Sunday, 12 October 2008

100 things to do in London on a Saturday night.

Go to the theatre.   Go to The Walkabout.  Decide not to go into The Walkabout because it's too crowded.  Catch the last Tube home. Reach Kennington.  Wait for ages at Kennington for a train. Get told that there are no more southbound trains because of signal failure. Try to get a bus.  Watch 25 police arrest a suspected gunman across the road from the bus stop.  Watch police pin down the gunman on the pavement.  Watch a policeman put his knee on the gunman's head.  Watch onlookers try to pull the police off the gunman.  Notice how the onlookers are trying their best to start an incident.  Notice how restrained the police are. Notice how nervous the police are. Try to get a taxi. Realise that taxis don't come into this area.  Force yourself onto an already overcrowded nightbus.  Acknowledge the drivers' pragmatism in not checking tickets.  Watch drunk people stumbling in front of the moving bus.  Notice the driver's skill in avoiding them.  Watch a man doing press-ups out of his living room window.  Watch a woman vomiting over a car bonnet.  Get off the bus.  Go into the 24 hour Tesco. Buy pork pies, chocolate and pickle.  Get home.  Eat pork pies. Eat chocolate.  Eat pickle.  Go to sleep.  

Just another Saturday night out. 

Monday, 1 September 2008


I went to the Zimfest last Saturday.  It was a great day - hot and sunny and I bumped into loads of people I know.  We sat on the grass, drinking Zimbabwean lager, eating Zimbabwean food and listening to Zimbabwean music and just for a second or two we could almost imagine we were back in Harare.  

All the laughter and fun, however, couldn't hide the fact that we weren't there because we chose to be.  We were there because if we'd remained in Zimbabwe, we'd be dead, dying or facing a grim daily struggle for basic survival.   

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Sorry Neighbours!

I am a Bad Neighbour.  There!  I feel better already for getting that off my chest! Let me elaborate...

Recently a couple of friends came round for dinner.  It was a warm summer's evening so after we'd eaten and had a couple of glasses of wine, we decided to go and sit outside on the balcony.  My block of flats directly faces the next block so when you're on the balcony you can see directly into people's kitchens and living rooms. It can get a bit 'Rear Window' at times, but we all surreptitiously observe each other. They watch me doing the washing up & having lunch & I watch them on the computer & sitting in front of the TV.  My neighbours haven't done anything particularly outrageous (yet) but I live in hope.  

Anyway, we were sitting there, slightly (ok very) drunk and my mate W starts asking me about who lives in which flats. Directly opposite me are a couple of girls sharing - one of them has a child.  'COOL!' He bellows, 'LESBIANS!'  I'd forgotten, in my drunken state, how the sound can bounce off the two blocks and amplify.  

I know, I know - for what it's worth, I'm still cringing... It, er, gets worse...  

These two girls disappear for a bit & return in their pyjamas.  One of them then starts kissing the window and then they begin having a pillow fight RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE WINDOW!  Not only that but they kept stopping and looking round at us!  We were so drunk that it took about five minutes before it dawned on us what they were doing and why!  Like I said, I'm still cringing and big respect to those girls for having a sense of humour. 

Now, when I go and sit on the balcony, everyone immediately closes their blinds. I'm thinking of hanging a banner off the balcony saying, 'SORRY NEIGHBOURS.  I WAS DRUNK, OK?'  

Under the circumstances, I think it's only fair that I award myself 'Villian of the Day.' 

Monday, 4 August 2008

Plain crazy or worse?

Recently I was working with a German colleague.  Now, this guy is nice enough but weird.  We were working outdoors and it started to rain so I put on my Wellington boots.  I was wearing cut-off cotton trousers that came just below the knee so, with my wellies on, there was no gap between the end of my trousers and the top of the boots.  

My colleague, (remember - he's German) looks this outfit up and down and mumbles, almost to himself, 'You look like my grandfather', then continues, 'He was a Nazi'.  As I was staring at him, literally lost for words, he leans in to me and says confidentially, 'I've got the photos to prove it'!!!!!

...Er, ok...  I'm not sure whether he's a 'Villian of the Day' or just plain scary...

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

In just over three hours the Zimbabwean dollar fell from Z$1.2 trillion to Z$1.3 trillion to the £ sterling.  The same meal will now cost more than it did at lunch time.