The wedding was a long day and by the time the party kicked off in the evening, we were all flagging. There was a table at the back with four free chairs next to a pudgy woman in a cardy. My friend’s pregnant girlfriend went to sit down in one of the seats.
‘Those chairs are taken. All of them,’ the woman said.
I watched the table for an hour. The chairs stayed empty.
At the end of the night I saw the woman again. She was on a different table by the dancefloor, four empty seats next to her.
Homemade signs on The Mall before the Royal Wedding:
‘Yes, I am a crazy Canadian – I have no tent!!!’ next to people on picnic chairs playing cards.
‘WILLIAM’s love CONQUERed CATHERINE and it’s GREAT’ by a group of twenty-somethings singing Jerusalem in Australian accents.
‘Hampshire Royalist Here’ in front of a woman in a bobble hat holding a coffee and looking grumpy.
‘CHECKMATE Kate you’ve taken the King!’ beside a family of four in sleeping bags.
‘Please Help Me’ scrawled in a notebook by a bearded miserablist who’s been there all night in a misguided attempt at book research.
Buying cigarettes, I was served by one of those huge women with 40-Benson-a-day voices – the kind that are likely to call you love in an over-friendly way. I asked her for a lighter, she asked me what colour and I said I didn’t mind.
‘This one’s black, is that ok?’
I feel as though these types of women always expect you to quip back with something but I was over-tired and off-guard so my reserve of witty/shit comments was empty. The first thing that occurred to me to say was: ‘Black’s fine, It’ll match my soul.’
She didn’t laugh.