Friday, 20 December 2013

"Will you be paying cash?"


"London please Drive"
"London?"
"Yes please Drive"
"You do know we're in York?"
"Yes. But I want to be in London"

"Let me ring my wife. I don't think I'll be home for fish and chip supper"

Absolute bawler. That's what the kiwi said. 
Outrageous. Was my brother's response. 
You need to document your ridiculous life more often. Was the advice of an old friend. 

So here's the story of the time the Drive said to me, at the end of a 5 hour drive from York to London, "Will you be paying cash?"

When you watch award ceremonies on TV, it all looks so glamorous. Everyone in their glad rags, sipping champagne, living the life. 
And it's true. You do dress up in lovely dresses, get handed glasses of the bubbly stuff and munch your way through 'jasmine truffles' and 'brie encased in exotic vine leaves from distant Bora-Bora, laced with Prosecco and finished with gold dust'. 
Yes it's very pretentious. But once in a while it's completely acceptable and unashamedly fun.  

What you don't see is the not so glamorous, pre ceremony, headless chicken, back seat changing room, simply mad, rush. 
I always try to be organised and avoid these aforementioned states of mild hysteria. 
But in true Stanford style, I always end up being late or lost, running across London in heels, dragging a bike box, and applying mascara via my reflection on my iPhone screen. 
Please someone tell me this is you too?
No?! Ah well at least I can laugh at myself. 

This time around however, I will not allow myself to be held accountable. Even if usually, I am completely to blame. 
I arrive for my 11.45am train from Leeds to London. 
Cancelled. Something about a stiff breeze?!
"Get the train to York and you'll get to London from there. No hassle"
So dutifully I arrive in York, still optimistic. 
Cancelled. Wakefield station roof has inconveniently relocated to the track. 
Turns out this stiff breeze is less stiff, more gale-force. 

And as I'm stood stranded at York train station. my well laid plans hashed by mother nature, I can't help but think this is going to be another one of those days.
After all, I have my bike box at my side, dress in my hand, and heels in my bag. It's the perfect set up for a typical Stanford scenario.  

My mind wanders to one of my finest 'moments' to date. It occurred whilst driving into London city centre last Christmas, already 30minutes late for wherever I was due. 
As I pass Harrods in Kensington, I'm sat at the wheel stripping my running kit off in a frenzy. The Drive in the adjacent taxi glances over as I'm sheepishly pulling off from the lights in my bra. At the next set of lights I'm grappling with my dress, which let me tell you is tricky whilst in control of an automobile. For once I'm very thankful for London's slow moving traffic. The dress certainly took a few attempts. I apply make up in the rear view mirror as I take the 'taxi only' lane past Buckingham Palace, with my driving instructor's first lesson resounding in my head 'this mirror is not for the application of mascara...'
I finally roll up to the Ritz, after driving past it a few times, and fall out of the car, shoes in hand. I throw my keys at the concierge and he glances at my old Honda Jazz and the devastation inside. Pretty sure this is not what he signed up for. 

Back in York, and after a few phone calls it's been decided I'll have to get a taxi to London. 
Half horrified, half amused by the ludicrosity of it, I jump in the nearest black cab. I soon realise that yet again I will be late, but at least this time I don't have to do the driving too. 
After 5 hours, a dinner of liquorice all sorts, a backseat change, and an all time low of brushing my teeth with a cold cup of tea,we finally arrive at our London destination. 
And a very bemused Drive turns to me and utters those words you never want to hear when the meter reads £420, "Will you be paying cash?"

True to form I exit the car, bike box in tow, back pack and helmet swinging behind me, dress on and heels in hand. 
How else would you arrive to a red carpet event?!

Maybe one day I'll arrive in true glamorous, Hollywood style. But until then I'll stick to the day job. At least I've been getting plenty of much needed transition practice!