Monday, October 30, 2006

Conf: 264: Ladybird Ladybird

In Marylebone High Street yesterday, daughter and I decided to stop awhile for the luncheon hour. I am too mean/broke to use the restaurants bulging onto the streets everywhere with Italian smells, sunglasses and tiny dogs - what is it with this tiny dogs thing? Lots of strange-looking pushchairs, too. Anyway I spotted a pub with drastic, tall, spindly chairs and pink rattan beach umbrellas just right for a 12 yr old, so I parked daughter on stilted chair and ventured inside to order our drinks and retrieve menu. It seemed quite pleasant inside, only one tiny dog, a brown mongrel, which was more medium sized. Its owner had decided it'd do, however, and was hauling and heaving the thing around under one arm.

And so I went to the relatively empty bar and waited to be served. And waited. And waited. And watched the 3 bar staff move around behind the bar in a bar staff like way. Which reminded me of fascinating Zoe Williams piece in Saturday's Grauniad where she dresses up as an 82 year old and sees what it's like to be invisible.

So there I was, not 32 but not 82 either, waiting and waiting and reaching manic explosion point. Instead, Australian bloke next to me and I called a truce in the eye contact me next war and joined forces, hissing and huffing together, marvelling at how 3 people could look so preoccupied with doing nothing. This made me feel better, because it wasn't only me. He then said he was going to lean over and pour his own. That got them and he was served immediately. Then a poodle dog woman without the poodle dog sauntered up and I knew the barman was going to go to her next and so I got very old lady-ish and barked two cokes at him as he turned to serve her. BRRRR! Then it turned out the food took 40 minutes. 'Do you sell crisps?' 'Only lobster flavour.' (Honest.) And so we nipped over the road and bought Walker's salt & vinegar and when we'd had our drinks nipped into Waitrose to buy proper supper for later. I am a suburban blob who goes to fashionable part of town and hunts down a supermarket. Help.

On return home we discovered we'd been invaded by ladybirds. About 20 of them dotted on the ceiling above the light beam of the lamp. Their cuteness didn't last more than a second. They looked strange and menacing and dotty. Orange ones, with black spots, also a few red ones with two very large black dots. I immediately Googled ladybird infestation and discovered nobody has ever written a bad word about a ladybird. Ever. Even though they suddenly decide to fly around and use your head as landing strip. The sinisterness was slightly softened by one story that they are the sign of a blessing. Which I decided to go along with as I prepared to act decisively. I turned all lights off, leaving daughter having to write Geography letters to farmers in the dark, and, risking the drug dealers, opened front door. Shone big torch into house from outside. Took a feather duster and dusted them down. I counted them out and I counted them out. It seems to have worked.

Ugh Halloween now and Firework Night even more ugh. Do we bother to carve pumpkin, seeing as we'll be out?

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

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