Saturday, 22 September 2012

Last week

London work beckoned.

Last Saturday I was supposed to take the train from Berwick-on-Tweed to Kings Cross, but the powers-that-be decided that last Saturday was to be train track renewal time between Berwick and Newcastle. They very nicely provided comfortable coaches for us, which is just as well as the bloody thing took over 2 hours to get to Newcastle as it needed to make a stop at Morpeth (the high speed train never stops there, but hey). This meant my usual 3hr 40 minute journey turned into a 5hr 30 minute journey. Still there was nothing to do but enjoy the countryside, which was very beautiful and I now know how to go by the back route to Morpeth from Berwick should I ever decide I need to do so.

I arrived in London in the late afternoon and was shocked by the amount of shoppers out and about. The word 'recession' wouldn't have entered your vocabulary if you'd seen them all! It took an age to get to where I was staying and then I went off for drinks with a couple of OU friends.

Sunday I had already decided to go to Kew to see the David Nash exhibition. I know someone who works there and she'd sent me the catalogue, which she'd been working on, so I felt I knew the sculptures before I went, but of course seeing something in a catalogue and then in the real are two completely different things.

Bizarrely, London Transport powers-that-be had decided to upgrade the line from Ealing Broadway all the way out to Richmond. They laid on a bus for us all and so I eventually got to Kew an hour and a half later than planned. It felt a bit like travel deja vu from the day before and felt I was being decidedly 'got at'!

But it was totally worth it. The weather was unbelievably good and gardens and sculptures were just incredible. I'd forgotten how lovely Kew is and I'll definitely be going back. There's only a few more days left to see the exhibition however, so if you're around there do go and have a look. I shall be fascinated to hear how they intend to move them all and also where on earth are they going to go?

My favourite David Nash sculpture 'Cork Mound'

Fish in the Temperate House

A lovely Kew view

A tree with a skirt!

The world's oldest pot plant

A Fiji Fan Palm

In the Waterlily House

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were work days. I was out every evening with American cousins who were over, my mother and friends (separately!) and then home to rain and cold.

However, I did have an extraordinary train journey back. I was settling into my seat in the Quiet carriage on the East Coast train when in came a rather loud, glamorous woman followed by a small, Eastern looking man. She sat down opposite me and he next to me.

I don't think I've had such 'exotic' company on a train before. It turned out she had been a model in the late 60's early 70's and was telling us all about her adventures. She'd met Michael Caine and Terence Stamp, who I did know had shared a flat in the King's Road, so nothing she said on that score was surprising. She's been in the fashion industry all her adult life and is now the Sales Director of an upmarket dress agency just off Oxford Street and she gave me a personal invitation to go to her agency's very prestigious fashion sample sales that they hold twice a year. Whoohoo!

The guy (who was nothing to do with her whatsoever and was equally as fascinated by her as I was) turned out to be a Gurkha Welfare Officer, and although he'd lived here for years was actually from Nepal. We had an interesting conversation all about my travels there and his recollections. He gave me his card to be in touch. After he got off at Darlington, I got regaled with some pretty hairy stories regarding such notables as Cherie Blair and Carole Caplin among others, but I'm not going to relate any of it in case I get had up for libel!

All I can say is that my journey home seemed to pass remarkably quickly, but I was quite pleased to get off at Berwick and leave her to her own devices as I wasn't at all sure what on earth she was going to come out with next. I'm sure she'll have plenty to entertain the good folk of Aviemore, where she was headed for the next couple of weeks.

Tomorrow will be coffee update news, which will be limited as always!

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