I was very disappointed when I woke up, because it was 4pm and the day was nearly over.
This was the second time I’d woken up that day. The first time, at 8am, had been a bad idea. I drank tea, ate a bacon sandwich, did the crossword and brushed my teeth before it all became too much. I’d only gotten in at 4am the night before, after spending too much money in shit clubs in Dalston and generously buying my dear friends drinks and kebabs. At least I didn’t pay for a taxi – instead we spent 2 hours trying to understand bus routes and falling asleep and missing our stops.
I wasn’t nearly as disappointed as my brother. He knows I don’t drink on a hangover, because it’s awful and painful and pointless, but he likes to drink. Not in a euphemistic way, like how my dad ‘likes to drink’, but as in genuinely takes an active interest in the brewing and distribution of beer. He’s a beer snob, in many respects, but it means we go to cool pubs so I’m all in.
He probably had a plan for our evening which involved a cool pub, and I’d gone and ruined it.
He took it well though, for a man who only last month refused to eat anywhere because we were unable to get a table as the restaurant we’d planned to eat at. He’d probably been briefed by our mum, who also likes to plan but mostly to fix things and protect her children from the horrors of the world. He was only slightly grumpy, which was fair because I was exceptionally hungover.
We were going to see a musical that evening. It’s called ‘The Last Five Years’ and it’s about a relationship. It’s also a movie starring Anna Kendrick and a man called Jeremy, and it’s really good. We’d both seen the movie and never seen the musical in real life so we were thrilled when it came to London. The production we saw had Samantha Barks, who we’ve loved for a while, and a man called Jeremy, who I’ve seen before. I won’t spoil it in case anyone is planning on going, but if you’ve seen ‘Betrayal’ by Harold Pinter it’s got very similar vibes.
I needed a burger and fries and so we went to The Diner off Carnaby Street. We arrived just before the post-shopping rush, which made us feel very smug. We both had chicken burgers, marinated in buttermilk and deep fried, with gherkins, cheese, coleslaw and maybe red onion? We shared fries, which were great, and onion rings, which weren’t as good as Burger King. The waitress was a little odd, but the whole thing only came to like £30 so who cares.
The best part though was the walk to the theatre. My brother wanted to get a tube but I’m a huge advocate of walking around town these days. It took about half an hour, which is the perfect length for a post-dinner stroll. We also wanted to go to Waterstones.
I’ve popped in a map (below) but it really doesn’t do it justice. I don’t know if you know, but the area between Green Park and Piccadilly Circus is called St James’s, and it’s typical fancy-pants London. We’re talking auction houses, wine shops, member-only barbers and shops which will sell you a Dutch old master (the painting, not the person). At 6pm on a rainy Saturday night it was practically deserted, and so beautiful.
Then, we turn a corner, pop down some steps, and we’re walking along the Mall. Buckingham Palace flits in and out of sight, until soon we’re on the main roundabout and it’s right in front of us. It’s obligatory for Londoners to say, “oh, I don’t really like Buckingham Palace. It’s a bit like a prison, don’t you think?”
…so my brother said that while I took touristy photos and said ‘The Crown’ and ‘Victoria’ and ‘Claire Foy’ and ‘Jenna Coleman’ over and over again. The theatre was very nearby after that, which was a good thing since the rain was picking up a little. Obviously the show was fantastic, and my brother was significantly less grumpy on the way home.