Friday, 12 February 2010

Catch up

Sorry, two days with no self-absorbed nonsense, gloom or abuse of capital letters, you must be completely bereft.

I am in London chasing my tail round in small circles (I do not have a tail though I do have an incipient mullet). Thus far I have acquired a "hair"cut I hate, lovely new eyebrows and some Anthropologie goose measuring cups, because nothing says painless trip home than bulky, heavy, breakable items. Do not ask me for pictures of the new haircut, first I need to get over my deranged desire to chop more of it off myself with a blunt pair of children's scissors. Ooooh, my fingers are twitching as I write that, clearly the desire hasn't passed yet ('it can't be that hard', say the voices in my head 'I mean, what does he do, exactly? Twists it around a bit and chops. I can do that!'. I am trying to silence them because as we all know, this would not end well). I am also busy metabolising a whole roast chicken and gigantic trifle from last night, like a python after a particularly plump and chewy gazelle, so the demented weight loss plan is not going so well. Self-esteem is at a fairly low ebb, I could easily collapse in a heap of sulky (and yes, ok, slightly hungover) tears, but then I slap myself round the head with a bit of perspective and try and get over myself.

Yet again, I am getting full value from my Oyster card, wandering from Tooting to Chelsea to Chiswick, to Soho and back again. Chelsea is stupidly pretty, isn't it? I hardly ever go to the pretty bits of town (Notting Hill excepted), what with my weird, kneejerk inherited class hatred and fear of Fulham, but Chelsea was like a London theme park in the watery winter sunshine, pastel mews houses and ruddy cheeked oligarchs' children in navy gym skirts running around obscenely large playing fields with hockey sticks. You don't get that kind of thing in Brussels. Other things you don't get in Brussels: cheap, flat shoes that aren't hideous, Marks & Spencer prepacked fruit and veg (yeah, I know I'm making the earth cry), Kulu Kulu sushi, Bobbi Brown eyeliner, nicely dressed girls so drunk they can barely walk or talk. My people!

It was lovely to be back in the east end of Soho (here), near where we used to live. I kept expecting to see Maria, our most excellent downstairs neighbour, stalking down the street muttering. Maria, in her mid 70s when we first met, worked four nights a week in an undisclosed Italian on Frith Street (the other three nights were spent in West End casinos accumulating anecdotes about George Best), doing god only knows what. I think her duties were mainly 'transporting the takings to the bank in her zip up boot', and 'fomenting alarming, probably racist, gossip'. She was always full of incomprehensible stories of restaurant feuds, Triad attacks and severed limbs. I always wanted to know more about Maria's early years, as nanny to Ron Hubbard's children, but she was very evasive. She was the best neighbour ever, always taking us to Spaghetti House for dinner, shoving twenty pound notes into my protesting hands, and regaling us with puzzling tales of ageing tarts and ancient actors buying her dinner in the Golden Nugget. When we sold the flat I was anxious how she and Bambi, the world's most obese stray cat, large, round and fluffy like a giant white angora cushion, would manage with the new neighbours, and whether they would go and buy Bambi's M&S organic chicken mini-fillets and Harrods milk. I need not have worried, they were soon even more favoured than we were, constantly fending off canneloni and crystal bonbon baskets. Actually, when we left, Maria was perfectly content, with the five other flats all filled with combinations of quiet, well-dressed gay men.

Holed up in Chiswick today, I don't even plan to get dressed until tonight. I might go to Sainsbury's in my pyjamas just to test their attitude to nightwear. I have, however, promised not to use my brother's stairlift, tempting as it is. I don't think I'm much, if any help here, but at least I can stack the dishwasher and dispense hugs. Soon I'll have watched enough Reuters tv to discourse intelligently on the state of the bonds market for oooh, ten seconds. Be afraid, be very afraid. Currency hedge! Peanut futures! Or, er, something.

20 comments:

JPM said...

If you are not happy with your haircut go back or call and make them make you happy. You deserve it.

