25th April.

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April 25th 2006
Published: April 26th 2006
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After spending the afternoon drinking coffee to stay awake in a Cantonese safety training session (my favourite - “In case of fire, dial 7232232”) I leave work dazed and still holding my coffee mug. Arthur rings to say we’re meeting his mother for dinner, but her plane didn’t land till 5:30 so it won’t be too early. I jump on the train to collect my suits from the tailor and, I have to say, they look good. The tailor completed his repertoire with quiet confidence today; he’s clearly proud as he sees me in the suit and checks fastidiously that it fits well. It seems once he’s got your money, he’s certainly anxious to make sure his product advertises itself well. As a nice final touch, inside the jacket the pocket bears my name but otherwise the whole outfit is discreet and very well made. I don’t feel so bad now about paying a little more than I hoped, and I did promise to recommend the chap to my friends. He’s in London 8/9/10 May and the price is actually similar to off-the-peg if anyone’s thinking of getting a suit?

By the time I’ve paid him and he’s packed my clothes up in a carrier, it’s 7:30 and the phone rings - Arthur says we’re meeting at 8pm, so the coffee mug and suits take the ferry back to Central to find the restaurant, and I have an excellent Italian meal with Rose, Arthur, Toni and their partners. The wine is flowing well as I arrive, and Rose is clearly pleased to see her children she’s so proud of. At the end of the meal, she points out that her birthday is looming and orders flaming sambucca for everyone, and another bottle of wine. The proprietor of the restaurant is from Rochdale and joins us for a drink. As the evening wears on, Barbara and Joni (friends of Rose) arrive to say hi and Arthur, Michelle, Toni and Bill disappear. For politeness’ sake I see the end of my glass of wine, and for politeness’ sake it’s filled up again. English and Chinese drinking together is a vicious circle.

This downward spiral continued; Dave also owns a bar in the next street so the five of us head down the road for more drinks. I think by the end of the evening I’d shaken hands with everyone in the bar, and we finally call a taxi to take Rose home around 1am; I go back to finish my drink(!). No, I’ve no idea what time it was but I wasn’t late for work the next morning but both mug and suits made it home safe. I have only one photo from the evening, which seems to show Arthur balancing a fork on his finger.

In keeping with the evening, today’s song is anything really, no melody required but whoever’s singing is stood up, loud, enthusiastic, slurring, has a grin plastered across their face and they’re probably Irish. Or Egyptian. You can’t tell, and certainly nobody will remember the name of the song, or even the singer.


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