Friday, 14 September 2012

In which friends are just round the corner

I was just about to listen to The Archers the other night when the phone went. Normally, I’d follow Ma Blonde’s recommended course of action and completely ignore it until the programme had finished, but it was PolitiGal calling, and there’s no way you can ignore someone’s call when you’ve peed in one of their ramekins.

“Hello Blonde,” a distinctly lower-than-expected voice said. “It’s The Spectator here. I was wondering if you had a Phillips screwdriver?”

PolitiGal and her other half The Spectator, two of my very favouritest people, moved into a flat just around the corner from The Writer and me at the beginning of the month. And not just the same side of the river, nor a walk and a 10-minute bus ride, as one usually means when one says “just around the corner” when in London, but genuinely irritated-by-the-same-loud-dog-in-that-back-garden, takes-approximately-37-seconds-to-walk-from-our-door-to-theirs just around the corner.

I’m thrilled. We’ve hung out – spontaneously – at least once a weekend since they moved in, and I’ve seen them three times this week alone.

Having great friends so close is a wonderful thing, but all the more so in London – because it’s just so rare. London, as I discovered once I’d moved after university, is deceptively large: the only place I know in which you can live in the same city as your friends, and yet it takes over an hour to get from your flat to theirs. And, because that’s the case, social engagements need to be planned well in advance, making diary management a feat of hitherto unknown and byzantine proportions. Calendars are booked up weeks, if not months, in advance which, combined with the fact that it takes at least 35 minutes to get anywhere, means that social spontaneity is rare.

So imagine my genuine glee that there are chums less than a minute from my flat with whom I can hang out on a whim. Suddenly, the possibilities have materialised of one quick phonecall and pals with whom to fill a couple of previously unplanned hours.

So far, we’ve had an impromptu boozy Saturday lunch at Cornercopia (if you’ve not tried marmalade vodka and tonic, I suggest you head down there prontissimo); late Saturday afternoon cocktails; early Saturday night gooseberry gins (yes, there’s a theme. I know) in our flat, with second helpings of TW’s hastily rustled-up fig and blue cheese crostini; that infamous Saturday morning cup of tea; and a quick chat about the merits of fish finger sandwiches on Tuesday evening when I popped round with a couple of Phillips screwdrivers for bookcase-construction purposes.

Not since I was at university have I had such close chums in such close proximity. I had forgotten just how bloody brilliant it is, and now I’ve been reminded. Because it is. It’s fantastic. Now all I need to do is get everyone else I love to move into our little corner of the city, and I’m set. The potential to pee in my friends’ ramekins has never been greater.


Accidental Londoner said...

Ah, so true. I might as well live in a different country the number of times I see several of my friends who also live in London, albeit in some far out, Zone 4 enclave. Distance somehow becomes longer in London - what would be a quick 10 minute drive in a rural area is a couple of tubes and a bus in London...suddenly it gets a lot harder to make the trek. And you really do appreciate having a pal or two REALLY just around the corner.

Foodycat said...

Only downside was when I had close friends with a key to my flat living downstairs from me. They started to "borrow" things (like my toaster) while I was out. I rescinded key privileges.

thechickenshop said...

Ahhh I'm jealous. Not only am I at least 15 minutes drive from any friends...I also don't have a car. London (or the outskirts of London) can feel very lonely sometimes.

cara waters said...

I actually managed to live near a few friends in London and it was so lovely to actually have people pop in on the spur of the moment. Spontaneous get togethers are always the best!

Melanie said...

I hope one day that will happen to me! You really don't appreciate the close proximity of your friends at university. London is such an abyss sometimes and I hate the whole having to plan months in advance to get everyone's schedules to match up!

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