Brian and I set off hard into the world in the morning. I’m planning an adventure for a stranger and I’m dry running it on the right day of the weekend. I’m glad I took the precaution.

We started in Primrose Hill, having a little constitutional walk before breakfast. Then to Stables Market before it gets crazy – through the secret entrance. Then to a vegetarian breakfast place, My Village, which I love and which opens at 10:30. According to the website. But it’s closed when we get there at 10:40. It’s a beautiful morning. Brian and I are, as a result of my stubbornness, still waiting outside at 11:10 drinking someone else’s coffee when the owner shows up. He lets himself in without acknowledging us beyond a “hello” and emerges twenty minutes later. I collar him. “It’s staffing issues”, apparently. “It always happens on weekends.” “Do you think it’ll still be happening in two weeks.” “Yes. Yes I do. It always happens.” Brian gets a bus home without breakfast. Sorry brother. I go to my plan B breakfast – Heaven, where Inspiral used to be. The kitchen ain’t as good and I’m alone now. I have an acceptable breakfast. After that I check My Village and it’s still not open at 12:15 although the guy is very cheerfully there now telling me it’ll be open at half past. I go to Hampstead on the tube rethinking.

I revisit and consider much beauty in Hampstead. There’s one “secret” place that is now strangely crowded with Instagrauds who are so busy documenting false lives they aren’t experiencing real ones. It must’ve cropped up on a “top ten secret places” list. Bugger. Anyway it’s on the way to The Spaniard for lunch, which I love despite the prices but which has never been a place I associated with vegetarian food or food in general. Haunted, yes. Beautiful, yes. But I was told by a self styled fussy vegetarian on my Facebook that it’s good for veggies. It’s not. She must be very forgiving. I can’t recommend that shit to anyone. They have the lipservice single option per course and the main is a mushroom tart that actively reminded me of school dinner. And the rest of the food is Wetherspoonsish at thrice the priceĀ  Ugh.

Wiping it from my beard I went to a place close by that I also love and watched all the happy people eating glorious food surrounded by natural beauty and knew how to rejig things. I’m going to start her day with breakfast there I think. It’s beautiful. And reliable. And after it can be a gradual crawl south.

Anyway, now I’m chilling with Mel. Next Saturday I’m going to give a written itinerary for the whole day to a willing victim, and see how they cope and what they think. Then I can tweak and sort before I finally send it to the client. I’ll probably do a spot of geocaching for it too and hide some nice things that have no value for her to find. Yeah I don’t need to go to such lengths. But I enjoy it. I don’t like doing things by halves and I’m a massive geek.

Then, because I was considering Highgate Cemetery, Mel and I broke in after hours. It’s too far for me to put it on the list for the client, but we immediately found Karl Marx’s extremely ostentatious grave. Surely he is revolving inside that massive temple to MARX. He’ll be spinning like a drill bit. Way to undermine him, to make a huge shrine. A very understanding security guard walked us out after catching us, and on the way out I was distracted by the number “42” on a stone.


Douglas Adams. My first and strongest writing influence. I didn’t know he was there. Done with notes, I left my pen with him during my eviction, and even got a photo. So long. And thanks for all the fish.


Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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