It was a day off.
I had arranged to go out with the girls in London.
The "girls" of course, are also in their mid forties and are in fact my friends from school. I have known them over thirty years and to me we all look and act in exactly the same way as we did thirty years ago.
Especially the "look" bit.
Sensible had a Duke of Edinburgh bronze medal training day in Gloucester. Amongst other things they had to cook their own lunch. So I dropped she and her friend off en route with their walking gear and lunch ingredients and went on to park the car, so that I could get the coach from Gloucester to London. This cost a stunningly low £11 for the return journey, including a mobile phone message with my ticket details.
"What if I lose my phone though" I'd said to Hubby.
"When have you ever lost your mobile phone." He said
"Well what if it runs out of charge?"
In the end, on his suggestion, I had texted the number to Hubby's phone, so that "just in case the worst happened" and I was left stranded in London without my phone I could grab a complete stranger on the bus, take their phone number and get Hubby to text them my ticket details ....................
Quite what that would have made me look like is debatable, and it's probably even more debatable as to what it would have made Hubby look like...
I got to Victoria Coach Station at 12.00 on the dot and tried to look for the bus stop. I mean of course the sort of bus that takes you around town, as opposed to one that goes from one town to bigger town. I must be getting a bit blind in my old age though, because try as I might I managed to walk to Victoria train station, a few streets away, before I found a suitable stop with the right number buses attached.
So, I got my ticket and waited in the queue.
Which is when the mayhem began.
It seemed from the phone call that I received that ED needed some help sorting out a problem, fairly urgently. This was fine. Except... I was in London and Hubby was out at a kickboxing class on the other side of Gloucester. The other problem was that due to standing in a busy London street with buses and cars going past at twenty to the dozen, I couldn't understand a word that ED was actually saying to me except that whatever the problem was, it was URGENT with a capital U.
"Text me" I shouted down the phone.
And then, when that apparently hadn't been heard at the other end.... "TEXT ME" in an even louder voice.
I started to get "looks..."
So I smiled at the onlookers....
The bar that my friend Jane had chosen was ... interesting. I hadn't been able to find it to start with and so had phoned my other friend Debbie, not having Jane's mobile number. Debbie was still on her train. "I think it's right at the bottom of the street." She said, "just by the tube station." If you can't find it, come up to meet me at Charing Cross."
I eventually found it. From the outside it looked like a Cordon Negro bottle, and on the inside it looked like um ... a Cordon Negro bottle.
I texted Debbie.
"I've found it. I think that it must be one of Jane's haunts from her journo days. Think Cordon Negro."
I was desperate for the "ladies" but still needed to continue texting Hubby, about Gloucestershire logistics. He was due out of his kickboxing class any second and so could take over at the Gloucestershire end, but it all needed quick action once he was back in circulation so to speak.
"Whoops. Sorry..." said the woman who walked in on me in the loo.
I shrieked, closed the door quickly and recovered my modesty. How did that happen?
I found a nice table though, in a relatively lighter area of the bar.
A waitress of about 150 came up to me.
"You can't sit there." She said. "It's reserved."
I looked to see how and where it said that it was reserved. There was no evidence of it., but being in a compliant mood, I moved.
"You can sit here if you want." She said, showing me a very dark area of the room.
At that moment my friends arrived.
"This table's a bit dark isn't it?" said Debbie.
I explained that I had tried to sit on the one on the other side of the room. "Oh I know said Jane. "I tried too, but that waitress over there said that it was reserved. I couldn't see any sign though. She's very old. I think that she probably worked here when I used to come here twenty years ago."
"Aahh" I said, "so who did you interview in here then?" Feeling pleased with myself that I had "guessed" correctly.
Oh no-one, she said. "I just used to meet friends here."
Hubby called. The lack of reception down in the cellar meant that I needed to go upstairs to take the call. Hubby had though taken charge at the Gloucestershire end. "It's all sorted." He said. "So just enjoy yourself."
We had a brilliant afternoon.
My friend Debbie treated me to a lovely lunch in a very nice Italian restaurant in Covent Garden. We could see each other in there too, which was a plus. On the downside, we weren't relying on nice dim candlelight to hide away the wrinkles of the last twenty years. Candle lit cellar bars do have some advantages.
It was over all too soon sadly.
Back at Victoria Coach station I went to where the buses looked as if they were departing. The only thing was that I was unable to see how to get into the departure lounge. There seemed to be buses in the way, which were being sprayed with water.
I looked around desperately for a door, and in the end decided that a bit of cold water wouldn't hurt, so walked through the shower.
It was very wet. I was... a little soaked.
I asked a man where I could find the bus for Gloucestershire.
"Over the road Madam. This is the arrivals area."
So that was why they were washing the coaches.... on their way IN to the bus station......
Ping, went the phone. Message from Hubby, with the ticket details...... thank you Hubby.
Ensconced on my coach finally with a nice cup of tea, I immersed myself in my book. It's good to have journeys every so often....
Just before I got off at Gloucester I thought that I would use the coach "facilities", before my drive home.
And then ................. the door swung open on me as we turned the corner ............and for a second time that day I had been "seen" in a somewhat uncompromising position. I walked back to my seat, averting all eyes..... and immersed myself in my book, once more.
I finally got home. Sensible was back home from her rugged training day.
"Was it good?" I asked.
"Yes." She said. "The only thing is. You know the tinned tomatoes that I took to cook?"
"Yes," I said.
"Well. They weren't tomatoes. It was a tin of custard.."
"Oh," I said. "Not so good on pasta then?"
We Lomax women have a way of doing things.........
20 hours ago