C. rang to say he was on his way. Trafalgar Square seemed as good a place to meet as any. Sit and contemplate. Bright, loud and full of laughter. Children (and adults) climbing on the lions and the base of Nelson's Column; perching on the edge of the fountains for photos. Chasing pigeons. I positioned myself on the far side near the newly unveiled Alison Lapper Pregnant statue. The fourth plinth.
I wondered what comments I would hear. With the exception of one woman who, from her accent clearly hailed from northern climes, exclaimed 'It looks like a man', all remarks were favourable and generated some interesting conversations between well to do parents and their children. Others appeared not even to have noticed it.
Through Admiralty Arch and on into St James's Park. A duck was honking very loudly at a seagull. I quite liked the idea that he might be telling him to sod back off to the coast where he came from.
Once C. had bought his new trainers and shorts (Run and Become. Would recommend it to all. You can try on as many pairs as you like and then go and run around in the arcade outside), we retired to the Albert in Victoria. From there to the Two Brewers in Monmouth Street and a Chinese restaurant in Lisle Street.
What a painful scene on the table next to us. A young East London Indian, his girlfriend – late thirties Hampstead liberal with a face ravaged by either drink or drugs - and her precocious daughter aged about seven (named after an American state). They clearly didn't have two pennies to rub together and did nothing but squabble. 'You're not even my dad. You're the wrong colour' turned to tears when mum said he wouldn't be staying the night. 'Why not? I want him too' with a stamp of the foot. I was trying to work out how to pay without offending them and C. swinging for me. (£12). Having a nightcap elsewhere C. said if he'd been on his own he would have offered to pay...
Thanks to my cry of 'RUN' at 21.04 we managed to charge up the stairs at Fenchurch Street and onto the 21.05. I spent the ensuing 15 minutes to Barking trying to get my breath back. A lovely day.