I don’t remember exactly why I was late for work on Wednesday morning but I think it was a combination of waiting an entire epoch for a bus in Stratford followed by a very long delay just outside St James’ Park tube station on the District Line – of all the rotten luck. This, for some reason, triggered a chain reaction which completely rearranged my typical schedule and made for a more interesting day.

First of all, instead of heading to lunch at 12(ish), I deferred it until after 1pm and as I hadn’t brought food with me, took myself down to the GMH refectory and had a salad. It was a very crude salad (mainly as the catering providers think salads should consist of cucumber, tomato, lettuce, coleslaw, beetroot and NOTHING ELSE) but you can pile your plate as high as you want for £3.79 so I can’t complain too much. And H happened to be having his lunch at the same time so we were able to have an ad hoc catch-up & general bitching session.

After lunch was the typical walk and I headed south east rather than south west. Half way round my walk I saw David Blunkett out and about in Archbishop’s Park; talking with whomever it was he was walking with about his upcoming announcement to fight for VAT to be removed from dog food. And everyone I mentioned it to made the crap joke “ah but did he see you”. Groaned once at the first utterance of the line, glared each and every other time it was said.

The rest of the afternoon continued unabated but as I felt the urge to clear my desk for the twenty-four hours I was not going to be here, I remained in the office until 6.30pm. No matter whether you’re off for a day, a week or a month, there is an unwritten rule in my office that there mustn’t be anything outstanding before you have any form of time off. I was compiling emails and information requests which have mostly been fulfilled and are contributing to a massively full inbox this morning. And I felt the urge to go…south east again after work much to my general amusement and pleasure.

I wanted to go for a longer walk after work, not least as my lunchtime stroll was truncated owing to time factors. My plan was to go all the way to Tottenham Court Road after wandering around Waterloo & Vauxhall but I felt the urge for a pit stop in the Griffin, winning £6 on the quiz machine in the process and then realised time was dragging so getting home was the priority, via Sainsburys so that I could buy ingredients for tomorrow dinner party. There was an embarrassing incident when I noticed that the tub of ricotta cheese had leaked and left a trail of white cheese behind me as if I were a 1.75 metre tall slug. However, I managed to get everything that I needed to and struggled with my bags home, playing more Dragon Quest IX in the process.

Once I got in, it was eat, bathe, get irate at some bourgeoisie types on one of those house renovation programmes the Doctor enjoys (I didn’t just get irate, I wanted to go down to Clapham to strangle them) and step out the house to XXL. Yes – as I was off, I indeed decided to go out clubbing and to see XXL in its new home.

Most people have described XXL’s new location as “cavernous” which I have to agree with. It’s under the viaduct by Blackfriars Bridge which is taller than the arches at London Bridge. Therefore the ceilings are higher and deliver a better sound acoustic – or at least would if due care and attention were paid. The club is a good size, at least on Wednesday though the lack of space in the bar area means that people prop themselves up on the bar and it’d difficult to maintain who’s queuing and who’s just hogging space, sucking up the oxygen.

I noted the lack of general décor and what fixtures and furnishings were there were definitely of the mobile type. I think a club definitely benefits from permanency rather than the temporary as its fewer things that have to be set up and taken down. And I miss the lasers, at least in the main arch. It was also odd to have had to walk through the darkroom to get to the loos but they were nicer and cleaner than the older set though the tap water remained frustratingly slow.

All in all, it looks to have been a good move for the club – if they can build on their legacy and what they have put together then it should have enhanced longevity. Did I mention I pulled?

Yeah – left at 3, got home for 4.30 after trying to find a bus stop that is serviced by a Liverpool Street bound bus (and had to walk to London Bridge to do so) and passed out right away. Woke up when my alarm went off and happily rolled over going back to sleep, ‘cos that’s what days off are all about. Finally dragged myself up three hours later despite remaining wedded to my duvet as I had a full day’s cleaning and cooking ahead of me.

Started off with the white chocolate cheesecake which was abandoned a quarter of the way through the recipe when I needed to pop out for a forgotten ingredient and then half way through when I realised I neglected to pick up the cream. But persevere I did and it was chilling nicely in the freezer by 1pm. Then onto the cleaning – washing up, floors, surfaces, tablecloth, laundry – quick bit of lunch, a bath and then onto the main meal. The mushrooms for the salad were marinated in a mustard dressing for a couple of hours and the Moussaka was carefully cobbled together. Once complete, I moved on to the pigs in a blanket, making the peanut butter/mustard innards and cooking the chipolatas before wrapping them all up together and baking it in the oven.

Christian & Stephen arrived at this point and they supped gin whilst I prepared cocktails (and I’m now out of Gordons, Voddie and almost out of Bombay…) They were followed by the Doctor; t’other Stephen arrived about an hour after that. We ate, we drank, we chatted, we watched “Satan, Darling” (an episode of Roseanne) and ate had liquor chocolates. A successful evening only marred by the sheer amount of washing up that needed to be completed afterwards which made Everest look like a molehill. Ok, marred is too harsh a verb but it was rather disturbing to see how much cleaning was required.

It’s been rather encouraging and will spur me on in putting together more of the same. Perhaps I should consider one for next month; I dunno, let’s let the dust settle first. In the meanwhile, I’ve got a busy weekend ahead and another quiet week at work to look forward to. Then it’s Jubilee fortnight and closely behind that, some sort of event at the end of July/much of August.

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