When we got back to Reading, Martha and Graham had arrived chez Evens, having visited with his family oop North. We all went up to Henley-on-Thames to take a look around. Braving the cold, we took a walk down to the lock and weir, then strolled around the town and did a spot of shopping.
We stopped for a beer in Wargrave at the George and Dragon, which appeared to have changed owner again and got a complete facelift in the process. Still, they had some pretty decent beers on (although the local brew was tapped out to the disappointment of Graham and I - we both like to sample something brewed nearby when we can). After a round of drinks we headed on down to Twyford, where I used to live, to find a curry house. For some reason, Twyford has a large selection of Idian restaurants, the most famous of which (in my opinion), is the Gaylord. You wouldn't believe the places I've been where when I mention I lived in Twyford someone mentions the Gaylord. And not just because of the humorous name - lots of poeple rate it as one of the best Tandoori places around. So of course we had to try it.
It didn't start off too well. It smelled a bit funny, and the poppadoms didn't come with the cucumber/yogurt dip that I like. Still, we knew we were in for an authentic experience as we could understand a word the waiter was saying, nor did he comprehend us. Always a good sign. When the main dishes came out, they were excelent. Kristal sensibly opted for a mild chicken tikka masarla which was one of the best I'd ever tasted. I tried to find something middle of the road, heat wise, but it turned out slightly hotter than I'd anticipated. Delicious, though.
The best part came at the end of the meal. The waiter came round with two Baileys and two scotches, and when we tried to explain that we hadn't ordered any drinks he said, 'On the house'! Not only that, but the ladies got complimentary roses. So there you go: If you fancy a curry tonight, go to Gaylord. It's on the High St opposite Waitrose.
After a short stay in Reading it was time to hit the road again, this time down to Guildford, where I was at University. We left around dinner time on the 30th, and spent the evening at Corinne and Pete's flat, with almost all my old uni mates. Was great to see all you guys! We had a bit more fun that we had intended, so spent most of the next day resting in preparation for the big one in London.
It was awesome riding the limo up to London, mostly because it was really quick and we got dropped off right next to the restaurant. It was so quick that we were early for our booking, and we were a bit worried that we would have to go wait in another pub, but it turned out that they sent us straight to our table and started bringing the food out!
The restaurant was Moroccan themed and the food was out of this world. We had just about got done with the appetizers when the belly dancers came out for their first routine. This girl was clearly a professional - I mean it takes skill to shake your hips like that! I was happily enjoying the show (purely as an art form, you understand), when she beckons for me to join her on the floor. Well, some invitations one just can't refuse. Needless to say, I am not a professional. If you haven't seen the photos yet, they you must have been hiding in a cave, because people have been commenting on them since New Year's day when they hit facebook!
The rest of the night was basically awesome, just hanging out with some good friends, smoking the hookah, drinking extortionately priced cocktails and generally having a good time. The announcement that 2009 had arrived was a bit, err, non-existent, but somehow we got the message an engaged in the requisite kissing and hugging etc.
The next day we did a quick driving tour of Guildford High Street, UniS, the cathedral and most of the places I'd living during my studies there. Then is was time to head back to Reading once more. Next time: the "Main Event" - we celebrate the marriage of Martha and Graham.