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SCOTLAND v SOMERSET, Edinburgh, 6th - 10th May 2003

tractor's Tartan Tour

I'd made up my mind several months previously that the inaugural Scotland v Somerset fixtures were too good a trip to miss.

Tuesday. Worked myself up into a bit of a nervous wreck, not being a seasoned air traveller, so you must understand that all the reported drinking was just my way of calming my nerves. A few Blackthorns in Lulsgate seemed to do the trick ok, although I needn't have worried - Peter Anderson was on the same flight, so I knew if the plane 'set down on water' he'd walk across it to get help, I'm sure! Plane journey ok, expensive taxi to my digs, then a few swift lagers to finish the day.

Wednesday. Made my way to the ground some 2 miles away. Despite the chilly, breezy morning, arrived at the ground sweating profusely (although this happens if I walk 2 yards let alone 2 miles) with my new logo'd shirt clinging to me in an unflattering way, but had to wait until gone 11am for the bar to open. Yes it was McEwans 70 shilling, and that IPA stuff Catherine N7 nee N19 quoted earlier, and I set about my task in a controlled but speedy fashion! The cricket? Well, it was all a perfectly executed plan which was an absolute joy to watch - I'll give you my thoughts on both matches in a separate message. Having met up with fellow Stragglers, we went to The Dean pub at change of innings, where there was a McEwans 80 shilling variety which I had to sample! Returned to the cricket after a few samples, where the Somerset innings didn't last long, just long enough for Coxey and Banger to demonstrate that despite some hiccups in recent pyjama games, Somerset are still a force to be feared in the FA Cup of one-day competitions.

Rather than spending a wad on a taxi fare back to my digs, I decided to try to negotiate a route back using the much cheaper buses. This was not a good idea. Having first checked with the driver that his bus did go to Princes street I boarded it, only to be woken up what seemed seconds later to be told that he didn't realise I was still on the bus and we had passed Princes street some time ago! At this point I spent the wad on a taxi! Just time for a brief visit to the loo and a bit of soap and water here and there, before venturing out to meet up with the fellow supporters again, this time at The Standing Order Wetherspoons pub. I had a second wind here (in more ways than one) and was able to demonstrate that the 80 shilling stuff was not the same potency as Blackthorn, since it didn't have any effect whatsoever.

Thursday. Awoke, realising 80 shilling does seem to have the same effect as Blackthorn after all! Took a very leisurely stroll up to the castle, turned back and went into the Deacon Brodie pub and forced some recovery Guiness' down my neck (ok the first one was forced, but the next few seemed no trouble at all). Made my way back to Waverly station and decided on a train trip to Glasgow to check out the artwork and architecture (thanks Crouchy!), before heading back to Edinburgh for some more well-earned McEwan's 80 shilling in the Foot of the Walk Wetherspoons pub.

Friday. Made my way to the ground quite early, so 'nipped in' The Dean pub again for some light refreshment with another Straggler. Rushed back to the cricket to see the five overs of Somerset's start before the heavens opened. Realising this was going to be a bit of a lengthy break, we went back to The Dean. Eventually the rain stopped, so made our way back to the ground where it was reported to be a 15 over match starting at 5:15pm. The game finished in Scotland's favour, so it was congratulations to them, goodbyes to the barstaff and a return to The Dean to finish the day.

Saturday. Made a leisurely route back to the airport using cheap bus travel arriving at 7am. Lo & Behold, there was a Wetherspoons 'unit' in the airport and they were selling alcohol at that time, so I tried a recovery lager. Not a good idea, but they didn't have Blackthorn! A thoroughly enjoyable trip. Somewhere in this little lot, there were a couple of curries (with Kingfisher lagers) and a couple of pizzas (with Fosters lagers), but they weren't worth mentioning! There, that was about it!