What are you looking for?
6 May 2013

the (long) weekend edition :: cambridge

i woke up nice and early on saturday morning, bright eyed and hangover-free, to begin the epic journey to join the others in cambridge to celebrate kim's hen do. i'd packed my bags the night/s earlier, chosen my outfits, and had my costume ready. for all intents and purposes, i couldn't have been more prepared. that is of course, until i was about 10 minutes out from leaving the house when i decided i hated my chosen outfit and needed to change. in a panic, and with boyfriend throwing bras and tights and cardis at me, i struggled to fight back tears and breathe, all the while fighting to find something that looked cute and was comfortable. in all the drama, i forgot to grab a  jacket and scarf, which i knew i would live to regret.

i made my way to liverpool street in record time (under half an hour, winner winner!), grabbed my mags, a coffee and breakfast, and boarded the train. pulling out of the station, i knew i had forgotten something. as i watched the rain hit the windows and the dark grey clouds roll on overhead, it slowly dawned on me... i'd forgone any chance of warmth by leaving my stupid jacket behind in my irrational rage. quickly texting kim to save my skin by bringing me a coat and getting no response, i quietly died inside.

2 hour later i arrived at norwich, where i had about 5 minutes to stretch my legs before jumping into kim's car for the final leg of the trip; an hour and a half drive to cambridge. i joined the rest of the ladies in the back of kim's tiny rover - anna, mandy and maddie, and we set off. with printed google map directions and kim's sat nav, we made it to the cambridge central travel lodge in good time. there, we met up with the rest of the party; amy, kerry and the other maddie. after a quick introduction and quick wee stop, and laden with a hamper of booze and snacks, we were punting bound!

as the taxi drove us the short trip to the river, it really started to rain hard. there were patches of blue sky overhead, but we were driving away from it. within minutes of leaving the cab, we were fleeing for cover. we found solace on the steps of the public loos, and whipped out the drinks and willy straws to get the party started. we laughed and drank while cowering from the rain, until our time came to board our boat, when we ran and hid under a giant tree. while waiting for our punting chauffeur, we watched a number of other hen parties coming in from the river, telling us to change our minds and to cancel before it was too late. we stood there, uncomfortably looking at each other, no one wanting to say that maybe, just maybe we should cancel.

we bit the bullet and got in. with giant umbrellas to keep our heads and bodies warm while our legs soaked in the rain, we set off. our chauffeur michael tried his best to educate us on the history of cambridge while we clucked and cackled in the boat over how he was probably too young to be a stripper and whether or not he he felt he needed to be wearing all of those layers, much to kim's horror. to be honest, in the rain and with all the wine and pimms floating (happy pun) around, we missed out on seeing the sights. the rain eventually stopped, miraculously, about 20 minutes in, and we did get some nice weather for the rest of the afternoon. there were a handful of punters out on the river, and we got a lot of cheers and waves no thanks to our willy straws - i think kim was grateful to not be the only hen out in cambridge that weekend!

after the punting, we had arranged for an afternoon tea by the river. thankfully we were given some blankets and some tarpaulin to sit on, and so we sat and ate in the late afternoon sun. the punting company had prepared two giant bottles of ice tea for us, which we'd mixed with the apple vodka we'd brought along, and my goodness what a delicious combo that was! we each ate our weight in scones with jam and cream, mini rolls of cucumber and cream cheese and ham and mustard, chocolate cake and giant macaroons (no pictures, but use your imagination!), until  the sun started to dip and we realised we should probably get back to the hotel to prepare for the night ahead...

...the rocky horror picture show!

we all dressed to impress, in our rocky-themed outfits, but at the show itself there were some really fantastic costumes on show; and some were so extreme to a point of perfect recreation... we're talking suspenders and thongs or just tiny hot pants - and nothing else, on some hardly well-maintained men. the women were all brilliantly dressed, sparkly and tarty in their magenta or columbia outfits, and generally, everyone looked fantastic. we lined for drinks for agggges at the bar, that had only two people serving. this, sadly, was to become a recurring theme. we gave up and headed for our seats, with amy and maddie offering to head back down as the show started to get drinks when the line had diminished.

the fortieth anniversary show was fantastic! sadly, none of us could see very much; despite all the big hair pieces, hats and generally wacky costumes, our seats were just in a really bad place and so we missed seeing most of the action. we got up and joined in with the time warp, and laughed along with the panto-type shenanigans that were going on in the front of the audience in response to the actor's lines - some of this lot were clearly very big fans of the show, and this wasn't their first time! the show was quite long though, and we were all getting rather tiiiiired after our busy day.

after the show, we walked a bit to try and find somewhere to take the party. we... couldn't find anywhere that looked like it would be good for a hen do, but rather than waste time, we fell into the closest pub and hoped for the best. in there, we got talking to some other rocky revellers about the show and their plans for the night, but they were as stuck for plans as us! it seemed no-one in cambridge was from cambridge, or was able to give any decent directions. we waited at the bar for nearly half an hour before we got served - as, like i said, there were only two bartenders working to serve the 50-deep people at the bar. we got our drinks and sat down, quite clearly the talk of the room.

we tried to formulate a plan. it didn't work. rather than attempt to order another round, we upped and left, in hopes of finding the local wetherspoons. we didn't. we found a cocktail bar, and some snooty glances and rude laughs from the cambridge elite. and, not surprisingly, we didn't get served there either. it had been about and hour and a half since the show ended, and we'd been served one drink each. we collectively thought, "bollocks to that!" and headed to mcdonalds. with greasy food in hand, we headed back to the hotel where we changed into our pj's and spent the rest of the night chatting in bed with our roomies. it was absolutely perfect.

the following morning, we washed, packed and checked out. we re-grouped for a bargain breakky at frankie and bennies (pancakes with bacon and maple syrup - *drool!), before heading back to norwich. the trip home seemed quicker (and much sunnier) than the day before, and it was almost a relief to be back in kim's house a few hours later. we said our goodbyes to anna, maddie and mandy, and kim and i said hello to peggy and rory. a quick catch up ensued, then kim and i headed back into the city to do a spot of shopping, coffeeing, gossipping and generally winding down. we finished our day with a delicious meal at giraffe in norwich central, then i was dropped off at the train station to begin my holiday weekend journey of hell home.

i had an absolute ball celebrating with kim and all her friends, and as always had a great time getting out of london for the weekend. it was a shame that we missed seeing so much of cambridge, but now that i know how close it is, there's no stopping me heading back on another weekend, and maybe ever take boyfriend along next time.