Friday, 4 July 2014

Fire!

It's been another fiendishly hot day today and I spent the morning sitting at the kitchen table, working like a dog, whilst staring enviously out of the window. "That little tent of blue which prisoners call sky..." Whilst working I boiled a load of dodgy looking vegetables to make a soup. I put too many stock cubes in it, so it ended up decidedly salty, but delicious none the less.

Having decided that the intensity of work was making my eyes go all funny, I gulped down the soup (whilst working) and then legged it to the gym, whereupon I stumbled across the mother of all fires. It had started in the kebab shop next to the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town, and was turning into a rather shocking inferno by the time the fire brigade arrived.

For about a minute it looked very worrying indeed. The windows were open in all of the flats above the shop and thick black smoke and long licks of fire were pouring in. I half expected to see a little frightened face at one of the windows, and that would have upset me enormously. Fortunately, as I reached the tube, I looked back and the noxious black smoke had turned into a white cloud of steam. The firemen had won.. And in fact, they dealt with the fire so swiftly and effectively you'd think it had been some kind of exercise. It's times like this you realise how indebted we are to those brave, brave men.

I went into town to have my hair cut and was surprised/ horrified to find that Foyles bookshop has moved. It would appear to still be on Charing Cross Road, and I can only assume the move is a product of success rather than a slow disintegration based on the fact that no one reads physical books any more.

I had my hair cut on Old Compton Street. The woman insisted on washing my hair first because I'd dumped a load of wax on it at the gym. I'd forgotten how uncomfortable it is to have one's hair washed in a salon. You always end up with a big block of plastic pushing against your neck exactly where it's not wanted. She kept trying to talk to me, asking if the temperature of the water was okay, but all I could hear was the sound of her rubbing shampoo into my head, the splashing of water and the high-octane techno music they tend to play in cheap barber shops so that everyone feels like they've been to a party.

I worked in Soho, in Starbucks, for the rest of the afternoon and stumbled back to Highgate at around 8pm to miss the horrors of the rush hour. I was in something of a daze, however, and ended up at Chalk Farm, having taken the wrong sodding branch of the Northern Line. This meant doing the "Camden Hop", which involves crossing platforms at that particular station against a heavy flow of clueless tourists who have spent the day drifting around the markets and are in no hurry to return home. Unless you're carrying some kind of heavy suitcase, the only way to deal with it is by sharpening the elbows, taking a deep breath and literally ramming your way through the mayhem.

I continue to feel decidedly peculiar with the strangest of symptoms surging through my body. Glands up everywhere. Strange pains. Dreadful lethargy. But I battle onward...

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