My restaurant business

It’s odd but this part of London I have not visited before. From the cab window I can see little boats and large willow trees, bridges above the canal and ducks in the water; everything in Little Venice looks cute and laziness-inducing even in the hail – up until the moment I suddenly think “And how is this different from the Water of Leith?”

I’ve lived in Edinburgh long enough to be unable to enjoy London again.

By the time I check in and unpack, the raging torrent outside turns into an ordinary rain and then disappears altogether; the sky is bright and clear blue and my mood is better. I put on my new grey jumper and set off to explore.

I walk down the path along the water for quite a while before I suddenly realise I’m in Paddington. By now it’s well past 6 so I pick a restaurant for an early dinner.

In front of me, a couple of empty tables away, a man is sitting on his own, nose in a newspaper, picking at something on a plate with his fork now and again. He raises his eyes from his paper and instead of looking at his fork he looks at me. I acknowledge his gaze. Half a salad later I catch his eyes on me again. I look back. He smiles. Must be the new jumper. I smile back. With pleasure.

He looks like someone who would work in Central London and live in Watford with a wife, 2 kids and a dog. Only he’s clearly just finished work and instead of rushing home for dinner he’s idly reading a newspaper in a restaurant and making eyes at a strange woman. Either not married or something is rotten in the state of Watford. His plate is long empty and he’s still there, looking at his newspaper.

He stands up eventually, picks up his raincoat and briefcase, and waves good-bye to me. I wave back. He leaves.

What an English way to go. Sometimes I wonder how this nation still reproduces. You see a woman, you show your interest, the woman reciprocates – what do you do? You leave! Why not come up to the woman and tell her that her smile made your dinner and that you’d like to buy her a hot chocolate*. Or at least pay for her salad. Ah, romance is dead…

Independent Edinburgh escortsBack in Edinburgh, a few days later, I’m having lunch at my favourite restaurant. The waiter, who had previously endeared himself so much by totally looking at my bum, brings me a hot chocolate. In the centre of the thick cinnamon-sprinkled froth I can see a little, uneven heart-shaped opening. Clearly custom-made, not a result of a mould or some froth-arranging device. An analogue of waving at me? Or just re-creation of something memorable?

* I sometimes have a feeling men don’t understand the concept of offering a drink to a woman. By buying her a drink you buy her time. If she accepts your offer, she agrees to give you her attention for as long as the drink lasts. This drink should be enough for both of you to decide if another drink is a good idea or if you’d like to move on. See, nothing scary! Yes, you two enter into a sort of social contract but it’s not a commitment to spend the rest of your lives together. Not even an obligation to exchange phone numbers. Just an opportunity to get to know each other a little to decide if it’s worth it.

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As you no doubt have noticed, I’ve been very quiet lately. August is a mad time anyway, plus I’ve been working on a personal problem so I didn’t have that much time left. I am sorry about any disappointment caused and I will try to resume the semblance of regularity on this blog. To make up for my online absence, I looked at some of the old drafts and here‘s a new old entry for your amusement.

Blackness kiss

Not sure if you remember, but Walter won a kiss in the Limerick Competition. And in case you don’t know, he had big plans for that kiss. Big Plans. We went through a few of them, mostly by location, and having ruled out North Berwick, Queensferry and Portobello, we decided to go with Blackness. To Blackness. What a strange, gothic name for a location which has nothing strange or gothic in it.

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We drove for a while. First highways, then roads, then wooded lanes. In one of them, we passed a hen party – a dozen of pheasant girls talking loudly on a stone wall covered in moss and ivy by the side of the path. With each turn the journey was getting more and more surreal.

Walter parked behind some god forsaken church in the middle of a forest, got a backpack out of the boot and we went down a steep forest path. It was dry, still and unexpectedly warm for a September afternoon. The forest was very quiet. We came across a bridge over a little stream, followed the river, passed by a little shady bog and then suddenly there it was. I knew we were going to a beach but it was still a surprise.

