Thursday 24 June 2010

An evening with Lady Gay Spanker

15st 5lb, 5.0 units. To London, for a packed programme kicking off with a visit to my dental hygienist, and continuing with lunch at one of those St James’s clubs too grand even to have a website. I was mildly surprised to discover that luncheon was provided from a self-service buffet cum carvery, and frankly disappointed that the main hot dish of the day was roast pork. After Saturday, I can still hardly bear to look at the stuff, never mind eat it. So I had a fishcake, albeit accompanied by a little pork crackling just to try and recover my nerve. I reasoned that it was like getting back on a bike as soon as possible after a nasty tumble, otherwise it might never happen.

Surprisingly, I was sober enough after lunch to make my way to the V&A in South Kensington to buy the book Mrs H and I had identified as the perfect present for someone when we were last there, but which in a moment of uncharacteristic meanness I had refused to buy on the grounds that I would be able to pick it up much more cheaply from Amazon or a remaindered book specialist. Only to find that the bloody thing was out of print and completely unobtainable anywhere else. Unfortunately I was not sober enough to reflect that it probably did not make sense to waste £20 on taxis to pay a £40 birthday cheque into The Boy’s bank in Fleet Street, or to prevent myself from squandering several hundred pounds I have not got at my favourite shirtmaker in Jermyn Street and buying a ludicrously expensive new Panama hat.

This evening I went to see Simon Russell Beale, Fiona Shaw (Lady Gay Spanker) and Richard Briers in London Assurance at the National Theatre. Pure comic bliss, and a chance to read all about the playwright Boucicault over a cold beer in the bar of my club afterwards, thereby setting myself up to make the totally mendacious claim that I had been a huge fan of his work all along.

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