Full day

Up in the morning and I’m immediately into a van and driving around Stourbridge looking for a Studio. I’ve booked a taxi to pick me up immediately after drop off, and it is the first step in a long chain of connections that I cannot miss if I’m going to get to Plumstead on time.

Drop off is smooth and the cabby is early. He’s lively, and he’s excited about the cricket today. Pakistan is playing Australia. Unfortunately, looking at the result as I write, it didn’t go his way. But we have a good natter as he floors it through the A roads outside Birmingham and into the city centre. He’s angry about the Low Emission Zone in central Birmingham, and well he should be – it’s atrociously signposted. I suspect everybody gets fined the first time.

I get my train to Euston. The guy across from me has a fake ticket and ends up in long conversation with a very measured guard. He ends up paying top whack for a single and I find myself feeling sorry for him but helpless. Rail fares are too high. He tried to save and it cost him.

From Euston I bundle into the Northern Line and only realise after one stop that I’m on the wrong branch. I’m heading to London Bridge via Charing Cross. Thankfully it’s all running smoothly and I just go all the way to Waterloo and then Jubilee two stops. Whether or not I hate being on the tube right now, I still know the network. I get my train to Plumstead in plenty of time. I’m even early enough to walk from the station and I arrive at work with no food but with ten minutes to spare.

Straight in and on duty for a clear hour and then back on all the trains until I’m almost all the way home, dreaming of the food I’m going to eat and the rest I’m going to have. And then I remember that I’ve got two tickets to Kush Jumbo’s Hamlet at The Young Vic. No time for food. Great. Damn.

Uber to the theatre and to the box office to collect my tickets. Ready for three hours of tragedy when my phone goes bing. “Where are you?” Fuck. I’ve got a read-through for Christmas Carol. On Zoom. Now. I give my plus one ticket to my plus one. “I’ll see you in the interval”. A friend of mine lives local to Waterloo. “Help! Can I use your front room. I’ve got a read-through and I forgot about it.” Thankfully I can.

No charger though. I’m reading the play with my screen off where possible, watching the last of my battery dwindle, trying to come across well under tricky circumstances. I hate zoom read-throughs. We finish. It’s lovely, somehow. I put my empty phone in my pocket and hightail it back to the Vic. I am let into the back just in time to hear Ophelia saying “what a noble mind is here oerthrown”. And all my busy busy rushy day vanishes. After the interval I get to watch the second half in amazing seats that my friend bought over two years ago. The duel at the end makes more sense than I’ve ever seen it. Hamlet is considered great for a reason. There’s so much to find in it. I allow a committed and skillful company to tell me their version of that knotty play. It’s great and surpisingly underattended. We don’t have to fight to get served in the interval. We easily find a table and quickly catch up afterwards. But I’m tired and I can’t hide it. My friend puts me in an uber. I get home.

I’m too tired to eat now. I had pret porridge on the train this morning. I’m gonna go to sleep hungry and probably wake up famished.

A full day today. Tomorrow less so. Phew.

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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