Blackness beach is as wild as they come. Not a single soul there if you don’t count two thousand seagulls, and we had no desire to count them. We walked along the forest line for a while until we came to a spot which was less rocky, more sunny and decorated with bunches of cheerfully bright daisies. There Walter threw a plaid over the thin grass (in the true spirit of a non-Scot in Scotland), I took off my shoes, we snuggled up and the kiss started.

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What shall I say about the kiss? The ground was too rocky, the plaid too thin, the wind too strong, the seagulls – the seagulls were being seagulls, I can hate them for it but not blame. Even two can be bad enough, and multiplied by a thousand… Yet it was the most romantic kiss I’ve had so far. A couple of hours later the sun went down, I got cold and hungry and the kiss had to stop.

It was quite dark when we got to Queensferry. We stopped there for a dinner which, for reasons I will not disclose (in this sentence), Walter now considers unforgettable. Apparently, a certain dish they serve there gives one erection of a lifetime – yes, it lasts that long, I can attest this myself. Before that, however, Walter left the table to pay the bill and came back with a single red rose. I still don’t know where he got it, he wouldn’t say. I’ve never been there so have to ask – are men’s toilets decorated with flower arrangements? In Queensferry?

We made it to the hotel eventually. In the morning, after a very short night (I told you it was erection of a lifetime) Walter kindly took a few (more) pictures of me. This involves another man, I’m afraid. A gentleman I’d never met generously supplied me with lovely lingerie and no, he didn’t ask for the photos in return. I suggested it myself. In case you’re in doubt – no, I don’t usually send out my photos left, right and centre. I don’t need to, you can copy them from my website. If it’s not there, then it’s not for everyone. Which is why you get to see this.

 Edinburgh escorts photos

Look closely. It must have been a very good meal if you can have this in bed and still attribute your erection to food. And no, I’m not telling you what restaurant it was.

You know what? I’m glad I ran that Limerick Competition. Some wonderful things came out of it.

February in London, Part 3

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2.

The following morning the Nutter comes to pick me up from my hotel. The weather is slightly better and we walk to the Royal Academy of Arts to visit the Manet exhibition. We queue outside in the snow for something like an hour: the Academy is very English and very Royal in this respect. The exhibition is a joy.

I’ll be honest, I’m not big on art. My favourite movement is Pre-Raphaelites, that should tell you enough. But I am captivated by portraits and figure painting. Now, before you accuse me of neglecting the beauty of nature in art – you’re right. It’s true, landscapes bore me out of my skull. Seascapes – not so much, but close. Still life, on the other hand, is fascinating as long as it’s a flower painting. Anything other than a bouquet in that composition and as far as I’m concerned, I’m looking at a landscape again. The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge has a whole room dedicated to flower paintings. If there is anything the Dutch are good at…

Anyway, figure painting. I’m not a connoisseur, I don’t care much for brush strokes and techniques. I enjoy the story the painter tells me. Figure painting is like blogging. When I blog about a client, I tell you how I see him. I’ve never seen him at work, or with his children, or at a funeral, so my blog entry is not a well-rounded and truthful depiction of a man, it’s a description of my experience of him. I can bet all you want that his wife would tell a very different story. Similarly, looking at a portrait we see the person the painter saw. We can only guess about the actual poser. The painting tells us more about its author than about its object. Olympia, the notoriously controversial painting of a prostitute. It’s not like she’s the first hooker to ever be painted, far from it. But very few of the thousands of sex workers painted before her looked so unrepentant, unashamed and unabashed. She wasn’t caught unawares when dressing or spied on when bathing. No, her accessories show that she’s naked by choice and she’s very comfortable with it. Moreover, she looks dominant. She knows what she’s doing. I guess that’s the real controversy. What do we know about her now? Nothing but her job. The way she looks here is the way every other sex worker would look when naked (I am now really curious to see Dana’s photos of me). Does it tell us anything about Manet? He is evidently very comfortable with female sexuality. He doesn’t want to own it, he celebrates it.

