At first, GDL student Anastasia Steal doubts the wisdom of Christopher Grey QC’s insistence that she complete her mini-pupillage with him on a Sunday, but pretty soon she finds herself having the best day of her life.
As I walked through Gray’s Inn, I caught my reflection in a puddle that had gathered from last night’s storm. God I looked so tired, so mousy, so…grey. “He’s so out of my league,” I whispered to myself as I arrived outside the splendid Georgian exterior of Gray’s Inn Chambers.
“You’re late,” came a voice from behind me I knew all too well already, its velvety tones echoing around Gray’s Inn.
“But it’s 8.55, you said 9am,” I responded, my voice quivering.
“Exactly,” said Mr Gray, a trace of what seemed like a smile forming momentarily on his lips – oh those lips! – before vanishing again.
There was a pause as we looked at each for a fraction of a second too long. Then Mr Grey spoke again:
“There’s been a slight issue with the entry code to chambers. This being Sunday, it seems I’m unable to gain access. But no matter. I shall take you on a tour of the Inns of Court instead, while relaying to you my professional successes that have taken me this far. Do you have a pen and paper with which to take notes?”
“Yes!” I gasped.
As we traversed down Chancery Lane, everywhere seemed closed, as if we were in some ghost town where nobody went to work, had lunch, fell in love…Fleet Street was similarly quiet, with even the door that leads down into the Temple locked. Fortunately, Mr Grey’s tales of his professional successes were fascinating.
“…and it was in this great tussle that I prevailed, not just against my opponent, you understand, but single-handedly convincing the Court of Appeal that it had erred in law…” he continued.
After three fascinating hours of wandering around like this, Mr Grey suddenly became peckish and led me sternly by the hand to his favourite restaurant, the Penderel’s Oak on High Holborn, for brunch. And what a brunch!
The perfectly formed sausages nestled alongside the inviting tomatoes, the moisture from their juicy centres dribbling towards the rose pink of the bacon and beyond to the sea of mushrooms and toast located at the far echelons of the platter’s sphere.
“The £2.99 breakfast really is excellent value for money, and in these troubled times at the Bar…” said Mr Grey, looking up wistfully – there was a sadness in those brown, brown eyes of his, and, damn it, I wanted to be the person to make it better! – before continuing: “And if anything, the Lavazza coffee at 99p per cup is even more competitively-priced. By all means, do feel free to order a second cup, Anastasia.”
It was the most exquisite dining experience of my life. Lost in the memories of the flavours I’d encountered, and trembling with excitement at the prospect of the £5-7 Penderel’s Oak Curry Club that Mr Grey had invited me to attend next Thursday, I stepped out of the restaurant onto the pavement and THUMP.
The cyclist passed in a blur. “Bloody cyclists. Get off the pavement,” I heard a voice cry. Everything was spinning. Then I realised I had fallen into Mr Grey’s arms.
Anastasia’s previous installments are here.