Time to pair up.
I cannot afford the luxury of the locomotive anymore, so this week I embarked upon a 3 hour journey to London on the glittering jewel that is the Megabus.
This process is not as dire as one may think, but there is a certain element of screaming children, Jeremy-Kyle-esque mamas, and half-stoned travellers along the way. One inevitable ritual is that of being placed with your ‘Megabus buddy’. There is no choice involved here: you sit down, and pray there are enough seats for all the passengers without one having to sit next to you. Alas, this was not my fate for my lonesome journey.
Barely minutes after I had seated myself, spreading my possessions far and wide to repel strangers, along came my fateful nemesis. I immediately understood two things: he was single, and he ate a lot of chips. Upon asking me if he could sit down, I automatically reverted to the mindset of an angry teen, and proceeded to huff and sigh with a look of delirious hatred on my face, whilst I begrudgingly moved my things onto my lap.
Having done this, I immediately felt terrible, and spent the rest of the journey smiling vividly at him every time he glanced in my direction. I looked incredibly psychopathic and consequently, by the end of the journey, he alighted the bus without so much as a backwards glance at our car-crash of a friendship.
I had lost a potential friend, but gained wonderfully in personal space.
Anyway, the reason I travelled to London was to visit my friend Hattie, and also to attend a talk in Holland Park in Kensington. It was part of the Words in the Park festival, where Sophie Dahl and Mary McCartney discussed their love of food and writing, and it was glorious. I spent the afternoon rambling through Chelsea, admiring the pompous peacocks in the park, and visiting various tea shops.
I particularly loved the talk, because they emphasised the importance of nostalgia and memory in food and writing, but Sophie said one of the main reasons for writing her book was as a response to the incessant questions about her fluctuating weight.
‘There’s something about having a huge table heaving with food that’s very British’ – Sophie Dahl
After the talk finished, Sophie and Mary greeted their fans with a booksigning, and I took the opportunity to buy her latest cookbook, From Season to Season, which I had previously been unable to justify buying with a student budget, a vast majority of which already goes on fortnightly Gruyere for extravagant recipes. However, I obviously couldn’t turn down a signed copy, so I was overjoyed at being practically forced to purchase it.
I also had a lovely chat with Sophie, who was divine.
I chose to spend late afternoon in the balmy streets of Covent Garden. I was hoping to find the headquarters of New Covent Garden Soup, but I gave up when I suddenly saw the wonderful James Bowen and his cat Bob, who I’d seen on This Morning when I was in bed with the boyfriend and a cup of coffee, realising how middle-aged we’d become.
Anyway, he signed a copy of his book for me, and he was just lovely.