all over - with the scores tied for the first time since 1977 - neither of us could follow what was actually happening. Would they go into extra time? Do they play until the first team scores? We had no idea. Then the players started leaving the ground and giving media interviews etc and we realised the game was over - well not only that, but it dawned on us that we'd both have to come back next week and do it again. Crikey! Talk about an emotional rollercoaster...
We left the pub pretty much straight after the game ended, and wandered slowly back the way we'd come. We crossed the Putney Bridge, marvelling (for real this time) that the Thames really did look peaceful after all. We stopped off at a small Italian cafe by the Putney train station for a greasy cooked breakfast and we both declared ourselves to be ready for a nana nap.
Sure it was tiring to be up and out that early today, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. The atmosphere at the pub was really good and I think a lot of that was because the pub wasn't too crowded and what crowd their was, was really fun. I'm sure next week's adventure will be just as good.