“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.