I am in London! But I am also very very sad.
We'll start with London. Firstly, a snippy yurostar journey with the CFO. I am the kind of low grade eurodrone that doesn't get out much; consequently a trip on yurostar is a whole world of cosmopolitan joy to me. The CFO does this several times a week and has his routine finely and, dare I say, OCD-ly honed. First he tuts as I scrabble for my passport, his whole body exuding impatience. The passport officials have already greeted him like a family member only just stopping short of kissing him on both cheeks and waved him through. Next he tears off in the direction of the lounge. 'The lounge'. Even the word sounds decadent doesn't it? Honey voiced naked women massaging cocaine into your temples. Roasted swan. Harpists. Unicorns. I scurry after him behind the mysterious doors. "I'm with him" I squeak as the clothed but indeed honey voiced ladies greet him with genuine warmth. They stare at me with thinly veiled hostility. The CFO is theirs, apparently, and they are not inclined to share with a midget in red shoes. The lounge is indeed a paradise, if a lesser one, of small pastries and magazines and boxes of muesli and beer and other free stuff. I stuff everything into my bag, including the Dutch magazines and rosehip teabags. The CFO reads his newspaper and pretends he has never seen me before.
When we get on the train twenty minutes early to sit in a very exactly chosen location, the CFO hands me an article on internet addiction from one of my purloined magazines and gives me a pointed look. I take his pointed look and raise him an eye roll. We spend the rest of the journey bickering about logistics.
London looks wonderful. There is heavy cloud cover and a light coating of filth on every surface gives the city the patina of grime I love. The yurostar arrives at 9 so I am immediately thrust into sweaty rush hour tube with barely time to check out the 'pet of the week' in Metro. I am smiling like an imbecile to be back, which has the added benefit of making commuters edge away from me. On arrival, the Barbican tunnel is looking particularly fetching with streaks of exhaust detritus on the beige plastic panelling and puddles of wee. Just as I remembered it. I skip through it as if starring in a 1950s musical comedy only just remembering not to kiss strangers or tap dance. Soon there will be Marks & Spencers and Heat magazine and capuccino and Boots. I am in London. It is great.
Next the sad.
The sales started yesterday in Brussels and never one to stand aloof from collective hysteria, I went along. The pair of violet Ferragamo sandals I had reluctantly left behind when I bought their geranium coloured twins were sitting on the shelf glinting at me and singing their siren song:
"Take us, Jaywalker, we are yours
It is meant to be
Fifty percent off
Buy us buy us buy us"
Yeah, well they are shoes, they are not good at rhyming. But their argument was compelling so I did.
And after that I went to meet Zoe for wine. I can't link to Zoe's blog, by the way, because my work firewall thinks that she is filth. There was wine, anyway, and there were peanuts and a joke about a dog and an exploding SUV and it was lots of fun and then at some point there was no bag. No bag with the singing violet shoes. No shoes! Shoes stolen! Or lost, or gone in some way. And now I can't stop thinking about the poor lonely shoes.
"Where has Jaywalker gone? Doesn't she love us any more? Why are we hiding under this market stall with this scary sweating man in a shellsuit? What did we do wrong?"
And while I am making light of it, I am in fact very very sad. So there.
Though perhaps I got off lightly, since Zoe mentioned that when she went to see James Brown in concert he died almost immediately after. I am alive!