A right-hand turn, from where I would have descended from Arthur’s Seat exactly along the path I had ascended, took me past a ruined 15th century chapel. I thought it interesting, at the time, and still now, that during the 1400s in Australia Aborigines would still have been living, loving and laughing in complete blissful ignorance of the colonial nightmare only a few generations ahead of them. Obviously, it occurred to me that nothing beyond cave paintings and unearthed tools existed in my home country to pre-date what stood still crumbling before me, as far as human occupation went. And that the ruins were not even old and were instead middle-aged at most, by British standards. So much time had passed, yet here stood a not quite medieval relic of spirituality clinging by its remaining threads, yet still literally set in stone, to the modern world. The chapel reminded me that the particular civilisation I came from was young, and that by association I personally was merely infantile. It was a very liberating notion. A very humbling sense of my own insignificance, and potential. From there, after setting foot back and heading west on Queen’s Drive, I passed a pond full of ducks, geese, swans and all manner of water birds. Then I continued on into the Old Town, or medieval quarters, where I bought a kilt, sporran (mandatorily kilt-worn Scottish bum-bag) and Scottish shirt similar, albeit red, to the green Dublin one I’d bought in Ireland at the Guinness Storehouse. It will remain another one of my very few concessions to touristic shopping. (I since still haven’t found an excuse to wear the kilt and sporran.) Then I walked back to the hostel, where that night I quite rebelliously played a drinking game with Stevie and a bunch of girls in the common room the hostel specifically prohibited alcohol within. And this is where things become challenging. Because my notes after mention of the drinking session state: “More details of that later.” And that’s it. Not just in relation to the boozy evening, but in regard to the entire rest of the trip – which only includes the final drunken moments of December 27, 2012, through to January 1, 2013. Apparently, whether through apathy or preoccupation, I’d decided prior to and after getting home some time on January 2 or 3 to not bother updating my journal. Which means the next few days of denouement since the climax of Arthur’s Seat will be by memory, only. I’ll do my best, for you.
We played King’s Cup. My God. Look, I’ve played this drinking game a whole bunch of times. And never, and still, do I ever exactly remember the rules because naturally I’ve either been drunk when I’ve started playing or have swiftly become so while playing. Man, I don’t even remember who the girls I was playing with were or where they’d come from or what the fuck they were doing in Edinburgh. All I remember was that not one of them was particularly (physically) attractive. Regardless, I’ll try to set the basic logic of the game up for you. However the game plays out, each card has a different function. Mostly if you pull a particular card, it will require a scholl (large sip) from a drink, or a shot. But each card also generally contained ulterior instructions. From memory, and correct me if you like, say you pulled the 10 of clubs. You might already have to drink because of its appearance, but then – if one didn’t already exist – you’d also have to come up with some kind of trap for your drinking game buddies. One I can remember clearly that we came up with that night underground at a hostel factory, and that I’d experienced before, was simple: you randomly put your thumb on the edge of the table, and the last person to notice and also put their thumb on the edge of the table has to drink. I know. It’s immature stuff. But as a semi-committed drunk, and very occasional frequenter of drinking games, I understood the logic. And the logic was: a bunch of people who barely know each other and probably have little in common are stuck for whatever reason in the same space at least hundreds if not thousands of kilometres from their homes and need to drink – and fast! – in order to get along. All I know for sure, and I definitely don’t know how, is that I very much so lost the game. I can remember as the turns came around I got stuck on some card. Some card that required me to drink. And then, whatever it was that required me by rule to scholl or shot, happened again. And again. And again and again and again. I was saving money from the point-of-view that I’d well and truly moved beyond whatever booze I’d first contributed (probably a six-pack) and onto my comrades’. But my drunken lamentations said it all: I knew I was fucked, and would be in bed soon. The last thing I remember was being upstairs, outside, in the freezing cold I was too drunk to notice offering to swap rooms with Stevie for the night because I had it to myself and because he seemed keen on one of the girls. He declined. Guess he found them as attractive as I did. Then I woke up on the Friday, in Edinburgh, Scotland, before the Monday of New Year’s Eve, in which I’d be in Los Angeles, California, the United States of America. And prepared for my train ride south to London in order to make such a massive intercontinental connection.