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Fair enough, the woman in the painting is a model, but any real life sex worker could be painted very differently in the context of her job by another painter. Of course, not all painters are good story-tellers and not all portraits are there to be heard. That’s why the exhibition was a beautiful learning experience. And I was taken by his signature: “Ed. Manet” on most paintings. It was hard not to poke the Nutter in the ribs with my elbow and say loudly, pointing my finger: “Look! Another good one by Eddie!”

Out of the Academy, we walk a little around Piccadilly and then he takes me to a little restaurant in Jermyn Street for lunch. The lunch conversation is an eye-opener: we go through our “history” of 5 dates. First time he came across my website, he thought “She’s bloody arrogant!” First time he came to see me, he assumed I was older than the website said. And I have to say that the first time I saw him he looked and acted much older than the Nutter I know now. So maybe it’s all in the eyes of the painter. Has he changed since? He says he has. He is now more sensitive and considerate to others’ needs. I don’t know about that. I notice his increased confidence around me (and his new talents in bed) and his attention to his clothes. Unlike the first time, he’s now a tasteful dresser, understatedly elegant. If I were to paint him, you’d see a very sexy 60 year old man.

Time flies when you’re happy and it’s 2.45 before I know it. I have to leave the Nutter at the table and rush to Praed Street clinic for my appointment at 3. This is the first time I am at the clinic dressed for going out (shirt+skirt), not for blending in with the other clinic attendees (jeans+T-shirt) and suddenly I am treated differently. Even my reply to the same old question of “how many clients a week do you see?” (why do they have to ask every time I’m there? To check if I’m lying?) doesn’t inspire a raised eyebrow.

Thankfully, the Nutter leaves for his hometown from Paddington, 5 minute run from the clinic, and I make it there just 10 minutes before his train leaves. We walk to the gates, stop to say good bye and I reach to kiss him. As our lips touch, he drops his suitcase. He bends down to pick it up, mumbling something along the lines of “clumsy old fool” and I give my usual line of “I tend to have this effect on men”. But I can only wish. This is the first time a man drops something other than his trousers when I kiss him.

Newcastle

The first stop of my long October tour was Newcastle for a day. This day was spent with the Mariner. The original Master Plan was a tour of Geordieland in the afternoon, but when I arrived it was raining and somehow we just ended up staying in my hotel room. We left in the early evening for a dinner and then to see “Oliver!” and not only because a visit to the theatre is always nice but because I needed something fresh after my overdose of The Phantom of the Opera.

Food, glorious food! Hot sausage and mustard!

is nowhere as sexy as

Darkness stirs and wakes imagination

but by then I was so tired of humming the Phantom’s tunes I was ready to hum anything. A food theme is an additional bonus: how can you not love food?

The show was everything I expected and even more considering Brian Conley as Fagin – what an utterly loveable mean old Jew! Moreover, I suddenly saw his “Reviewing the Situation” in a new light: if you listen to it closely, it can easily be a sex worker’s song. Fagin ponders over all those questions that sooner or later come to those who choose sex work as a career. Is it possible to do sex work “all your life” or is settling down with a spouse a better option? For reasons Fagin describes so eloquently, marriage isn’t a good idea (and even worse for a prostitute: why do I want to give away something that I’m used to be paid for?) Then there is the option of performing “an honest job” and again, the arguments against it are totally true – an honest job is a dismal flop next to prostitution. So what happens when you’re seventy? Like thieves, prostitutes have no-one to rely on: throughout the song, family is hard to keep, friends are hard to make, colleagues are hard to trust, society is indifferent when not hostile. If you listen carefully, Fagin finds no solution: he’d love to not have to be a thief anymore, but it’s his best option since he has to fend for himself. “I’m a bad ‘un and a bad ‘un I shall stay” is what he arrives to. It’s a rather sad song, taken as comic if you don’t concern yourself with the character’s troubles. Mind you, the character of Fagin in the musical is very different to the one in the book.

