US and UK – I Lived By the River – Part Three of Nine


The Serpentine, Hyde Park, London

The Serpentine, Hyde Park, London


This journal was apparently not updated again until I’d reached Dublin. Here’s a selection, verbatim and erratically hand-scrawled: “Thursday (in London) – I struggle to recall. Drinking too much Guinness in Dublin. Probably slept late. Pretty shitty day, I also think. Jesus, what’s wrong with me? I mean it was all pretty touristy stuff, really. Actually think I spent the whole day in Blackheath. Had an alright burger and chips pub meal, or maybe a really shit burger at the local fish and chip shop. Yep, spent the whole day in Blackheath. Still got a few drinks in. Ate a lot of sandwiches while in London – very cheap from the little supermarkets. May have finally written and stamped a postcard on this day. Still carried it around for another few (days) before finally posting it at Charring Cross Station. Watched some TV with Jim and Tim – bed. Friday – think I visited Hyde Park and the Natural History Museum. Both pretty boring but I may have been hungover so needed leisurely activities. Winter Wonderland in the park was pretty cool. Had a mulled wine and strolled past the ice rink, (which was) sponsored by Ice Age 4 (the movie) I believe. One of only two (ice rinks) I didn’t get a photo of, much less enjoy (skate on). Beautiful diversity of birds in the Serpentine – the park’s large, non-tidal waterway. Had to negotiate my way back to the Leicester (pronounced “Lester”) Square station to meet Jim for a drink nearby with her pretty friend Kristy. Jesus – politely decline a request for a cigarette (outside my Dublin hostel) and I get grumbling and cursing in response as the nicotine starved chav (bogan) walks off. Most Irish are more (well) mannered. Yeah I’m getting off topic but my long-term memory’s foggy at best.”

Saint Paul's Cathedral, randomly, London

Saint Paul’s Cathedral, randomly, London

Well, dear reader. I know what you’re thinking: “This fucker’s lost the plot.” Yes, I agree, but there’ll be no more unedited drunken rambling about barely recalled memories from Dublin of London. Well, one more sentence: “Kristy – a very interesting beauty.” And it’s here we need to go back a little. It was Friday night in London, right, and there was no way in Hell I was going to not have at least one night out during possibly my only weekend ever in that behemoth of a city. My hosts – Jim and Tim – were meeting Jim’s friend Kristy at a Leicester Square-adjacent pub after work. So, invited, I decided to join them. Jim, after all, was and always will be an attractive woman so I figured her friend might be, too. Bingo, I was right. But first, events leading up to our meeting: Jim had, just like during my first evening in London, failed to tell me exactly where in the large station Leicester Square’s was she would be meeting me. Plus, I’d never been there before. Fortunately the in and out gates were located at 45-degree angles away from and on each side of a cylindrical, tiled on the outside room within the underground station. So all I had to do was keep an eye on “out” for a diminutive, pretty brunette with greater quantities of hair on her head than Fran Drescher from The Nanny. Success! She appeared. And we found ourselves after negotiating the square’s dense human throng at Waxy’s Little Sister – a pub just north of the square on the corner of Wardour and Lisle Streets. Where we met her prettily snub-nosed and of course fair-skinned friend Kristy.

Ice rink outside the Natural History Museum, again randomly (I didn't take many or any photos during my drunken sojourn through Clapham so these are mostly filler)

Ice rink outside the Natural History Museum, again randomly (I didn’t take many or any photos during my drunken sojourn through Clapham so these are mostly filler)

I must admit while I talked with her and Jim, they did the most of it. Talking, that is. Plus unfortunately I couldn’t understand a lot of what they were saying. Despite some damage from loud music and interpersonal employment over the years, my hearing itself isn’t too bad. The problem was first that the bar was very crowded with other loud people. And second that British – whether native or imported – women do have a tendency toward low-talking. At least the attractive, classy ones seem to. I first learned that with Emma. Of course with her it’s possible I was experiencing that million miles away sensation one can experience while witnessing great beauty and charm. Tim eventually joined us at Waxy’s Li’l Sis, which is weird considering he was an electrician and would have finished work sooner than his wife. Whatever. The main thing is I could hear him better than his bride or her friend, despite the fact that his deeper voice should technically have been more difficult to discern. Who knows? Perhaps the ladies were discussing me in hushed tones? Regardless, it was a “very enjoyable Friday night in London”, I wrote many days later. We moved on to another pub. Then parted ways. But I stuck with Kristy who did or would promise I could crash at her place in Clapham, about 50 kilometres from Blackheath on London’s south-western side. At Waterloo Station we met up with Kristy’s two pudgy friends Harriet and Lisa within (of course) Burger King. This is about (it’s rarely under such circumstances possible to be certain) where the alcohol intake made things hazy. The four of us proceeded to a Clapham pub playing awful ‘90s/’00s pop music. “Was fun”, apparently. I should have made a move on Kristy and thus ensured residence for the night in and beside her warm bed and body instead of alone on her couch, but – for my sins – I was still hung up on Emma from Brighton. Plus I’ve always had difficulty separating sex from love unless the female in the situation has been particularly aggressive about it. “Thanks Dr Gonzo! (‘Sex without love is as hollow and ridiculous as love without sex’ – Hunter S Thompson)” I wrote. “Can’t remember clearly – pretty drunk. Lots of gin and tonic, and that’s after starting on Guinness and mulled wine. May have danced a little.” Madness. Anyway, Emma wasn’t the only reason I didn’t make it as far physically as I would have liked to with Kristy. There were complicating, drunken related influences on her part later on in the night. But I’ll leave this admittedly odd compared to the rest of them post here. See you next time, gentle reader.

The Australian War Memorial below the Wellington Arch, once again quite randomly - Hyde Park Corner

The Australian War Memorial below the Wellington Arch, once again quite randomly – Hyde Park Corner

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