Regular readers will know that I’ve got a car. Damn I love it. Which is just as well because despite the relatively small initial price, my insurance is punitive – they know I’m an actor. Plus it’s a jaguar.
“You don’t need a car in London” is the piece of received wisdom I hear most frequently. No. You don’t. But you need a car to impulsively get out of London at short notice. Or a motorbike. But I can play old nineties compact discs in a car. And carry loads of random shit.
Last time I came to Margate on a Sunday it took me 4 hours and it still cost me about £30. There was a rail replacement bus that wasn’t there and then eventually arrived brimming with racist children, to the extent that by the time I got to Margate I wanted to burn everyone and couldn’t because it was raining and I had no petrol.
This time I just jumped in the Jag. I listened to KLF and The Prodigy as I came out of London, which no matter what your music taste sounds like is better than the conversation on that Thanet bus. I stopped briefly in a service station to talk to a telephone man about money. Then I murdered the miles to Margate. There was sun on the beach. I ate roast lamb by the seaside in a little pub next to Dreamland. I once helped shoot a promo in the street outside where I was munching. As I ate I could see the exact spot where I had stood shivering at 3am holding a reflector and wishing I could be warm and happy. There’s something there about wishes and time. My wish came true. But it was slow. I took advantage of my comfort though, and filled my fat face with dead baby sheep.
And then we did that thing where you just sit around in one place because we can’t really walk far as a group and we don’t want to sit inside. Three or maybe four generations on the edge of the beach. I’ve intruded on a family gathering. I’ve been invited, but I see now it’s because I bring wild card. People who haven’t seen each other for ages sit and watch the child rub ice cream in his face. The child is 2. He likes ice cream. He isn’t a great shot yet though so most of it ended up on his face. The rest of it got covered in sand. That great swathe of sand down Margate sea front, surprisingly free of litter today, still edging into sunshine despite autumn bluster. There are still a few weeks left to us perhaps before the claws of winter descend and all the plumbers earn their whole year’s keep fixing our exploding boilers as we crank up the heating to 11. I go for a walk while I can, testing out my internet boots. It’s not long enough to judge. But for £34.99 what could possibly go wrong? All my toes are still attached. We are relaxing with a glass of wine. I’m thrilled it’s so easy to get out of town. And it’ll be no more than £30 petrol despite the hunger of the Jag, to be on this beach.