Each time I travel up to London I say ‘Never again.’
I’m not sure whether I forget how awful it can be or think that somehow this time it will be better. Last week was no exception to the increasing curve of awfulness.
I was invited to the press night of Guys and Dolls. My daughter insisted that I should go and take her with me. Because I never learn, I decided to drive, blithely reassuring my daughter that of course I would find somewhere to park.
And indeed I did, about half a mile from the Phoenix Theatre in Charing Cross Road at a cost of £28 for the evening. Gulp.
The show was wonderful, despite the fact that my seat, in common with most theatre seats, seemed to have been made for a Victorian person of small stature without legs. If you think coach class on transatlantic flights is cramped, try the stalls of a West End Theatre. Just as we reached the gold-plated car park, my daughter realised that she must have left her mobile phone in the theatre.
I decided to drive past and she could run in and check if it had been found. Mistake number one. It took forty minutes to drive half a mile in Soho at 10.30pm.
Road works at Tottenham Court Road and thousands of people who didn’t have beds to go to. We got there. She ran in to discover it hadn’t been found.
I then put my phone down on the spring loaded cover of a storage place behind the gear lever of my car. The cover sprung up and projected my slim phone down the narrowest of gaps behind it into the depths of the fascia. Two phones gone in less than an hour, quite an achievement.
After we had glumly negotiated our way out of the gridlocked theatre district and were plodding homeward, I remembered that my phone was attached by Bluetooth to my car radio. I tried ringing her phone and to our surprise it was answered by the surprised theatre fireman who had just found it. We got home at 1 am.
The next day my local garage took my dashboard fascia off and delved into the depths to retrieve my phone. I would rather drive on the M25 than in the centre of London.
And I suppose that is what ‘they’ want too.