Oh Margaret Howell, how do I love thee? I'll not count the ways, but they are many.
Her A/W collection is basically my wardrobe only better (and less cluttered). So undertsandably I was looking forward ot her sample sale last week. Sadly though I was too busy to post the invite to the sale on this blog, let alone actually go to the damn thing.
And then on Saturday evening I got scammed at a cash machine with the result that I am down £210 and therefore do not have a single spare penny to fritter away at any sort of sample sale - it's strictly car boot sales and charity shops only.
Saturday night turned out to be fairly dramatic actually, although it didn't feel like it at the time. Mostly I just felt upset and rather stupid.The evening began pleasantly enough - JFK had to work late so I scooped up his ticket to descend into the bowels of Aldwych station, one of London's many disused tube stations. The station was opened to a limited number of members of the public for three evenings as part of the London Trasnport Museums Blitz anniversary exhibition. The idea was to simulate an air raid, take us all down to the platform and then get re-enactment folk to give us a flavour of war time London on a stock tube carriage from the 1930s. It was great fun, although far too short. Funnily enough though, I had actually been to Aldwych Station before - when it was still working. The station only closed in 1994. It's funny that there are so many bits of everyday London that I walked around when I was little that are now shut or gone and I don't even remeber what they looked like.
After that we picked up JFK from work and headed off to Bodean's in Soho for a meat feast and then on to my favourite bar. I took a detour to a cash machine just off Soho Square while everyone else went ahead. There were lots of people around so I was a little distracted when I stepped up to the cash machine. Then an Eastern European man tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to the ground where there was a five pound note. I stooped down to pick it up but he carried on pointing at receipts on the floor so I looked again. By the time I looked back my cash card was gone, alhtough my money ahd been left in the mouth of the machine to make it look like the machine had swallowed my card. It only took a couple of seconds to work out what had happened though. So then I chased this group of four scary Eastern European men through Soho. I even spotted them using my card at another cash machine around the corner. God knows what I would have done if I had caught up to them. Me versus four quite organised men of varying sizes is not exactly a recipe for success.
Anyway, they scarpered and I ended up in Charing Cross police station, minus my cash card and, it later transpired, £210. Thankfully there is a cap on daily cash withdrawals on my card. I was a bit shaken, but generally what happens to me in these situations is I get upset briefly and then become very practical and philosophical about it.
JFK was brilliant - worried and furious on my behalf - talking about smashing people's hands with hammers and generally being very protective, which was unnecessary yet also hugely appreciated. And then we went home.
Ever since I have been feeling like a complete idiot for being so easily duped. It's not like I haven't warned plenty of visitors to London to be careful about such things. I was sober and in a good mood. But what do you do when someone taps you on the shoulder? It's hard to ignore physical contact like that. I suppose you really don't know how easy it is to be distracted like this until it's already happened. The police said they get around 10 cases like this every day in Soho.
Now, until my new card comes through, I have to limit my spending as I have to actually go into the bank whenever I want more cash. No unexpected splurges for me which is actually a very good thing as hopefully I'll be able to save a bit. Silver lining to every cloud and all that...