This recent Bank Holiday weekend I took a trip to London to join in a friends birthday celebrations. In a vague effort to be frugal I decided to travel by coach (£16 round trip from Westgate-on-sea to London), the coach was relatively painless in all honesty.
Leaving at 10:30am on the Saturday I arrived into Victoria Coach Station around 1:30pm. The whole excitement of being in London was already in effect, and had been since somewhere around Bromley. Taking my mothers good advice I decided to walk to Tate Britain where my friend worked, she was not due to finish work until around 4pm so I had plenty time to jump in the air and click my heels, eat jellied eels and generally “fak abaaht!” I feel it pertinent to mention that I did not encounter many, if any, cockneys…certainly not cockney geezers.
My mate, we’ll call her Flowery, was nowhere to be found at Tate and part of me wondered whether I’d been stood up. This idea took a hold temporarily and I seriously debated my plan of action if I wasn’t able to find her and I went as far as to start getting in touch with people I know in the city to arrange a casual coffee/please don’t leave me to sleep on the streets of London tonight. I was pretty content with just walking around the gallery and taking in the arts what painters have done for a while before going out and having some quiet time on the grass outside. I grew bored of the lawn outside Tate and ventured to Bessborough Gardens just round the corner. In the gardens I found several benches and a wonderful fountain (I believe it was a fish spraying water NB it was a coiled fish, head downwards with a table on its tail) whose stream was being carried all over the place by the fairly strong winds. The spray on the ground was causing the most amazing rainbow effect and I lost myself for a good hour or so watching this rainbow spray, as well as the small droplets which were close by the fountain and looked a lot like diamonds.
I met up with Flowery on Vauxhall Bridge Road near Pimlico station and we jumped on the 36 to fakkin New Cross. I’d not long checked all my Oyster cards to see if any had money on and found out that I had a dead card, one with -£0.36 and another with £2.90. After finding out a bus was £1.50 I’d decided not to top up the Oyster card. When I got on the bus the machine just blinked a red light at me and made a really dissatisfied sound at me and, after trying a couple times the driver advised me to take the card out my wallet…boom! green light flash and I was on my way. The feeling of suspense can only be described as similar to when you’re very low on money and you hand over your card to pay for something and then you’re left to wait and see if that transaction is going to work or if you’re going to have to try again (money is historically much better at leaving my account than entering it).
Flowery was an art-type and, as typifies my nice art friends she had a truly divine combination of natural beauty, awkward wit and a slightly depleted sense of self-esteem which was either humbling or tragic. Immediately after arriving in New Cross we went to the pub where her housemate worked and, surprisingly, waited only moments at the door for an opportune moment to wave and catch her attention. I was pleasantly surprised at how little I had to stand awkwardly and redundant while her and Flowery spoke. Flowerys housemate, who we can call Songscore, involved me in the conversation enough to prevent me from drifting off into oblivion but not too much that I felt interrogated. Her colleagues from the pub came outside and it became apparent that it was more logical for Flowery and me to go in the pub and continue.
Flowery opened some cards at the bar and what stood out most was that her aunt had sent her 3 cards! Flowery concluded that they must form a series, the last card she opened started with a ‘…and’ or something similar and so we concluded there was a card missing. Back at the flat said aunty called and it was revealed that they were not a series with a missing card and that she just “couldn’t choose” and was arguably a little unhinged, but in a lovely way.
I’ll carry this on a bit later…