And for I believe only the second time since we had kids (practically four years) my wife and I have come away for a weekend (or most of it) without them. We weren't really celebrating anything in particular (though today I turned 51 and a half and it's more or less exactly 11 years since the two of us first sealed the deal).
We drove down to that there swanky London for a night in a posh hotel and a trip to the theatre. It didn’t come cheap, but we have been out so little recently that this was just like consolidating all of 2018’s missed nights out into one. And fuck it. These opportunities come along so rarely - basically on a par with the Olympics, that it’s nice just for one day to say ‘What the fuck?” and live a day like you’re someone who doesn’t even have to think about money. Luckily I am someone who can live a day like this - God knows what it would be like to be a person who could, without breaking into a sweat, stay in swanky hotels and fly first class. I broke into a sweat about every expense (thus taking the edge off living this life style for a day), but I guess that means that you enjoy this all the more. If this was your normality then I’m sure you’d take it for granted, but we certainly appreciated what we were getting. And with Brexit on the horizon it’s probably a good idea to spend all your money now and live like a king, because come April we’ll all be eating gruel and the complacent elite who dine and play in places like this will have been guillotined.
On the one occasion that I flew First Class on a plane (pretty much due to a series of mistakes - we were going out to Canada to do Just For Laughs and the production company fucked up on booking flights and this was the only direct one they could get) we were so overwhelmed and excited that the air steward clearly had fun with us and gave us free stuff to take away. I imagine mostly he had to deal with people who were used to the experience or affected weary disdain. First Class should be done by lottery and everyone should get a go at it. We’d all have so much more fun.
Anyway, the hotel was right in the centre of time and had a swanky spa and we decided to have lunch and dinner there too. I had shaved for the occasion, but my hair is longish at the moment. Part way through the meal a new waiter came to the table and said “How are you enjoying the meal, ladies?” I had my back to him, so it wasn’t as huge a diss at It could have been. He was, of course, more embarrassed than me. But it’s been a while since I’ve been mistaken for a woman. I told my wife that I Edinburgh a few years ago a homeless guy mistook me for being a homeless person (and to be fair I was wearing shabby clothes and looking unhappy and shambling around), so this wasn’t the worst things had got.
I have been eating pretty healthily this year and the richness of the food was almost too much for me. When I weighed in this morning I found I’d lost over 10lbs since the start of the year, but suspected that today would set me back a little. I couldn’t decide whether I’d have a drink or not- I haven’t consciously stopped, but I also haven’t had any alcohol in 2019 yet… in the end I decided not to jump off the wagon just yet.
We were out to have fun though, so I wasn’t filling in myfitnesspal. We went out to do some shopping and did a whole lot of walking. I realised that when I lived in London I did a a lot more walking than I do now. Even taking into the dog walking.
We came back to the hotel and went to the spa, but being the weekend it was a bit too full of people to properly enjoy and then when I came back to the changing room I found that my locker (with a swanky digital combo) wouldn’t open. I was putting in the code that I thought I’d entered, but the machine did not agree. So I had to trudge up two flights of stairs and ask someone to come and help me and it was a good 20 minutes of standing around in a gown and damp swimming trunks before they arrived. Meanwhile my wife was waiting for me I reception, wondering if I’d had a heart attack and died.
Even when I want to relax and take a break from comedy, my life continues to be a shitty sitcom,.
Finally I was released from my waiting Hell and I just grabbed all my clothes and made my way back upstairs with them in my arms, dropping my socks and my pants. Oh the indignity.
We then went to see True West at the Vaudeville, starring John Snow from of of Game of Thrones. He came and sat on stage before the play began as the audience milled in. I asked my wife if she thought he’d find it funny if I shouted “You know nothing, John Snow” at him. Surely he’d like to know that people appreciated his work. It was actually quite a challenge to stop myself, but sense prevailed. Though there was a good moment right at the end where I could have done it. I estimated that 4 people in the theatre would really laugh and that everyone else would be furious and that John Snow would break character from pretending to be an American writer and become regular John Snow and shout at me too.
So I didn’t do it.
He also looked quite like Bobby Ball, which was off putting.
I really enjoyed the first half of the play, but it goes a bit weird and surreal in the second half and I didn’t like it as much.
But we were just happy to be out and having some time away from the kids. As much as we missed them (not all that much- it’s just one night) the release from the content strain of parenting was liberating, even with people mistaking me for a woman and making me stand in my damp trunks for half an hour.
And what a night we had ahead of us too… the prospect of 12 hours uninterrupted sleep in a super comfy bed.
This 36 hour holiday from the awful reality that we’ve created for ourselves was worth ten times what it cost us. And the memory of what this country once had will keep us warm after Brexit and it’s all gone.