I took a trip to visit my oldest friend’s new home in Lahndahn Town. The train journey is just a smidge too long. I quite enjoy the first couple of hours. Two hours of peace with a book, music and the option to go for a wee on my own is rare treat as a mum of three. As it tips into hour three I get fidgety. The velour of the train seat is making my arse itch, and there is no dignified way to scratch oneself in public. I have eaten sweets right up to the teetering edge of nausea. My tired iPod’s battery has given in. The women in the seat behind is telling a tale of suburbia that is lacking enough sordid details to be of much interest. The tube encasing of train seems to be squeezing tighter. Still, only 45 minutes to go, less if I poke the boring lady in the eye with my pocket comb in order to stop her mid-dog-grooming saga.
I resist the urge to arrive in Central London via the means of police car under arrest for assault with a deadly hair styling weapon, and instead tick down the last minutes with my thumbs shoved in my ears, which serves the purpose of both drowning out the witter and stabilising the pressure in my ears after repeated tunnel time.
Speaking of tunnels, am I the only one, who if the tunnel lasts a bit longer than you expect, starts to wonder if reality stopped existing and your train is the only survivor, hurtling on through black nothingness?! Just me?! Shit.
Then hooray, Waterloo is here and once I have done the obligatory Abba chorus in my mind, I plunge into the chaos of commuters and fancy dress bestowed stag/hen people, find my mate and head off to start our plans for the day.
Our plans are not complex. Get cultured, get stuffed, get drunk. The three stalwarts of child free time. Our quest starts with a plan to visit the V&A to tick off the cultural thing.
We burst forth from the bowels of Kensington to find all the waters of the world falling from the sky, so decide to divert into the nearest place of shelter. This happens to be Harrods.
I have never been in there before. Not really my scene, but anything is better than drowning on the street. To begin with it was fun. Huge colourful rooms of chocolate, and toys, and weirdness. Then you discover you are trapped, there is no way out, there are no blue lines to guide you like in Ikea, no maps to plot your escape, just series upon series of rooms filled with bewilderment and under water scooters.
We found ourselves on the bizarre Egyptian Escalator, and half expecting to come across Nicholas Cage on a mission to solve an ancient riddle, we rode down past fake treasures. It felt like a queue at a theme park, I was hoping our final destination was to be a serpent roller coaster. Sadly the bottom of the escalator bore only a somewhat bizarre statue of Diana and Dodi in nymph like poses, and not even a speed bump of a thrill ride. Still, there was at least an exit into the real world, and for that we were grateful.
We scampered up the road only to find a lengthy queue weaving it’s way some distance from the doors of the museum. It did not take long at all to make the decision to skip culture and go directly to a pub. We did after all happen upon some modern art in Harrods, so our day had not been utterly devoid of the stuff, even if it was of questionable taste.
Pubs are good aren’t they. They have places to sit and they sell delicious pints and that. I like them, who wants to see a bunch of old wedding dresses anyway, not when the alternative is a nice pint of bitter shandy.
In search of food we tipped up at Ed’s diner, where we twirled on our bar stools at the counter, popped Elvis on the jukebox, ate burgers as big as our heads, and dreamed of simpler times while paradoxically instagraming our fun.
London is bloody knackering if you are from the sticks like me. The hours of my brain microprocessing the information required to manoeuvre my capacious arse through busy umbrella wielding streets meant I was ready for a bit of peace.
We headed back to my pals new pad in Ladywell (which is now my new favourite euphemism). It was my first visit and what a gorgeous new home, all white and tidy with lovely knick knacks and artworks adding colour and personality.
We drank rum and went through the lines of the play she has coming up. Her with a perfect American accent. Me with a dubious Spanish one. We have been friends for 25 years. More than half our lives. Through school and college and first boyfriends and first husbands and children and divorces and a lot of rum and a lot of cake. She is family. We slip into each other’s company so easily and it is always such fun, falling into our respective beds at 1 ish, lightly rum sozzled and tummies aching from giggling.
Sunday morning papers, croissants and coffee in a gorgeous patisserie, the type with a tumble of toys for small people, and people lounging with their newspapers while babies gnaw on corners of pain au chocolat. Cheeky toddlers making me yearn to see mine, less than 24 hours away and I am already missing my smallest chap. Parenting a young child is such a physical act, my body feels quite lost without the constant tugs, hugs and carries. Still, time is ticking and soon I will be speeding my way down the tracks, back to my children and my beloved, refreshed by a break and truly eager to see them all.
I am writing this on the train. England’s greenest flashing past my windows. I have run out of sweets, finished my book, scoffed the baguette purchased hurriedly at the station. I am typing away on my phone which misinterprets every key my fat fingers jab at, meaning by the time this ends up on the blog it may have evolved to be somewhat different to the unexpurgated version tripping direct from brain to screen now . I will have to figure out what ‘bumping pus’ was an autocorrect of for example. Still. The gist will remain, I had a lovely weekend, and I hope you did too.
Love Miss Cisco XXX
I am delighted to be shortlisted in the Laugh category in the BiB awards, if I have occasionally made you smile with my moaning and sarcasm then I would love a vote here!