Friday, 19 March 2010

The day after the party

It’s the day after The Mango Orchard launch party. My head is aching in places that only tequila can reach. It’s not ideal timing, but I have to get up to go to a friend’s birthday bash in the Lord Nelson, a laid-back gastro pub somewhere near Camden, but nowhere near any public transport links.

I decide to get out of bed and walk in the bright sunshine, walk myself out of a hangover. I love London in the sun. The man at the fruit stall is whistling, women with enormous sunglasses drive Jeep convertibles, hemp bags of groceries and daffodils in the passenger seat. I sit in the sun outside a coffee shop, luxuriating in the warmth on my face. I turn over and realise I am still in bed.

The phone rings but I ignore it. Okay, okay, I’m on my way. I jump in the shower and I walk a while but realise I’m never going to make it for the end of the meal, let alone the beginning, so I hail a black cab.

I hurriedly write my friend’s birthday card outside the pub, leaning on a table where a woman is smoking roll-ups, sitting with an implausibly fluffy rabbit, and rush in.

I sup a glass of water, wincing at the clatter of cutlery and crockery, until my friend, whose birthday it is, opens a bottle of champagne. The phone rings as I’m handed a glass. I ignore it again and allow my hangover to fizz and then fade away.

It’s several hours later and I arrive home. Music or telly? I still haven’t decided when the phone rings again. This time I answer. It’s Juanita. With timing that is entirely consistent with her character, she has flown into the country to come to the party a full twenty four hours late.

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