Last Saturday was the hottest day of the year in London and should have been a great day … as it happened there was one big, black cloud that came along and hung over me from the moment I woke up until the moment I went to bed. Weird huh? It has never happened to me before and I really hope it does not happen again.
I went to bed on Friday night feeling rather excited as I had lots of plans for the following day.
My wife and I were opening a joint account and buying paint for our new flat. I then planned to meet with some friends in South London before heading to East London in the early evening to collect some clothes from our old place before heading back to our new flat to help my wife paint it. It was the only free weekend we had to do it.
There was also a listing for a fabulous chair on eBay that ended at 9am on Saturday. The opening price was a real bargain and it still had no bids. We had seen it in the shops months ago but couldn’t afford it so finding it on eBay was very exciting – it was the perfect addition to our new flat.
I set the alarm for 8.45am, ready for a bidding war, and fell asleep.
The dark day
9.10: wake up, check the time “fuck the alarm didn’t go off”.
Check eBay. The chair has been sold. It had only received one bid and went for the opening amount.
10.00: Follow the bank’s instructions and gather the necessary ID to open our joint account; take photocopies of our civil partnership certificate, drop the original back into the flat and board the bus to Camden.
10.45: The bank clerk tells us we can’t open a joint account without an appointment. We ask if there is an appointment free and he agrees there is. We therefore make an appointment for straight away. We ask him if we have all the correct documentation and he goes to check with his manager. He disappears for 15 minutes.
11.00: His manager tells us they will not accept a photocopy of the civil partnership certificate, we need the original. We make another appointment to return at 12.30 with the original.
11.15: Go to buy paint for the flat. The shop doesn’t have the paint we want in stock. Call three more branches of the store. They also do not have it in stock.
12.00: It is midday on the hottest day of the year and we only have wintery work clothes to travel on the sweaty bus back home and back to the bank. We really need to collect our summer clothes from the old house.
12.30: Return to the bank for our appointment, the bank clerk tells us our advisor has gone to lunch.
12.45: Call my friends and let them know I won’t be able to meet them.
13.00: Our advisor comes downstairs and greets his 13.00 appointment.
13.10: We log an official complaint with the bank. The manager smiles very sweetly but does not offer us any help.
13.30: We finally get to speak to somebody about opening the account
13.45: Our advisor casually mentions that we don’t need our civil partnership certificate to open a joint account
14.00: Banking finally done! We reward ourselves with our first sip of water of the day and half a cold Greggs pasty.
14.30: Back to the paint shop, settle on some different paint they do have in stock and head home.
15.30: Paint the ceilings in our underwear. My wife had planned to have finished the ceilings by now so we do it quickly. It’s a very hot day indeed to be painting the flat in a hurry and we are sweating like fat girls at a rave. It is not a pretty sight.
18.00: Ceilings finished. We try and paint the walls but the paint just slides right off them. A second coat makes absolutely no difference.
18.05: We agree we need to sugar soap the walls. We then realise that all the shops nearby that would possibly sell sugar soap close at 18.00.
We have sugar soap at our old place so we decide that I will go to the old place, collect the sugar soap along with the clothes we need while my wife does some jobs at home.
19.30: I am walking down Tottenham Court Road and am about to get some cash out of the cash machine when a man staggers and falls right in front of me. Blood is pouring from a huge gash on the side of his head.
“Excuse me? Are you okay? Can you hear me?”
He isn’t conscious and a huge pool of blood is collecting on the pavement underneath his head. Nobody else seems to be with him.
I didn’t see what had happened but he looked in a pretty bad way.
I dial 999.
The operator instructs me to check if he is breathing. He is.
Another passer by stops to help and we put him in the recovery position.
The operator instructs me to stem the flow of blood with a clean cloth. The ladies from Superdrug (we were outside Superdrug) pass me some tissues. They are not much use.
The operator asks me if he is conscious. I crouch down next to him, and talk to him. I tell him my name and ask him what his is.
After a few moments he opens his eyes. Blood has tricked into his eye sockets. You know when vampires cry blood in True Blood? That’s what he looked like.
“What is your name?” I ask him again.
“Graham” he whispers.
I am relieved he able to speak, that’s surely a good sign. I tell him that help is on its way and I will stay with him until the ambulance comes. He murmers a bit and doesn’t say anything intelligible and then opens his eyes and looks directly into mine and says:
“You seem really nice. I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve your help. I am just scum.”
I don’t really know what to say to that so I just tell him to keep calm and stay still until the ambulance arrives. It is all very intense.
19.50: Paramedic arrives. She is really good looking, like a young, blond Davina McCall. Feel a bit ashamed I haven’t had a shower all day and am covered in paint, sweat and blood.
20.00: Graham is taken away in an ambulance and I make my way to the tube station.
21.00: Arrive at the old flat, pack up our stuff and call a taxi asking to be picked up at 22.00
22.20: No sign of the taxi so I call up and ask where it is. They tell me it had been and gone but they will send another one.
22.25: A car pulls up outside the house. I open the boot, put in the suitcases, climb into the back and give the driver the address of the new flat. We set off.
22.35: My mobile rings, it’s the taxi company. They are outside my house. Where am I?
Where am I? Well I am actually in the back of a stranger’s car and now you mention it… it doesn’t look like a taxi at all.
Do I try and speak to the driver?
Do I try and jump out the car?
No way. There is no way I am leaving the sugar soap in the boot after all the trouble I have gone to to collect it.
Hovering my finger over redial I casually ask the driver which company he works for.
After a few heart stopping moments it is all cleared up. It turns out there is a new controller that night who keeps messing things up.
23.00: Arrive back at the flat, have a much needed shower and collapse on the sofa with my wife and a large glass of wine.
Hooray we are finally in our lovely new home and there are no other issues to deal with. How wonderful! I begin to relax.
23.55: A mouse scuttles across the kitchen floor.