Sunday, December 03, 2006

I'm free! [/Mr Humphries]

The obligatory bear shot, since I was adopting a touristy attitude.

And I guess I am a tourist in London, my student days in the capital quite sometime behind me. But it was strange and evocative of that time being back there on my own (with the children safe at home with M). It feels really odd being without the children: I don't need to point out the pretty Christmas lights and I'm not constantly looking around to see where they are. I can even hold a conversation without interruption, although that had me floundering at times: coherent sentences? What are they? I used to make the trip up to college to London Paddington on a regular basis, and it felt different yet oddly the same, being back there now I'm older.

The trip was very pleasant: I did a few code-breakers to begin with, then started to read Cloud Atlas. I'm so glad I finally gave this book a chance. I managed to get half-way through before arrival.

My friend and her family were waiting to meet me, which was very nice, and the children had grown so much... I feel like an ag├ęd aunt saying that. (That's what kids do - they grow! You stupid woman). They were a lot bigger but still cute as anything.

Later on A & I met up with R, which was great. We went for a meal and then onto the cinema to watch the new Bond, Daniel Craig, do his stuff in Casino Royale.

Our greater-spotted waiter seemed unable to retain more than one word in his head, poor creature. First I made a mistake by thinking one of the dishes was a starter, so that confused him... and me. He scrubbed things out on his pad and perhaps that was why, when our meals arrived, our shared starter was a no-show. It arrived afterwards in the hands of a lesser-spotted waiter, who also obtained the wine we had ordered. But otherwise the food was fine (apart from R's cold chips!). The lesser-spotted waiter put the blame for the mistakes on the greater-spotted, but when the latter came back to us, he passed the buck to the kitchen. I'd prefer someone just said "Oh whoops, I did a boo-boo" and accepted some responsibility.

As seems the rule (at restaurants I go to anyway), actually getting a dessert/liqueur coffee and the bill takes forever. I asked but thrice for the bill, and ended up seeking the greater-spotted waiter at the counter in order to pay. It had become a matter of urgency since our film was due to start. They seemed most reluctant to take our money and I could feel a burning temptation to simply walk out.

At least the company was good! It was so nice to see R & A.

As we were late into the cinema, there were hardly any seats and no three seats together. So that was a shame, and R volunteered to sit alone, which was noble of her. She ended up sitting just in front of us, and it was all a bit awkward, not being able to interact. We also had some adolescent lads sitting beside us, who seemed to be conducting a conversation pretty much throughout, which made me want a nail-gun... but the film was good fun. :D

I think Daniel Craig makes a good 007 and the movie seemed truer to the Ian Fleming books than other Bond films are usually. I remember reading my Granddad's Bond novels reasonably well, (although it's been a long time), and the character is quite dark and verging on the socio/psychopathic. I don't find Craig particularly attractive but he was a good turn as Bond and certainly beats Roger Moore, Lazenby and Dalton into the dust. I will always have an affection for Sean Connery, and consider him the best Bond, cos I think it may be a legal requirement...

I'm not sure who the runner up is between Craig and Brosnan. On the whole, I think I may plump for Craig.

I found the poker scenes quite lengthy and found one of the characters explaining the pot to Vesper somewhat patronising. As an accountant type thing, her character would surely be able to work out how much money was riding on the cards, even if she wasn't knowledgeable about poker. Spoiler: I also wondered why she decided to give up and basically commit suicide when had she helped him, he could have freed her sooner. I thought she deliberately jammed the door and moved back from Bond. That was the way I thought it went, but A didn't pick up on it, so maybe it was a mistake on my part. I should ask R for her take on it. The torture scene was quite wince-worthy, but I suspect men might wince more and harder. :D

Afterwards, we considered going for a drink but the streets were quite busy, mad and alarming with drunken fools and on-alert police. We saw a woman being arrested and her (10 year old ish?) daughter trying to pull a policeman away from her mum and crying her eyes out. I felt awful for the girl and hugely angry & judgemental about the woman, (despite knowing nothing of what had happened). It was so rowdy around there, that I think we all thought better of it, although it would have been nice to discuss the film and chat some more. But I was quite quailing at the thought of the press at the bar, etc. ("Saturday night's alright for fighting, get a little action in.") I must be getting old. We went our separate ways, A & I heading back to hers and R going home.

