Monday, 7 August 2017


Yesterday was a fairly relaxing day which found us heading into Muswell Hill for lunch. We ate at Jenny's, which is a fabulous anachronism. The place is like a Wimpy from the 1980s. It's very much the sort of place we used to have children's parties at when we were kids. I never got invited because I was vegetarian and could only ever eat chips, a coke float and a knickerbocker glory. The walls of Jenny's are covered in 1980s-style posters. You know the sort: pictures of Piccadilly Circus in black and white with the London busses coloured red. There's also a picture of a gondolier weaving his way through the waterways of Venice. I was staring at it for some time. At first I took the picture at face value, before I started to realise that all the buildings were looking a little shiny and modern. It suddenly dawned on me that I was actually looking at a picture of the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas! Ghastly! I wondered if the owners of the chain had noticed this particular fact or whether they'd bought the giant print because they thought it was actually Venice.

We went to a little coffee shop next door for a pot of tea. The walls informed me that it was the oldest coffee shop in North London, which I felt was a somewhat dubious claim to fame. Surely there are coffee shops north of the river in Central London which are far older? Muswell Hill is an Edwardian neighbourhood. The coffee shop can't be much older than 100 years.

A little old man sat eating an ice cream served in a fancy glass. It slightly broke my heart. I don't know why. You often get people sitting drinking tea and coffee on their own in places like that, but a fancy ice cream is surely something you reserve for occasions when you have companionship? Am I being daft? For some reason the fact that he was eating ice cream alone felt indicative of the fact that he was lonely.

We went down to Islington to Michelle and Ben's wedding party in the evening. They'd got married the day before up in Derbyshire with just family and very close friends and invited the rest of us to a do in London. Ben and Michelle actually met at our wedding. Michelle was in the choir and Ben was conducting and playing piano. Their eyes met over a microphone and the rest, as they say, is history. They made a lovely speech where they explained how they'd met and thanked Nathan and me for bringing them together. To celebrate the way they'd met, they decided to have a six-coloured rainbow cake. A gay cake. A gake!

Speaking of gay cake, or just gay people really, we came home and watched Gareth Thomas' enlightening documentary about homophobia in the world of football. It's such a massive problem. The headline is that there are a number of premiership footballers who are gay but feel utterly unable to come out for a catalogue of reasons including the ghastly behaviour of fans, the reaction they'd get from team mates and a sort of institutionalised homophobia within the governing bodies. Greg Clarke, head of the Football Association, actually refused to do an interview with Thomas and the equalities representative at the PTA was so ill-informed and unprepared for questions that Thomas afterwards said "I don't know whether to laugh or cry."

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