Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Remember, remember, the salt and vinegar

It has just past midnight now. Antony is mellowly singing Swanlights into my ears. The flutes and the violins beneath the noise cancelling headphones are overrid by the sound of fireworks setting off in the background, for the Guy Fawkes' Night. British are blowing things up to celebrate an event that avoided the blowing up of the Parliament, as a friend noted wittily.

There is a bitter chill -- it is just a couple of degrees above freezing temperature, but it is kind of warm inside me. A young couple walk past me towards the pub at the junction of St. John Street and Percival Street. The girl is drunk. I wonder what she thought when she saw the wedding gowns on display at the fashion store next to the pub, as she held tight on to the arms of the tall boy. By tall, I mean British standard. By short, I would mean myself.

I am dragging my good, old road companion, the red Raleigh bicycle. Four and a half years on and it has not let me down. It is in such poor condition that noone bothers to steal it, or parts thereof. It is in such decent condition that I happily ride it as the wind blows through my hair and the lack thereof and next to. I hope I did not jynx the good fortunes of my Raleigh and me.

It is a rather bizarre coincidence but as I was leaving the building I work in, I ran into a student that is in the Master's programme affiliated with our centre, the programme I completed in 2008. We walked up Kingsway and a bit of Theobald's Road before she turned into Lamb's Conduit Street towards her direction home. She told me she is from Raleigh, North Carolina. I only realised this coincidence as I type these.

So, I stopped at the corner of Central Street, to see if I get a glimpse of any firework excitement. I was hoping for a few drunken fireworks that would skirt around the Barbican and the Shard in the background. I wouldn't mind if it hit the construction of the Walkie Talkie, as long as it does not harm any workers that may be on site now, physically and economically, that is. Much to my avail, the festivities of the night already stopped and the ugly Walkie Talkie gets away with it this time. The notorius British safety rules and regulations must have come to its help.

All I want is a box of chips with salt and vinegar right now. Well, and an Old Fashioned would do nicely, too. I gues I will give the local fried chicken store its long awaited chance -- the shop owner won't be too happy when I go only for fries, I don't know how the chicken will feel. And at home, we've got some new whiskey. I think it is blended Scotch, and it will be a waste to substitute for a bourbon, but who can tell the difference when stuffed in their mouth with chips with salt and vinegar?

A delivery truck just drove by and dropped a large white box. The driver made a 360 turn, metres ahead and came back to pick it up. It must be a valuable piece -- shame I was too slow to investigate further. I am always slow in cutting corners short. But, well I better cut the next corner soon, before my fingers and toes freeze, and before the fellow chickens close for the night. At least, by now, my flatmate must be asleep, so he won't mind my greasy fingers on his whiskey bottle. Cheers to him!