There is a special place in my heart for Brick Lane having experienced it for the first time last night. When I’m in London I must look like the biggest out of towner going as I gawp boggle eyed, fly catching mouth wide open at the tall shiny buildings with my wallet and phone in my hand navigating using Google maps. It just screams “Hey! Come mug me! I’m distracted by my reflection and the giant dildo looking building and I even have my possessions out so you don’t need to root through my bag!”. Duh. Sensible isn’t it.
My lush friend JudyJFace said to me that whenever I come to London I end up having crazy experiences that most people would have in a couple of months all within a 24 hour timeframe. My sojourn to Brick Lane was no exception.
On the train to London and I realise that I need a number one quite badly so I hop up to go and brave the train toilet. No dice. The carriage doors won’t open so I am left pawing at the glass lovingly staring at the toilet I can see just the other side of the glass. Macho Dad passenger pipes up, “You alright?”, I shamefully have to admit (to the entire carriage of eavesdroppers) that I could reallllllly do with a pee but the doors won’t open. Macho Dad takes this as an affront to his masculinity so between me pushing the button and blushing and him wrenching the door open with a manly grunt I escape to the freedom of the toilet carriage. I had never used a train loo before and was in paroxysms of fear that the door would roll open and the world would see me sat on the bog or worse, hopping around trying to pull my pants up over my lily white arse. Only one thing for it – I took my coat off and draped it over my knees to protect my modesty (and their eyesight just in case).
So I arrive at Victoria and I’m pootling around on the tube. This little Northern lady gets on and asks me if she can hold on to me as she can’t reach any handles. So far so normal and I being a lovely sort offer her my arm which she looks at and disregards before PUTTING HER ARMS ROUND MY WAIST… Errr what?! Momentarily chuffed by the fact she could FIT her arms round me it then dawned on me how bizarre it was that I was basically wearing this woman like a backpack on the Central Line. Add to that the fact I was carrying a small cardboard box that made me look like a potential bomber so I was grinning at people and trying to reassure them psychically that it was a mug inside and not some C4 and all was not right with the world. I glanced down and noticed my address label pointing towards the people in the carriage so hastily I turned the box round, not because I was worried about people knowing where I lived but so that the anti terrorism squad wouldn’t rock up at my door unannounced.
Arrived at Liverpool Street okay, still with Blackberry and wallet in hand and looking puzzled as I tried to fathom where the fuck I was and where the fuck I was headed when this woman approached. She looked like a bit of a smack rat but her opening gambit was “I’m not a murderer, drunk or a weirdo” so of course I instantly accepted her into my circle of trust, gave her my phone number and we’re now bestest best friends. Actually she then started to spew garbage about something to do with her boyfriend and how she needed £3.80 and as a woman I’d be likely to understand. I very politely said I didn’t have any cash (I actually didn’t!) but mentalface mcloonyson didn’t like that and started ranting at me until I whimpered “I’m not FROM here, I don’t live in London” and bimbled off.
Further and further I wandered in to this magical kingdom of new sights, smells and sounds and I found it pretty overwhelming like I was in a film. I kept expecting to see two men crossing the road with a pane of glass and a lorry of chickens crashing into a watermelon stand. Coming across a cluttered pavement and a jam packed road I was slowly and patiently walking behind the crowds (you can tell I’m not a Londoner right?!) and to my credit only took about five minutes to realise I had managed to get myself joined on to a Jack the Ripper tour…
On Brick Lane I saw more police, both City and the Met and more PCSO’s than I’ve ever seen in my life so I was on red alert that something heinous could happen at any second and that was why there were so many bobbies on the beat. I zipped up my man suit and started doing my best ‘I know where I’m going and I’m a strong, confident woman, honest’ walk when a voice piped up,
“‘Scuse me Madam, you look lost can I give you this?” A PCSO handed me a leaflet about unlicenced taxis which I gratefully pocketed. “Would you like an attack alarm?” He offered. Well never one to turn down free stuff, especially when it’s free stuff that makes noise I almost bit his arm off to pocket that little badboy which meant I completely overlooked the fact that I was in an unknown neighbourhood and someone in authority felt I needed to arm myself against attack. Good thing I was so chuffed about my little present or I might actually have soiled myself right there on the street.
I reached my destination and had a wonderful night with brilliant friends, much laughter, many anecdotes and hopefully, thanks to the talent of a photographer friend, some photos of me where I don’t look like a warthog.
The time came to leave and being a little bit tipsy I decided it probably wasn’t the time to start putting my attack alarm together in case I set it off and so in my infinite Fruli based wisdom I decided were I to get attacked that my strategy would be to wave the box in my attacker’s face whilst shouting “Attack! Attack! Attack!”. Let’s just thank our lucky stars that I wasn’t on my own having to fend for myself shall we?