The early morning Megabus man is not rude to us and we do not witness any Megabus racism. We are pleased. Garry watches movies on his phone. I listen to music in my giant green headphones. I thoroughly enjoy my updated playlist and am rather smug with myself for having made it. I note The Proclaimers tracks as particular high points.
We arrive in London in good time. We glug pints of ice cold Coca-Cola in our new favourite station bar. We don’t go to The Shakespeare any more. We’re all about The Traveller’s Inn now. We are fickle.
We negotiate our way to Fish Island, the underground and overground train journeys made easier by the fact we were carrying unusually tiny luggage. We stand uncomfortably close to fellow passengers and I feel I really ought to at least say hello to the woman with whom I am standing thigh to thigh.
Leona’s place has a new door. We drink a glass of wine with our hostess before heading out to The Hackney Pearl for dinner. We all eat pizza. I think my pizza was the best pizza I’ve ever had. It had pumpkin on it. I love pumpkin.
I controversially announce that I hate the queen. I worry I’ve upset Leona who, it seems, loves the queen. Garry & I reminisce about Adventure Mountain* as we settle down to sleep on the inflatable mattress in the corner of the studio.
With sleepyheads, we eat breakfast in The Counter Cafe at Stour Space. I order my usual big veggie plate but am disappointed my mushrooms are not replaced with something else and am raging that Leona & I’s little hinty-hinty ad lib about how thrilled I was to get an avocado last time is ignored.
Garry and I head to Brick Lane in search of Blitz – the vintage department store I’d heard about. We find it. We love it. We are relieved that it’s not full of dicks and we love that the man behind the counter is friendly and lovely. We coo over expensive furniture and I nearly buy a new winter coat but then don’t**. We enjoy cake in a cafe clearly intended to be patronised by young people. I get excited by a Bros poster they have on the wall. I wish I was a young person. Kind of.
We get soaked in the rain. My blue cagoule is wet through. We dry off in a cafe in Bethnal Green. Leona comes to meet us and we weave in and out of galleries on Vyner Street for a bit. I step in a puddle and proceed to make a disgusting squelching noise as I walk.
We reach Rough Trade East for the State of Craft party and are thrilled to meet up with some pals. I chat to State of Craft publisher, Ziggy, and tell her how much I love the book. I do love the book. I try to congratulate our gal Victoria on editing a fabulous DIY volume, but she’s quite obviously up to high dough so I curtail my conversation to a brief, “Well done”. I think Victoria is relieved when people stop talking to her. Ziggy gives a warm, lovely and engaging speech and I tear up when she thanks Garry for his massive contribution to the book. We head off in search of food.
We don’t eat. Instead, we get piddly at The Pride of Spitalfields round the corner.
We arrive home having enjoyed a quick pitstop in the bagel shop***. Somehow we have bottles of Desperados but I don’t really remember getting those. Leona trumps my ‘Facebook disco’ by initiating a real-life YouTube disco in her front room. We dance and sing in the dark. The B52s, Technotronic, The Soup Dragons, Dee-Lite, The Rebel MC, Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Price – they all get our Fish Island disco treatment and we all laugh really hard.
We dance ourselves to sleep.
Garry & I repack our Fred Perry bags and head outside. We agree we ought to do something touristy. We go to the V&A. I am excited to visit the Postmodernism exhibition. I am devastated when the man tells me I need to pay £12.50 to go inside. I don’t have £12.50. Garry offers to pay half of my ticket so that I can go in but tell him I wouldn’t enjoy it if he wasn’t with me anyway. We go to the hall next door and look at a free exhibit of postmodern photography instead. David Shrigley is included in the exhibition so that cheers us up.
We drag ourselves through South Kensington and on through Knightsbridge. We feel sorry for Harvey Nichols since their winter window display is nowhere near as cool as Harrods’. Feeling a little bit light-headed, we pop into what appears to be a crazily fancy patisserie for a quick sugar hit but turns out to just be an over-priced, sub-par sandwich shop. That’s a story all of its own. We head back to The Traveller’s Inn and eat onion rings until it’s time to get on the bus.
Garry is really pleased when the Megabus man announces that all the passengers bound for Manchester are being ferried off on a separate bus from ours. Garry has an irrational hatred of Manchester and the ‘crazy bastards’ that go there (?).
I eat Hula-Hoops and Fruit Pastilles until my mouth is cut and sore. I watch tv on my phone for the first time and Garry laughs aloud as he reads his Stewart Lee book. Garry is enraged by the man with terrible body odour and the girl who’s chewing gum too loudly. I fall asleep with my mouth open and am embarrassed.
The taxi driver who picks us up from the bus station in Glasgow is very loud.
Smokey Cat is pleased to see us. We can tell because she knocks her scratching post over, pukes on the floor and then rubs her head off our luggage. I add State of Craft to our special book shelf above the couch then we slide into our pyjamas. I regret not having a shower before bed. I am covered in London slime and Megabus stink. Smokey Cat purrs us to sleep.
*Adventure Mountain: When Beardy and I started dating, he slept on a blow-up bed. Over time, the grooves in the mattress started to ‘ping’ and eventually, the blow up bed was no longer rectangular or even vaguely mattress-like but was instead, just a big baggy ball of air.
** I nearly bought a pastel blue Eskimo coat. It has a big pointy hood with real fur stitched round the edge, a big chunky plastic zip with a polar bear charm hanging from the end and beautiful embroidered motifs along the bottom hem. I decided against it on account of its undeniable grubbiness.
***The bagel shop only offered two filling options – salami and smoked salmon. I like neither, but Garry likes both. When he asked for smoked salmon AND salami on his bagel, he blew the bagel man’s mind!