and relax… (for a bit, anyway)

By amy ~ August 8th, 2011 @ 1:23 am

Home! I finally staggered (partly through sheer exhaustion, and partly thanks to the last remaining effects of a very good lunch with the lovely Catherine Stephens at Skylon) through my door for the first time in almost a week last night shortly after darkness fell, and after the busiest week since records began (to borrow from the Met Office) I have spent the entire Sunday in something of a cardigan-ed, yesterdays-mascara-smudged stupor à la Day of the Dead.

Thankfully, the most onerous necessities have been gently dealt with; laundry is laundered, packing is unpacked and I have even thrown caution to the wind and ordered an online Tesco delivery for the morning, the main reason being that up until an hour or so ago even the thought of showering and dressing myself seemed a task so insurmountable as to be beyond consideration – frankly the thought of tackling a weekend supermarket shop was enough to make me weep.

I have enjoyed my week away a great deal and met new gentlemen aplenty, although Cambridge-wise (as with Oxford) I had little or no free time to explore further than the local Wagamama and an extremely grandiose branch of LloydsTSB. Both the Botanical Gardens and the Fitzwilliam Museum will have to wait until next time, although I suspect neither are going anywhere just yet and given the number of appointments I had to turn down as well as the very pleasant ones marked as Mission Accomplished (albeit in a hotel room which one could theoretically have used to force rhubarb – we really haven’t got the hang of air conditioning yet) it is likely to be sooner rather than later. And on the Wednesday, the opportunity to get up at eight thirty, have a bath and head off for a brief train ride to London was possibly the most beguiling part of the plan – those who are used to my itineraries will know I normally get up around half past five and leave the house an hour or so later to arrive at Waterloo for elevenish, and even people who are fond of me can’t have failed to notice that by six-seven pm I’m beginning to flag a bit.  An hour on the train and a twenty minute cab ride instead – bliss!

My first day was completed with a couple of joyously lively callers, both of whom appreciated the view (after yet another minor reservation mix up, I decided to put my foot down in the politest way possible after the nerve-shredding and farcical carryings-on some may recall last October) from the mini-suite and will hopefully call again – the heat outdoors was such that my brief ice-cream foray onto the grass at Jubilee Gardens was extremely short-lived, and barely fifteen minutes later I was forced to beat a retreat and continue enjoying the sunshine strictly as an observer. Luckily, one thing my favourite London pad has never let me down on is serious onboard temperature control, and I whiled away a pleasant couple of hours shivering appreciatively whilst pink, sweating and over-excited tourists jostled over on the bridge to take more pictures of the London Eye every time it moved six inches.

London, naturally, took it’s revenge later that evening when my outing to see Chicago necessitated not only a trip to Covent Garden tube station in thirty degree heat, but a walk up all one hundred and ninety-three of the spiralling stairs when it became clear from the seething mass of pastel-coloured jersey around the lift that a few minutes’ uphill struggle would be far more prudent than waiting to see if the apparatus was even working (and I don’t think it was). The show (and the Cambridge Theatre itself, not to mention the post-production KFC) was fabulous, well worth the journey’s trials and tribulations and I may even go again. But I’ll walk – Christ, it must be all of twenty minutes away, and had I not been so desirably full of Fruitellas (and thank you to the gentleman who remembered my favourites!) Diet Coke and the Colonel’s secret eleven herbs and spices I would almost certainly have walked back; the most underrated pastime in the capital by far has got to be walking from one bit of it to another, and it never fails to amaze me how many people don’t do it. No wonder they get lost.

Fast forward through the rest of the week – puntertaining (including some very damp visitors who bravely battled the torrential rain on Thursday), shower, bank, nick/stash more towels, eat M&S iced bun and cup-a-soup, repeat. After the aforementioned lunch I managed to drag my Whole Week Away (ie. approximately the size and weight of a Citroën Xsara) suitcase back onto the train home and the plan for this week is categorically nothing-too-strenuous, at least for the next few days. The observant will have already noted that I am away for my nearly-regular Champneys recharge (where the bar will be raised to previously unimaginable heights of non-strenuousness) next week until Thursday and then it’s one more week at home before I’m heading west for the Isle of Man and Cardiff – more new territory! Yay!

London, I’ll be back before you know it. Proper update when I’ve come round a bit…

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