Yes, I loved the thief, but I deeply resented the prostitute – Nancy. Clearly not because of competition. This “tart with a heart” archetype is so insulting to common sense that it’s not even ironic. Writers and other “creative” people around the world, from bible to the most recent TV series, have been dehumanising, objectifying and pimping (i.e. getting a profit from using) prostitutes by creating this one rare whore who is occasionally capable of showing some humanity (as opposed to the mainstream whore who has never even heard the term). She is usually there to highlight the purity and morality of a “real” woman in the story and to make the reader go “aww, look at this hooker, she’s trying to be human! How sweet, poor silly thing!” So when at the start of the show the Mariner leaned to me and whispered: “Remember what happened to Nancy?” I said I didn’t. First of all, it’s a really creepy question to ask someone in Nancy’s occupation, and secondly, you don’t need to remember. Nancy’s a hooker. Hookers get murdered, especially the ones with a heart. This most likely comes from the contradiction between her job and her human nature: tart with a heart’s existence upsets the balance of society by showing that prostitutes are actually women (yes, I know sex workers can be male and transgender, but the society prefers to stay unaware). The society can’t possibly be forced to choose between

  • prostitutes are human like other women and are therefore equal members of society and deserve rights like others, and
  • all women aren’t human.

And so, the hooker has to die.

Yes, prostitution can be rather isolating. Which is where me and the Mariner found each other, because being a sailor is also very isolating, although for different reasons. Society never considers prostitutes’ feelings, but it doesn’t bother much with seamen’s either. It hadn’t occurred to me until I met the Mariner. As a seafarer, you spend most of your life on a ship in the tight company of people (mostly men with an occasional woman here and there nowadays) who often don’t even speak your language. So you either make friends with them or with Facebook profiles – if you’re in luck and your ship provides you with Internet connection. If you have friends or family “ashore”, being with them comes down to looking at their photo when calling them. So even though for different reasons, it’s the same social isolation as with sex workers, with the same outcome: family is hard to keep, friends are hard to make. To top it all, you live at work (kinda like living in a brothel. Shudder) so while you’re on the ship, you work. As in, no 9 to 5, no week-ends, no bank holidays, no going to the local with your mates. You actually work most of the time you’re at work. I’d kill myself.

Guess where!

Over the years my clients took me to many different places. There was, however, one which I have never been invited to. Nor was it a place that I ever hoped to be invited to.

In early July a new gentleman joined my tight circle of benefactors – a tall and quiet seafarer (another tick in my uniform list) who comes to Edinburgh every time he’s back in UK. So I’ll see him 2-3 times in the span of 10 days or so and then he’s gone seafaring for a month or however long. If ever I get into a relationship, it’ll have to be with a sailor: a partner who’s never there is the perfect catch.

Anyway, he comes to Edinburgh, we spend a day together and after dinner we go to Waverley where I kiss him good-bye and he takes the last train to… Newcastle. In case you don’t know, I worked there for a year. Why he had to wait until I move to Edinburgh is a mystery. There will be more posts about him, so I need to come up with a good code name for him to go by. The obvious “The Geordie” is already taken. Calling him Popeye is not fair on Popeye. And naturally I’m not calling him by his name. Not here. Let’s settle for “The Mariner” for now, and if anyone has other suggestions (the Mariner included) – I’m happy to consider them.

The first few dates were rather difficult, with him keeping quiet and me trying to figure out how to get him talking (it’s still not easy but we’re doing much better now). Gradually I got to know about him and his interests, and guess what, he quite fancies pandas! Not exactly in the way he fancies me but it’s a start and an idea for the next date.

So this is where we go – to the zoo. It may not sound like the most romantic place in Edinburgh but by now I (and hopefully you, too) have learnt that it’s not the place that makes your date great, it’s who you’re there with. We arrive in time for our appointment with pandas (yeah, did you know you need to book an audience with them?), it lasts about 10 minutes. The first 2 minutes are enough for me to understand that no matter what else we see in the zoo today, nothing can be more boring than pandas. Funny they are thought of as bears. Crashing boars would suit them much better.