MargotLeadbetter said...

Cutting hair is quite easy really. I often do my own, using the 'grab a chunk of hair and saw away at it with the nearest available pair of scissors' method. I don't do layers, just fringe and length. It looks fine. I find this is easier than trying to persuade my hairdresser to cut my hair the way I want, rather than the way she wants.

Anonymous said...

You illustrate a key point of modern life: shopping helps one grind through February. I'm so jealous, frankly. Shopping in London, no less!

Sorry 'bout the hair. Maybe your new shoes can ease your pain? Or some chocolates?

Anonymous C/Kalgon

magpie said...

MMMMMMmmmmm, Kulu Kulu good times. I know sushi is supposed to be the healthy option but not when those prawn tempura hand rolls just keep coming round the conveyor...

Helena Halme said...

Shame you have't got a drip to take with you to Sainsbury's. Apparently it's all the rage in Tesco's near Cromwell Hospital on Gloucester Rd.

the polish chick said...

do not cut the hair. it's bad enough when it grows back eventually, but you do not have that option, so step away from sharp implements. like JPM said - call the bastards back and make them fix it.

btw, sometimes hugs and dishwasher stacking are enough. i'm sure they love having you there.

Beatrice said...

oh, fck, reading you remembered how much i miss london.

Mrs Jones said...

Pray tell, Ms Jaywalker, why do you want to measure geese?

(wv is capen....capon.....oh, suit yourself....)

Anonymous said...

someone got kicked out of tescos last week for wearing pjs. all over the 'news'. new supermarket rules apparently. i wouldn't recommend it, unless you want to end up in the dailymail.

Anonymous said...

Desperately needing one of your "forehead-stroking, there-there, motherly-in-a-good-way" creatures this evening. Maybe a few months in bed would do the trick...
Confessional any time soon?
anon-one

Em said...

Oh, I want to be back in London too. A million years ago I lived in the same area with a 'maria' neighbour too!

Just for fun go shopping in your pjs... If you hit the news we can see your new hair. Multitasking.

Anonymous said...

Do you remember any of the George Best anecdotes? :-D

jonathan said...

I know I shouldn't be surprised but you have surpassed yourself there with your seemingly effortless evocation of All Things London (and I know exactly what you mean about Fear of Fulham). You should write more often in front of Reuters TV if this is the quality that emerges. I won't be taking any of your stockmarket tips however, I hasten to add.

mountainear said...

Yes, what are goose measuring cups? Do I need some?

Also a quick thank you for up dating the library corner. We won't be finding those in WH Smiths in Welshpool will we?

WrathofDawn said...

Yes, as a matter of fact, after two days with no Belgian Waffling I AM bereft. It's all bad enough what with it being the ides of February and all.

Here in Canada our geese come pre-measured, so I shan't be needing any measuring cups for them, as interesting as those sound.

But oh, the haircut. Such a drag when that happens.

Still, you're in London! Yay!

3limes said...

You have officially made me deeply homesick for London. Thank you very much. I am now going to look outside the window at Kampala and weep, just a little.

Anonymous said...

Stopping by one more time to second the call for Secular Confessional!

Please?

Anon C/Kalgon

Happy Frog and I said...

I love how you write about London. Also your will power at not using the stairlift is quite remarkable!

Layla said...

I'm too full of roast chicken to speak, really - as ever, you are my Waffular role moddle.

Your Turkish shamanist charm house-warming present is still sitting patiently on the dresser, waiting for me to overcome my pathetic pathological fear of the Turkish post office.

I WILL post it this week, I will, I will.

And i tell you what, to make up for the inexcusable delay, I will throw in a small but attractively carved wooden Anatolian weaving implement for good measure, on the basis that a bribe is always much better than an excuse.

Can't say fairer than that, now, can I?

Anonymous said...

Maybe your hair is on back to front?
Wish I was in London shopshopshopping, but realise is hugely bitter sweet for you. Hope all is okayish.
Fran