an overdue re-acquaintance

We met on Argyle Street in the rain, and amongst the sea of dull black umbrellas I could spy S's red tartan one a mile off.

My red umbrella by Annette Mangseth

Down Carnaby Street we trundled, avoiding the puddles and the hordes of tourists who looked as though they were thoroughly enjoying the unpredictable British weather, until we reached our destination: Patisserie Valerie. Assuming it would be packed full of people escaping the rain, we were pleasantly surprised when we had a selection of tables to choose from, and decided upon one in the centre, strategically facing away from the gateaux.

Unfortunately, due to our various ailments, neither of us could investigate the delectable-looking cakes, so we satisfied ourselves with more sensible options - quiche for the lady and scrambled eggs for me. Sitting in our damp clothes, with rolled-up trouser legs and wet umbrellas at our feet, we had a proper catch up. It felt completely natural and easy chatting away, relaying all the events of the year so far, despite the time we'd spent apart. It's pretty incredible when you can be so far away from someone for so long, and yet still click right back into place when you do finally see them again. It was lovely, and we both felt comfortable in the situation (which is weird since we both find social interaction a little difficult), and it made me feel a lot better about all this stuff.

Our hunger satisfied, we walked back towards Liberty, stopping by the boutiques in Kingly Court (finding it something of a challenge walking past Candy Cakes without going inside for a closer inspection) and the splendidly colourful and alluring shops on Carnaby Street.

In all my years of living in London, I'd never actually been to Liberty until today - the Mock Tudor fa├žade seemed a little too opulent for my simple tastes - but had I known earlier that the store was partly built using timber from two ships (HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan in case you were wondering) I would probably have gone there long ago! Back in April there was a television programme about Liberty on BBC2 in which a bunch of designers, some stereotypically comical and eccentric, attempted to sell their work to the Liberty buying team. The show didn't necessarily portray the buyers terribly well, but since watching it I have been hoping for a chance to glimpse inside the lush interior. I was not disappointed. The stationery room alone was enough to make me a very happy girl indeed. But then, stationery is somewhat an obsession of mine.

We left the temptation of the store after having had a nice long browse, and after adding many of the items we'd seen to our mental Christmas Lists (it's not too early to start thinking about Christmas, right?). Unsure of where we actually wanted to go, we just walked and talked and all of a sudden found ourselves at Piccadilly Circus. As neither of us are keen on large groups of people we removed ourselves from there with haste and nearly got driven into by a motorcyclist outside Trafalgar Square station. Clinging to each other in alarm we decided it was high time we had some more tea.

The day went ever so quickly, as days of re-familiarisation often do, but I'm so glad that we did it - it had been way too long. Instead of keeping people away, it's even more important at the moment that I get back to the place where I used to be. It's friends like those, who even after months apart are the ones who you feel most comfortable with, who are the ones you need to keep around.

Just in case you're reading this, I thought I should let you know:

4 hellos:

Anonymous said...

What a lovely blog, you have excellent taste :)

Thanks so much for including my print, I feel honored to be among such other great works!

Anonymous said...

Later on this year I'm meeting up with someone who used to be my best friend, who I still consider to be my best friend even though we haven't properly talked in over 4 years - just because I don't think I've found an adequate replacement yet.

Every time we see each other it's just like old times... but it's been a long time this time. I've missed her and when I've reached out she hasn't been there. I've had a lot of support from friends here but... you can't replace old friends, can you? Nothing makes up for the amount of time you spent together growing up. Hmm.

Vixie said...

You're welcome, Deirdre, and thank you!

I think that's very true, though it's hard to reconnect after so long. A few years ago I got back in contact with my best friend from when I was 13, that was weird but lovely, and it made me believe that some people are just meant to be in your life.

Siobhan said...

Reconnecting was ace xx

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