Friday, 19 February 2016

London times

Well here I am. Back home at last. I say at last because my lovely car decided it didn't want to start - yes, again - and so I was stuck in Berwick after I got off the train, waiting for Audi Assist to come to my rescue, which took them over an hour. But the good news is, because it's under warranty it has to go for a free diagnostic check. The bad news is that it has to go for a free diagnostic check and that won't be happening until March 1st, unless the car decides to go on strike again and then it will be dragged in, kicking and screaming, asap while I get given a courtesy car to drive. Thank goodness it's still under warranty!

Ok. Well now... what happened in London? Some of it will stay in London! But suffice it to say I had a great time, apart from a few moments of hilarity with my mother. Let me explain.

I arrived on Tuesday and my mother wasn't well, so she stayed in bed while I went out to have a good time. And a good time was definitely had!

Wednesday morning I went down for breakfast to find that there were 2 boxes of eggs. One, with 4 eggs in, was out of date and then a new box. I managed surreptitiously, when my mother wasn't looking, to throw 2 of the old eggs down the waste disposal and then took 2 eggs out of the new box and put them on to boil, while putting the remaining 2 from the old box in to the new box to await disposal the next day. My mother, you see, can't bear to see anything thrown out and knows her numbers. So much so that most of the food in her cupboard lies uneaten and out of date, and when I say out of date we're talking years here. I even found tins from the 1980's!

Anyway, I put my eggs on to boil in a pan with a lid. My mother strode into the kitchen and accused me of being an imbecile as, and I quote, 'No-one boils an egg in a pan with a lid on!'. She then turned to Bob, her trusty chauffeur and general all round good egg (forgive the pun) and asked him if he did that heinous crime. 'No' he answered, while smiling at me. 'See,' my mother said and then turned to her daily woman, the lovely Mariella from Bulgaria, 'Mariella, do you boil an egg with the lid on?' 'Yes,' Mariella replied, whereupon my mother turned to me and said, 'She doesn't understand the question!', at which point Mariella said, in her broken English, 'No, I understand good. Lid on. Boils quicker.' My mother promptly left the kitchen. Honestly all this before 8.30 in the morning is a bit much!

I left to go and do interviews for the book I'm writing on my family company, which were fascinating, but took all morning. Then Paul, our Company Secretary, joined me and the 2 guys I'd interviewed and we had a lovely lunch. But what he didn't know was, that, because it was his birthday, we'd bought him a cupcake and a champagne shaped candle and secreted it with the kitchen where we were lunching. At the appropriate moment the cake was brought out and the whole place sang happy birthday to him. He was suitably embarrassed. Result!

Then it was a quick back to my mother's house, which was freezing as she doesn't like to put the heating on, so I sat in my coat until it was time to get changed and go on out for a second night of drinks and dinner. I'm also saying no more about that one either, but it was another late night!

Yesterday I got up and waited until my mother had gone out before I attempted the egg boiling, while also putting the other egg that was one of the old ones (my mother had eaten the other one!) down the waste disposal. Now all eggs were up to date. Phew!

I wrote up all the interview material from the day before and then went and did another one, which took literally all morning and some of the afternoon. We didn't finish til 2.

It just so happens that there's a brand new exhibition on at the National Gallery, Delacroix and the rise of modern art, which I really wanted to see, so off I went there for the afternoon. It was a brilliant exhibition and I urge you to go and see it if you can. There were 2 Van Goghs that were just incredible (Still Life With Meadow Flowers and Roses and Olive Trees) and I spent quite a lot of time just contemplating those. It as a very clever thing to juxtapose the Delacroix paintings with all those who were influenced by him, artists such as Renoir, Manet and the like. Fab.

Then I had time to go back to my mother's and get ready to go out with my lovely friend Shirley and her hubby Andy, who live in Scotland, but were in London spending time with their granddaughter on her half-term. We went to a Turkish restaurant, Sofra. The food was good and the company was great, so yet another lovely evening out.

And now home. Time for a bit of downtime and peace and quiet. And definitely no partying. I'm exhausted!

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