Very busy few days. Friday was ‘s delayed birthday, rescheduled from last Tuesday following recent events, so we went up to London so see the Vivienne Westwood exhibition at the V&A and meet up with .
Stopped off on the way for a quick coffee with , who’s currently in the UK, and very charming, not to mention understanding of our inability to give coherent directions. Unfortunately, due to the usual bad gark combination of poor instructions, misunderstandings and assumptions, we’d agreed to meet at “the Cambridge Theatre, on Cambridge Circus, where Les Mis is showing”. Only three slight problems with this:
- The theatre on Cambridge Circus is The Palace Theatre
- Les Mis moved to the Queen’s on Shaftesbury Avenue some time ago
- The Cambridge Theatre is on Earlham Street, by Seven Dials
So, after a brief tour of London’s Theatreland, we managed to meet. The quick coffee soon turned into a full-blown brunch for and I (I stopped just short of having a cocktail as well), and with a brief excursion to the excellent off license at the west end of Old Compton Street (for a bottle of bisongrass vodka, a bottle of Moscowskaya, and some elixir vegetal), we were off to V&A for the next stage in our plan. If the best laid plans aft gang agley, ours must be doomed from the outset. Due to the delays on the Piccadilly line following a derailment near Hammersmith, we ended up getting the bus, and so arrived at the V&A slightly later than we’d anticipated. was patiently waiting for us (along with new lodger Del), and using his L33T SK1LL2 and the extensive goth old-boy network, managed to blag us into the Westwood for free end get us into the not-open-to-the-public bit of the V&A library. Whoo!
Post-Westwood (which was excellent, as expected), we aimed to retire to a pub. The initial suggestion of the Porterhouse was swiftly ruled out, since it was standing room only – and that was outside. Waited for and Roisin (a old friend of ‘s, and naturally WINOLJ) to turn up, then moved on to the Punch and Judy which was slightly less crowded. Stood around in the upper bar (by the balcony) until we managed to get a table, then found that the cellar was quiet and virtually empty.
Part way through the first pint, turned up carrying the contents of his desk (now he’s MCI-free). seemed especially taken with the length of two inch-thick power cable that he’d appropriated as a LART. Was good to see , who I don’t think that I’ve seen since I lived in Cambridge. Time flies, etc.
From there, moved on to a chinese on Lisle Street (the first one on the left as you approach from Charing Cross Road – vinyl tablecloths, metal teapots, and generally cheap and cheerful). At some point here, managed to persuade us that it would be far more sensible for us to go back to theirs in Clapham, rather than get the 1130 back from Paddington (which would have got us back home by about 0130). Unfortunately, didn’t see too much of once we got to theirs, since he was talking with Del, but did have a good chat with and see a fleeting glimpse of their other new lodger, Lindsay.
Up with the lark the following morning (Saturday), and onto a train at Clapham Junction before 0730. Back to Bath, brush teeth and got baking for the next outing, being a surprise birthday barbeque at Kris and Dave’s in the Vale of Pewsey. By this time, the weather was looking pretty grim, so tried to phone around to see what was going on. No able to contact Kris (and it was Dave’s birthday. Haydyn was in Sweden, and so not going to the party (this explained why my poor sleep-deprived brain couldn’t understand the “your call could not be connected” message, it being in Swedish and all). Rich knew as much as we did. So, two cakes (Nigella’s damp lemon and almond, and ‘s usual yummy chocolate sponge) and a potato salad later, we were off down the A4.
Not much to say about Kris and Dave’s, save that we ate far, far too much. made good use of the new day bed that they’ve built. Stayed overnight in Pewsey, and ended up falling asleep part way through the evening (I’ve been waking up at 0430 most mornings, and the cumulative lack of sleep is starting to get to me).
The next morning (Sunday), we headed off to Oxford to go punting with the usual suspects – Inigo, Michelle, Matt and Steph (WANOLJ). Good punting, down the Cherwell to the Thames and back again, followed by a pub lunch at the Turf Tavern, followed by a trip to an excellent patisserie, followed by ice cream. In retrospect, this last was a mistake, since my blood sugar crashed soon after, my hayfever came on with a vengeance and I developed a sickening headache that still hasn’t quite shifted. and I drove back to Bath (needed to pack for the week), and the others headed off to the Duke of Cambridge for cocktails. On the plus side, I now know that, when I’m tired and my eyes keep crossing, they’re actually diverging. The sight of myself woke me up quite effectively.
Now back in Southampton, and off to Edinburgh for a four-day workshop this afternoon. I really, really need sleep…