So another of tose semi-regular Sunday update posts. Like I said before, I don't see me doing this every week, but if it's been an interesting week it seems like a good idea to make a note of it. And this week must qualify 'cause I was off being social and that.Monday
: Didn't do much in the day, didn't even go to the shops because I needed to empty the fridge since I was going away for a few days. Then went off to see The Girlfriend Experience
in the evening.Tuesday
: My train wasn't until 12:30 but with my tendency to sleep in lately I was worried I'd sleep past 11 (that would have been enough time to get washed, dressed, pack and get to King's Cross.) As it turns out I was evidently so nervous about waking up that I only got a couple of hours' sleep, and was up in plenty of time. The journey up to Lincs was pretty good, Alex and the kids were waiting at the station and we stopped off at a garden centre for a cup of coffee on the way back to theirs'. Alex has a tendency to apologise for the unglamorous nature of the places we ended up going to (garden centres! Toys'R'us!) but it's not like I'm down Bouji's every night myself, besides which if you're going somewhere more rural it's nice to actually see some of the country. Lovely to see Alex and Will, Evie and Florence again, although I didn't get to see that much of Will - he's changing jobs and spent a lot of time at work as he's showing his replacement the ropes. The girls weren't nervous around me for too long this time - Evie seemed to remember me from our trip to the gallery, which is surprising since it was a couple of years ago. Flo of course I hadn't seen since she was a baby but she's pretty boisterous (you can imagine how thrilled her mum is about that) and seems to take things in her stride. She was always a huge baby and even though she won't be 5 until November, she's already nearly as tall as her sister, who turned 7 this week. Alex jokes that she's somehow produced an amazonian child.
I've always liked Alex & Will's rather grumpy dog Blue, and I assume she likes me too because she's never tried to bite me, something Alex always seems to think she'll do. This may be the last time I see her because she's getting on a bit - she was a rescued dog so they've never known exactly how old she is but probably about 12 or 13. I do love her world-weary facial expression though - whenever Flo enthusiastically grabs her yelling "Hello Blue!" she practically rolls her eyes. They haven't replaced their other dog, Red, since he died, because they think at Blue's age she won't appreciate another dog running around, especially since the girls are set on a puppy next time. Will grew up in a house with lots of dogs and cats (I stayed at his parents' for Evie's christening and can confirm it's a menagerie) so he's used to having more than one dog at a time.
After having dinner, catching up a bit with Alex & Will and watching some telly it was an early night, what with being a house with young kids in it, one of whom (Florence, of course) seems to need very little sleep. Luckily I was knackered from my sleepless night and travelling, so I got to sleep easily despite being in a different bed. Unfortunately that was the only night I slept easily.Wednesday
: Alex and the kids had been up baking cakes for Evie's birthday by the time I got up. Their car was being serviced so we took the bus into Lincoln (it's like pulling teeth to get Alex to let me pay for anything or help around the house to say thanks for the hospitality, but at least she let me pay for the bus tickets.) We popped into a few shops to see if there was anything Evie wanted to spend some birthday money on, including The Horror! The Horror! of Toys'R'us. A cup of tea in a department store then we went to Waterstones so Evie could choose her own book for her present from me. She's an avid reader and loves Harry Potter
so she'd got her heart set on Beedle the Bard
. It was in the 3-for-2 offer so I ended up getting her three books - well it keeps her quiet and besides books are so expensive I always like to get value for money. Apparently the girls were showing off a bit while we were out and Alex got a bit irate but it's not like I would have been able to tell. I told Alex later how lucky she is not to have real hellions and she said she does count her lucky stars when she sees the kids on Supernanny
- to be honest I don't even think she needs to look that far. If Wednesday was typical, they're better behaved than the majority of kids I see out and about.Thursday
: Evie's 7th birthday! Exciting! Alex and the girls were out for a walk when I got up, then after lunch we got in the car to go to a local farm and pick raspberries. Once again Alex was apologetic about this when she needn't be (she does apologise a lot for things like that, but I wanted to visit her and the kids, I knew there'd be kids' stuff involved. She's also a good cook by the way but again, will she take a compliment? Pft.) Anyway it wasn't exactly something I do all the time so a nice change out in the fresh air. On the way Alex realised she'd forgotten to get the special birthday balloon she'd promised, but Evie didn't mind - she said "I've had a lovely day instead!" which I think Alex was quite touched by.
