We were out last night at the Leaving Do of someone who works with Lady M – in among the conversations I had a few moments to sit back and watch people, so here’s what I found in my notebook this morning:
An evening warm enough to discourage coats, and yet too chill to disregard them. Coloured umbrellas hang above the courtyard like a chandelier. Golden bricks of the golden arches surrounding what used to be a dairy yard; the ghostly marks of old ties and ironwork still mar the walls.
The accumulation of empty champagne bottles and the damp trails of melted ice stain the ash-pale table slats with phantom crop circles that will evaporate by the morning. The chatter and laughter forms a gentle rise and fall to the evening. Better out here in the close warmth of the summer’s evening than locked in the hothouse of the bar’s interior.
The clash of accents is a perennial backdrop to any London social hook-up. Cross the yard of a pub and you can hear the harsh tang of South Africa as it meets the lilt of Scotland and the rolling pastures of Middle England. Cries in the background of a sports bar evoke the rough and tumble of Australia, while here and there the cut glass English of Surrey pretends to hide in accumulated layers of faux Cockney.
Watch the reverence of a real ale drinker in the courts of a micro-brewery and compare it with the casual abandon of his fellow wine drinker. Between them lies the bottled beer sloucher who affects insouciance, no matter the pedigree of his chosen tipple.