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8 June 2008

Escape from Nowheresville

Other than arriving at King's Cross on Friday night to find that the discovery and subsequent explosion of a WWII bomb ("hey, Dave! Look what I found under this bench!") had buggered much of the Tube for the evening, it was very pleasant to get out of Nowheresville for the weekend, although typically Doktor Landlord was away all weekend anyway, so I would have had the house to myself. I didn't take my laptop, which meant I spent Friday night resting my eyes, reading and sipping a G and T. Once I had finished my book, I took to the reading material of the crash pad, the most promising item of which was the Campaign Guide to the Most Influential People in the Media, 2006. Helpfully, each entry had a photo, bio, three Q&As and the person's contact number, which is very useful for potential gold-digging.

I woke up early on Saturday, so I could breakfast on Marylebone High Street before scampering off to meet an estate agent to look at a flat in Fitzrovia, which proved quite fruitful, even though I was convinced he thought I was taking the piss, given my age, so I had to keep mentioning that Daddy would be financing the purchase...

The Ex and I met in Hell - AKA Oxford Circus Tube at noon on a Saturday - and wandered over to the British Museum for some Yank art and for me to look at that great relic of linguistics that is the Rosetta Stone. We then went back to the '80s for lunch at the Breakfast Club in Soho, which is a great little coffee shop/bruncheria, where I could obtain my pancakes with maple syrup and drink a great juice blend called Spiced Blue Monday and The Ex could have a full English. The soundtrack consisted of The Cure, New Order and The Smiths, mainly, so I was happy and the walls were kitted out with assorted '80s memorabilia; oddly, the quotation on the menu was from a (1966) Simon and Garfunkel song. Not a bad place, all in all.

We then spent much of the rest of the afternoon wandering around Covent Garden, Soho and then the South Bank, where we browsed for books at the second-hand book stalls (there seemed to be about five copies of an old school Penguin book called something like The Joy of Sets (or some other mathematical topic)). We then popped into the BFI to see what films they had coming soon and made a plan to see The Dark Knight at the IMAX - Christian Bale's pecs in high definition; mmm...

I went out to Notting Hill last night for a party hosted by IndieRockerBiologist and her boyfriend at some kitschy bar called Trailer Happiness. There were a few people from school there but inevitably, I hung out mainly with IRB's Imperial friends who were a lot more fun. I also got supremely drunk on the delicious mojitos, which proved expensive, especially when I ended up getting a taxi back to Marylebone, even if I shared it with some dude who thought that 2 a.m. was a suitable time to start chatting to me about his genetics PhD and I think I was just blathering away about blue eyes and paternity tests, even though that had nothing to do with anything.

The sun woke me up at about nine, although I didn't mind too much as it was nice to have some sunshine in a bedroom in which I was sleeping. A couple of espressos and an (involuntary) cold shower meant I was good to go and I began another crazy trek around much of central London. Given that I was walking pretty much constantly, at my usual drill sergeant pace, for about five hours today, I must have covered many miles. My thighs seem to think so. I still couldn't find a second father's day gift, though; Papa is pretty much impossible to buy for. The advantage of walking was that it didn't involve taking the Tube on such a hot day, which is always a good plan.

I also discovered another new coffee shop - well, I tried out a coffee shop that I'd been meaning to visit for a while - Flat White, in Soho, which has won various awards for being the best indie coffee shop in the country and serving great coffee. There weren't many seats at the place and the two outdoor benches were full but I was happy to sit inside and soak up the cool vibes. The coffee was good and artisanal (a leaf rather than a Joe's heart), so I will definitely return.

The more time I spend in Marylebone, Soho and Fitzrovia, the more confident I am that at any given point, I will be able to navigate to a) a cool bar, b) a decent restaurant and c) somewhere that produces good coffee with some degree of atmosphere. It is taking some time for my hippocampus to be suitably developed. One thing that amused me was that when I was with The Ex, my navigation was dire and I would walk in completely the wrong the direction, as though my BexNav had been turned off at the mains. Today, though, by myself, I was wandering all over the place and always knowing where I was and how to get to where I wanted to be. I think inherited this from my father, who is the same in that he yields completely to those with superior navigational ability but is actually quite good at getting around by himself. I'm sure Hugo Spiers would be interested in my inherited navigational bizarreness, anyway.

Returning to Nowheresville wasn't so great, although I have at least regained hope that I will be able to residentially escape on a more permanent basis, thanks to Saturday's flat-hunting. I'm trying not to get too into this place, although it would be so nice to be writing this while sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine, watching the sunset over Fitzrovia rather than in my room in Nowheresville. Somehow, there were always more likeable proverbs than "patience is a virtue."

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