Taplow’s Post-Prague Barbecue – 17 April 2015


In an effort to combat the inevitable withdrawal symptoms of Tour – that is, to prevent the nasty effects of ‘post-Prague blues’ – a few friends and I sat down in a pub on Tuesday evening. We’d been back from our big Czech adventure for barely 24 hours, but already we were suffering. (You may, at this point, think “what a load of old codswallop — he doesn’t half go on about that bloody choir he’s in”. But you don’t know, man. You weren’t there.)

Our solution was a three-day carnival, starting this evening and finishing on Sunday, to cater to all tastes as best as possible. Here, then, is the plan. After our usual fortnightly rehearsal tomorrow night, 22 of us will be heading to NoodleNation for a meal. There’ll no doubt be pints down the roads afterwards, as the fun rolls on into town. On Sunday there’ll be a picnic on the Village Green in Taplow – and, to my delight, Kristen says she’s got a cricket bat we can borrow – before we sing Evensong at St Nicholas’s Church at 6:00pm.

As for tonight, a barbecue for tour members (and a few members of the choir’s alumni) brought the choir back together after, ahem, just four days apart. There was much jolliness and merriment, and it was good to recount some of the stories from our week together to those who had not been with us in the Czech Republic. Among the guests: Remy Osman, Ell Potter, and Cathal O’Driscoll, none of whom I had seen since Christmas.

Even as the temperature dropped and darkness descended, still the party rumbled on. For the latter part of the evening we moved inside where, predictably, there were informal sing-throughs of Taplow numbers, anecdotes from our Floor Seventeen capers, and hilarious tales of the choir’s glory days. Yet again, I nearly forgot about my 99 CZK bottle of wine — which, last week, I’d inadvertently lugged around South Bohemia, transported to Prague, ferried back and forth to Ellie‘s room each night, and finally (it still left undrunk) flown home. Frankly, I wish I hadn’t bothered. It was foul. I’m not pretentious, I don’t pretend to know a lot about wines – although I wish I did – but it really was the worst thing to ever have met my palate.

So what have we learnt?

Firstly, there ain’t no barbecue like a Taplow barbecue. I mean, seriously. Who else grills a squid on an April evening?

Secondly, that blonde girl’s called Tamsin. It was beyond embarrassing when she greeted me on my arrival asking, “Andrew, do you know who I am now?”. (Look carefully, linguists: ‘now’ is a terribly powerful word in that sentence. Its presence implies that there is reason – indeed, it alludes to some shared moment of history – explaining why I ought to know her. I didn’t. Unbelievably awkward.)

Finally, goodbyes may be hard to say… but they are rather easier if you know you’re going to see your mates again tomorrow. The grand post-Prague party continues.

Many thanks to Chris Murphy for hosting us tonight.


Andrew Burdett

Andrew Burdett is a twenty-something from Maidenhead in Berkshire, working for ITV News.