Most of the raspberries weren't ready yet, and those that were had been picked, but we persevered and found a few. And it's nice to see kids being entertained by something old-fashioned and fun, and not be the 3-second-attention-span telly addicts the Daily Mail
insists they are. When they moved on to the blackberries I spent some time in the farm shop finding presents for my mum and a couple of people back home. One of whom has drawn the short straw (or is well in luck if he likes biscuits, it depends on your point of view.) While I was looking for something for him the girls came back into the shop and insisted he'd like their favourites: Owl-and-the-pussycat biscuits.
It was a special late night for the kids, as we went to a restaurant for Evie's birthday dinner. Once again, Alex apologised in advance for the place for its chavtacular style. Well it was worth seeing anyway, one of those places that prides itself on its ribs. You know a place is classy when you can't get a booking for 5:30pm. But the kids loved it and Evie even finished her meal (she's normally a very picky eater.) I ordered a burger figuring it was a safe bet, but it turned out to be so huge I had to eat it with a knife and fork - I may have a big mouth but even I couldn't fit that thing in. Despite being bloated by the end, I had endless trouble sleeping, probably once again because I knew I had to travel. I ended up staying up finishing my book
: Managed to get up earlier than usual so was all showered, dressed and packed when Alex & the girls came back from shopping. I kept them occupied while Alex put the groceries away, and we looked at Greece in Evie's atlas because I'd told her I grew up there. The girls then drew me pictures, Evie's telling me I am "very nice." Although strictly speaking that's the opinion of Sandy, the toy dog she'd got for her birthday. Then a drive to the train station, another uneventful journey home, a supermarket trip and a catch-up on the internet (I'd not been able to do much in Lincoln - the 3
mobile signal kept dropping out when I tried to go online for more than a couple of minutes at a time, so Twitter was the most I could manage.Saturday
: I guess it was my turn to have a "lovely day." I didn't do a great deal in the morning, although I'd bought Team America: World Police
on DVD when it was really cheap on Amazon recently, so I watched that - still funny. Especially, of course, the oh-so-ronery Kim Jong-Il. I love how unashamedly he's just got Cartman's voice. But then I decided to go into London early before the theatre, and it turned out to be an inspired decision. With a couple of hours to spare, I walked from the National to the Globe and back, quickly popping into the Tate Modern on the way back to see what was in the Turbine Hall at the moment (nothing, as it turns out, although you can still see marks that I assume are left over from the infamous crack in the floor.)
Somewhere along my walk on the South Bank I decided this was a really great day - there were little things that cheered me up, like the amount of gay couples openly holding hands in public (three sets of gays and a pair of lesbians that I spotted) but mainly it was that for the first time since I left work I really felt like I was on holiday (ironic really - if this was
a two-week holiday it would nearly be time to go back, which I guess explains a lot about why my holidays were no longer making me feel any better about going back.) I'm going to see a play at the Globe this week and I thought well, I can go early and spend a couple of hours in the Tate Modern, which I haven't been to properly in years. It was always part of The Plan to go around London now I'm my own boss, especially in the first three months when I'm officially on hiatus. But with the amount of theatre trips I've got planned, I've still been in the headspace from work, where I didn't have time to do much between the office and the theatre so I just went straight there and killed time until the show started. But yesterday for the first time I really felt like I've got time at my disposal and can fill my days getting to know other parts of the city I live in.
After all that the evening was nicely rounded off with The Observer
, which was excellent. I had to wait a while for the train home but I just read my book so it was fine.Sunday
: Having said all that about getting out and about, I've spent most of today in the flat (in fairness with public transport at the weekend being what it is at the moment, I'm pretty much stuck here - Sundays were always expected to be the main "writing day" in The Plan.) I was going to meet Dave for a coffee this morning but a friend of his got taken to hospital so we took a rain check. Instead I just did my grocery shopping and then watched Jumper
on DVD (not quite as awful as I'd heard, but it's very rushed and definitely feels like a missed opportunity. Jamie Bell steals the film, even if his weird mid-Atlantic accent is hard to understand at times.) I also tried to work out how to get to the Arcola theatre; thanks to Google streetview I think I know what I'm doing once I get to the station.
And that brings us up to date; tomorrow is a bit of a chores day as I've got the laundry to do, then seeing if I've successfully plotted my journey to the Arcola. And maybe later in the week I'll do some of that wandering around London stuff that'd give me something to write about next Sunday.