When you wake up on a Saturday with nothing planned, what do you do?
I like to follow my feet. I go somewhere specific and then just see where they take me. After passing by Allpress Coffee in Shoreditch on the first bank holiday Monday of April only to find it closed, all I could think about since was getting some of this coffee. So after waking this morning and having a much-needed and long-overdue Skype chat with my sister, that was where I headed. I caught the train, dodged the Oh, it’s Saturday! Let’s go to London, darling! crowd of SW home-county-ers at Waterloo and hopped on the 26 bus bound for Hackney Wick.
I find this bus infinitely amusing, as it travels across Waterloo Bridge, past the Royal Courts of Justice, along Fleet Street and by St Paul’s Cathedral. I usually sit on the upper deck, as this means I get to stare out at the open-top double-decker Original Tour of London buses and gape at the tourists.
As the bus trundled by Bank, it occurred to me that I could have just got on the Waterloo and City line and hailed the 26 bus from there, probably cutting nigh-on 20 minutes from my travel time, but that would mean I’d’ve missed out on the pack of young, urban black men that got on the bus at Millennium Bridge and filled the entire back area of the previously quiet upper deck. Because, you know, that’s what you do – you sit at the back of the bus cuz you a gangstah.
The bus made its way by Liverpool Street and I got off in Shoreditch.
I moseyed around, pulled out some cash and made my way toward Redchurch Street. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was ready for it.
Allpress was bustling with East-London types, but the people behind the counter were emphatically not-East-London types. I found this a bit strange, but refreshing. I took a peek at the single-estate beans and ordered a Sumatran drip, found a seat at the bar and took out my book.
On a side note, I’m reading American Psycho. I thought I’d probably end up hating it because of the graphic depictions of violence against women, but I’m actually quite enjoying it. It’s just a pitch-perfect satire of 1980s New York City that it’s hilarious. As I sat at the coffee bar catching uncomfortable glimpses of myself in the mirror across the back wall, I realised that I couldn’t help but smile as I was reading. And I realised that I probably looked like a pretentious tit reading her pretentious novel at a pretentious coffee shop in pretentious Shoreditch.
Oh well. The coffee was delicious.
I finished, went to the loo, left the café.
I didn’t know where I was going. I walked down Brick Lane – wasn’t feeling it. I walked over to Commercial Street, up to Old Street, over toward Clerkenwell. I took a left and made my way toward the Barbican (my favourite place in London) and hung a right toward Smithfield Market and Farringdon (my second favourite place in London).
I made it this far, I figured I may as well keep going to the Seven Dials in Covent Garden. I needed to pick some things up from Space NK Apothecary, anyway. My feet were beginning to rub uncomfortably in my Chucks, but succumbing to sore feet is for sissies.
I kept walking.
Made some purchases.
I decided I was so close to Soho that I might as well go for some bubble tea at Bubbleology. I cut through Old Compton Street. And a storefront window filled with booze distracted me. Yes, I’d passed by Gerry’s. I perused the spirits and thought, “My life would be much better with some Sailor Jerry”, so I went inside. And bought some. I was also given a shot of some sort of caramel vodka on the spot gratis. I’m not usually a flavoured-spirit kind of person, but I never look a liquor horse in the mouth.
Back on track, I made it to Bubbleology.
I am a girl who loves some squishy balls in her mouth. It’s true.
Up Berwick Street, past the porn shops and into Fitzrovia. I’ve been meaning to find my old nail technician who used to be on Charlotte Street, but as I walked by her old shop, I noticed it most certainly was not the same. She’d gone. I remembered her saying something about moving to Warren Street, so – in vain – I tried to seek her out. I admitted defeat to both my failed manicure attempts and my sore feet, and hopped on the Victoria line bound for SW London. I picked up the train at Vauxhall and made it safely back to Wandsworth Town. That is, barring the creepy man who walked silently behind me no matter how fast or slow I set my pace all the way back to my flat. I detoured into an off-license to shake him off. Here I was thinking that Wandsworth was dull, boring and safe…
An eventful day.
And now I’m watching rugby on TV. Mostly because there’s absolutely nothing else on. I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s a lot of hunky, muscular guy-on-guy action happening. It’s like a cross between football and American football, but with no padding and super-fit men wearing tiny shorts. I think I can get behind this sport.