Waking up at 7am after a night of revelry and artless dance moves in Clapham was always going to be a challenge. However, by 8am not only had I made it to the train station on time with all my belongings hastily piled into the suitcase, but I’d also managed to purchase much needed sustenance and a plastic cup of tea. The birds were chirping, a summer breeze lilted past my fuzzy head and I felt entitled to congratulate myself on the achievement.
It was on the train that things took a turn for the worse.
The flapjack was consumed without hitch, but the earl grey was not to meet with the same fate. As I was about to take the first soothing sip, the cardboard holder slipped and broke, letting lose a cascade of scalding liquid over my hand, train seat and carriage floor. Eyes watering in pain, I gratefully accepted the tissues and bits of newspapers that kind onlookers pressed upon me to mop up the disaster. There was laughter and a chorus of appreciative “oh dear!” as I painstakingly cleared up and deposited the soggy morning’s news in the bin. The first nudgings of the hang over were beginning to kick in.
Intent on restoring the necessary fluids into the bodily system, I grabbed at the cup a second time. Alas the limbs seemed intent on scrambling the nerve impulses that morning. My hand swiped at the tea, missed, and upended the rest of the earl grey all over the floor, causing the woman opposite me to hastily shove the remnants of her newspaper at me. As I resumed the cleaning duties she informed me that if I didn’t mind she would save the last page which had the crossword puzzle. She then moved further up the carriage, lest I cause “another flood”, and away from the chaos. I was left in a soggy mess of The Daily Star with a now rather throbbing headache.
From then on the day hit a decline and began to roll downhill, fast. My next train from Blackfriars was delayed for half an hour and then mortifyingly cancelled due to a trespasser on the track at Elephant and Castle. I was marooned on a platform which had not one vending machine or kiosk selling bottled water. When I arrived in Hertfordshire over an hour late, I was greeted enthusiastically by my patient family who then bundled me into the car for a 2 hour drive to the South West. Here I was called to make small talk with distant relatives at a large family party, and extend the hungover agony by toasting good health to all with glasses of champagne. Pain killers were scarce and glasses of something softer hard to come by.
On this particular occasion I cannot agree with Frank when he says that he feels sorry for people who don’t drink. I finally returned home at 11pm, amid the most potent waves of exhaustion and dehydration, an empty shell of my former self. It was certainly not the best I had felt all day.