home (which was nice) and away…

By amy ~ October 14th, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

So finally an ordinary(ish) week; peace, tranquillity and charming punters aplenty arriving from far and wide. Well, the Midlands, South Yorkshire and the Dales, anyway (wherever that is; being one of those parts of the country not easily accessible to non-drivers, I can only speculate).

To the gentleman who appeared bearing not only my very favourite M&S iced buns but the The Thick Of It DVD box set, I remain eternally grateful for a very welcome nostalgia-fest which even the fishes seemed to enjoy, although as part of my almost-completed To Do list this week included a bucketload of nice new plants to replace the bedraggled collection of stalks, floating bits and half-eaten oddbods which comprised all that remained of their previous tankmates, it’s fair to say they were already on top form (and at the time of writing I have only had to move one unsuspecting mini-fern to safer surroundings before it was enthusiastically mown like a lawn). Priceless stuff.

I’m somewhat glad I didn’t have the series to take over to New York, if only because (as I have discovered over the course of three visits) the majority sadly don’t understand and embrace proper swearing, in real life at least. Incredibly, Malcolm Tucker and the rest of the department are available on BBC America – according to Google at least – so who knows? This probably means nothing more than a warning that a dire remake’s in the post, but having been exposed to the limited US TV available in hotels even a dire remake would be preferable to the current schedule, which mostly consists only of commercials occasionally interspersed with the type of coma-inducing banality that is responsibly restricted to the morning hours in the UK, when most intelligent folk have better things to do (sleeping, for starters). Needless to say, my portable DVD player is on the packing list right underneath the travel kettle for next time and will be first in the suitcase after the work shoes.

My next Stateside trip is now booked and sorted for March 2013 and yes, back to Manhattan it is. For those who have enquired (and I admit the previous entry was something of a rush job), well, nowhere is without it’s flaws but New York (like London, in my experience at least) carries an unerring ability to turn these flaws – some spectacularly ugly buildings, for example – into interesting and characterful additions to the entire picture, more than worthy of their places amongst the Chryslers, Rockefellers and from our side of the Atlantic, the Shards of the world. The inhabitants are friendly, enthusiastic and helpful without being fawning or obsequious and it (the island, that is) is also reassuringly small, enough that even a Metrocard is far from crucial unless you’re either travelling from one end to the other or the weather is unerringly foul and whilst it’s certainly desirable to explore more than fifteen minutes walk from your hotel in any given direction at some point, it is far from being necessary to eat, drink, shop, or do pretty much anything else. As is probably evident, I like it a lot – it’s not quite London, but then neither is anywhere else.

NYC shares it’s compactness with my next destination: Belfast, another favourite of mine thanks to it’s fabulously upbeat atmosphere, equally lovely punters and endlessly entertaining timewasters – I’ll be heading there in the morning to catch up with the keen and hearty Ulstermen before rounding things off with Dublin airport for a couple of days at the end of the week. The next four weekends are also out of bounds Scarborough-wise, although I will be back in London for the fourth; real life calls, I’m afraid. Glasgow and Edinburgh are also on the hit list before Christmas, and I’m surprised how much I’m looking forward to returning – apologies to those mailing from some of my other ‘regular’ destinations, but everybody deserves a fair turn and as ever, I will be back…

For today it’s back to packing, cleaning, fridge-emptying and my absolute favourite, The Great British Bake Off on iplayer – the nemesis of Weight Watchers-fearing folk everywhere. I don’t know where Mary Berry puts it.

More soon.

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