Monday, September 10, 2012

I'm bored of this. I'm going for a Twix.

So if I did post titles that were related to the content of the post itself, I'd call this something like "Two Days in London" but I don't, so instead I've chosen the most obvious one ever. Because come on, how could I not? ANYWAY, I hope that wherever you are you had a good weekend.

Mine was pretty damn good, I have to say! It started on Friday when I worked out of our London office. This was good because it gave me the opportunity to see a woman on a train wearing a slanket. A SLANKET. It does get very cold on the train and I was impressed by her forward planning. I was intrigued about how she'd pack the slanket away at the end of the journey but by the time we pulled into Marylebone I was too consumed by the thought of coffee and a pastry to notice. I wondered to Nic later that night if these things happen when I'm not on the train and decided that, on the whole, NO.

In addition to work, the reason I was in London on Friday was to go to the V&A for a Ballgown Extravagana organised by the redoubtable Karen. I decided to get into the spirit and wear my Magnificent Obsession dress complete with full fluffy 50s style petticoat. My London colleagues thought I was some kind of overdressed dick as they were all in casual Friday mode but I didn't really care. I felt happy and I was even paid a compliment - a stranger on the Jubilee line told me she thought I looked fabulous. Yay!

By the time I finished work the sun was high in the sky, and my colleague L invited me to join her and her husband for a drink in a pub on a boat - the Tameris Dock - at Vauxhall. How could I say no? I didn't, and ended up getting drunk and silly and thoroughly enjoying the company and the fabulous sunshine and beautiful view:

This made me late in getting to the V&A so I missed gathering with the seamstresses at the entrance. But once in the exhibition itself it wasn't hard to spot them - they were the well-dressed women getting as close to the frocks as they possibly could! I have to say, I was in my element, surrounded by beautiful dresses and interesting people, and I was pretty excitable. So I do apologise to all of the lovely women I rattled on to. I promise I'm not quite as nonsensical when sober. The exhibition itself is excellent - particularly when you get upstairs to the modern gowns as they are not behind glass. The temptation to reach out and feel the fabric was very strong, but not as strong as my fear of being escorted off the premises! I can certainly recommend the exhibition and it has made me very keen to go to the upcoming Hollywood Costumes one.

Post-exhibition we were joined by Jane and we explored the shop and nattered even more. I was too busy gossiping to take any photos apart from this one of an amazing sculpture hanging in the entrance hall:

I'm stealing this one from Karen of the whole gang... the ones on my phone were a bit blurred!

I had to chip off early to get back up to Leamington, but what a delightful evening. What was really brilliant was meeting so many funny, intelligent, thoughtful women. Thank you, Karen!

I was so happy and excitable from my evening that I took my tube compliment from earlier in the evening and paid it forward, sort of. When the alarmingly handsome American man sitting opposite me caught me smiling in his direction I confessed it was because he looked like Matt Damon. YUM. He really did, though, and the offer of an autograph that he made as I skipped off the train at Paddington kept me laughing the whole way back to Marylebone. People on the tube - not so scary after all!

It was straight to bed for me when I got home as I knew Nic and I had to be up reasonably early the next day. Nic was speaking at the National Jazz Archive as part of Heritage Open Weekend, so I decided to accompany him. We didn't have to get up too early in the end, but it was early enough to see Leamington covered in pre-sunshine fog:

The town hall is in there somewhere...

By the time we were dressed and ready to go, the sun had come out and the trainspotter in me was delighted by the fancy train that made a brief stop at Leamington:

From London it was a wee jaunt out to Loughton, which seemed very pretty and pleasant. But then, everywhere seems lovely in the sunshine. The Jazz Archive is in the town library and Nic was delighted to find that they were having a 10p book sale. He cleaned them out of Jazz Book Club books and I think he's planning a return for more... well, after we have bought another bookcase to accomodate them, that is. His lecture, on Jazz in British Film, was very well received and it was a pleasure and a privilege to be in the audience. Afterwards we headed into central London to enjoy the sunshine in Soho and have a peep in the shops, followed by dinner in Ed's:

 In the pub - we caught the sun!

We had a voucher for free burgers and the veggie ones offered were very good - although the waitress couldn't offer an opinion on them, telling us that she "doesn't eat vegetarian food" - WUT? But the best thing was the milkshakes, and my only regret is not having the same one that Nic had - peanut butter and banana. It was immense. It certainly helped ease the pain of the massive delay we had in getting home.

After a lovely lie-in on Sunday morning Nic and I joined our friend Char, and took ourselves down to the Pump Room Gardens to enjoy the Leamington Food Festival. It was definitely hot enough for a sunhat:

 Phase Eight dress, Swedish Hasbeen sandals, vintage handbag and sunhat from a shop in Florida

The food festival has been running for a few years now, but this year saw its biggest event. Of course it was helped along by the wonderful weather. A gripe I have had with it in previous years is that there have been numerous hog roasts but nothing for vegetarians. There were still lots of hog roasts this year, but also a lot more vegetarian food. The festival was really relaxed and fun and we had a lot of fun exploring the stalls and enjoying the live music. I ate a ridiculous mixture of things - a rather crap burrito from 'Habanero', a delicious banana and toffee toastie from Jabberwocky and a frankly ridiculous candy floss. I saw a man walking past with one that was like, twice the size of his head, and I went in search of my own:


It came in two sizes, regular and "jumbo". This was regular. Nic was disturbed:

Of course we also ate lots of cheese and olives, and sampled lots of drinks...
Look at this hipster nonsense

So all in all it was a happy, sociable, sunshiny, tasty weekend. That did make the return to grey skies and work this morning that bit easier, but I'm absolutely knackered now and I know this week is going to be fairly trying for lots of (work) reasons. So I'm off to bed now with my book. Night!