Mr. & Mrs. B's Night Up West.

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 24 October 2007

Mr.& Mrs.B. go out for a date.

They spend 100 on tickets to go to the theatre in the West End. Its a very nice theatre with lots of famous people in the audience and a cast of exemplary actors. Mrs.B. averts her eyes as one of her favourite critics walks in. She is too shy to talk to him and hides herself in a box of Maltesers. She sucks so many of the little chocolate covered balls that the skin on the roof of her mouth peels off whilst her blood sugar level explodes. Mr.B accuses her of being greedy and a lily-livered coward for not talking to the critic. 'We're in for an interesting evening' muses Mrs.B.

They take their seats in the stalls. Row 'K'. Mrs.B. tuts as she notices that the binoculars on the back of the seat in front of her cost 50p as opposed to 20p. This is turning into a very expensive jaunt she thinks.

The show hasn't begun yet but poor old Mrs.B. is beginning to feel the effects of the Vietnamese meal they had before the show. The MSG has coagulated in her belly with the honeycomby balls.

'We could be in for a long night,' ponders Mrs.B.

The Vietnamese Restaurant is reminiscent of a seedy joint Mr.& Mrs.B frequented, some years back in Amsterdam. The memory of the dirty light switch, grubby white plates and Anne Frank play on Mrs.B's mind.

'I hope this isn't one of those evenings.' Mrs.B says to herself.

In the event, the Vietnamese meal is fine, the waiter friendly and the bill reasonable. Our happy couple wander off to find a bar to fill 45 minutes before seeing the play.

London is cold.

Mr.& Mrs.B find a warm, cheery pub off Dean Street. The hostelry is full of television screens, Japanese businessmen and a drunken actor who has spent the last 40 years wearing masks and warts on 'Dr. Who'. He offers Mr.B. a drink. Mr.B. declines and orders himself half a pint of ale. The pump isn't working. Mr.B. orders himself a different half pint of ale. The pump isn't working. Mr.B. strikes lucky with his third choice, he does not buy 'Dr.Who' a drink but does supply Mrs. B. with a glass of tap water.

'Wednesday night in Soho isn't the most salubrious of locations.' sighs Mrs.B.

The play begins at 7.45. The theatre is hot. The heating's on probably for the first time this year. The first act lasts 35 minutes.

'It works out over 50p a minute for the ticket.' calculates Mr.B.

Mr.& Mrs.B remain seated during the interval. Having devoured one complete box of Maltesers they now both feel slightly queasy.

The second half begins - 45 minutes of well executed acting. Mrs.B. nods off and on. Mr.B. nods off and on. They do not nod off and on together. Their independent snoozing means that they can justify having seen the whole play.

They leave the theatre. The rush of cold air snaps them both awake. Mrs.B fancies she has the beginnings of a viral attack. The extreme change of temperature leads Mrs.B to seriously believe she has just contracted typhoid on the pavement of Shaftesbury Avenue.

Our blissful couple cross the road to the bus stop. Mrs.B. has an 'Oyster' card. Mr.B. does not. A taxi passes. Mrs.B. expresses an interest in hailing it. Mr.B. does not. A second taxi passes.

'If the bloody bus doesn't come within five minutes I'm taking a cab' threatens Mrs.B. 'Alright, you go in a taxi and I'll go on the bus,' suggests Mr.B. Silence.

One minute later the Number 19 apppears. Mrs.B. steps up to the driver and whacks her 'Oyster' card up against the sensor. Mrs.B. runs upstairs the better to see London at night. But where's Mr.B? Mrs.B. runs downstairs. The bus drives off. Mrs.B. lurches upstairs. Mrs.B. trips downstairs. Mrs.B. takes out her mobile telephone and dials Mr.B's number.

'Where the b*+#~y 'ell are you?' enquires Mrs.B

The driver tells Mr.B. to get off the bus and buy a ticket from the machine at the bus stop. As Mr.B steps off the No.19 the cannny London bus driver, just for sport, closes the doors, drives off, and leaves Mr.B standing outside a Chinese supermarket as his wife disappears into the night.

'I knew I should have taken the taxi.' moans Mrs.B.

In the seat in front of Mrs.B. sits a man in a grey suit, white shirt, black brogues, flashy blue and white striped tie and fancy watch. He looks like a lawyer on vacation. He has been drinking; he hiccups all the way up the Kings Road.

Across the aisle from Mrs.B. sits a well-groomed theatre goer with the very same programme from the very same play that Mrs.B has just seen. They discuss the evenings performance, the writing and the acting until Mrs.B. fesses up that she has slept through 85 quids' worth of West End brilliance. The well groomed theatre goer gets off at the charity shop by the cinema.

Mrs.B. alights at Battersea Bridge, calls California on her mobile to confirm the fires have not consumed her chum in La La land as Mr.B's no 19 comes into view. She hangs up pretty damn quick!. Mr.B & Mrs.B walk home together. Mr.B. laughs at the scenario. Mrs.B. most certainly does not.

Mrs.B changes into her dressing gown and doses herself up with enough Gelsemium to kill off the other virus that she says she's caught from listening to a radio programme about the polluted Thames.

Mr.B.has a glass of red wine.

Mrs.B. is going to bed. Mr.B. is watching a documentary about the first motorway in Britain, the Preston Bypass.

Mrs.B. remembers a card she has in the bureau back in Sussex.


Mrs.B.rests her case, and her weary head.

ttfn cul8tr

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes


1. At October 25, 2007 12:06 PM Libby wrote:

Awwww that was like Listen with Mother except I was laughing out loud
lots of love
Marmite Girl xx

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.