Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Birthday treat

(it's a long one folks, get a coffee and a biscuit)

I was delighted to find that as a special birthday treat my dearest wife had booked tickets for us to see a performance of "God of carnage" a play that she was keen to see, recently opened in the west end and with a stellar cast of actors that she rated highly. Lucky me...

The plan was simple, we'd catch a train up to town, take a leisurely lunch, enjoy a glass or two, see the play, dissect the performance over a cocktail or two then meet up with the rest of the family for a delightful supper at the Bombay Brasserie, (my first 'proper London restaurant' as a young man and still a favourite for it's ambiance, food and sense of history).

We arrived at the railway station, we had plenty of time, and were delighted to find no queues at the ticket machines, less thrilled to find them all out of service which explained the huge queues at the ticket office.

The happy throng were delighted to engage with the gloomy, monosyllabic ticketing team who had the additional joy of informing the aspiring travellers that "there ain't no train going to Waterloo change at Clapham!"

Still, we had plenty of time..

Eventually we got our tickets, we went to the correct platform, the train didn't come, then it didn't come again, then a train came, going in the wrong direction, then another train didn't come.

Still, we had plenty of time...

Inquiries of the helpful platform staff simply stirred them to look up at the illuminated works of fiction above their heads and proffer the official South West Trains slogan "dunno".
Still we had plenty of time...

Eventually we were enlightened, a train to Clapham had been sitting on another platform for some 20 minutes and was about to depart, "run, run like the wind" we ran, we made it.

I glared at the mixed pair of podgy, spotty adolescent troglodytes who felt that they had a right to rest their weary trotters where I was about to sit. I embarked on a brief but well practised rant about the "ill bred behaviour of certain common strains of pond scum" I was fuming (and Mrs S was trying to pretend she was just passing by) as we sat down. Some 20 minutes of embarrassed silence later the train lurched and crawled from the platform on our 20 minute journey to the capital.

Still, we had plenty of time ...

The shambling couple opposite, (once their terror had subsided), tried manfully to alleviate the boredom of the next 2 hours by describing their adoration for each other with graphic demonstrations, they then moved onto a detailed character assassination of everyone they knew or had ever heard of during their brief but colourless existence.

By the time the train stalled in Barnes station I was fully prepared to gnaw my way through the doors to escape, the guard informed us that he had no idea what was happening, (bit of a bombshell that one) and the peasants revolted, stormed the doors and hit the streets running. Well, walking actually because Transport for London (Ha!) had decided to temporarily (Ha!) suspend bus services from that particular station.

We no longer had plenty of time...

We walked town-wards, (quite briskly for an elderly couple in high heels), I spotted an off-duty black cab at some traffic lights, he had no escape route, I was bigger and I threw money at him till he agreed to take us to Shaftesbury Avenue.
We recouped in the cab, we caught our breath, we assessed the chances of arriving during the interval and thus catching the second act, of recovering a little pleasure from this voyage of distress.

We arrived, angry, frustrated, sweaty, anxious

to a suspiciously quiet theatre ...

In hindsight it was almost inevitable ...

"sorry, there is no interval, it runs right through".

What next ? 10 minutes of mutual recrimination and distress in Shaftesbury Avenue, putting on our own little bit of street theatre for the benefit of passing lovers of domestic drama, then a cunning plan...

Off to the bar at Harvey Nicks, to soothe our nerves with a glass or several. Three and a half hours later we staggered out, very soothed, just in time to cab it to the restaurant, some more wine, some excellent food, an appreciative audience for our tale of woe.

Birthdays just don't get any better than this.

Update : She's booked more tickets for the play ... lovely



At 4:20 am, Blogger IzinSing said...

I thought you'd given up wearing the high heels?


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