Cedric was actually still in the kitchen at the opposite end of the hall, clinging for dear life to the open fridge door which he was hiding behind. In his hand was a chilled bottle of Sancerre, about a third of which he had just necked as fortification for what might be to come. Cedric was no stranger to the bottle as you might have guessed but normally there would have been a certain degree of elegance to way he consumed it. On this occasion though all that went out of the window. A final swig, a quick twist of the screw-top, slamming of the fridge door and then….”Coming my love – I was just looking for my hat”. Elspeth decided to let that go.
Ever since her arrival the evening before she had the feeling that all was not well. Cedric had told Elspeth to take the Tube from her home in gentrified Highbury Fields to Camden Town where he would meet her and the two of them could go to a nice little restaurant that he used to know. Elspeth had arrived early and after exiting the barrier at Camden, decided to wait by the road-side railings outside the station. In the ten minutes that she waited for Cedric, Elspeth was offered a variety of pharmaceuticals – not least amphetamines, LSD and cannabis, so she was informed. She had asked one of the nice young men who approached her if they had any paracetamol as she had the most awful headache. With the rebuff that followed she retrospectively thought that they were a very poor attempt at this new-fangled mobile chemist service. Good idea though although they could have made a bit of effort with the way they dressed.
Cedric arrived rather worse for wear after climbing the ninety six steps from the Northern Line platform. He didn’t seem to realise that his hat was on backwards making him look rather like a rather effete rapper or that his skin tone was akin to that of an aubergine. He was actually quite proud of himself having made that ascent. Only at the top of the stairs, supported by two kindly London Underground staff, had he realised that he could have used the lift. Brushing aside offers of an ambulance, Cedric tottered rather uncertainly through the ticket barrier and into the waiting arms of Elspeth. A few minutes later, composure regained he took the arm of his friend and they headed for the so well remembered little restaurant that Cedric had frequented in his more youthful days.