Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Pleasures of the Day

I got out of work today and the sky was clear. For me, this equates roughly to a lotto win. Very soon it will be pitch black when I get to work and pitch black when I get out of work. The pleasure of walking on sunshine is going to be curtailed cruelly very soon.

So me, the Wookie (my classy but vast vintage fur coat)

The Wookie, bought in Camden and named for a large imaginary animal because no-one could come up with a Russian name that I liked.

and the clear sky strode off down Regent Street. I made a quick side trip to Liberty (very swanky department store) to buy pot plants for my hosts for dinner this evening. Since I got here I have started collecting bags from all the expensive shops. The trick is to buy something cheap that needs a big bag so it looks like you bought something expensive. So unfortunately the two dinky pot plants needed this vast purple Liberty bag to be transported on the tube. Shame.

I walked through Carnaby Street and into the back streets of Soho, curiously quiet around me and contrasting with the teeming sidewalks of Regent Street parallel to me and glimpsed at crossroads and Piccadilly in front of me through the arches of Piccadilly Circus. In such a teeming city the greatest adventure is finding that wilfully quiet street peopled only by that solitary striding man in trench coat and trilby and sporting that luxury vintage car amongst the SmartCars. I think spring and autumn are the best seasons to view the buildings of London, today the cream and gold facades were warm, friendly and gave off a smug glow that complimented the silvery sky.

My dinner date was in Chiswick, next to Acton and nick named Action Town because of the vast numbers of Antipodeans hell bent on a good time living and playing in the area. Jac and Warren were in a lovely neck of the woods, lots of vine covered walls and lush green gardens. They have a psycho cat and three houses of Italians next door who have a rowdy 'gathering' on Wednesday nights. It sounded like a great party from where I was sitting.

Where I was sitting, in fact, was in front of Jacinta, Alicia's sister, and her husband Warren. I have two sister's of best friends over here and while Sue is completely different to Jen, Jacinta is startlingly similar to Alicia. Sometimes I feel like I jump when she uses an Alicia-expression or an Alicia-phrase. In those moments it is almost painful to remember how long it has been since I saw Alicia, and indeed all my friends, in the flesh.

Seeing the two of them again brings back memories of the halcyon times of being held in a headlock by Warren and having my hair forcefully rearranged by Alicia's ex-boyfriend Sunny in the middle of the Hay Street Mall.

And then home, roaring through the dark in a tube carriage of tipsy business men and a family of angelic blonde children home from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, hardly able to hold their eyes open, yet balefully staring at me and my Wookie, for all the world looking as if their imaginations had been over stimulated and they thought the coat was going to eat me, and then them.