A somewhat active Saturday. I’d had an enjoyable night out with close colleagues yesterday evening. Lots of wine consumed. Managed to tear myself away before it got too late. I picked up a Cornish pastis at the station which substituted for dinner when I got home. Fell asleep watching Newsnight Review which starts at 11pm (this seems to happen rather often) so then went to bed.
Woke with a headache this morning but nothing that 2x paracetamol couldn’t fix.
I went to the deli and bought my usual treats. Lovely crusty freshly baked bread, good English ham, Italian imported cans of fizzy drink, almond tarts, lovely olives. I meandered over to Sheridan’s (he has a garden, I don’t) and we had lunch al fresco. The sun, when it was out, was very strong.
We decided to go shopping. Sheridan wanted to test his new sat-nav so we thought we’d go slightly further afield. To the Old Kent Road no less. How frightfully glamorous – as any one who lives in London will testify… The Old Kent Road is – if memory serves – the cheapest location on the Monopoly board. And you can see why.
Part of me likes it because it’s an inner-city, warts-and-all part of London that I don’t so very often see. I work in the beating heart of the West End in a very up-market area. I live in something of an oasis. So one always feels somewhat touristy when venturing out to environs like the Old Kent Road. It’s not really an area. It’s such a long road it goes through a number of areas. Notably Peckham. But it has a certain feel to it and there are a lot of big shopping outlets along it.
So we went first to ToysRUs so I could indulge my collecting habit, picking up a few items.
We then went on to B&Q. Sheridan has the builders/decorators in and needed to buy 1 set of door handles. As usual, he couldn’t resist picking up plants for the garden, also.
I have said on many occasions that this is truly the most international city. People will say New York is more international but I would refute that. New York doesn’t have 30+ different countries less than 1.5 hours flying time from it. London does. All of humanity really is here. And being in B&Q, it is a perfectly representative microcosm. For it was like Lagos, Palestine, Manila, Beijing, Islamabad, Warsaw, Sofia and Montenegro all rolled in to one. Ten years of living in London and still the sheer internationalism of it even after all this time – continues to amaze me.
We moved on from there to Sainsbury’s to do a food shop. Of course, mine was more a booze shop. I finally stocked up on tonic water (3 boxes of 12x tins; the tins are much fizzier than the plastic bottles). I also bought prosecco and red wine. My usual staples. Also fruit and some other bits.
My bill came to £52. Sheridan’s bill came to £140. He’s healthy and eats a lot of vegetables, fruit, meat, etc. He had also bought quite a few household’ items. It was one of those Very Large Sainsbury’s that we went to, so he bought a fair number of household items.
I bought a few bits and pieces including a £2.99 salad spinner for him as a random present. I bought myself a little microwavable steamer/cooker concoction. Not that I’m a huge user of microwaves, but I like the ‘one pot’ philosophy and you can cook fish and veg together in these things. It’s like a little steamer unit. Whether I will ever use it is altogether another story.
We drove back to Sheridan’s. Masses of bags of shopping (not to mention plants) in the back of my car. We unloaded, carrying stuff into his house.
“It looks like domestic bliss over there!” came a loud, bubbly voice from across the street – directed at me (Sheridan was inside at this point). I looked over, somewhat startled. A Mrs Madrigal-type figure was on the other side of the road at her back gate, beating the dust out of a rug. I had no idea what she meant. I acknowledged her and smiled, perhaps saying “Quite!” as I did so; I forget. I found it deeply incongruous as I’m not used to middle aged women calling to me from across the street.
I relayed the episode to Sheridan. “Oh, she’s a chatty old bird” said he. He is also of the opinion that she is profoundly lesbian and was undoubtedly just being neighbourly. And perhaps, looking over at me unloading the car – she assumed I was Sheridan’s partner. Lots of people do seem to think that. Though it’s not the case. I just thought it such an unusual thing to happen. But there we go.
Sheridan’s spacious house is mostly covered in dust sheets downstairs. So we drove over to mine for dinner. I started with strong gin & tonics which we had with Japanese rice crackers (from my favourite haunt – the Japan Centre on Piccadilly). We then had cottage pie. Hardly a revelation as we have this so often. Enjoyable though. Served with chantenay carrots (those mini ones), green beans and leek; all steamed. Pudding was Kentish strawberries, Scottish blackberries and lashings of single cream.
It’s been a convivial day.