Sunday 16 September 2012

Time flies...

They say time flies when you're having fun. Which is rubbish, because time only flies when you are not making new memories as I discovered at a Royal Institution lecture in June. But still, time seems to have flown since I last wrote. I have to admit that I've been suffering an epic writers block. It really doesn't help living with somebody that is annoyingly talented, but, actually, the real problem has been I've also had something of a crisis of confidence that's rather kept me in a more pensive mood than is healthy. Maybe more on that later.

We've learned a lot recently. I've learned my flatmate is actually a witch. I always suspected, but her managing to make her phone light by the merest twitch of her nose was quite scary. Especially as we have planes from LCY turning right at Contrary Towers... My threats of her going in the canal have taken on a new perspective. We learned that whilst I can predict rain, she knows when there will be wind. Not that kind. Okay, so we're both witches. She just looks better in the uniform. I also have the uncanny knack of making people disappear once I start talking with them, though I suspect this isn't actual witchcraft.

This last week though has been eventful. We spent Friday evening in the National Gallery being utterly stunned by a musical interpretation of Ovid's Metamorphoses. What was even more amazing was discovering that Benjamin Britten had done cabaret music. And it was brilliant.

We wanted more.

Story of our respective lives really. In this case we came up blank, neither of us know about dirty jazz (though I was a member of Ronnie Scott's in the eighties), though we've both been to Proud Cabaret. We decided that, actually, what we didn't want was to be underwhelmed by some cheesy tourist rubbish (as we found in July) so we returned home. To champagne. Obvs.

What we didn't realise, as we sat sipping the Veuve Clicquot under the stars, was that Friday was the last day of our first six months here in Contrary Towers. So, without knowing, we celebrated what has been a fabulous period, certainly in my life.

I think that's pretty much what you would expect.

Anyway. We still want to do the sleazy jazz thing, we just need to find something deliciously inappropriate.

Friday also brought a new experience. I went to Asda. On a Boris bike. Now I've been to the Asda on the Isle of Dogs before, but not since the move from Westferry. And definitely not a bicycle. I even had a shopping list!

No giggling at the back.

The thing is, Clare had specific requirements and after the great melon/grapefruit debacle of whenever (I can't remember when it was but it was after March and before June, as I mentioned it in one of my blogs) I wasn't totally trusted with, well, details. Especially as we were talking baking. And baking is a precise science.

There was a problem. I normally shop in Lidl, which whilst being the Fortnum and Mason of E14, it doesn't exactly have a variety of stuff. Asda does. And then some. Now the plan had been I'd take the backpack, fill it with goodies and maybe have an extra carrier bag on the front of the Boris bike.

Which was why when I left with a full backpack and two full, large, Sainsbury reusable bags, I used Hailo to call a cab...

Oh yes, I had choice. I got stuff. I got extra stuff and I picked up things that seemed like a good idea, including dips for the Sunday evening when the adult guests, having put the children to bed, could sit and enjoy something fizzy (in the bags) and eat nibbles. Aces.

Or would have been if we didn't eat the dips, pitta bread and Doritos along with the champagne. Well, we were celebrating. Or something.

So, the very next day I went back to Asda. Not just for replacement dips, we realised we had no muffin tin. Which is quite bad. Especially if making muffins. So I left Clare making chocolate brownies and lasagne whilst I pedalled like the wind to fetch said tin. And milk. And champagne. Reusable muffin cases. And various other non-essentials that seemed like a really good idea. Oddly enough the dips were an issue... You see, I might be a bit of a ditz and I knew they were at the end of an aisle. Just where was a mystery. Pfft. Ditz.

Luckily, this time it all fitted in one bag. With clever packing. Maybe I shouldn't have got the Taittinger, but, well, we had no champagne left. That counts as a crisis. It did occur to me as I bounced back on the Boris bike that maybe this was a stupid thing to do with a bottle of champagne strapped to my back...

Sunday was a blur of activity. Well, we did a bit of tidying, then played music, lounged and pretended we were in a Sunday supplement. Right up to the point when a text arrived to say our guests were about 20 minutes away. I've never seen Clare move so fast...

...fortunately the E14 traffic scuppered our guests and time was in abundance. Ish. The rest of the day was remarkably straight forward. You can't really be too contrary with young children in tow. I made a fool of myself by spilling my drink in the Cafe Rouge we had late lunch in. We walked a lot. We looked at stuff and then we wandered back to Contrary Towers to collapse.

Monday found me at home continuing with operation find-a-bloody-job, which I'll admit is now starting to worry me. A lot. Meanwhile the rest of the gang disappeared off to do yet more stuff. All very adventurous. And certainly an awful lot more interesting than what I was trying to do. In the evening we actually managed to sit and do the grown up conversation thing. With winez. Crikey.

Not Contrary Towers...
Tuesday was to be the last day of the visit, unfortunately Clare had to scoot off and do work type stuff and the plan had been that I would do my thing whilst the troops went off to scour the science museum and give West London a hard time. Which was why I went with them. I was, after all, asked to by one of the little gentlemen. You can't refuse that. Actually, I'm glad I went, it's a lot easier to move a pair of push chairs around London if there are three adults! Plus it might have been good fun.

Sadly, eventually we had to return to Contrary Towers to feed everyone, bathe the children and make sure they left without taking any of the silver.

It really was fabulous to meet such lovely people and I do hope they come and visit again soon. Especially as they left a little something...

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