Clutching our two bottles of original recipe Irn Bru, along with a plethora of other goods, Todd and I returned to the flat. It was time for me to step into the wonderful world of orange Scottish beverages. Or at least that was how Todd described it to me. Unfortunately, this experiment wouldn’t even be accurate since this was the original recipe, and not authentic to the real Irn Bru, despite being the ‘original recipe’ and thus in fact being more authentic. It just wasn’t authentic to the drink that one would find in regular, authentic supermarkets. Of course, that’s not to say that Tesco are not an authentic supermarket: they do have the largest market share in the country after all! But that may be changing with the advent of the German discounters. I’ve never seen original recipe Irn Bru in Aldi before, but it’s probably the sort of thing you’d get in the middle aisle. Maybe they have it in the middle aisle right now and I don’t know because I’m in Scotland.
Regardless of the supposed fallacies in the experiment, I poured myself a wine glass of Irn Bru and took a big sip. It tasted quite nice, but I noted the sweetness and hypothesised that I would probably not be able to drink lots of it at once. But I did finish the glass anyway.
Todd inspecting a regular Irn Bru, compared to the new old one
It was time for tea. But despite our massive shopping trip, we had decided that it would be a good way to celebrate the first night in Scotland with a takeaway. After some umming and ahhing over what to get, we settled on an Indian. We virtually wayfared to Just Eat and set the filter to five star restaurants. Only the best was good enough! Picking the first option in the list, we put in the order. But then - calamity! They didn’t have any onion bhajis! As onion bhajis are one of the highlights of any Indian meal, this was truly a grave oversight on the part of whoever compiled the menu.
We therefore had to abandon our current order, meaning that we had wasted a good ten minutes of our lives. We would never again get to relive those ten minutes. Nonetheless, we moved to the next option in the list, and made sure immediately that onion bhajis were present. And indeed they were, since this restaurant was clearly a competent player in the frontiers of Just Eat. In fact, one could purchase none other than a bhaji sarnie. While I dared not obtain such an object, Todd leapt at the chance and added it to his order. But wait, there was more! Before we wired our money across, we observed that actually a deal on. If you spent over £40, you would save £8, a sizable sum! And we had spent… £39. We promptly added some poppadoms to the order to push it over the line, and the deal was activated. This meant that these poppadoms were the cheapest I had ever bought, coming in at a modest -£7. Having said that, I don’t usually buy poppadoms so I’m not familiar with the price range. Perhaps this is a relatively normal price and we’ve actually been swindled.
We placed the order, waited 45-55 minutes, and the order finally arrived. But there was a twist, since rather than a single-use carrier bag, our meal was delivered to us in some mysterious fabric tote bag! Could it be that the planet had been saved? Well, no, as all the dishes inside were contained within boxes that we were forced to throw away anyway. But there was one less carrier bag in the world, making us good people. We promptly threw this bag into the corner of the room and ignored it for the rest of the week.
A naive observer might think that this must have been the end of any food based shenanigans. But alas, they would have been soundly wrong. For the next day we were taking part in a hybrid workshop in the office, and were promised a free lunch; later we discovered that this would take the form of pizza. We expected classic free pizza fayre - margherita and pepperoni dominos. But we were astounded to discover that we had been ordered fancy sourdough pizzas, including the legendary smoked salmon and cream cheese pizza, an absolutely fantastic topping. The only drawback was that the pizzas were not very well cut, so I had a bit of a kerfuffle attempting to separate them. At one point the topping of a neighbouring slice came off along with my desired slice, so I had no choice but to also consume this one. Such unregulated pizza eating was a dangerous game, and I soon had to leave the vicinity lest I consume my weight in bougie pizza.
The bonanza did not end there. We were now invited out to a pub meal in Edinburgh city centre in the evening! We of course accepted, and soon the time rolled around. It was at this point that I realised that I had forgotten to bring my trusty hoody up with me. This was quite bad, as it meant that I had to get by for two weeks with very little top layer clothing. To solve this problem, I decided to also wear my shorts. As I was a man of substance and strength, I was sure I would be able to get by.
The view of Edinburgh castle from the pub
We arrived at the pub and found that everyone was already there. However they were just standing around doing nothing so we probably hadn’t missed much. As we sat down, enjoyed some drinks, and I ate my magnificent mac ‘n’ cheese burger, everyone began to complain about the weather, which had taken a somewhat downwards turn since the scorching heat of the Sunday. Even Todd, a man known for his innate warmth and hardiness thanks to his harsh northern upbringing, found it slightly nippy. And yet, I felt absolutely fine despite the fact that I was in fact wearing very little! Had I finally managed to ascend to a higher plane of existence in which I no longer felt the effects of the weather? I considered how to use this newfound power, but ultimately found no noble use for it. As we walked home I realised that I had actually been shielded from the wind by the pub building, and finally felt the intense cold on my exposed skin. I did not have an enjoyable walk home.
After recovering my body heat back in the comfort of my cosy bed overnight, we once again rose and headed to the office. The workshop continued, and somehow free lunch returned. Rather than more pizza, we received some Chinese noodles. This was fantastic news, as it meant that our decision for Indian rather than Chinese earlier in the week had been justified.
Eager to walk off the heavy meal we had just cosumed, Todd and colleague Mario announced they were about to go out to get a chess set. This is because they are chess people who play chess. Although I’m not very good at chess, I had nothing better to do so I tagged along. The mission began at a nearby model shop. After a thorough investigation of the shop, we located a small travel chess set. This was clearly too small for such titans of the chess game, so we left empty handed. We meandered down the street, keeping an eye out for anywhere else that might sell a chess set.
Suddenly, we realised that we were outside our next destination: some random music shop. But this was no ordinary music shop. This was a 5x5m unit stuffed full of records and memorabilia that almost certainly contained a portal to the backrooms. Possibly all relics of human civilisation could be found within its walls. Mario entered, and we feared he might never return as we were waiting for some time. But finally he stepped out with his prize, a reduced £5 chess set. It was a chess set of immense power. This was because all the pieces were shot glasses. We debated how the rules of such a game would work: would you take a shot when you took a piece, or when you had a piece taken. No clear solution was established. The chess set was then never used while we were in Edinburgh.
The music shop containing the portal to the backrooms
When we returned, it turned out that Todd had been destroyed by none other than Andrew Neil! But that’s a story for another time.