Unfortunately, this was not a walk of shame of the traditional kind. Instead, it was the 'I thought it would be a good idea to go home with my friend after a lock in this morning, and then we both thought it would be a good idea to watch Walk The Line, sing along with June and Johnny, and eat Skittles until 8am' kind. The kind that results in sleeping in your clothes and having mumbled, impossibly sweet, sleep addled conversations until you come to at 6:30pm, and realise you’ve just lost a day. The kind that leaves you bewildered by exactly how late it is when you stumble into Caffe Nero and they tell you that they’re closing. The kind that results in your housemates laughing in your face and accusing you of being both "hilarious" and "impossible" when they discover you gazing at the kettle as though it is your saviour. The kind that is worth every single moment, no matter how confused it leaves you feeling once it’s over.
But before I go off on a tangent regarding the merits of kissing and the drawbacks of sleeping in your contact lenses (it’s like ripping your own eyeballs out come morning light) let's get back to the cuckoo clock.
The first time I went to the pub in question, I was with Luke. We were having a drink to prove we could still be friends (which we are) and one of the first things I noticed upon walking in (aside from John standing at the bar, which was unexpected) was the abundance of cuckoo clocks. They made me nostalgic for a quirky cocktail bar I worked at during university, whilst also reminding me of my grandad's house, and I knew I had to have one. Two months, a short lived almost-romance with one of the bartenders, and hundreds of pounds spent on vodka, sambuca and wine later, the new manager, Adam, offered me one. Sam, too, as "the bar is due an update, and everything will be gone within the next few days."
Now, this offering was first made two weeks ago and, despite being extended more than once, neither of us had our new timepieces. Not yet comfortable with removing parts of our local and taking them home with us without express permission, we let it be. Until Saturday, that is. Saturday, with its random conversations (“when we do a naked calendar I’m just going to hold a pint in front of it, and have two really long straws” “I know your name isn’t Taylor Swift but that’s all I’m ever going to call you” “they have no running water at G.A.Y”) ridiculous outbursts of song (Sunglasses At Night) and an ongoing flow of double vodkas, felt like the right time. So it was with alcohol fuelled bravado that, as we were preparing to leave the lock in, I pointed to the clocks and demanded we be allowed to take them home immediately, despite a date for the refurb not yet being set. The reaction was a good one - John looked at Adam, Adam looked at John and then, with a shrug, the two of them stood on the sofas, unceremoniously pulled the clocks out of the wall, and handed them to us like trophies. We thanked them and left grinning like idiots, with what has to be the strangest souvenir we've ever gained from an unplanned evening in Balham.
It was a good night out.
I've been singing It Ain't Me Babe since.
Other memorable moments from the day include: Getting up early to queue for a free Honest Burger in Tooting, seeing the line, and heading to Brixton to pay for one instead. Buying a broken music box (pictured) at a vintage market, adding to the junk shop vibe my room already gives off thanks to that old desk (which is my favourite thing in the world.) Begging a bartender named Hoops to take his top off after seeing a photo of him shirtless - hot as hell, but he refused to succumb to our charms, so goes down to second place in the list of sexy shirtless bartenders we have been carefully curating. And a conversation - that took place during a scene of Walk The Line in which Johnny begs June to be with him - that made me smile:
Me: I hope someone feels like that about me one day
John: They will.
Me: How do you know?
John: Because you’re fantastic.