A showed me her nearly-finished novel and let me start reading it. I kept on reading until it was lights out, and when I woke in the morning, wanted to keep reading. So that's got to be a good sign. :D (I'm good at understating).

I woke pretty early - well, half-sixish - so my children have really got me well-trained. I'm going to be an early riser for the rest of my life, I bet. After all those somnabulent years of lazing in my pit 'til midday.

Ah well, at least I shall be revenged. In their teens I shall burst into their rooms, throw open their curtains to inform them loudly and enthusiastically that they're missing the best part of the day! I already do that to M sometimes. :D Mwhahahaha.

I had a really good time being relatively free for 24 hours, although I kept thinking there was something missing. Not enough nappies or chasing or mum-mum-mum-mum-mum. And I particularly enjoyed the idea of M taking on my role without respite from my parents, since they are away still. Mwhahahaha, again. Not but what he's a good dad and husband, but it's just nice for him to see that my life isn't all sitting on the PC blogging rubbish. :D

The journey home had a few annoyances. The platform number wasn't given until 5 minutes before we were due to leave. Other trains had platform notices for ages, but ours?! Oh no. :D So it was a case of a flood of people trying to race each other.

I got onto the train in carriage E as my ticket said 21a E or something like that. But that seat was unreserved. I sat in it anyway, since it had no bit of paper sticking out of it. A perfectionist lady was trying to find the exact seat on her ticket, but although she had found the seat numbered on her ticket, the piece of paper stuck out of it said something different to the actual one imprinted on the seat itself. This caused her a great deal of consternation, and she stood in the aisle debating the wisdom of seeking out a piece of paper with her details on it, or whether to sit on that seat. She blocked the gangway for ages while she considered her options. About ten people were the victims of her indecision.

Once the train started, I changed carriages, seeking a forward facing seat so I could read. I settled in another carriage, that had lots of space and started on my lovely book again.

As we chugged along an announcement was made to the effect that the steward had walked down the train and seen many a bag taking up a seat. Dire warnings were issued, where he told us that the next station was expected to be filling our train and that when he walked down again, he would charge anyone with a bag on a seat for an additional single fare! I took heed, but unnecessarily, since hardly anyone actually got on at the next station.

I understand why it would be bothersome to staff, that people take up seats unreasonably, when there are perfectly good luggage racks. I just felt most naughty and wrist-slapped by the way he talked. As I suppose I should, being a heinous bag-on-seat-erer. :D

A pair of young women were sitting behind me, and talking loudly in strong regional accents, which made me feel at home. But one of them had a dreadful cough, reminiscent of the character from the Fast Show who cannot get through a sentence without spluttering, hacking and coughing himself into choking. At first I felt sorry for her, but after a couple of hours I wished for my nail-gun again. Or a jar of honey to ram down her throat!

M and the children were waiting for me, and that was lovely - the children virtually rugby-tackled me and seemed so pleased to see me. S had made me a card telling me how much she missed me. Aww.

1 comment:

Abby said...

Lovely! Glad to know you got back safely. I loved the Bond film. My hubby went to see it on Sunday night and he loved it, too. I think I could happily see it again. Shame we never got to the pub, hubby said if we had walked towards his old house there would have been some quieter pubs, but "me not know!" as I never go out a-pubbing and a-clubbing of a Saturday evening so it's another world to me. I'm glad you liked the novel, I'm trying to think how to make the baby a more sympathetic character. It's good to have some feedback. (But nothing negative!!!!) Loved your "spoiler" in invisible text. Witchcraft, I tell you!