Number 11 and still counting

Posted by Jeni in LBC | 22 January 2009

Getting from here to Leicester Square is turning into a delightful game. The puzzle of London where all roads seem to lead to and from home.

All buses get me near to the Square and all tubes are mere moments away from somewhere.

This morning I set off early, having meditated and researched the programme, the weather was satisfactorily mild and the light perfect for an energetic stroll

I walked down to Battersea Bridge, over the river and right onto Cheyne Walk. The properties are resplendent. The kind of domiciles that American Romantic Comedies use to house Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

Builders carry in hand-made window-frames. Gardeners garden and the bronze statues in the courtyards look well-heeled even with their clothes off.

Past The Chelsea Physique Gardem, all damp in late winter, and past Gordon Ramseys gaff, lights a-blaring and crisp table covers even at 9.30 in the morning.

Royal Hospital Road towards Lindley's furniture emporium, past the Chelsea Pensioners pad, past the playing fields of posh schools. All of this running adjacent to the Kings Road and Sloane Square.

I decided to catch a different bus - a Number 11 - full of Afro-Carribbean women with big bums, bigger hats and even bigger bags. We got to Victoria Library, a change of driver, a change of heart as the lights went out. No anouncement just an assumption that we would all dismount. Which of course we did. Me with a smile, well I was early, the other women without, they were disgruntled and angry. All muttered under their breath as they squeezed out of their seats with their big bums, bags and bonnets, we all took our places on the number 11 behind. I refused to pay twice.

The bus was full of very noisy children, tourists, more baskets and gentlemen with their jackets off. The bus was hot.

We drove to Parliament Street. Big Ben chiming out 10.30. Down past Downing Street, through Trafalgar Square where I got off and walked past the National Portrait Gallery, towards Leicester Square and into Garfunkles for breakfast.

I had a 3 egg omelette, two thin slices of toast and butter and a cup of coffee lovingly made by two women from Eastern Europe. I read the paper and then stepped across the cobbles to LBC.

There's a Polish Man who waits for me, wants to talk to me, Looks me in the eyes asks for me by name and then says nothing when I tell him I don't know where I am or who I am.

Courtney cuddles me every morning. And tells me God loves me. he sits back down at his desk and I travel up to the 3rd floor.

JS worked the running order I discussed the Oscars, mid-wifery and Farmers Markets.

I walked out into the air at 4.00. Walked through the Square, past Eros and chirruping Japanese girls taking pictures of themselves on Sony cameras in front of the big red Sony sign.

Down onto Piccadilly, into the Japanse shop for 70p's worth of wasabi peas and then decision making. As the number 19 sped past me what should I do?

I walked. Down past The Haymarket, past Waterstones with the 5th view cafe, down towards to St. James when I had a brain wave. Bespoke hat shops, shirt shirts, gentlemens barbers, shoe shops and yacht shops, the expensively quaint part of Central London. I walked through arches as old as Royalty, into St. James Park. Buckingham Palace to my right and into Buckinham Palace Road. Over one street, over another and there I was at Victoria Station. I stood with a queue of other travellers until the 170 arrived. Got the last seat. A round Portugese man had his arm flung over the back of the seat I felt like I was his niece. Down the river, over Battersea Bridge and as I climbed off the little red bus I saw the lights go on in the flat.

It felt like a perfectly rounded day.

Jim was home before me, so it was good to walk into his arms as opposed to an empty flat.

I had 84 twitters - which means nothing to you, or me frankly, but makes me feel loved.

It's 18.20, I'm making supper then settling down to two hours of televisin and essay writing for/sorry/with B.

Who knows which way I'll go tomorrow, the world is literally my Oyster Card.

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

Comments

1. At January 23, 2009 9:57 AM Colin Jennings wrote:

Sounds like you had a very nice day yesterday, could actually feel, smell and walk it with you, very well done.

2. At January 23, 2009 3:46 PM Susan d'Artois wrote:

Hi Jeni, Had to say that you make me feel so homesick when I read about your various routes home, or to, work. They're wonderful descriptions. You make me want to be there!

Listen to you everyday at 8:00 am my time.

Susan, Westport, Ontario.

3. At January 23, 2009 4:04 PM karenKaren@leepublicity.co.uk wrote:

your doing very well with your blogs Good girl

4. At February 3, 2009 11:29 AM Martin and David in Johannesburg wrote:

Hello Jeni

I don't know if you remember but we were Martin and David in Brighton until we moved to South Africa towards the beginning of last year.

It has been a rollercoaster of a ride since. I'll spare you the gory details, but 5 weeks after I arrived, and David had flown back to the UK for a meeting, 3 guys broke into my home at 2am, tied me up, gagged me with my own clothes, beat me up with their guns, and stole everything from the house, along with both cars (luckily the majority of the shipping from the UK had been held up at customs at Durban and so was a day late, arriving the day after the attack). They tied my hands and my feet together behind me and left me suspended on a drying frame for a couple of hours before I was rescued by our guard. Our beautiful cat luckily hid from them and was unharmed thank God, but was absolutely traumatised. I ended up in hospital, but I'm fully recovered - and it all took place on my birthday! Welcome to South Africa indeed.

David flew back immediately, and we thought long and hard about our future, and I made the decision not to be shaken by this, and so we are still here (albeit in a different house, a beautiful place overlooking the Magaliesburg mountains from which you, and I, and David, and everyone reading your blog probably originated.

You see, we're all Africans, if you think about it, as the Magaliesburg is the cradle of humankind.

Which means the view from the breakfast room does rather make one think.

Anyway, I thought I'd let you know we're fine if wiser, and it looks like we'll be here for a little while yet. The weather is hot (but wet at the moment), the food is (relatively) cheap, and the wine is copious.

Maybe you'll put Croydon on a dvd so we can see you here? That would be great.

Take care

Martin and David - still in Johannesburg.

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