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Monday, March 20, 2006

March 19 ~ Swing of things

Getting into the routine: switch on laptop and see which "Unsecured Wireless Network"(UWN)comes up - usually 2 or 3 but of pitiful strength, except that i now think someone is playing silly buggers with me.

Got back this evening, logged on and saw for the first time that i had a UWN of "very good" connection. No sooner do i try to hitch a ride than it plummets to zero. This sends my paranoia to "excellent" as i think of chummie out there, his network unsecured for whatever reason, but a gizmo at his elbow that tells him when a poacher logs on at which point he hits a button and spoils the fun.

Plan B: I troll down Kings Rd in my finery, affecting the swagger of a local, stop off at the Kings Walk Netcafé to check my gmail and everyone's blog etc, then out for latte and pastry and then home to read the papers.

I can't be bothered to blog anything because i never think i have the time to wax sufficiently prolix, preferring to hope against hope that it wont be long before i can paste my home-composed ramblings. Meanwhile, aforesaid ramblings grow longer and dated by the day.

But it's an interesting exercise: write blog in Homesite, read it next day, wince at how boring and long winded I am, edit and rewrite. Update with new stuff to have me wincing next day.

March 19: Run amok with my new Free Pass bus and tube ticket allowing me to travel free on public transport.

Write thank you postcard to posh neighbors who had me for drinks last evening. Despite maman's clear advice - "They are a super couple and will have you for drinks. They are marvelous company and very witty and will make you feel witty, too, but DO NOT OVERSTAY your welcome.

What do i do? Arrive, accept the offered scotch, chat merrily and laugh at all their jokes. Accept the top-up scotch. More witty chatter and appreciative guffaws ("Gosh, that's funny." "Oh, you're so right." "ReALLY? That IS interesting.") Hooch gets dangerously low, I'm watching theirs drain too and waiting for the offer of support package 3. I start taking minuscule sips (soo obvious). My hosts stay witty and wordy as ever, but nary a glance at the scotch bottle. Penny drops and i make my farewells, but can't you hear them once the door closed:

"Goodness, I thought he'd *never* leave."

"And did you see how he kept dropping hints with those silly little sips?"

"Soo obvious".

Kilted vowels: just realised how scots accents are everywhere, on the phone, TV/radio announcers, directory enquiries. Lovely sound but s beginning to pall.

Tea at the Cavalry Club on Piccadilly, thanks to cousin A who's a member. Magnificent building with original paintings from the ages worth a fortune. V hushed atmosphere and fierce faces everywhere. It's by invite only to join and one has to be pukka cavalry type. Weekend is only time to show visitors round coz they're all off at their country estates.

Dozed off in front of the TV last night, some documentary on the Munich task force that Golda sent it to revenge the Olympic killings. Woke sweating from horrific nightmare about being bound and gagged as villainous types planned some awful stuff on my daughters over in Seattle.

Couldn't move, couldn't phone at that hour to warn them of the dastardly plot or, as my brain cleared, check all was ok.

Thought of buying a paper but baulked at the $1.60 price and the sheer bulk of all the supplements and free DVDs and similar rubbish. Everything's tabloid these days so i feel like i'm reading some trash rag like the Sun or Mirror.

Weekend is visitors day down Kings Rd - not that different from sidestepping the Seattle grockles down Winslow - and was comforted to be able to walk home at 7pm as everyone else was desperately hailing cabs.

Pubs full of the trendy young quaffing their smart drinks and laughing with perfect teeth. Passed a Starbucks and there in the window seat was a middle aged cove with paper and coffee and enormous cigar that he was puffing with evident pleasure.

March 18 update - awaiting my gear, leaping to door with every mail drop.

Letter from DHL about trying to deliver package but me not being in. Can I collect from depot or call with new delivery address.

No address in the letter; dud phone number.

DHL depot pleasant walk down Nine Elms past Battersea Power station (Flickr when I it fixed) so no prob.

NO-el: so much for derisory hoots at States-side "festivals" kwanZAA et kookie al, watering down Christmas to mere "Holiday".

Greater London bureaucrats have managed to publish a calendar of "ethnic and religious hols and official duties" omitting Dec 25 and 26. Shades of Alan Rickman as sheriff of Nottingham - "Men in Tights"? - riled by Robin Hood's latest caper and rasping, "Cancel Christmas!"

Clouseau Closure:Steve Martin travesty remake an acknowledged disaster. London screenings scrapped after critics slam: "witless sight gags and embarrassingly bad attempts at matching Peter Sellers' mangled syntax".

Jay-jaunt: retrieving my jay weaving skills.

Davey Graham: one of the *great* "folk, blues and beyond" guitarists of the 1960s. Off to the Spitz club last.

Full of fellow ravaged types + folkie youth.

Share a table to one side with an enormous 45-ish fattie bloke and his hot black chick but am watching a table front of stage where i *swear* a hatted Davey is sitting with 2 acolyte young 'uns. i ask the couple, "isn't that Davey right there?" "Nah mate, they'll announce him and he'll come out from back stage."Feel a fool.

Announced in paper as 7pm but turns out to be "doors open". Club fills, booze bought, baccy fumed.

8:30, Hatted Davey walks on stage and fiddles with guitar. Black chick to fattie, "Seems he was right." To me - "You win."

