Venetia Thompson contends with a broken Blackberry, teeth-whitening kits and cyclists
Last weekend I discovered what it is like to be a small furry animal in its burrow, when in an effort to catch up on some sleep and do some work, I had refused to go out and instead sat steadfast in my living-room. I was subsequently hissed at through the window and then smoked out when a tramp decided to set fire to himself and my rubbish under the building late one night while banging maniacally on my bedroom window. Whether it was that same mischievous Romanian tramp Sarah Standing was troubled by last week I do not know, but I wouldn’t be surprised as Ebury Street is well within staggering distance. Thankfully the Met Police’s response time was superman fast. When I questioned their speediness I was told that they were never far away and to call anytime. How reassuring.
I have been a bit of a closet fan of the Met ever since a few years ago, unable to find a black cab, I hailed a police van in a gin-soaked hysterical rage, following a lovers’ tiff on Regent Street at 4 a.m. I bundled myself into the back of the van to find six of London’s finest grinning at me. They kindly delivered me home, even checking that there was someone else in the flat in case I did anything silly. Surely if they can placate hysterical angry blondes, they can handle anything.
The following evening, my flatmate and I threw a dinner party for a few close friends. With only ten minutes before our guests were due to arrive, I was still fighting with two rotisserie chickens, hair soaking wet and wearing nothing but a towel. My flatmate chose this moment to emerge from her bedroom, shaking, having spent the last four hours on the phone to an astrologer who I can only assume had told her that the world was going to end. I wonder whether he stipulated that his services were ‘for entertainment only’ as the new law now demands that he must. I am not sure how entertaining it was, but her panic-stricken face certainly caused a bit of a stir over dinner.
Monday was largely occupied by the temporary demise of my BlackBerry. It slowly lost the ability to function until it finally flatlined; much like I did when I discovered that none of my emails were coming through. Whenever I finally master a gadget it generally lets me down. After months of continuously getting lost due to my total lack of sense of direction, someone taught me how to use the Google Maps application. And now it wouldn’t load and I was right back to being lost, walking around in circles, always late and missing some appointments all together. At around 4 p.m. it miraculously regained consciousness, but by then it was too late. I would never trust it again. And so my python Smythson diary has been resurrected, taking pride of place alongside a new A to Z.
This week saw my first teeth-whitening effort, in an attempt to combat the effects of my espresso habit, which was going well until I reached for the bleach after one too many drinks. The focus required to apply the bleach ‘sparingly’ to the transparent retainer using the syringe was a little too much for me to handle. Twelve hours later I emerged from a deep sleep to find that I had rendered myself incapable of eating or drinking anything that wasn’t room temperature for a few days; a shame at the start of frappuccino season.
I can’t ride a bicycle and I have no desire or need to learn. They scare me; mainly because I never seem to hear or see them until they are on top of me, and recently they have been haunting me more than usual. On Tuesday I narrowly avoided death by cyclist when one jumped a red light and knocked me flying into the path of a Range Rover. Then, at dinner, my pro-bicycling companion — dare I say ‘date’ — embarked upon a ten-minute rant attempting to convince me of the error of my bike-hating ways, culminating in an offer to teach me. He then ordered his fillet steak ‘medium. No actually make that medium-well. Venetia, rare meat is so bad for you.’ This was followed by a sorbet, and then a latte. He helpfully expressed concern that my double espresso might keep me up all night. These pedal-pushing, medium-well-done, milk-swilling men seem to be everywhere these days. I blame the congestion charge.
Thursday began with a sartorial dilemma, passed through a friend’s birthday in Soho where Martin Sherman was guest of honour, and ended with an ill-fated trip to E5. My friend David had been wanting to wear his Vivienne Westwood T-shirt for a long time, but the graphic image of two naked cowboys on the front had so far required that he proceed with caution. The birthday party provided the perfect opportunity, and the T-shirt was met with unanimous approval. I visited my friend’s new flat in Clapton, having dropped David and his cowboys safely home. I think it will be a while before Clapton becomes the new Hackney, but the estate that I pottered through had many positive signs; an abundance of brand new BMWs and Audis, well maintained flower beds, and no visible gangs of youths. However, what these car owners fail to realise is that nothing lets an estate down more than stepping out of one’s brand new Lexus, into a lift with an unmistakable hint of urine, and a flat smaller and cheaper than your car. But, as I realised while schlepping through Aldgate the following morning in nothing but leggings and a vest trying to find a Tube station (the A to Z wouldn’t fit inside my clutch and I was damned if I was consulting that fiend of a BlackBerry) — as long as you are spending more time cruising around than you are at home, you’re on to a winner. In fact why bother with the estate at all; live in the Lexus.