These fluffies sleep 16 hours a day. If you are lucky to catch them awake, they are busy looking at a wall – this is what the female panda was doing. Well, at least she was up, unlike her mate. No style, no fun, no personality. Don’t waste your time on pandas. Out of all things overrated, very few are as high as them.

But then we left the pandarium and the fun started together with the rain. We saw penguins (these are full of personality but it seems to be a b!tchy one), koalas (these were also asleep but even the way they sleep is fun, just look!),Independent Edinburgh escorts pigmy hippos, llamas (when it’s raining, there’s no difference between a wet sheep and a wet llama), a tiger and a black leopard, pink flamingos (I was supremely disappointed. They may look exotic and graceful from a distance, but up close they are just medium-sized chickens on awkwardly long legs. Not to mention that they smell funny), sea eagle and sea lion. The meerkats stayed in because of the rain so we didn’t get to see them. Nor kune kune pigs: they were too far to walk to for a rainy day. And yes, the image of these little cuties is not what I would usually go for, but I’m a woman, and sometimes a woman is allowed to be girlie.Edinburgh escorts

Most of our zoo time was spent next to the cages with monkeys, and yes, it was only because of me. The Mariner, I think, got rather bored (or tired?) with them. But how is this possible? They are so full of life, energy and cheek! I could stand and watch them all day! They are so different to how they are usually shown in cartoons! They can professionally peel and eat a banana in 7 seconds: they don’t even chew it. Also, I somehow always thought monkeys were vegetarian. I mean, they are not predators and therefore have to be vegetarian (“bad hunter” is the definition of “a vegetarian”), right? Not exactly: some of them eat locusts and every second of it is as revolting as you can imagine it to be. You’d think locusts are dry and crunchy – wrong again! They are surprisingly stretchy and chewy. And juicy. I’ll stop right here.

I know you want to know, so no, he didn’t buy me an ice-cream. And yes, it was my first ever visit to the zoo. And it was fun!

Friends with a prostitute

I was touched by Walter‘s e-mail where he said he was sad for me that Mr French had left as I obviously liked him a lot. I think the first thing I learnt in prostitution is that men come and go while my savings account stays (which, frankly, would be good for all women to learn) but it doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate these men while they are around – this is the second thing I’ve learnt. The client – prostitute relationship may be paid for, but it’s still a relationship.

The night was rather cold for 2 September. The fact that I stood motionless wasn’t helping. The noisy crowd around me smelt of beer and cigarettes. The fireworks were totally worth it.

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The following day, 3 September, was beautiful: sky so clear and blue I suddenly realised that I hadn’t seen sky for a very long while now. And it was hot. Really hot. I’d say hotter than any other day this year. I went for a very long walk, keeping my camera eye on the sky. The walk took me past H(ugh)‘s home, not on purpose but simply because there are lovely views in that part of Edinburgh and he just happens to live there. Of course I thought of him.

Last time I saw him we had dinner at a Spanish restaurant, watched a film cuddled up together on his sofa and then I, abiding by the international rules and regulations of romantic dating, asked him for a pair of scissors and, in his words, invaded his (now former) privacy. The way I see it, just because his privacy hasn’t been invaded in the last 70 years, it doesn’t mean he should die not having seen what his privacy actually looks like. And the fact that his privacy harbours more hair than his scalp, face and ears together is the last straw. Anyway, that was mid-July, and I haven’t heard from him since except for an e-mail a few days ago, the subject line screaming “Hot balls!!!” Apparently, if you remove a thick and long natural covering, it gets hotter, not cooler. I’m not a physicist, so I’m not going to occupy my pretty little head with this nonsense.

About 20 minutes later as I’m walking home, my phone rings and – that’s right! – it’s H(ugh). Well, if he noticed the slight change in his balls’ temperature after my professional help (free of charge, by the way!), it’s only natural that now his balls will sniff me out within a mile and cower in fear. Yet he’s still willing to see me, yes, tonight if I’ve no other plans. He calls to book a table at a fancy restaurant close by and even checks with them that they have gluten-free stuff on the menu. Aww.

