Whoever came up with the idea to attach a pub crawl to the London Underground Circle Line must have been light of feet, heavy of wallet and clean of liver. Let’s face it, they must have been in their twenties… Not a slightly overweight (some say cuddly), penniless musician in her fifties!
27 pubs in a day is a tough call, logistically, let alone when you consider the volume of liquid that involves, and the alcohol consumption.
I set a date and rounded up a motley crew of “crawlers”, as we were affectionately known, and didn’t think too much more about it until the week before. It then began to dawn on me that if we were going to physically get to each of 27 pubs within a day, we needed to be organised. This called for A SPREADSHEET!
I allocated half an hour per pub, including travel time, and then worked backwards from midnight. If I allowed a bit of extra time in two locations along the way for food (essential if we were going to have any chance of finishing the day in one piece) then we needed to start at 10am. At the latest!
In fact, two of us started at 9am with a cooked brekkie in a café next to Victoria Station. Then seven of us gathered and waited on the doorstep of The Shakespeare pub for the doors to open and the drinking to begin. They were 15 minutes late opening, which caused a great deal of anxiety about whether we would be able to stick to the timings in THE SPREADSHEET, but we were off to a start!
I must say the whole day was much more fun that I expected. I had fully anticipated we’d be rushing so much that we wouldn’t have time to catch our breath and have a laugh, but we really did. And we met so many lovely people along the way who were interested to hear what we were doing.
We decided against wearing the charity’s t-shirts because excessive alcohol can be a contributing factor in dementia so it would have been wrong to connect the two, so I’d insisted everyone wear something orange so that we had something to connect us. Lucy – who set me the challenge – rocked up with a bright orange plastic shower loofah attached to her handbag. (10/10 for creativity!) She then bought us all orange gerberas that we wore about our persons.
While we were having our drink at The Hamilton Hall at Kings Cross Station, Lucy had the idea to deconstruct her loofah and turn it into several scarves (as you do). We then discovered a Boots in the station building so she went and bought eight more. That meant we could have a scarf each! They certainly proved eye-catching. Lots of people wanted to know why we were all wearing orange, and it became a great conversation starter.
Many of those conversations led to cash donations on the spot, and I’d printed out cards with a QR code on that linked people to my JustGiving page. This meant that a few donations came in online, too. In fact, as I type, they’re still coming in. Thank you!
Throughout the day, various friends of people in the group came and went as they joined for sections of the crawl, and sadly three of the original seven had to miss the last couple of pubs in order to catch their trains home. Four of us saw it through to the last, and even went on to Wimbledon to enjoy a live band for an hour afterwards. That might sound like pure madness but I collected a further £70 in cash donations and had a right good boogie (despite my aching feet), so it was well worth it.
I think the following sums up the day perfectly: 28 pubs visited, 11.5 miles walked, 25,500 steps clocked up, £120 taken in cash donations, lots more coming in online, 24 alcoholic drinks consumed (🤫), several songs warbled, 50,000 toilet stops made, 27 strategically-placed orange bows, 9 orange loofahs transformed into scarves, three blisters gained, many lovely people met, and more giggles than I can count.