We had one of the most awful car journeys in the history of car journeys today. We were trying to get to our friend Kate's house in Weybridge, and were already running late on account of our internet going down again, and my having to talk at length to someone from Talk Talk in an Indian call centre who read from a script and basically didn't have permission to help me in any way, shape or form. We went round in circles. She had a very thick accent and a grating voice which made me more and more uptight. She then passed me on to someone in the Philippines who was meant to be giving me a deal on a new plan, but she talked in riddles and seemed shady. Every time I asked her to clarify what she meant, she changed the details. Half way through the conversation she let it slip that I was only being offered the deal for a year, at which point I'd need to pay more, and then, later still, I realised I was being offered an 18 month contract. I was really angry. I'd asked her four or five times if there were any hidden costs that she wasn't mentioning, and she repeatedly said there weren't. In the end I told her I'd wait until Monday and speak to someone else. She got all shirty. True colours and all that.
We left the house and immediately got stuck in traffic on Holloway Road. There was an Arsenal match, and the streets were thronged with football fans. We literally crawled along. We stopped in Angel for Nathan to buy wool, and felt like the tides were perhaps turning because the wool was in stock, the lovely lady behind the counter gave Nathan a discount and I was able to buy a lovely (yet expensive) cup of tea from a chi-chi cafe opposite. £2.20 for a take away tea. I ask you!
We got as far as the London Museum and suddenly found ourselves in road block hell. It seems the entire City of London has been sealed off for Great Fire of London celebrations. I read somewhere that they're doing a giant domino toppling event and all sorts of other ludicrous things. Clueless volunteers in stupid rain macs were standing at each of the blockades, completely unable to offer any suggestions as to how to get out of the area. We stopped many and they just pointed their hands in the direction we'd come from. The traffic was solid on the edges of the cordon, but there was no indication of how large the actual cordon was, so we'd veer off and then get trapped in another traffic jam heading back to the cordoned area. One way streets just added to the mayhem. There were no official diversions. There were no advance warning signs. It was every man for himself and the overarching sensation was one of complete hopelessness. It was as though the City of London people had entirely neglected to think about traffic chaos in their rush to organise lovely fun things for passers by to do on this wet, hideous Saturday. If only it had rained liked this 350 years ago, London might not have burned. We circled the area for an hour. Nathan got so stressed that he started thumping the steering wheel. It was an utterly horrifying situation.
On a more positive note, I can reveal that Beyond The Fence has been nominated for the West End Wilma award for Most Underrated West End Show. It was a ghastly experience from beginning to end, so it's genuinely nice to have some form of recognition for our efforts. Through most of those terrible months we certainly felt like the most underrated writers in the West End, so the nomination feels appropriate enough. We're up against Miss Henderson Presents, so I suspect we've not a hope in hell of winning. I say this because the awards are voted for by members of the public and I'm pretty sure a great many more people will have heard of the other shows in our category! I'm a little averse to awards which are voted for by the people because they instantly become popularity contests rather than a recognition of talent or hard graft. Nevertheless, I feel obliged to play the game, if for no other reason than so we don't end up looking like the poor cousins and make Dear Wilma feel ashamed for selecting us. I therefore urge you to go to the link below and vote for Beyond The Fence. Whilst you're at it, I suggest you also vote for CJ Johnson in the rising star award. CJ is being recognised for her work in playing the lead role of Mary in our show. She deserves to win more than anything. She's a fabulous performer and a wonderful, wonderful person.
When you vote it's worth remembering that you get asked to click on an "I am not a robot" button. You will then receive a confirmation email which you also have to click on. Go on, vote! You never know, the other shows might be too cool to ask people to vote!
Here's the link!
It took us 2 1/2 hours in the end to get to Weybridge, and we almost gave up on several occasions. I'm so pleased we didn't, however, as we had the most lovely night at Kate's. We haven't seen her for far too long, but it felt like days rather than years and we were instantly back into banter and laughter. We spent the night playing games (it's her birthday today). It strikes me that I'm never happier than when sitting playing parlour games with a cup of tea in one hand. We were joined for the evening by Belinda, Karen, Mark and Adam (who's a Yorkshire man, so it obviously wasn't long before everyone started talking in cod Yorkshire accents.) We had a quiz about 80s pop music. I realised about half way through that the 80s are totally my era. I felt like an Egg Head, chirping in with my dull little additional factoids! Belinda had bought buzzers with her. Proper buzzers with comedy sound effects! We shot a puerile little video of her touching various body parts as we sounded the buzzers, which seemed utterly hilarious at the time. It's on my Facebook feed if anyone cares to have a watch.