I woke up this morning looking like I'd done ten rounds in a boxing ring. There was a big puffy bag under my left eye...
I took myself back to Moorfields and it was an entirely different experience: friendly staff, large numbers of doctors on duty, far shorter waiting times. I couldn't believe I was standing in the place which the night before had been like a scene from Apocalypse Now!
I passed the visual test with flying colours, which made me rather pleased. The nerve-wracking bit was the part when you stick your chin on a stirrup and a woman sits opposite, shining different coloured lights into your eyes, periodically saying "look down" and scrawling things on a piece of paper with drawings of an eye on it. She squirted strange coloured drops into my eyes, which made everything a little woozy and yellow, before telling me that she could see a lump and that my eyes had different "pressures." She cleared off to find a doctor, saying, "it's not a big problem, it's a mild problem..." The wait was excruciating. What problem was she talking about? Why did my head feel all woozy and why was everything still bright yellow? It was like being in a sepia photograph.
It turns out that I have a condition! I know! Fancy that! It's chronic, which means it could return at any point but it's not serious, just annoying. It's called Blepharitis and I'm told it's a fairly common inflammation of the eyelids. I've been put on a regime involving warm flannels and weird eye massages which feel like I'm actually pushing my eyes back into my head.
I felt pretty wiped out by the end, so treated myself to lunch at Shepherdess Cafe on the City Road, which has to be one of the loveliest cafe's I've ever visited. It looks really eccentric and quirky - like a 1950s road side cafe - but the woman who runs it is something else. I assume she's Greek Australian. There's an antipodean burr to her voice, laced with something Mediterranean. She offered me halloumi when I walked in, so I assumed Greek! She plainly takes great delight in feeding her customers and making sure they have something they genuinely want. I asked for an omelette and checked if it came with salad, "yes it comes with a little salad" said she, "but I'll make sure you get more..." I then heard her shouting through to the kitchen, "Greek omelette - extra decoration." She came back to me; "what about drinky-pinkies?" I laughed hysterically, "just a tap water please." She winked, and talked to me conspiratorially: "Do you want to make it a bit more glamorous with some ice?" "Yes please..." "I'll see that you get a good portion of ice..." She shouted into the kitchen, "water on the rocks and don't spare the rocks!" And then she was off, showing the "delicious gammon" the bloke behind me had ordered to every other table in the cafe! Charming. Genuinely.
I spent the afternoon blowing bright yellow snot out of my nose which must have been a result of the dye that got squirted in. I guess what goes in must come out, but it's an interesting indication of how all of those organs are linked together.
There was a somewhat amusing event on the crowded tube home when an obviously very pregnant lady got into the carriage. I was appalled to see how many people sitting down looked up at her and then pretended not to have seen the bump. In the end, an old lady towards the other end of the carriage got up for her, but as the pregnant woman made her way to the vacated seat, another old lady with a stick hobbled over to it, assuming the seat had been vacated for her. At that point an old man jumped up to give the pregnant woman his seat and she waddled over to that chair just as someone jumped up to give the old man a seat. It was a proper game of underground musical chairs!
We went to the Art House cinema in Crouch End for the first time tonight. It's a fabulous little cinema in an old chapel with a little bar area out front. As we sat waiting for the film to begin, they played Mr Blue Sky on the sound system, and (what seemed like) the entire bar burst into song. It was one of those moments where music links everyone together. People were looking around the space, almost to see if they had permission from everyone else to join in. Some danced. Everyone joined in with the chorus.
We were watching the film London Road, which is utterly extraordinary. Utterly. I never saw the stage show. Nathan did, and raved about it so much that I was convinced I was going to hate it because nothing could ever live up to that amount of hype, and, furthermore because every time I released a film people asked whether it's going to be like London Road, which was sort of okay whilst it was just a stage piece, but when it became a film I ought to have been a little miffed... But I'm not at all because it's magical. Clever. Witty. Complicated. Remarkable. Heart-warming. Deeply moving. I was transfixed from the moment it started to the very last bar of music.