I sit in the back and watch the meter increasing by 20 pence every few seconds. Once we’ve hit a pound extra, I start to get a bit annoyed. Apart from the fact that I am tired, slightly drunk and full and want to get to bed and go to sleep, this extra cost is unnecessary.
Of course, I realise (have always realised) that F is slightly crazy.
I have been up since 5 a.m. which, in reality, as we’re now in the UK, was 4 a.m. It’s now about 1 a.m. the following morning and I’ve had about 10 minutes sleep in the afternoon. Plus we’ve been travelling, plus we saw the concert. I am exhausted. And now he wants to go travelling all around London in search of some stupid guy!
But, let’s back up a bit.
When we arrived at Gatwick, we took a train, as suggested, to London Bridge station. It was then 4 stops on the Northern Line to get to our friend’s flat, where we are staying.
On arrival at London Bridge, we both agreed that a full-English breakfast would be perfect. So, we stopped off in All Bar One, at London Bridge for breakfast. They do a special deal between Monday and Friday to do breakfast with a hot drink for £8. And, with the hot drinks come a small glass of smarties! Anyway, it was good, all of it.
But, because that was about 10.30 a.m., we really weren’t hungry for the rest of the day. We had planned to have something to eat before the concert but, still, we didn’t feel hungry. After the concert, which finished just before 11 p.m., we went hunting for food. Unfortunately, there was almost nothing open around Hammersmith – even the pubs were closing – so I suggested going to Covent Garden or Leicester Square as there had to be something open there.
We chose Covent Garden and went to Balthazar where, F said, the burgers were fantastic. I suppose we arrived about 11.30. We both had cheeseburgers and fries and it was, as F had said, fantastic. The waitress was Italian. She seemed displeased that F spoke to her in Italian. F said it was probably because she wanted to speak English. We also had a beer. But I had had several before the concert and I was, by then, very, very tired, so the extra one just made me feel a little drunk.
We paid and left. Covent Garden station was closed so I suggested getting a taxi as I knew Islington wasn’t that far.
We hailed a taxi. When we got in, F immediately found a wallet, left by a previous customer. He spoke to the cab driver who suggested that it belonged to the guys that he had just dropped off at a hotel.
“We have to go there!” F stated.
It was the Euston Hotel which was, sort of, on our way. F informed the driver that, obviously, for our good deed, we should get a discount. We checked the wallet and there was a driving licence in there. The guy was from York in Yorkshire.
The cab pulled up outside the hotel and F went running in, leaving the door open. It wasn’t cold. I toyed with the idea of standing outside to have a cigarette or, after a few minutes of watching the taxi meter clocking up 20 pence at a time, of going into the hotel and dragging F out.
Instead, he comes bounding out of the hotel and back into the cab, as excited as a little child.
“They’ve already left the hotel,” he enthused. “We have to go to a police station,” he continued.
My heart sank. The taxi driver said that he had only just dropped them off. For me that meant that they were going home (possibly by train) and had gone to the hotel just to pick up their cases. F and the cab driver were chatting about possibilities. I didn’t get involved. I wonder what had happened to the old world, where the cabbies took these things to a central place – a Lost and Found for cabs. I know that used to be the case. I guess now we live in a different world.
We arrive at Islington Police Station. F suggests that I carry on to the flat and he’ll come later. I didn’t want to leave him alone in London. Although he had lived there for a number of years, when we were getting ready to leave for the concert, he asked what he should take for ID. I explained that he didn’t need ID in the UK and, so, didn’t need anything. But, still, I didn’t like the idea of him being “alone” without ID.
Instead, I said, that, as it wasn’t far to the flat (well, I hoped that), I’d get out with him and we’d walk.
He went into the police station whilst I paid the driver who did, in the end, knock £1.50 off. Before the driver could leave, F is back saying the the police officer needed the driver’s details. The driver gave them to F and F goes running back in. I finish my cigarette and go in, just as he has finished. I ask the police woman where we have to go and it is, as I had hoped, quite close.
“I didn’t have to give my details?,” F said to me as we were walking back. I was a bit tired to query it. But he was happy as he felt he had done something really good. Bless.
Even the taxi driver had been bemused by his enthusiasm to return the wallet or, failing that, go to a police station to hand it in.