I’m home again. That was all a bit eventful.
Wink and I went to London on Thursday – first, we passed on a piece of china and two books that had been bought at the auction but the new owner didn’t want posting, so I’d hung on to them until I was next up. Then we visited the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy, had lunch and went shopping. Wink was more successful there than I was, and we agreed that we do not care for great big shops that sell lots of things you don’t want, but prefer small shops that sell a few things that you do.
On Friday, we went to visit Zig, who was out of the hospice for the day. Lovely Tim and she have been wanting to meet for so long and it just hasn’t worked out, but finally they have and – of course – they took to each other straight away, because they’re both lovely. Mig went to visit her the day before, she was busy that day, which was a pity – maybe we’ll all get together soon. Mig and Tim met when they drove up here together (she drove to his, then he brought her here) for my second blog party: Zig herself came to the third.
Zig has lost weight because she can’t eat much. None of it is great news, her health is precarious. She is as much fun as ever, always interesting and interested and her Firstborn is quite wonderful, having put her new life in Australia on hold while her mother needs her. Baby Doc, her younger daughter, is also wonderful, they are a closely supportive family. Indi, the spaniel, cold-shouldered me because she loves me and is upset when I go away. Tim got the benefit of her love instead, though she relented a bit after a while. I’ll go back down as soon as I can, but it may not be for another three weeks, unless she asks me to drop everything and go.
I postponed my return home until today, because I was coming back by train, so I joined Tim and his brother and sister-in-law for lunch yesterday. I had met them three years ago at Tim’s birthday party (if you remember, he was celebrating his birthday a few weeks after the blog party, invited me and The Sage, as well as Mig and Barney, but Russell wasn’t able to go) and they remembered me as pretty exuberant. I explained to Tim – didn’t say so to them, of course – that, when you’re going to meet a whole lot of strangers at a party and you’re on your own, you can choose who you’re going to be, and I chose fun. I did make the decision quite early on, between stopping at two glasses of wine and driving back to my hotel, or continuing to party and taking a taxi.
Today, I took the train to Paddington, then to Angel, to go round to see my flats. The pub next door is having massive renovations done, which impinges on the party wall and on my outside wall. My downstairs tenant (the upstairs one was out today) is a very nice man and we chatted while he showed me the gutted pub and the space where the wall used to be. Later, I walked round – he told me that they have been building a couple of blocks of flats round the corner at the end of the road, 35 storeys high. He looked at one, £250,000 for a flat smaller than the one he lives in (which is two rooms on the ground floor, a lobby, kitchen and bathroom in the basement), with no view whereas he has the lovely canal opposite, and decided to stay put. I toddled around Islington, had a pint and a pack of crisps, took a bus to the station as I had lots of time and buses are nicer than the Tube, had lunch and waited for my train.
A couple got on the train and told the people opposite me that they were in their reserved seats. It was pointed out that there were no reserved seats, whatever their tickets said, and then an announcement was made, explaining that the company had been obliged to hire in a train because of a fault with the original, so, with apologies, there was no hi fi and no seat reservations. The woman bitched and complained about it all the way to Ipswich, when the seats in question were vacated and she and her husband sat down together. It was … remarkable. I bet her family have a hellish life – though I don’t care for people who moan instead of just getting on with things, maybe she is charming in other ways (yeah, right). It was pretty trivial after all, not as if they couldn’t get seats and they were close together, just an aisle separating them. The seat reservation didn’t cost anything and there was an apology and explanation.
Darling Roses was waiting for me at the station and brought me home.
And that was as far as I got on Sunday night. I went to consider what to have for dinner and opened a bottle of Prosecco while I thought about it. Having decided on toasted cheese and an early night, I was grating the cheese when Roses appeared to invite me to share her chicken dinner. So it was a convivial evening and late to bed after all.