Just sitting in my jammies in a London cafe.
I can’t remember exactly how long ago it was but roughly ten or so years back my Pops asked me to accompany him to a musical in the West End; the amazing We Will Rock You by Ben Elton, using the music of Queen. This was a dream come true as I adore musicals and theatre and it involved an overnight stay in a London hotel to boot so I was never likely to turn it down and it was well worth going that’s for sure.
As anyone who has seen the musical will know, the story is gripping and funny, thought-provoking and relevant, even now. If you haven’t had the chance to see it, I would certainly recommend you do. The show, whilst absolutely amazing for sure, wasn’t the most memorable experience of the trip however and today’s pic reminds me so much of the best memory I have of those few days. It is so reminiscent of the view I had on the last night.
You see, I’m a smoker (I know!) and I’m also an insomniac too. And as such hotels and I don’t really get on too well under normal circumstances as I can’t smoke indoors so have been known to wander in and out of whichever door will let me, all night long. Some places don’t mind, others let me have access codes, others try to make it as difficult as possible and even lock doors! (Which I find purely childish, to say the least, and only makes my insomnia worse by making me feel trapped.)
This one hotel, however, had the coolest doorman I have ever met. Mid to late 40’s and a great sense of humour, he stood sentry on their main doors all night long and never once made a comment on the number of times I went out for a smoke, just had a laugh and a joke about life in general, but never at my expense; even when I went out for the 7th time of the night. (Never a good night outside of my own bed.) He held the door for me every time and was never away from the post, which I commended.
On my final trip out of the night, at roughly 4am, I was bored of standing behind the bins down the hotel’s alley and decided (wrongly and rightly,) that I would be safe enough at this time of the night to go for a wander around the block. I say safe, not in the sense that I was fearful of people wanting to hurt me, no. I was fearful of people seeing me in my jammies as I hadn’t bothered to get dressed since trip outside number two; I hadn’t seen the need and indeed, didn’t when I decided to take a stroll either!
I was so surprised when I rounded the corner of the little side street the hotel was on to find a street cafe set up and serving; people standing in line waiting for their coffee. Some looking fresh-faced and just risen and others looking like it was the end of their day. I was flummoxed. It hadn’t even occurred to me that the city never sleeps, that traders trade at all hours and London City is always open somewhere.
I had luckily chosen to keep my hotel key card in my wallet and in my dressing gown pocket, meaning I had cash on me for the priciest coffee I have ever ordered but in all honesty, I would pay that and more again for the experience that came with it. As I sat on the furthest table away from the crowds, sipping my coffee and marvelling at the sheer numbers of people at this small place, at this small hour, I noticed a guy with a guitar sit at the table next to me and start to play.
He drew a crowd of people in second, all pulling up chairs and listening to him play. A woman joined in and started to sing along and a talented guy started beatboxing too. It was surreal but utterly amazing to experience. When the song ended and the majority of the crowd moved away, a few of the more flamboyant people stayed and we talked politics and world peace, arts, history, cosmology and more till the sun came up. It was a magical night, that’s for sure.
The doorman diligently held the door for me when I returned to the hotel, he never once questioned where I’d been or for so long and he never mentioned it to my Pops either when he overheard Dad ask me why I looked so tired as we were leaving. The guy was a true professional and rounded off the most perfect evening just perfectly!
A few rules from the creator.
And a word from me!
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