Acolyte clambers on stage and announces the evening under way: he and pal will play and Davey will perform around 10.

Acolyte plays. Dreadful. Meanwhile, Davey smoking away and accepting drinks from all and sundry. Worry: will I get my £12's worth.

Acolyte #2: slightly better but nothing to write home about. Davey puffs and pints on.

Davey's gig, he plays a few but it ain't there. I walk out into the chill night air and catch the bus to Clapham and old landlady "Harrow House" joint where it's salsa nite and a ton of talent are dancing divinely with some very angular dudes.

Worked behind the bar 26 years ago and Pam introduces me to the staff who treat me like royalty, asking what it was like back then, how the place has changed etc. Booze on the house, then pam and i go back to her place where we sort thru fotos incl steph's and my wedding where pam's old man, the late and v great john blackwell, was our best man.

Unsecured wi-fi: none of my business poaching off others but am sulky, logging on and finding none avail.

auld lang syne: meeting up with pals from 20 yrs back. They're either at the peak of their trade, or set up on their own ... or looking like death on the breadline.

Trash: London lacks garbage bins. Every time i've needed to dump something, i've looked n not found one.

Fuzzmobiles: is it being back in a major city? London filth drive *very* fast and hence skilfully. Siren and cars pull over, pedestrians step back and suddenly there's the car. Breakneck speed, hardly slowing, weaving and using all lanes and pavements. Then gone and life resumes.

Schiffer's chefette: Irate over story in papers about cute idiote chef Sophie Michel's book using quote by mega model Schiffer on front cover, claudia's name as large as author's.

"We love sophie and *everyone* loves her cooking, too", CS had once written to sophie's mum, which sophie had used on her book jacket sans asking her former employer.

Schiffer guards her brand name and sued, requiring book withdrawn and awarded "significant damages." Quite right.

Whimpered Sophie, "Claudia wasn't damaged ... so why she received damages is beyond me."

"I was at her beck and call for two years," continues the blond cook, as if that was some defence.

Whenever I've hired folks for acceptable pay, they were there at beck and call, or they speak up then, not years later when things turn inconvenient.

Other pathetic quotes include splendid sob stuff about pouting Ms Michell being an Me sufferer whose ailment "came back with a vengeance" as a result of the law suit, plus her being "under tremendous stress."

Yep that's what happens when you goof with major players. Stoopid gurl not asking first, stoopid publishers Cassell Illustrated not checking.

Both parties delivered just deserts - or, sophie being a culinarista, the "desserts". Hollow pun.

Instructions

march 18: knightsbridge noon, back from whingeing online from Netcafé 1) about sullen staffer 2) how i've lost my wi-fi connection.

Duhh - read instructions for laptop and there's a button i must've pressed to kill reception.

Damn, a week last friday was full of insecure links so presume it was same last nite too.

Freepass: oldies bus free, so down to local post office with fotos and ID proof that i am officially overage pesterer of babes and beauté.

Charming duskerine gave gleaming smile and informed me that they didn't do them there n that i'd have to go the mile to the World's End office. Instead of stamping my footsie and delivering Oxford accented hrrmph, asked directions and made to shoulder my amazon.com bag when out of left field came 5' x 5' tank lady with a cruel nose and the sort of expression that usually spells doom to effete well-born such as i.

A winner: she told Gleaming Gnashers how to set it up and what to look for on the puter etc. I simpered but she waved my thanks aside.

"So where you been?" asked the Gleamer as i produced WA driving licence, "they got bus passes over there?"

"Assuredly not," i informed her, looking over my shoulder for the Youth Police, "Oldness doesn't exist in the States. Or it does, but is against the law and roaming gangs of euthanasianistas troll the alleyways, putting the likes of me down in brusque and painless fashion."

"You here permanent like?" asked the Tank. Nod. "Family over there?"

Cue fotos of dahling daughters.

I am fixed in a jiffy with my pass and leave with many a genuflection and thanks.

Onto Kings Rd where a #22 bus is trundling by. I can walk it home but i leap aboard and press my new card against the metal checker - yee haww! Aboard gratis free, no more delving into my Avril Lavigne purse for frigging £1.50s. Age rocks.

50 yards down, i see the posh farmers market outside Partridge's; descend.

Buy cheese of challenging appearance and baguette that i don't need but the française at the counter is of such dazzling cuteness and perfect accent, i can't resist. I hand over the money, notice elder man of ravaged appearance watching me n nodding curt acknowledgment: dad, i reckon, registering another sucker biting the cash register.

Behind me on the piazza, a cash drive for some cancer program. Boom box plays jitter-buggery as couples jive. Marvelous teddie boy type with sideburns and full monty cutting a rug, whale of a time. i pop a quid coin into the collection box n snap the scene for flickr.

Home and lay out cheese and vino and check mail: check from the management of my old Bainbridge condo, refunding $675 last month's rent, which I shove in envelope with deposit slip and prepare to mail to Hildebrand branch of Bank of America.

Savings: if bus trips cost £1.50 (no ongoing tickets like good ol' seattle) and i've taken average 5 trips a day since March (plus some rail fares), and now i can travel free on bus n tube; plus i've just got $675 ... rather a good morning's work.

That's it.


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