Saturday, 6th May.
Is the Royal Family avoiding Ian?
You all know how I attract them. Charmari and I were walking to Fulham
Broadway station when I heard shouting from the other side of the street.
I looked across, but nothing seemed to be happening.
More shouting, I looked across and a bloke with wild eyes was looking at me.
I had no idea what was going on (not unusual). This bloke then bounds across
the road and confronts me:
"I heard what you said!" I was dumbstruck. In front of me was a tall
black bloke with sheer anger in his eyes. "Don't think I didn't!"
My jaw dropped. "I ain't afraid of the white man!" He was dead serious.
He was standing about a metre-and-a-half away from me.
"So don't call me boy! I ain't afraid of the white man. Don't call me boy!"
I looked at Charmari. She looked as stunned as I did. "I ain't afraid!"
I stood still, didn't say a word. He threw a few more obscenities at me,
then turned and walked away. We stood still, completely unable to comprehend
what had just happened.
"Let's just let him get ahead of us," I suggested.
"Don't mind him, he lives around the corner from me," said a short woman
passing by, "he's on medication, and sometimes he doesn't take it. He hears
voices. Even when he does take the medication it does things to his head."
A surreal start to the day. We took the tube to the city, and commenced some
First stop Picadilly Circus. A stroll along Regent Street, and we found a
little arcade. All the shops in the arcade sold clothes for the rich and
completely loaded. Old money, that is. Tweed, sensible shoes, cardigans, all
that. Fancy a weekend at the country house? We could pop the kids into the
Range Rover, and have lunch at Ashley and Andrea's place.
After lunch at that English institution, Burger King (hey, it's cheap and
both of us are on a budget), we ambled around Leicester Square and then headed
for Nelson's Column. The portrait painters were out in force at Trafalgar Square,
and Charmari made the mistake of making eye contact with one of them. We were
badgered by this woman flat out. She would not leave us alone. We'd try to
walk away and she'd catch up with us. And just when we thought we'd shaken her
off, ther she was again, insisting on doing Charmari's portrait. A great flock
of pigeons were swirling around the square, some perching on tourists outstretched
arms. We skirted around the pigeons, watching the pigeons poop on the outstretched
arms of the tourists. Through the flock came the portrait painter "I do nice
portrait, only ten pounds!" I shook my head in disbelief.
She only stopped when we left for the Strand.
Then over Waterloo Bridge, along the embankment past the ruddy great ferris
wheel and over Westminster Bridge to the houses of parliament and Big Ben.
The lawn in the shade of Westminster Abbey was a welcome sight, after hours of
walking in the surprisingly warm London sun. We
flopped down on the grass and watched busloads of tourists
get whisked past the abbey at an alarming rate, people on the upper deck
spinning round as they pass by, desperate for a glimpse of the Abbey about two
seconds after they had screamed past the houses of parliament.
Just as we were preparing to leave, we noticed a couple of well-dressed
blokes outside St Margaret's (the little church next to the Abbey). A crowd of
tourists were gathering, waiting for the bride and groom to exit the church.
Strange behaviour. By the time the bride and groom made it out, there would
have been about 150 tourists of various nationalities gathered around. Some
were taking photos, and when the bride and groom kissed there was a hearty round of
applause. A mentally unbalanced man abusing me at random made more sense to me
than all this! Eventually I convinced Charmari that we could go, and that the
bride and groom wouldn't miss us because they didn't know us anyway.
(I'm such a boy.)
Down Whitehall, past Downing Street, and through St James Park towards
Buckingham Palace. The royal ensign wasn't flying above the palace, which
meant that Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip weren't in. I'm sure they're
avoiding me now. I leave for England, they go to Australia. I go to
Windsor Castle, then Buck House, they're not there. It's a bit rude.