This used to happen the whole time, but since all the pandemic misery it’s a rarity. “I’m passing by your flat after work. Fancy a pint?”
The advantage of living on a pretty major thoroughfare is that people pass by the flat reasonably often. The disadvantage is that they are either in an Uber so they can’t stop, or they’re driving so they can’t drin or park. I occasionally wave out the window as people go by. This time though, Tristan was driving but it was after half six. Free parking time. One pint? Why the hell not?
Tristan and I went to The Rose and Crown in Chelsea. It’s a basic pub, but it used to have the best Thai food for miles. We both went in the hopes that the food was still available, but it turns out the chef finally retired just before the first lockdown. Good timing. Not for us. So… we just had a pint.
We sat outside. We joined a solitary guy at a table. Remember pubs? You meet people. I’ve met a few folks in pubs over the years and kept them. We joined Robert this time, as he was sitting alone. He’s partially sighted and works as an extra / playwright / cyberneticist. He opened by telling us about the website StarNow, which connects people to acting jobs, even though the name they’ve chosen makes me uncomfortable about the thinking behind it. Neither Tristan nor I told him we were actors, but he wanted to talk about our industry so we let him. Within ten minutes he was showing us a short verse play he had written, using his thumbs as actors, speaking his verse very clearly and well, in his element “Thank God it wasn’t doggerel,” Tristan commented later. It was only a couple of minutes long, set in WW1 and present day, echoing a short snatch of Kipling. “I’ve written a play about my life and how I lost my sight,” he continued. He has a white stick, and a tiny amount of vision in his right eye. He’s covered a lot of ground in his life, has our Simon. From what I’ve known of him on a brief acquaintance it will be good writing. An interesting character to meet in a pub in Chelsea. I haven’t had that for years.
Robert’s mum rang though, so Tristan and I made excuses and moved to a recently vacated seat indoors to give him his space. We only had a limited amount of time to catch up, so catch up we did, nursing our beer as the light fell, sad about the fact there is no more Thai at The Rose and Crown.
And dammit, I never remember to take photos until it’s too late. Here’s one of my house plants. They’re all thriving but one, which got missed out from the water rounds for the whole time I was away and which sadly I think is not salvageable…