Way back, in the ashes of the Christmas meetup (and for once that's a metaphor), we decided that a trip to see Amie in Swindon would be a good idea. Initially this didn't seem very exciting - there's only been one person in the history of the world to get enthusiastic about going to Swindon and he was soon sectioned. When it was mentioned that there was a museum there dedicated to the Great Western Railway things sounded more fun. After much umming and aahhing about a date The Subways went and announced a tour which included a date in Bristol. It seemed like a good idea at the time to make the two trips on the same day.
The night before I had very little sleep owing to spending most of it on the toilet with severe digestive problems. I decided to take the journey one step at a time, knowing that losing out on £25 worth of gig/train tickets was a more sensible option than collapsing in Bristol out of sheer stubbornness. After a quick detour to McDonalds for breakfast for Katy we got to Canterbury East station and I made sure I'd make it as far as London by buying the return ticket for that journey leg - I sure as hell wasn't going to waste tickets I'd just bought. I felt a bit better after a cup of tea and a hash brown, and then felt a lot better when we pulled into Victoria passing a railtour.
When we made it to Paddington we did wonder why one of our number hadn't texted to ask us which train we were getting and assumed he was already in Swindon, or on his way. Myself and Katy passed the time by reading the Torygraph and discussing the US elections (no, seriously) and arrived in Swindon to find Amie gazing into space - so of course I did the right thing by sneaking up on her and making her jump. Two minutes later we were joined by Jack and Roliver, who had also heard nothing from Matt. Given that we were excited and it was well signposted, we headed off to the museum. Somewhat disappointingly it was more dedicated to the engine works that was formerly there as opposed to just having engines there, but we all had fun playing with the kids games (like at the London Transport Museum really) and the girls...well, christ knows what they were doing here, but they were having fun anyway. We played in the signal box mockup pulling the levers, drew pictures of Amie, made Jack feel posh, and generally had a good time. At one point we were in a lift made by a company called Schindler (no, seriously).
After buying Thomas the Tank Engine Top Trumps we left the museum and caught up with Matt outside, then wandered round the shopping centre for a bit. As this was thoroughly boring and I was feeling distinctly peaky at this point we decided to decamp to the pub. We spent the next hour or so drinking, playing on the quiz machine and trying to dismantle the thing that makes Tardis noises that Rolliver had brought with them. We couldn't, so we just left it there under seat cushions. Time was getting on and we had places to go, people to meet and bands to see, so we went back to the station. Matt decided that now was an opportune time to buy tickets for his trip to Cardiff the following day so queued up at the ticket office. Myself, Jack and Katy bought our tickets from the machine and told him that we were getting the train that left in 5 minutes as we wanted to spend some time at Olli's, rather than just rushing around. Ten minutes after leaving Swindon he finally made it to the platform.
Back at Olli's we dumped our stuff, had an absolutely wonderful cup of tea (well, many cups of tea shared out - I don't mean we only had one cup between the six of us) and Rolliver showed us the lovely cake that they'd made for me and Katy, as on March 26th 2007 (one year previously) we started dating. We went back to the station, collecting Matt, and got the train to Bristol. All day Roliver had been competing with me and Katy to see who could be the most coupley. This went overboard walking to the venue as I crossed the road before Katy, waited ten seconds for her to catch up and then, as we hugged each other, both exclaimed simultaneously "I missed you SO much!".
Bristol Thekla is a very unique venue, from my experience - it's a boat. While it was different, I don't like hazardous metal things to walk into. We sat upstairs for the Culprits, but decided to get down the front for second support Cage The Elephant who quite frankly bored me witless. The most entertaining part was watching the mike for the bass drum get further and further away due to the vibrations from the stage. The band came on ten minutes late, but didn't drop any tracks from the setlist. Opening with Kalifornia it was disappointing that Billy is no longer crowbarring the name of the town into the lyrics. It was nice to hear new songs such as Alright and Obsession which were completely new to me - and older new ones, such as Turnaround and Girls and Boys. The title track from the next album, All or Nothing, sounds immense, but the run through of the older stuff was the same as ever, which was a bit disappointing. Billy spotted us fairly early on and amused himself by swearing at us, ignoring our heckles for Clock. However, when I requested You Got Me I got a stern "no!" in reply which to be honest made the journey worthwhile!
After Rosie got us lost in Bristol we finally made it back to the station in time for the last train, sitting on it I was starting to feel the lack of sleep and knew I wasn't going to have a late night. At around half 12 we turned in and had a fairly good night's sleep, hindered only by having a quilt about the size of a large flannel. Thursday was more relaxing, and we watched Doctor Who and had more tea. My appetite had returned by then so I made the most of it. Around two we ambled back to the station and said our goodbyes. Rolliver went back for food, Jack and Matt stalked the band to Cardiff and me and Katy went home. Amie came with us as far as Swindon as she lives there.