It’s been a terrible long time since my last night out as Penny. Here’s what happened the first weekend of November…
It was high time I arranged a big night out, partially because I don’t seem to have been invited to any (some kind of hint?) and partially because that way I get to choose who I spend the evening with. I decided that the focus of the evening should be Sarastro’s as the last event I went to there was a huge success [apart from one rather embarrassing gaffe on my part – adjusting my knickers in full sight of kitchen staff]. If you don’t know Sarastro’s, it’s a showy, baroque restaurant on Drury Lane at the East end of Covent Garden. Try to imagine the inside of an old war galley, long, stripped out and fitted with all kinds of tiny balconies and dining nooks, plenty of gold paint, drapery and curios. It extraordinary, and they don’t mind when a gaggle of female impersonators show up, in fact they are positively welcoming. 😉
T, M, A, C and S joined me which made for a manageable group. Four of us met up at the hotel first. M and I had a great fun dressing up, trying each other’s stuff out and M even gave me a wig she didn’t want and it was gorgeous! Bless her! After the usual 3 hours of preparation (!) we set out for Soho to sample the atmosphere. The place was humming and after a bit of tottering around in our heels, C led us to the Admiral Duncan which could neatly be summed up as a rather uninspiring dump, but in spite of that we got a warm reception from bar staff and several pissed blokes including one delightful, smiley chap who claimed he was shortly going to be taking holy orders! About an hour of that and we indulged in rickshaw rides to get us to the restaurant which was great. I’ve never been in one before. Holy f**k do they shift, cutting in front of pedestrians and taxi’s with equal contempt!
We met A and S at Sarastro’s who had driven up from Sussex. We were greeted with complimentary champagne at the door! I think this was almost entirely due to T who has brought a lot of business their way over the years. Anyway we had a great meal there and the food was much better than I remember it from last time. A Norwegian lady wanted to chat to me in the loos and she was almost speechless with delight and had to give me a hug because apparently “you don’t get much of this kind of thing in Norway”! Bless…
In my two trips to powder my nose I managed to avoid the same mistake as when I last visited, but on the way back on the second occasion, I was treated to a rendition of “Lady in Red” from a large gathering at one table. I suppose it was my rather short, red party dress that did it. I twitched past them but I really wish I’d been brave enough to just sit down with them and chat. Anyway, it was time to cut and run for a club, so it was probably just as well I didn’t.
From there we got a taxi to the Way Out Club. It was busier than last time I was there, with lots of Thai looking types as well, probably working the scene. It’s really difficult to tell with many of them (unlike me). They’ve fitted booths at the far end of the WOC for ‘intimate chats’. C, M and I got a decent amount of dancing in and the others all found people to talk to, but after a while M looked as though she was about to drop off and T and I thought we’d head back to the Barbican Thistle bar which seems to be a good place to have a chat.
At about 1:30am, we made it back into the hotel bar and within minutes we were absorbed into a group of twenty-something year old Irish folk over from Cork. Brian, Laura, Siobhan, Mark, Fiona and Dicky. They were fascinated and wanted to know all about everything because apparently “you don’t get much of this kind of thing in Cork”! We steered them onto the purpose of their visit and they explained their shopping / culture weekend to us, for a short while anyway. If they were tiddly when we arrived, they were really drunk by 3am, slopping beer, hugging and singing almost intelligible songs. Away from the club, M had livened up and she, T and I managed to keep the alcohol consumption to sensible levels, a difficult, but VERY sensible thing when socialising with Irish! M and I retired to our rooms to crash out at 4am leaving T with our friends in the bar where they apparently remained until 5:30am!
M and I were both at breakfast by 9am the next day, and feeling very pleased with ourselves for sorting out a great evening, we each munched through an enormous breakfast. Even T and C made it down before we left which was nothing if not heroic. I got home to my wife and the kids in leafy Sussex in time for lunch.