It seems incumbent upon me to bring my readers up to date with the events of the last three months, although very little has happened in the majority of it. The Ugly One and I went to Asturias for a wedding and had a very relaxing time, despite the fact that most negotiations in restaurants were carried out by the long held tradition of pointing at the menu and saying ‘para dos’ while simultaneously holding up two fingers.
Until last Thursday life was rather calm and idyllic. I’ve been painting portraits of people I know, staying up late watching ‘Boston Legal’ and focusing my binoculars on the shirtless crane-operator high above Westfield, sitting alone in his cabin in his cut-off denim shorts.
Westfield, as most people cannot fail to know, is the new mega-mall situated on the site of the White City Olympic Village.
It opened last Thursday, with something of a splash, and a celebrity omen.
Some years back, the UO and I lived in a bedsit near Shepherds Bush Roundabout where we had to share a toilet with two large South Africans and a Kiwi couple.
Directly upstairs was a grumpy gentleman who looked a little like Mr Filch from Harry Potter. Mr Filch complained that our TV was too loud. We duly turned it down in the interests of good neighbourliness. Mr Filch complained again, and we invited him in to demonstrate the volume, which was as low as we could go without having to employ ear-trumpets.
Mr Filch was not placated and, the next morning, decided to place his radio face down on his floor (i.e. our ceiling) and blast us with Radio 2 at five o’clock in the morning. The UO was not amused by this and threatened to put Mr Filch’s radio in a place where Terry Wogan might be somewhat more muffled. Mr Filch moved out shortly afterwards.
Thursday morning, I settled down with my coffee to watch the morning news on which a reporter was interviewing Shepherds Bush residents to get their views on the opening of Westfield.
Without any warning, the face of Mr Filch appeared, spread across my screen like an evil wrinkled logo.
‘We don’t want it here!’ said Mr Filch. ‘They should have put it outside the city somewhere where it won’t bother nobody.’
It’s nice to know that the years have mellowed him.
Still in shock from this vision of the past I stumbled onto the train and sat down, only to find myself looking straight into the gormless face of Boris Johnson, on his way to the Westfield opening ceremony. Boris gave me one of those bland political smiles. I pretended not to know who he was and returned to reading ‘The Kraken Wakes’.
I can’t see that an encounter with Boris, celebrity omen though it was, could portend anything but doom.