Waking Up In Style
A Hangover in London Town
Seven thirty in the morning is too early for a man of my standing. I feel almost satanic. I haven’t seen this time of day in about six months and I don’t intend to for the next six either. I’d go back to bed if I had one.
This morning I woke up at seven thirty on the floor of a strange flat next to a member of the Moldovan national swimming team. I’ve excelled myself with that one. Astonishing. It is, of course, a great sign from the Gods that I ought not to be drinking in pubs. The Gods have tried to send me signals of potential decline before - on several occasions - but never have they sent a hard floor, a curtain masquerading as a duvet, and a member of the Moldovan national swimming team.
If anybody can tell me where in West London I can find a decent caff which serves Marmite on toast and a proper pot of tea I’d be more than thankful. A man of my standing cannot be expected to start the day on a mere Pain au Chocolat and an Earl Grey tea. As I write I’m sitting not in a caff at all but a place which calls itself an artisan bakery. A cup of tea here is three pounds and twenty pence. I want to drink it, not move in with it.
Watching people wake up in this part of London is quite the spectacle. Take the people in the queue here at the artisan bakery. The last time I saw strange creatures wake up so tetchily was on a game reserve in South Africa. All the girls look like lost Mitford sisters and call the waiter dahling. The fruit and veg sellers are outside, loudly setting up their stalls, giving each other far more colourful and less salubrious epithets, adding embellishments to an otherwise bland and colourless world. I can hear them over the dahlings and it’s wonderful.
A woman sitting at the table next to me has just told me off for using my iPhone at “this time of the morning”. It’s unhealthy, she tells me. I would have accepted this had she not whopped a copy of the Daily Mail onto the table and began to soak it all up like some sort of sponge. Which is the greater danger to one’s health? I ask you. The German Chancellor is smiling up at me from the pages of said vile newspaper. Three times elected. Now there’s a woman. But could she stop, and possibly reverse, my own economic decline? I could do with some sort of bailout deal. Even the price of a cup of tea has got me over a barrel.
But what should I do with the rest of the morning? That is the big question. I’m free til noon if anyone wants to join me at the artisan bakery for a plate of mushroom, spinach, taleggio fried egg on sourdough bread or a bowl of pear and berry bircher muesli. I don’t know of any artisans who survive on diets like that but I might be wrong.
Who knows what this glorious day has in store or where it might lead me. I’ve just taken my probiotic capsule and a thousand milligrams of vitamin C which I believe is a statement to the Gods that I wish to live another day. But who might I wake up next to tomorrow morning? A Latvian shotputter? A Turkish wrestler? You tell me.
Published in the Huffington Post, 2014.