Thursday, 7 October 2010

Luna Loves... Daunt Books

I had a day off from my busy TV job for the first time in ages and I had so many plans. I was going to wake up early and go for a run along the banks of the Thames, read the papers in a leisurely fashion in my local Cafe Nero, go to one of the many exhibitions I've been meaning to go to, then perhaps have a spot of lunch in a restaurant with a good view, drink a glass of wine with lunch, read, think, write, then meet a friend for an early evening drink, before going to the theatre to see one of the plays on my long long list. Did I succeed in doing any of the above? Of course not.

I woke up late. I struggled to crawl out of bed. And when I did it was to go to the kitchen to make a coffee and come back to my warm cocoon of a duvet to drink it. With great effort, I finally made it out of bed, got up and got dressed.

Grabbing my Daunt Books cloth bag, I went out. Already way behind in the fantasy schedule I'd concocted in my head, I decided to combine the breakfast/lunch idea and go to Cafe Nero to read the paper. I ordered a large cafe latte and a gorgonzola and mushroom pannini. Lovely. I lifted the coffee and went to sit down. En route to the table, the coffee cup started to wobble on the saucer and because I was carrying my bag around my wrist, I was trapped into watching it fall and spill everywhere. All over my bag, my hand, my trousers. The cup clattered onto the floor and everyone looked at me. Never mind the fact my hand had been burnt by the hot coffee, I was burning with embarrassment. 

To make matters worse, I spotted frenemy number one, Magda. She was smiling smugly at me, her face beaming with delight at my clumsy mishap. She came to my rescue in a pitying fashion and helped me clean myself up. Made more of a fuss than she needed to, deliberately drawing attention to her poor clumsy friend. She ordered me another coffee and came across as the best friend a girl could ever dream of. I thanked her through gritted teeth and sat down with her. 

It was the first time I'd seen her since James and I had split up. She was one of James's friends, a jobbing actress, she wasn't a close friend, but that's how I'd got to know her. She hated me for stealing one of her male 'admirers' away, and never missed a chance to blag dinner from him, or get him to help her with her lines - or whatever pathetic excuse she could conjure up which meant she'd have to go round to his with a bottle of wine at 10pm. So now she was thrilled to have him back. I didn't tell her much. I kept it vague and mysterious, hoping she'd think we might even be getting back together. And just as I thought I might be able to escape her by saying I really had to pop into the bookshop next door, she told me that she did too. Great.

So coffee-stained, I left with Magda to browse the books in Daunt - my favourite London book shop. 
"He's cute," said Magda of the guy working there. He was indeed. I'd never seen him before. She strutted past him, deliberately glancing his way and smiling sexily at him. I went the opposite way, determined to lose her. I couldn't. Every time I picked up a book, she'd materialise from nowhere and offer her opinion on it.
It would seem she'd read the whole shop - I didn't even know she could read. And so I found a book that I did actually want to buy and went to pay for it.

The handsome guy that Magda had her eye on, served me. He saw my sorry looking stained Daunt Books bag and laughed. 
"Hardly a good advert for us."
I laughed.
"I spilled my coffee on it this morning, so don't worry, no-one would have seen it yet."
"And they never will because I'm giving you a new one."
He made me empty my worldly possessions from my old cloth bag and he put everything, plus my new book, into a brand new heavier duty and more expensive cloth Daunt Books bag. 
Once everything was in the new bag he looked at me, then asked me if he could buy me a coffee to make up for my spilt one. 

I hadn't expected that at all. Impressed by his boldness, and Magda's earlier smugness at my embarrassing coffee spill still alive in my mind, I accepted his kind offer. Loudly.

And sure enough, Magda had materialised, her smug smile now wiped and an evil glare in her eyes. She was apparently late for a meeting, and had to 'dash' leaving me alone - finally - with my coffee date and an infinitely more interesting day than I could ever have planned!

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