During the dinner he tells me how much he enjoyed the festival, the shows he went to see, such a pity he had to do it on his own. Under the table, I pretend to try to kick him and he moves his legs out of my reach quickly. The conversation moves to the end of the festival and the fireworks the night before. He tells me he had 2 tickets but couldn’t get anyone to go with him so went on his own.

This time I really kick him. Twice. And I make sure it’s hard. He winces and reaches to his shin under the table. Good. Now, if he gets 2 tickets somewhere, he’ll think of me, at least for as long as his shin hurts. The e-mail I receive after this date says that apart from the bruised shin and ego he’s now absolutely fine and it may seem daft, but he thinks of us as friends.

Whatever the society thinks of my profession, it’s far more honest than a lot of marriages out there. A client can have sex with his wife – for free. He can pick up someone at a bar – for very little. He can even go to see another lady (and if it’s in Edinburgh, chances are she’ll be charging less than me. I’ve looked around recently and it seems that I’m the most expensive prostitute here, which is sad, but hey, my parents can be proud!). Yet with all these choices he prefers to pay up to see me. I’d say it looks like he really wants my company. Likewise, when I agree to see him, he knows it’s because I really want to see him, not because he’s paying. After all, everyone pays. It’s up to me whom I choose to accept payment from and you can guess I’m rather picky. In marriages people can (and do) manipulate each other through finances, sex, feelings and kids. When my clients and I get together, it’s because we really want to see each other.

Update

  1. See August offers before I forget to mention them again.
  2. The new poll is here. Every vote counts (literally) and is very appreciated. Have fun.
  3. As you may have noticed by now, I’m not into social networks, but now that I’ve played with Twitter for a while, it turns out to be if not fun, then at least useful. So feel free to follow my tweets (or click the blue thingy in the bottom right corner of the blog header) but don’t expect much: they are neither personal nor sexual. My tweets are there to let you know that a new blog entry was published, not much else.
  4. A new blog entry was published (check out my tweets!) out of sequence. And there will be a few more after that. In June and July my “get-up-and-go” has got up and gone, mostly thanks to the seasonal depression, but now that the festival is on, the inspiration is back so I’m working on my blog again and, as always, I’ve a few things to say on how the world should be run.

Farewell, July!

And welcome August, my favourite time of the Edinburgh year! You aren’t likely to be sunnier, but the festivals make you a far happier time. I’m so excited I’m not even trying to hide it! And today (1st August) I’ve already seen my first show!

The weather poll is now closed (together with any hopes for summer this year) and the results can be viewed here. The 5 “other” replies that you can’t see in the results table are:

1. I’m in the USA. The big problems are the high temperatures and the wildfires. Hands up everyone who’d rather be there than in Scotland!

2. A spotted blue sky today. This makes me happy but still need to see Jewel. I have a strong feeling this must be John and he has my e-mail address so what’s the problem? But if I’m wrong and this is a john’s comment, not John’s, my contact details are here.

3. In Edinburgh, Tuesday morning, I could see my breath at 8.45 am. In JULY! I KNOW! <gone to inflict self-harm >

4. I’m NOT Jewel, and I’ve also been taking the weather personally since 17th May. We should found a club (MI – Meteorologically Insulted. Or FFS – Fight For the Sun) and file a class action, People of Scotland vs The Weather.

5. I’m a duck. Rain is 

Edinburgh Escorts Jewelundervalued. Great comment, yet I have a feeling that if we were to get a real duck’s point of view on the subject, most Mallards, Mandarins and Buffleheads out there would agree that this year is rather uncomfortably wet even for them. I discovered a mouldy patch in my left underarm yesterday morning. Surely even ducks are getting fed up with it by now.

Many thanks to everyone who took part in the poll. And there were lots of voters too, compared to previous polls! The weather is obviously on everybody’s mind. The August poll will deal with the festival – what else? It’ll be on the poll page in a couple of days when everyone’s had a look at the weather poll results.

