It definitely, truly is autumn now. As I write this I am huddled under a fleecy blanket and I'm finding it difficult to concentrate because I'm distracted by the thoughts of a cup of tea (Tea.Earl Grey. Hot) Still, I'll persevere, and then maybe I will reward myself with that cup of tea!
I've had a really good few days. On Friday afternoon the lovely Becky came over to Leamington and we spent some time with her. We went along to see the fabulous Shanade Morrow launch her e.p in Head, before going for a coffee in Wilde's and dinner in the Oriental Star (a classy end to the evening, I feel!) It was an excellent way to spend a chilly Friday afternoon. After lots of tasty Chinese food I was very sleepy so took myself off home to watch the last two episodes of Mad Men Season 3. Now, I won't talk about it here because lots of other bloggers have done it already, and done it better, but WOW. Also, I know the obvious thing is to crush on Don Draper and I can see that, but my crush is definitely on Roger Sterling. John Slattery must be having a ball, they give him the best and funniest lines.
On Saturday morning Nic and I were up bright and early (ish) to catch the train down to London. We arrived at Leamington station just in time to catch the Wrexham and Shropshire service to Marylebone. They only run a few services between Wrexham and London every day, but I am so happy that they pass through Leamington because their trains are beautiful. They're spacious, comfortable trains and it's a joy to travel on them. The buffet car is great and Nic and I were able to breakfast on the train (apparently first class customers get free cooked breakfasts!) with fresh coffee, toast and marmalade. I'm not what you would call a trainspotter, but I am extremely appreciative of this service. Unlike other big train companies, Wrexham and Shropshire don't have any peak fares - so a ticket between Leamington and London is valid on any of their services. Although they don't set the fares from Leamingon or Banbury, I approve of and appreciate their policy. What does affect me is their customer service on board, which is second to none. If you're travelling from Leamington or Banbury to London I recommend you try to catch one of their services. If nothing else it's sticking two fingers up to Virgin, who have been doing their best to strangle this small company out of business.
Enough train talk! We arrived in London to a bright, sunshiny day. We were there because Nic wanted to go to an exhibition in Battersea Park, so we hopped on the tube to Victoria and enjoyed a leisurely walk down the King's Road to Albert Bridge. I'd never been to that part of London before and thoroughly enjoyed walking the King's Road. It's got all your standard high street shops so wasn't anything special on the shopping score, but the buildings are pretty and Nic and I stopped to enjoy the weekly food market going on outside the Saatchi Gallery. Battersea Park was gorgeous as well, and with the river behind me, Nic found a good spot for my outfit shot:
Yes! I wore my Macaron dress. I like this dress a lot, and was glad for the sunshine so I could get a wear of it in before the spring. I made this out of some cotton bought from Royal Fabrics, and thought of it as a wearable muslin when I was making it. It photographs well, and it fits perfectly after a few minor adjustments to the neckline. I really like the colour, but felt a bit self conscious when I was wearing it because I did attract lots of stares! I began to feel a bit paranoid that maybe everybody was thinking I looked like Smurfette...
What do you think? On reflection, I was probably drawing those glances because the dress is such a bright colour, but still. I think I'll wear it a few more times and see what I feel - I think if I over dyed it in a darker blue the contrast would still show up, I'd have a dress in darker blue with a pale blue yoke. I'll have to think about it, I suppose. Anyway, I knew we'd be doing a lot of walking so I wore my trainers, and I'm glad I did - we must have walked for miles.
Nic was a little bit disappointed by the exhibition but I was very glad to be able to enjoy the sunshine in the park:
The tea pavilion in Battersea Park. Sadly it was a bit too cold to enjoy this!
Some pigeons sunning themselves on the roof of a little boat house on the lake. Not pictured: the ENORMOUS spiders inside the boat house.
Nic in front of the Children's Zoo
After an ice-cream in the park and some lunch in Battersea we took ourselves down Cheyne Walk to Imperial Wharf to catch some free jazz. This was pretty good, because Nic was able to enjoy seeing Tony Kofi for free, but the setting was really strange. The free jazz festival was being held in the plaza of some new apartment blocks on the river. The surrounding restaurants and bars had set up outside so there was lots of food, and lots of people around but the tall buildings blocked out the sunshine and created a wind tunnel effect so it quickly got cold. Still, the music was good and the riverfront walk was stunning. As well as having a great view of the river itself we watched a helicopter take off from a landing pad on the opposite bank and I was childishly excited by this!
After meeting up with JP and H, we headed over to Little Venice to have a few drinks there before catching the train back up to Leamington. That was lots of fun, we had a few drinks in the Warwick Castle, I taught H how to crochet a granny square while Nic and JP plotted some writing. It was really good, and the Warwick Castle is a great little pub with Keats poems framed in the toilets!
The beautiful lantern at the Warwick Castle
Nic and I were able to catch another Wrexham and Shropshire train back up to Leamington, and finished off our evening with a curry from the Millennium Sweet House. It was a long and tiring day, but it was so much fun. I loved seeing a bit of London I haven't visited before, and just getting out and having an adventure did an enormous amount for my general mood.
We've been having a much quieter Sunday, starting with a much-needed lie in. We did some chores before having afternoon tea with Lysy and The Scientist, and now Nic is cooking us dinner. I'm back to work tomorrow, which I'm feeling a bit nervous about, but I am consoling myself with the thought that in a week's time I'll be at home in Northern Ireland with my folks. I am so ridiculously excited about getting home, I'm going to be hanging on to that thought all week!
Now, with that I think it's time for that cup of tea. It's only fair. Now, I wonder if I can get Nic to make it for me?