Thursday, February 16, 2012

Banana on toast

My favourite time of day is between 8am and 11.15am. I can deal with the day from 7am if absolutely neccessary but any time before 7am is liable to make me depressed and anxious. Similarly, the hours between noon and 5pm can go and fuck themselves, as can any time after 11pm at night.

Similarly I love breakfast. Love, love, love. I could eat breakfast all day long. I go through great phrases of clinging loyalty to certain sorts of breakfast. For example, when I was on the Atkins diet I made myself bacon and eggs (no toast) every single morning. Then I decided that Just Right cereal was the thing. Then there was a couple of years when I would have marmalade on sourdough, every day. Then my weight-loss museli phase. Then for a while when Kitty was very small I would breakfast on Sudocrem and high anxiety. And now, with the smell of spring in the air and sunshine around the corner, I have seized upon bananas on toast and hot chocolate as being the very thing.

Meanwhile, let me tell you a really weird story. About four years ago I knew, very briefly, a girl called Olivia. We met at a bizarre dinner party, set up for the amusement of a Bajan millionaire, at which Olivia was pre-told to leave at 9.15pm so's to encourage everyone else to fuck off, too. But it didn't work and all that happened was that I hung about at the party for another hour, irritated that the only normal person had left. Then we met again at an annual Christmas party, where we stood in a corner and fell into the cautious but basically easy chatter of two redheads talking to each other.

(I often avoid other redheads. The best way I can explain it is because they know too much.)

She is the kind of redhead I so wish I was, is Olivia. Tall, slim, pale, with blue eyes and long elegant fingers. I have the ruddy cheeks of a farmer's son, a fat bum and the stumpy, picked-at dwarf-hands of a labourer. Not neccesssarily in a bad way - it has its merits and it's just a type - I just often wish I was the other type.

Anyway, the following year at the same Christmas party I looked around hopefully for Olivia. I asked people: where is she? Not there, not anywhere. She then published her debut novel, (an absolutely terrific book called The Trouble With Alice), and wrote an enigmatic piece in The Spectator. I emailed the email address she had divulged to me at the first Christmas party. Where was she? Was she alright? The email bounced back.

Then, 18 months later, as I was slumped over my iPad the other night there was an email - from Olivia. She had seen my blog. How was I? She, too, lives in North London. I emailed back, clumsily, from my iPad, in high fever. Where the hell had she been? We had much to talk about. We made a date for coffee.

The next day, Valentine's Day, in the midst of re-reading The Trouble With Alice, my head full of it all, I took a bus to Oxford Circus from Kentish Town. I looked up and down the street - surely Olivia would come pedalling past on her bicycle - it was that sort of day.

But she didn't. I ran my errands in town and turned down Maddox Street, in search of a Ryman's and there she was, after all, coming towards me. I was unsurprised about it, but still, it was the most amazing coincidence.

A lot of banana-eating goes on in Olivia's book, too. It is available on Kindle.

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