So I went to London over the weekend. Loh a girlfriend from undergrad was throwing a party for her one year old Ka. Loh loves parties. If she could throw a party every month, she would.
I needed a trip to London like I needed a tooth drill.
But I knew (i)she would appreciate friends being there for her (ii) I still had leftover guilty conscience from missing her wedding (iii)It sounded like fun (iv)It was an opportunity to recruit her Nigerian women friends for my impending dissertation. (Hey, this is a shout out - if you know any Nigerian woman living in the UK, who is pregnant or was pregnant within 2009 till date and is willing to chat about her pregnancy, pls send me an email!).
Her house was filled with family members and guests who were sleeping over. At last count we were 14. 6 children and 8 adults. I had to sleep in the living room with another girlfriend S. She chose a half inflated air bed to sleep in (warning, if someone tells you its as comfy as a water-bed, punch em!). I slept on the sofa with a duvet cover.
I was woken up at 6am by a voice coming from somewhere in the house. A female voice saying her prayers very loud. The prayers lasted a good 60mins. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t sleep, I could only listen echoing her Amens. I have forgotten all about Nigerian pentecostal-type loud prayers…sigh.
7.25 am - Loh came downstairs with bleary eyes, complaining about the wake-up prayers. It seems Aunty Prayer was a newbie to Britain (36 hrs old in UK) so she is yet to acclimatize. lol. Talk about neighbors making a complaint to the police.
Kids, kids everywhere. Crying, asking pesky questions. Making a mess. Being kids.
9am - Loh and I corn-rowed her older daughter’s hair. Then beaded it. 2hrs. You don't want the stress of corn-rowing a fidgety 2.5 yr old’s hair. Suffice to say a pack of chocolate pacifiers finished.
11.30am - Dashed off for a brief Mass at the nearest church with Loh’s brother.
12.30pm - Back again.
12.40pm - Corn rowed Birthday girl’s hair. It was easier cause her hair was short.
1.00pm – Clear out the living rooms. One was for the kids. The other was for the men (Arsenal was playing Birmingham….)
1.20pm - Decorate! Decorate! Pump balloons, stickers, twinklers. A lot of pink and Minnie mouse thingies.
1.55pm - The food arrived – fried rice, jollof rice, egusi, pounded yam, nkwobi and pepper soup. Small chops a.k.a Nigerian style hordoeurves were there – puff puff, mini-meat pies, mini sausage rolls. Lotsa drinks of choice.
2pm - Party officially begins.
2.45pm - Guests start arriving
3.10pm - S and I shower and dress - We should have just won uniforms cos we were the unofficial ushers....lol
5pm – It’s a full House. Note -that weird phenomena called Nigerian time. Where 2pm means one and a half hours later….
So the drama of the ticket began later in the evening. I had to return to Durham that Sunday night cause I had a not-to-be-missed class on Monday at 10am.
My train was for 9pm and it gets to Durham at 0.17am. I got it for 20.60pounds. Thank you EastCoast!
I discovered the absence of my railroad pouch containing said return tickets, my rail card, my oyster card at about 6pm. Search, search. Too many guests in the house. Especially the living room where I was convinced the pouch was.
6.15pm - Discovered I was missing my flash drive pouch too.
7.45pm - Found flash drive pouch in Loh bro’s car.
8pm - I should have been on my way to Kings Cross station. But no pouch/ticket.
I thought to keep looking till 9. Maybe take the last train at 10pm which will get me to Durham at 1.50am.
9pm - No dice. More guests had left. Those left tried to help.
9.20pm - Loh’s hubby convinced me to sleep over saying “Everything looks better in the morn”.
10am - Clean and clear after party debris, more searching..
12am – after-party gist with Loh
2am - Bathed in readiness for travel. Slept
5.30am - Nope, It didn't look better in the morning. I gotta go.
5.54am - Off to Woodgreen station
6.03am - Asked the ticket guy about lost and found items. No luck. Bought tube tickets.
6.35am - At King’s cross
6.40am - Checked fast ticket to London – 147 pounds. Didn’t believe my eyes.
6.43am - Went to ticket guy to confirm – yes 147 pounds. With a railcard, 94 pounds. I didn't have 147 pounds. Nor did I have a rail card.
6.44am - Started crying
6.45am - Phone battery gave a croak and died as I tried to call Loh. No charger. No communication. No UK numbers known off hand.
6.50am - Off to Victoria Coach Station
7.15am – Check notice board. First Coach to Newcastle leaves at 9am. Arrives Newcastle - 7hrs after at 15.40. Price 44pounds.
I am definitely going to miss my not-to-be missed class, miss my assignment deadline, give myself some new backache and gotten 56 pounds poorer.
15.14pm – Coach actually drives past Durham. Wtf? And takes me to its scheduled stop 40 mins away in Newcastle. Sigh.
15.56pm - Arrive Newcastle
16.10pm – locate my nearest Bank branch
16.40pm – Take train to Durham
16.56pm - Durham, Durham
17.10pm -Grocery shopping at Tesco wherein I misplace my ATM card :(.
18.15pm – Finally in my room
18.20pm – Plug in phone
18.40pm – Switch on phone
18.41 pm – msg from Loh – sent at 7.30am – ‘Call me when you get this. We’ve seen your railcard. Hurray!!!
18.55pm - (after smashing my head on the desk) I send a reply – where did you find it?
18.59pm - Inside the duvet cover you slept in.
I hate myself.