After spending Wednesday night scouring Foursquare for London’s best coffee shops, I found what seemed to be a dream come true: a coffee shop inside of a grand cathedral. Host Café inside St. Mary’s church is the perfect place for a cup of jo and spiritual insight. Sitting at the end of a pew under high ceilings, staring up at large stain-glassed windows with a divine cup of coffee in hand was altogether heavenly.
While we finished up our time of reading and journaling, Kristi got a message Justin, her friend and Associate Director of The Crown on Netflix. He had just flown in from filming a scene in Scotland and said, “Sorry, just got in last night. I’m in Soho. Coffee. Now?”
Now I haven’t been in London very long so I have a lot to learn, but one thing I do know is that when Justin Martin says, “coffee now,” you go. At once, Kristi and I gathered our things and were on our way to Soho. Up until this moment I had only heard stories (legends, if you will) about the infamous Justin Martin. Many people know him and yet not many can pin him down long enough to snap a photo.
Justin is a tall, Australian man with a big smile often wearing messy hair and a scarf around his neck. He is brilliantly comical and a great conversationalist. Justin treated us to some afternoon tea at a restaurant where we talked about our time in London and his time in Scotland. We shared backgrounds, ambitions, and a few ideas swirling around in Justin’s head. (I can neither confirm nor deny whether Justin may or may not have shown us a sneak peak into Season 2 of The Crown, so we will leave that for speculation.)
Our time with Justin, for the moment, was short-lived because he had to run for a meeting with his agent – though he was still unsure of what it is an agent does. “Am I supposed to go to her for advice? Does she manage my schedule? Is she more of a counselor or an assistant? I’m never sure what to talk about when we get together for these meetings,” he exclaimed.
We happened to be near all the tourist attractions so Kristi and I hit up the main sites while Justin was away at his meeting. We saw Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, and Hyde Park.
When we met up with Justin a second time, he took us around National Theater, West End, and Covent Garden, where I got a cone of gelato the size of my face. Justin seemed concerned with my ice cream consumption then asked what other things I liked. He said he felt like I was being bombarded with the theater world and thought we should do something I enjoy. I told him I enjoy bookstores and libraries but we had already been to the British Library, which was more magnificent than I imagined, so I was satisfied. We talked about our love for the Stand, a four-story bookstore in New York City, and Justin took me to what he calls the “British version of the Strand,” Foyles.
After spending some time browsing Foyles, Kristi bought Justin a script of The Humans and we signed it as a thank you for taking time to show us around. Before going our separate ways, I made sure to snap a photo of Kristi and Justin as proof that this day, and this man, was in fact real.