Well. That went kind of ok. Shortly after I posted yesterday about deciding I should be a responsible parent by taking my daughter to an awards ceremony in London, we went off to catch the train. And that was about the last thing that went to plan. In short, Rose wandered into a drugs deal by the gasworks in Bethnal Green, and me and my mate Cheryl got slightly tipsy in a gay bar.
The trouble started when we got to Euston and decided to get a No 10 bus to Oxford Circus, for no other reason than I like double decker buses, and that OC is on the central line, which you need if you want to take the Tube to Bethnal Green (get on with it, ed).
Of course, once on Oxford Street we had to do a bit of shopping, and soon, instead of being impossibly early, Rose was now going to have to get a move on if she was going to get to the ceremony on time. She was so self-possessed and confident that, in the end, I agreed that instead of taking her all the way, we’d take her to Bond Street, and she could do the last bit of the journey on her own.
I showed her the Tube map. ‘Look, here’s the line you’ll be travelling on…’ I said rather diffidently, because I was having trouble making it out myself.
‘For God’s sake,’ she interrupted. ‘I can read a map. Central Line, right? Going East?’
‘Right,’ and with a kiss and a wave she was disappearing down the escalator.
Cheryl and I wandered off, deciding to head for Soho and get a Chinese meal. Via the shops, of course. It was only after we had finished chatting up some impossibly good looking bloke who was selling handbags, that I realised my phone was going off. I couldn’t find it in my bag. Then Cheryl’s started going off. It was Rose. They had closed the station and told everybody to get out because two trains had broken down. She was lost and panicking that she wouldn’t get to the do.
So off we schlepped, miles back down Oxford Street in the sweaty gritty heat; scooped up Rose, took her to Oxford Circus, pushed through the impossible crowds at the Tube station, and got on to the train with her, amid dire warning of delays and breakdowns.
She was quite happy then, so we got off after one stop, at Tottenham Court Road, leaving Rose to do the rest on her own. Whereupon we promptly got lost. The place is in chaos at the moment. Everywhere round Centre Point is being knocked down or boarded up, and we seemed to wander for miles without finding anywhere to eat (and, as time went by, eat quickly) so we went to a pub off Soho Square. And very nice it was too; full of gorgeous, beautifully dressed men, with TV screens showing cute Youtube videos of playful cats. More importantly the pub served excellent ice-cold Czech lager, which was just what we needed.
A very smart guy in a suit leant across the table next to ours, looked longingly into the eyes of the young man opposite and said, ‘I’m very sensitive, you know.’ Which is the kind of line that immediately makes you think exactly the opposite, but hey, they left together. The beer was so nice we had another….thought about having another and then realised that we ought to apply some self-discipline if we were going to get Rose, and left, with just enough time to get some food from a hot dog stand, which was surprisingly good.
Rose then rang to say she was leaving the do by taxi, and would meet us shortly. So much for us acting like hawk-eyed chaperones every inch of the way. But she met up with us no problem at Tottenham Court Road, hauling an enormous goody bag. She had missed out on the award for best teen blogger but was in really high spirits. She had networked like mad, including buttonholing the editor of Company magazine (‘She has the same shoes as me, mum!’) and other important media types about an internship for the summer.
It was only much later, when we were on the train home, that she confessed she had got lost outside Bethnal Green Tube, and that some nice American girl had pointed her in the right direction (God Bless America!) and that when she was nearing the venue, she practically walked into two guys doing a little business involving a plastic bag and ready cash, who both looked up and saw her watching. At which point she did the sensible thing and scuttled off, luckily finding the entrance round the next corner.
So, although I’m still calming down from that piece of information, everything did work out OK. Rose got a little more street-wise, I was on hand when she really needed me, I had a drink with an old friend, and we saw some nice videos with cats.
Plus, we didn’t miss the train home.