You know how, just sometimes, you find yourself sitting somewhere, looking around, and thinking, “Well this is an unusual situation”?
Yesterday, Tom and I went to a quality wedding in London. I didn’t realise til we stepped off the train that it was in Tower Hamlets, a place I’ve heard interesting things about. We needed lunch, and there was not a deli or coffee bar in sight – what are two middle-class people dressed in black tie supposed to do?
We went to McDonalds. Dressed for a wedding. In Tower Hamlets. I couldn’t help but wonder what on earth the other people there thought of us.
We had an engagement party the other weekend, in the self-styled People’s Republic of Stokes Croft.
Stokes Croft is an… unusual place at the best of times – a mixture of bohemian ideals, artists, brothels, independent cafes, bakeries, riots and graffiti artists working on commission from the police. On a Saturday night near Halloween, the streets were busy and one in three people was a zombie.
After a fun, reasonably normal time at The Social, we went to try and see some ska but were surprised and defeated by a long queue. So instead, the five of us who were left cast around for another cafe that might be open at that time of night for a nice cup of tea.
What was open was the Runcible Spoon, a tiny, inexplicable cafe that seems to serve amazing food, if you can find somewhere to sit. We tried in vain to peer through the steamy windows and then pushed our way in. The one table was occupied. There was a counter by the window with some stools, but the counter was covered in large pies, presumably cooling. It looked like we’d just walked into somebody’s kitchen. After a few moments of puzzled staring, Claire asked the chef if we could sit there, but what about the pies? He replied somewhat vaguely that he could move the pies. Truth be told, he seemed sort of surprised to see us. We felt sort of rude for making them tidy up.
So we hung out there for a while, perched on some stools, smelling the pies, drinking a big pot of peppermint tea, and listening to the hordes of zombies shuffling by outside. From the Bristol streets, somewhere beyond the steamed-up windows, the cry of “Braaaaaiinnss” punctuated the night.
“Bristol seems to have a large zombie community,” Mike remarked.
“It’s a diverse cultural area.”