Saturday was quite a spontaneous day to say the least. Laura and I planned to pop into Metz and take a last look around the sales since they finish on January the 31st. However, as a result of the new snowfall, all of Laura’s necessary busses were cancelled. I was lazing in bed (my natural habitat when not in the classroom) when I received Laura’s text saying that she wouldn’t be able to make it, and this threw me into a bit of a rant about the French public transport system and its numerous failures. After calming myself down, I looked at my watch to see that I had all of 30 seconds to decide whether I wanted to go to Metz on my own, get out of bed, get washed, dressed, and down to the train station if I wanted to to make it to Metz on the next train. I went into total overdrive. I swear, Clark Kent and Peter Parker have nothing on me when it comes to changing quickly.
Speeding out of the door to my apartment block I quickly realised why busses had chosen to take this day off – the previous night’s snow had compacted to form ice. And lots of it. With only 10 minutes to make a 15 minute journey to the train station, you might have thought that I’d turn back and wait for the next one, but no – that would have been sensible.
I must have flown down the hill, most of it as a result of the ice. I envy any people who drove past to see this odd little Englishman all wrapped up against the cold doing his best to defy the laws of physics that decree that ice is slippery and you shouldn’t run on it. Slipping and sliding my way to the station, I arrived to see the train already at the platform. There was absolutely no time to buy a ticket. Seeing as no conductor came around the train, I was unable to buy a ticket. Sucks to be me I suppose… I spent the €3,20 on a beer.
After two hours, I had successfully completed my shopping trip and had a wander around Metz and I was hungry! Stopping to grab a kebab, I remembered that there was an Australia Day party in Metz that Saturday. Australia Day, for all you ignorant poms out there, is the celebration of the arrival of the British fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788, the hoisting of the British flag there, and the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia. There, not even Wikipedia could put it better. Although Australia Day is celebrated on the 26th of January, not everybody could make it to the party that night because of work. So our two resident Aussies decided to hold a second party on the Saturday.
I had the idea that this party was in the evening, you know, like parties usually are. Man had I underestimated those Aussies! The party had started at 1pm and by the time I arrived with Ann-Kirk and Stephanie (whom I’d found along my wanderings about the city) at about 5ish, things were hilarious.
Katie was very happy and didn’t stop smiling. She was also pretty unstable as I found out when I gave her a hug hello which almost turned very messy until I caught her from falling off her chair. Ellie, the other Australian had already been through the ‘worse for wear’ stage (after sleeping it off with her head in the toilet bowl) and was now back into the ‘Strewth! I’m having a good time’ phase. The other venerable guests were quite happy and more sober however and were having just as much fun as we were, watching Ellie and Katie’s antics.
Then came the idea to play Frisbee. Outside. In the snow. In the dark. And with the Australians hugely underdressed. We managed to persuade Ellie to wear some shoes and socks instead of the flip-flops she insisted on wearing but we somehow never managed to see that Katie was also wearing flip-flops.
We walked out to the open square outside the Cathedral and began to toss the Frisbee about. I had my camera and the lights on the cathedral were spectacular so I was darting about snapping all the shots I could of the snow, the light coming out of the stained-glass cathedral windows, the statues and the classical architecture all around us. When I began to start taking photos of the guys playing Frisbee, I noticed the intense look of pain on Katie’s face as she realised that flip-flops were a silly idea and that her toes really really hurt.
She ran off in the direction of the cathedral and so I followed her to make sure that she didn’t die. Hey, it was icy out there! We huddled in the entrance to the cathedral which was surprisingly warm and I donated my socks to Katie.
Leaving the cathedral after a quick tour, we returned to the Frisbee players to find that the police had told them to clear off, what with public Frisbee being the ultimate disturbance of the peace and all that.
We arrived back at the flat and I was the last in through the door. Somehow, between the time Ellie walked in and I walked in, Ellie had decided that it would be a great idea to climb out of the 3rd (or was it 4th?) storey window. Let me be frank, I’m very surprised that she didn’t die. Outside the window the ledge is a hand’s breadth at most and there is precious little to hold onto. Ellie had managed to climb out onto this pencil-line of a ledge and then jump to a sort of balcony a foot or so away. I’m not sure that I could do this sober but Ellie, drunk as a skunk, had managed it with no apparent difficulties whatsoever. We all urged her to return to the party and shortly after she began the journey back. The relief that flooded through me when I pulled her in through that window and onto the solid floor of her apartment was immense.
The party continued with a muddle of a drinking game (very odd), pavlova with kiwi (very good), some new friends (very enjoyable), and plans for a trip to Verdun on Monday (very expedient). Jamie and I chose to leave, her for her home and me for my last train home. Somehow I managed to miss this train (I blame the French) and so I returned to the happiness that was the Australia Day party to spend the night.
During my absence, the party had changed locations to Katie’s flat and so we all piled in there and set down to watching Crocodile Dundee, a film I thoroughly enjoyed, especially the impromptu drinking game that we invented (rules below).
The party ended with everybody but Chris and myself leaving so we folded out the couch and lay down to sleep. The problem was, Katie being from Australia meant that she loved the heat and that room was stifling! Katie offered us a blanket but I refused it, giving it all to Chris. “Who’s going to need a blanket?” I thought. Answer: me.
I awoke about an hour later, shivering all over. The heaters had gone off and winter had resumed. Chris was fast asleep and I judged that he wouldn’t particularly enjoy me snuggling up to him, nor would he enjoy me stealing half of the blanket he was holding onto so dearly. Thus I decided to wear my scarf, which worked surprisingly well. The only side effect being that in all my following dreams, people kept telling me that I was wearing a scarf, something that I knew and which became quite irritating after a while. Ah well, dreams eh?
Crocodlie Dundee Drinking Game Rules:
Drink whenever the words: yeah, strewth shelia, aboriginal, aborigine, croc, or crocodile are said.
Drink: whenever you see buttocks (which is surprisingly often), or when somebody’s water bottle is bitten at by a croc.
Down the rest of your drink when the main character kisses Mick Dundee.
Have fun. :)
I promise never to grow my beard this long but please, witness the awesomeness that is the second guy’s beard. It is utterly incroyable.