There have been a few posts published under the sticky “Current Poll” entry (which is now deleted), feel free to enjoy them if you haven’t done so yet. And while you’re at it, enjoy this miserable duck, too.

Edinburgh Escorts Gallery

London

Euston, Thursday 28th June, midday

A text from H(ugh): “Jewel, Midnight Tango on at the Playhouse on Saturday 7.30. Will you be back from London in time?”

Does he need to ask? I walk to Kings Cross to change my train ticket so I could arrive to Edinburgh earlier than planned to be in time for the show.

Kings Cross, Friday 29th June, 7pm

I’m having dinner in a gay restaurant (it’s a largish restaurant, it’s literally across the road from 2 main railway stations, it’s Friday night and there’s me, 11 other customers altogether (all male) and 4 male staff. Gay is the only explanation). My phone rings.  It’s the client I’m seeing in Edinburgh on Sunday for lunch and lust making his introductory call.

– And by the way, Jewel, it’s tomorrow you’re travelling back, isn’t it? Have you heard of the train disruptions? I don’t know the details but because of the bad weather in Scotland some trains have been cancelled.

Well, it was bound to happen. There hasn’t been good weather in Scotland since last Christmas. Still, my dinner over, I go across the road to Kings Cross station. A very disinterested young lady in the information booth tells me she hasn’t heard of any disruptions of East Coast services. She looks like a highly unreliable source of information but the only one, so I walk back to my hotel in Euston.

Euston, Saturday 30th June, 6.08am

“This is so exciting!” – a text from J, the client who’s already on the train to Euston to see me at 7am before work. I open one eye, read the text, roll the eye and text back “You can say that again!” Drop the offending beeping device on the floor by my bed, bury my face in the pillow and give myself 10 more minutes.

Do you know how long an average healthy and youngish person needs to get a good night’s sleep? Just 10 more minutes.

Euston, Saturday 30th June, 7am

J is outside my hotel with a cup of hot chocolate for me. I’m running around my room in panic, still only partially dressed, shoe in one hand, mascara in another, trail of loose powder on the carpet behind me.

Euston, Saturday 30th June, 9am

I’m drinking the cold hot chocolate from the paper cup courtesy of J when an e-mail from Walter arrives: if, as my site says, I’m going back to Edinburgh this week-end, I’d better take a plane because of the severe disruptions to East Coast services. I’m not even seeing him this week-end, yet he bothered to check things out and e-mail me!

This is the second warning, and much as I hate browsing Internet on my mobile I do that, just to see that according to East Coast website very few London trains make it past Newcastle to Edinburgh, and those that do, run up to 90 minutes late. I’ve H(ugh) waiting for me with tickets outside the Playhouse at 7. I love tango. I love my clients. I love being paid. I hate being late for dates because of East Coast. Besides, H(ugh) always insists on giving me a lift home. Here’s his chance.

“Morning, H(ugh). East Coast trains being more unreliable than always, how do you feel about picking me up in Newcastle to give me a lift home?”

“Jewel, my dear, you are one of the few friends I would do this for! When are you due to arrive in Newcastle?”

Aww. I still have this text. I’d print it out and frame it if I could. Yep, I’m that sad. I e-mail Walter to thank him for the warning and to express my surprise at how much my clients seem to care. His reply arrives almost immediately: “you’re like L’Oreal – you’re worth it”. Another aww.

Euston, Saturday 30th June, 10.30am

I meet Dana Popa in the lobby of my hotel. Dana is a photographer working on a project which I hope to be part of. The aim of the project is to show women who happen to be sex-workers. I like the way it’s put. After all, I never think of myself as a sex-worker. This word may bless me with a certain lifestyle but it does not define me. First and foremost, I am a woman. I am also a daughter, a sister, a friend, and then a prostitute. Dana tells me about her project. I tell her about my clients (because that’s the thing on my mind), how unbearably sweet they are. Typical girlie chat.

