I could probably write an entire blog post about the Fake Pimpernel before I even get to the part with the date!
He rang me at work just over a week ago. He was the first of my dates to phone me, and the call took me by complete surprise. He mentioned a name I didn’t know as the person who gave him my number, and I politely brushed over it, and decided to identify the girl later, and work out which of my friends she knew. (By this point the challenge had extended to friends of friends making date referrals). We spoke briefly to arrange a date, and then once we’d hung up, I searched Facebook for his friend.
Unfortunately the friend had a rather common name, and I found the wrong person! Another girl with the exact same name was a mutual friend of the Newlywed, a girl I went to both school and University with. The Newlywed had already agreed to set me up with her friend the Pimpernel (named by a previous blogger), and so seeing the Fake Pimpernel’s friend knew the Newlywed, I simply assumed he was the real Pimpernel.
I texted to apologise for not knowing his friend’s name, and explained that I knew the Newlywed, and that she’d called him ‘the Pimpernel’. He seemed impressed by the nickname, but didn’t comment about knowing the Newlywed.
‘My friend told me about (the challenge) and I thought it was an absolutely fantastic idea! Don’t worry, the date will not be boring, I promise you that :)’ he vowed in his first text.
Conversation continued for a few more texts, until he replied saying he’d just spoken to his friend, and she had never met the Newlywed! Turns out his friend was a completely different girl to the one I had found on Facebook, and was actually a friend of the Ski Bunny! Awkward!
We settled on calling him the Fake Pimpernel as a joke, and he admitted to having never been on a blind date before.
He then asked if I was a photosensitive epileptic! ‘Weird question I know, but I’d rather not be known as The One who sent Me to Hospital! ‘ – a text message that had me giggling at my desk at work. Then to add to the suspense he added ‘ps don’t wear anything flammable!’ I just assumed he was winding me up!
The next day he sent me a text to say ‘Just got a telegram confirming the second half of the date’!
By this point, he’d definitely piqued my interest!
The Fake Pimpernel (F-Pimp) even continued the suspense as I travelled into London to meet him, texting me a snapshot of the corner of the ticket to get me guessing where we were going!
I arrived at Waterloo station five minutes late. We’d arranged to meet at Westminster bridge, but as I made my way through the crowds and texted F-Pimp to tell him what I was wearing, he (unknown to me!) began walking towards me, so as I passed the London Dungeon a man walking towards me called my name.
The F-Pimp was dressed smartly in a white shirt and chinos, with ironic pimpernel flowers on the inside lining of his shirt collar! He was carrying a golfing umbrella (at my request as it had been raining all afternoon), and was under strict instructions not to lose it, as he’d borrowed it from a friend, but as it had dried up, he spent the evening almost forgetting it every place we went.
As I had walked down the South Bank, I’d realised where we were going. Posters decorated the billboards for a show called Limbo, by a circus group called Cantina performing at the London Wonderground tent. The poster had a fire breather on. Turns out he hadn’t been lying about the flame proof clothing – we had ringside seats.
We settled down beside the small stage, only for a familiar face to settle perhaps 3 metres away from us in the front row.
I immediately did a double take – it was Madonna!
Not that F-Pimp believed me! In the end I had to google Madonna’s toy boy, just to prove it was really them, as F-Pimp was adamant the random blonde lady was far too young (in spite of her wearing cut-off leather gloves and gold grills on her teeth!!)
The show was breath-taking. A crazy mix of weird, twisted music, and Cirque de Soleil calibre stunts, we watched acrobats, contortionists, sword-swallowing, fire breathing, and awe-inspiring aerial stunts. We whooped and gasped in the front row as men flew through the air over our heads, and a woman spat fountains of flames inches away from our faces.
The spectacle was sexy, original and fun. The music was crazy and unique, the acts breathtaking. The added celeb-spotting of Madonna just seats away from us only served to add to the occasion, even if it did take me forever to convince F-Pimp that it was really her!
And that was just Part One!
We had a drink in the beautiful garden area outside the Wonderground tent (the same area I’d explored with the One with the Sign during the Udderbelly Festival) and then took the tube to Earl’s Court.
At Earl’s Court we went in search of the Evans & Peel Detective agency, an amazing unique bar and restaurant, tucked in a quiet side street.
The One with the GSOH had actually mentioned the bar to me last week, and suggested it would be a good spot for a date.
F-Pimp rang the buzzer, and a ‘secretary’ answered. He explained he had a 9.30 appointment, and the door opened to a steep downward staircase. I walked slightly apprehensively down the steps, into a quaint office. The girl behind the desk asked what our appointment was relating to … apparently F-Pimp had sent his ‘case file’ ahead of the appointment. He wanted to investigate my blog, as the men were never heard from again after one date, and he was worried he might be in trouble going on a date with me, as I might be killing the men and harvesting their organs!
Well that was definitely the most unique Henley Boy theory I’d ever heard!
The ‘detective’ agreed to type up her notes, and then pushed open a bookcase to reveal a bustling 1920s prohibition style bar area. We were handed our case notes (the menu) and guided to a small old-fashioned desk – our dinner table for the night.
The ceiling was hung with dim lightbulbs, and the room was full of authentic twenties touches.
The cocktail menu was amazing, and the food was a mixture of taster platters. We sampled chicken caesar sliders, pulled pork chilli, potato wedges, amazing truffle potato croquette cigars, macaroni cheese and goats cheese fritters.
It felt like we spent the entire date laughing … mainly as a result of F-Pimp’s random comments. When discussing his upcoming trip to Vietnam (and in reference to a Chinese phrase we’d been talking about previously) he came out with the zinger ‘I hope the Lonely Planet tells me how to f*ck a dog!’. Probably the best quote from any of my eight dates so far!
F-Pimp was confident, funny and a complete gentleman. He went all out with the date, and wouldn’t let me pay for a thing, even completely unnecessarily suggesting that he pre-loaded an Oyster card for me to use on the tube between Parts One and Two of the Date. He repeatedly told me how beautiful I looked, which was really cute, and when he inevitably left the umbrella behind in the Detective Agency, he described himself over the intercom as ‘the man who had just left, lucky enough to have been sitting with the gorgeous brunette’. Cheesy, but did make me grin.
We met … just by the London Eye.
I wore … a navy lace top, blue cropped trousers and ballet pumps.
He wore … a white button-down shirt with a pimpernel collar, and chinos.
I drank … Pimms & Diet Coke. He drank … G&T, Pimms, a Yorkshire Caipirinha, a 50/50
We talked about … Vietnam, travelling, snowboarding, the challenge, family, friends, a lot of mickey taking
The date lasted – 5 hours
The date ended – because I needed to get the last train back to Reading
Marks out of ten … SO difficult just eight dates in, because genuinely this date was amazing. Either half of the date would have made a great first date, so the two parts combined, plus the added appearance of Madonna … The date definitely hit the 9/10 mark, and I may well regret not awarding it a higher mark …
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx