I was ripped unceremoniously from London yesterday morning, early. I am sitting in my new city of habitation, Berlin, and thinking about my last days in a city that gave me everything I needed but for too short a time. I tried to write this blog post yesterday, but kept tearing up every time I even looked at my computer. I am in a much better mindspace today (yesterday I was getting by on 2 hours sleep, and the previous day had started drinking at 11am).
I finished working at Highbury Vintners on the 18th of March. My last week there was sad but positive – my favourite customers all wished me the best of luck, and Sean and Gillian (the owners) took all of us out to a fabulous steak restaurant as a going away party. Since then, I have had 5 or so weeks of unemployment, which was probably dumb, but Fuck It. It was totally worth it.
Some highlights of my time off:
1. A few beery nights out with my beer geek friend Sean. He worked at Highbury for a while then went off to work at a shop specializing in beer. We had a ‘fine beer night’ at his house where we tried all these crazy ass beers (all more than 10 pounds a bottle) and had food and specially matched cheeses. The highlight for me was a Japanese Ale that tasted (to me) like coconut and shells, with just a hint of hazelnutty butteryness. There was also a German smoked beer, which tasted like drinking a campfire. We also went on a London wide pub crawl on which I got pretty smashed. That night we had Ethiopian for dinner which was so good – no utensils, you can only eat with your hands. We finished the night at a blues bar in Soho called Ain’t Nothin’ But which was having a blues jam. Very cool.
2. Game of Thrones. The Walking Dead. New Girl. Netflix.
3. Kurt’s house had a party for which the theme was ‘Come Fly With Me’. Kurt, Jack and Kurt’s flatmate Marty had all dressed up as Village People-esque baggage handlers complete with short shorts, dirty mo’s and fake tan. We got smashed and danced all night long. When I got home at stupid o’clock (after witnessing a drunk Asian girl and a chavvy homeless lady have a hilarious argument), it was due to be my first night of airbed living, and I popped the fucking thing. So I slept on a rapidly deflating airbed thinking that it wouldn’t be too bad if I went to sleep before it deflated completely. And then I got up to pee and realised that no, that wouldn’t do, as my neck had attempted to realign itself in the last half hour. So I had to steal the couch cushions to sleep on.
3. I ticked things off my London Bucket List (all of them eating things): Dinner at Bodines (I should say meat injection at Bodines), a Sunday Pub Lunch on Easter Sunday. I had a lovely picnic in Hampstead Heath, my favourite Heath! I visited the Tate Modern again to see the Kusama exhibition and the Damien Hirst exhibition, and went to Southbank to see Jeremy Deller and David Shrigley’s exhibitions. All of these were fantastic. I had one last brick lane curry, one last huge Turkish meal (ok, 4 last huge Turkish meals), 100 last pints in all of my favourite pubs. I rode down the Mall from Buckingham Palace and through St James Park on a Boris Bike.
4. My very last day was the best. I stayed the night at Cle’s and we got up early to let the Sky man in. We had eggs for breakfast then went to meet Kurt and Jack for Brunch at the Empress of India in Victoria Park Village for a second breakfast and a few sneaky glasses of prosecco. A teary farewell at the tube station and then off to Shepherds Bush for cream tea that Shelley had prepared which was so awesome – scones warm from the oven, strawberries, other fun England cakes and a glass of bubb-I mean tea. We were having so much fun that the tea turned into an impromptu barbeque when the boys came home/over. I was supposed to be staying the night at Shelley’s so everyone had to be shooed home at about midnight. And we were all doing ok until Sarah started to cry and then everyone started to cry. So there were tears and hugs and then I got no sleep and I had to get up at 4 to get to Heathrow to get to Germany.
It has been an outstanding 2 years in London, a time of my life that I wouldn’t change a second of. I love that the people who followed me over here did (you say you came of your own account? Pfft.) and I have made so many friends that I can’t even stand it. I’m sure I’ll be back soon, and who knows what might happen.
Watch this space for my new Berlin Blog…