Kings Cross, Saturday, 30th June, midday

I get on the train. Luckily, it takes me all the way to Edinburgh so H(ugh) doesn’t have to go to Newcastle to pick me up. He picks me up from Waverley though.

New friend

After all the old friends who showed up I also got to make a new friend, and no – not what you think. A female friend. A colleague. We were in touch before and now she was coming to Edinburgh for a tour, so I suggested we meet.

It’s a warm and sunny day, very rare for Edinburgh, and I take her up Calton Hill for a little walk. We talk a lot, jumping from one subject to another – two people who never met before and suddenly discover they have so much in common. We come from different backgrounds, with different approach to work, different tastes and interests, but, as I’ve noticed with many other sex workers, our major personality traits are similar.

Down the hill, we sit on a bench in a park and look at the road.

– Bugatti, – she says. – I love Bugatti.

What the hell is Bugatti? Her favourite place in Italy? A celebrity? Brand of lingerie? One of her clients’ name? She goes on:

– I LURVE Bugatti. I wish I could get into one, even if only for a few minutes!

– Errrm… What is it?

Turns out it’s a car. I am notoriously bad with cars. I don’t drive, don’t want to drive and have no interest in cars in consequence. For me, if it has 5 wheels and a roof (obligatory in Edinburgh, optional in the south of France) – it’s enough. Oh, and 4 of the wheels need to go round and round. My friends gave up on me long ago. After a few chats like

– What car does he drive?

– A black one. Oh no, wait, it was navy blue! Or black? I’m not sure, it was dark.

they don’t want to talk to me about cars anymore. Even last month, when one of them bought a new car and called me with the news, it went like this:

-Congratulations! Really happy for you. What sort of car is it?

– It’s red. So when are you next in London?

The clients don’t know about it though (well, not until now) and it does lead to some embarrassing moments, like that time when I leave the restaurant with one of them and he says:

– It’s the Jaguar.

I look at the long line of cars parked at the kerb. I would recognise a cab. Or a truck. Or a bike. But a Jaguar, as far as I am concerned, does not stand out in a way that makes it noticeable.

– Just tell me what colour it is, will you.

The most ridiculous car episode, however, occurred the year before I went into sex trade. At the time I was seeing (not dating, just meeting occasionally, no sex involved) a man who I met through our mutual hobby – salsa. We’d meet at the club, dance ourselves silly and he’d drive me home. That one time (which eventually became the last time) we danced till early – it was 3 am when we left and we were both starving. The only place to get something to eat in London at this time of day was Edgware Road. We drive there, he parks and goes to get a kebab for himself and some vegetarian wrap for me from the only take away shop that’s open (and marked by a long queue outside).

We’re munching in silence when a lettuce leaf all covered in mayonnaise falls out of my wrap and I open my legs just in time to make sure it doesn’t land on my jeans. Instead, the oily smelly leaf lands on the car seat right between my thighs.

– Sh!t! – my dance partner shouts. – Look, it’s Bentley!

– Me-e-en… – I think to myself, make an interested face and look out of the window. – Really? Where?

– Here, you’re sitting in one!

Haven’t sat in one since.

Meanwhile, my new friend, having gotten over her disappointment with the extent of my ignorance, gets her mobile out and punches Bugatti into the search engine. A page with a few car images comes up.

– Aaah, Bugatti!.. – she sighs with a dreamy smile. I get the feeling that if one of them passed by at this exact moment, she’d probably climax there and then. She passes me her phone and I look at the pictures.

I could never understand how people recognise this or that car make, especially from a distance. If you can’t see the logo (and in my case – even if you can), how do you know it’s a Bugatti? The cars on the phone page were all different. Different colours, different fronts, different shape.

– I like the silver one, – I tell her, pointing at the blue one, because seriously, even though they are all different, they are just cars: the idea behind them is the same. She doesn’t notice. By now she’s in the world of her own.

– I’m telling you, if one of them runs me over – I’ll be only grateful.

I try to change the topic before it gets really freaky and we’re back to discussing work. It’s so seldom I get to talk about work with anyone who knows what I’m talking about!