For the third installment of M.A.N.B. I shall take you back to that wonderfully sunny afternoon last weekend when a man with a personality woefully unrepresentative of the weather won Wimbledon (or, as his sponsor calls it now, ‘WimbleDONE’).
The night before I had taken Hawksmoor for everything it had got, and sheesh was I feeling it on Sunday. Sadly, and unusually for the day of rest, there was a deadline to achieve, and a target to be rushed towards. Essentially, we needed to get to the big screen at Canary Wharf early early early, to be sure of a spot in the sun and a chance to get centre stage to cheer on Novak Djokovic towards his second SW19 title. Not only did this mean getting out of bed pre-11am, it also meant skipping breakfast – or at least breakfast as we know it.
I have already said that my definition of breakfast is open to interpretation, i.e. that it could equally be cheap or a class act, however I will non-negotiably and staunchly regard it as the first meal of the day, whatever the time, whatever the content. Lunch can be missed, so can dinner, but in theory someone with food poisoning could take brekkie at 5pm after a day of not eating, and consume fish fingers and chips to re-line the stomach. After all, it’s Breaking the Fast, come noon or night.
So, I arrived at Canada Square Park and pitched up a great spot in the sun which was by now relentlessly reflecting off the HSBC and Citi headquarters, and waited for my mates. It was barely midday and the place was thronging – presumably everyone was as eager as I was to see Djokovic in action. Once our group was all present and correct, the discussions turned from tennis to eating.
We decided to break our own fast with a trip to Waitrose, followed by a trip to Tesco for ice. Ice to chill can upon can of cheap beer and cider. Remember kids, drinking in the park is cool, and is definitely a good idea when hungover, and in temperatures kicking around the twenty-five degree mark. If mum and dad are reading this then don’t worry, we had about four litres of water too.
The drink was there to wash down what was, by any definition, a terribly rambunctious breakfast. Pringles rubbed shoulders with Tyrrells popcorn. Chocolate brioche went hand in hand with jelly-bean cupcakes. And when the food ran out as Djokovich surreally slid into two-sets-down obscurity and as more people crammed into the park and literally attacked each other for space (can you believe the police were eventually summoned?), we simply fell back into the comfortably chilly embrace of canned Magners.
Even I will admit that when the umpire called game, set and match and that other guy forgot to hug his mum, I felt a bit smiley. But also very full, drunk and treading a fine line between sunburn, heatstroke, dehydration and general ‘I’ve-been-sitting-on-hard-grass-for-four-uncomfortable-hours’ sweaty grossness.
The solution – a trip to Wahaca across the square. As we chowed down on cheap and cheerful burritos (you cannot knock it there), I kind of thought to myself, in my hazy, hot, happy and horrid state, that I really want to go to Mexico. At least no-one would have heard of Kim Sears over there.