Scooting for Olympic glory
Last Tuesday, I'd just come out of Hyde Park on my red Vespa and was proceeding jauntily down Exhibition Road when I noticed they'd painted a big circle in the road. Now, I know all about the new Kensington and Chelsea austerity measures but I thought to myself: "No! It can't be a roundabout! It's a conceptual work of art, probably by Banksy." So I shot straight over it.
One minute later, at a red light, a van pulled up alongside me. "Oi mate! That was a roundabout you just went straight over," the driver said. "I had the right of way… I was coming from the right, you should have stopped and let me go first."
"Actually… it's a circle. It's a work of art by Banksy."
"Really?" he said "The next time I see a work of art that looks like a f****** roundabout, I'll drive straight over it and knock you off your f****** bike. OK?"
"Well, I suppose I could be wrong," I said.
The lights changed and I accelerated off. Thirty seconds later, at the lights by the Islamic Centre, a well-dressed middle-aged lady was waiting to cross.
She beamed. "You look like a very happy man," she said loudly in an Australian accent.
"I am the happiest man in London," I said.
"You look like you've won the lottery!" she said
"Madam, I have; I've won the lottery of Life."
The lights changed and once more I accelerated off.
Actually, I did have a minor motorbike accident last Monday. OK… a "scooter-elated" accident.
I'd parked it in Brook Street, Mayfair and, as I walked away, I tripped and fell flat on my face. The Harley Street physio - a man with more trophies on his mantelpiece than Usain Bolt (Most patients treated for a twisted knee for £390 for a 30-minute consultation, perhaps) - said I had a Baker's Cyst. (I've no idea what it is either.)
On Friday night, I dreamt I'd opened a sushi restaurant on the conveyor belt in the baggage hall at Heathrow's Terminal 5, so that you could eat while you're waiting for your luggage.
I was woken at 1.23am by a text from the Royal Mail; "Your Olympic tickets are being delivered tomorrow." I wasn't going to sit at home all day and wait for them so, first thing, I got on my scooter and started riding round the neighbourhood looking for a red Royal Mail van. I found one parked just outside the Maida Vale synagogue. "Are you going in for the barmitzvah or delivering OIympic tickets?" I asked.
He asked if I could identify myself… I looked in the wing mirror of his van "Yes, its definitely me," I said.
He gave me the tickets. That evening I went to the theatre to see Chariots of Fire. As Harold Abrahams crossed the finishing line, I reached into my jacket pocket to make sure that my tickets were still there as, three hours earlier, I'd been in Daunt bookshop in Marylebone. Having just paid for my copy of 100 Great Olympic Moments, I'd left my tickets on the counter and walked out.
Luckily, the book lovers of Marylebone are either very honest, don't like sport, or were exceptionally lucky in the lottery and have got all the Olympic tickets they need.