This week saw me hurtle from having not much to do to being out every day. Monday I met up for lunch with a friend who sadly and unexpectedly finds themselves in a similar position to me. I wasn’t trying to cheer him up, that’s a way off, just trying to help him along and give him a chance to talk about stuff. Lunch lasted a long time in a good way. Tuesday Pilates started again. Wednesday I was requested to buy three pairs of Jimmy Choos which were looking unloved in the designer agency in Malvern for the Elf. She has plans for those.Then I spent a beautiful afternoon at Croome Court where with some careful planning I squeezed in lunch and afternoon tea. Thursday (a lovely day and about 20C warmer than last Thursday) I met up for lunch with a lady I met ages ago on the train to London, then later went out for a meal in the evening. Friday I worked off some of the calories cleaning Ruby for her day out on Sunday. I washed her mats then realised the shampoo I had used had left marks, so I had to soak them, brush them and leave them to dry in the sun. They eventually dried off behind the radiator a day later. Saturday I met the Elf for a breakfast of Eggs Benedict in Birmingham followed by a Champagne tasting demonstration. We spent two hours tasting six champagnes whilst being thoroughly entertained by a very knowledgable Canadian sommelier, and left with the one we liked the best. On the way home on the train we all got kicked out at Bromsgrove and had to wait on the platform for an hour for the next one ( a problem with drivers). Fortunately it was a lovely day and the wait didn’t seem too bad. Then Sunday I was up and out at 8 with my friend Anne to go to Cotswolds Airport where we started a rally to Shelsley with the Midland Auto Club. Again, another lovely day with Ruby’s roof down. A spot of breakfast before I left, sausage bap when we got there, sunday roast at the Village Inn, Twyning ( btw stunning meal for £7.50 and very friendly) and a huge afternoon tea back at Shelsley…and I still have some cake to eat later. A week of good weather, good food and friends. I could get used to this.
There were a couple of weeks in April with not much going on for me and I needed to find something to keep me busy. I would have liked to get some gardening done but it was still cold and wet and I’m a fair weather gardener . So I thought I would do a bit of spring cleaning in the kitchen, but it soon became obvious that the kitchen was badly in need of sprucing up. So what started as spring cleaning ended up as complete redecoration and I must confess I found it quite hard work. It’s not just the painting, it’s the tidying up and moving stuff and working round my massive fridge that doesn’t move far because it’s connected to water. But I did it and I’m very pleased with what I got done. It doesn’t look very different but it’s two shades of pale grey now and it is lovely and clean. The radiator still needs doing but that won’t take long.
I did have a brief diversion when I should have been working to see Duncan in London. I caught the train and we met up at Kew Gardens. We managed to pluck a gorgeous day out of thin air quite by chance, so we could enjoy a day in the sun.
It is a geographical fact that if you stand on top of the Malvern Hills and look east, the next things you reach that is at your height are the Ural Mountains in Russia. So you can imagine the mess our recent “Beast from the East” versions 1,2 and 3 have made of my front window. But I was reluctant to clean it until I thought the worst had passed. Today was the day. I started by perching on the window sill with a feeble grip on the sash window to support me, but I heard that voice in my head, “What have I told you about doing stupid things on your own. Get the ladders out and stop being a prat”. He’s was quite right, he often was, very annoying. Even with the ladders it’s still hard work and I have another bigger bay window to clean round the corner. But I did them, then did the insides. I’m guessing today’s weather won’t last.
It seems like Winter still isn’t ready to release its grip on us, so although I have a lot of jobs to do in the garden, it’s been too cold or wet or both to get on with it. So this week I was out and about visiting people. First friends in Halesowen then on to see Worth’s mum for Sunday lunch out. The Elf came to stay on Friday and the following day we had a Keepers Day at a small zoo.I was out for lunch on Sunday and then again Monday, this time in Bridgnorth where we had a very pleasant cream tea with a pot of Nilgiri tea by the Cliff Railway. Today, Tuesday, I actually managed to get some gardening done and didn’t freeze in the process. Things are looking up.
We are halfway through March already and I spent the greater part of this week on a short break in Seville. I went with Worth’s cousin Lorraine and another friend of hers, driving down to Surrey on Saturday, then the three of us made an early start Sunday morning.
After a little delay at Gatwick caused by the freezing weather and our plane needing de-icing we set of for our short trip to Seville. We arrived in glorious sunshine and made our way to our hotel and unpacked quickly, then grabbed a late lunch. We took a walk around the city to get our bearings then returned to our hotel, got cleaned up and set off for dinner. This was a wonderful collection of tapas washed down with a bottle of Rioja and afterwards we tumbled home and slept off our early start and journey.
Monday morning there was a vast array of tempting morsels was waiting for us at breakfast, then we set off for a tour of the Alcazar, which was a completely beautiful surprise for me, the gardens were spectacular and by all accounts lovelier than the Alhambra. We had another walk and some lunch, then in the afternoon explored the Plaza De España. At this point it started to rain, drizzle at first but then getting harder until we decided to return to our hotel and dry out. We had an hour of Flamenco before our evening meal which was again tapas, this time with a bottle of white.
Tuesday saw us up early, this time so that we could catch the train to Córdoba. It took less than an hour in a train travelling at about 130mph. Our first stop was the Cathedral Mosque, not something I was aware of but it was an amazing place. Having started life as a Christian church built by the Visigoths, it was the remodelled to become a mosque, then later adapted to become a Catholic cathedral. It seems that at no point did anyone think to knock it down but just carried on with what they had and extended it. The result is this incredible church. I am not into churches but this one deserves a use in a Bond film. After a spot of lunch we explored the Alcazar and got inside just as the wind got up and the heavens opened. This bad weather didn’t last long and we could soon explore the garden. Then we made our way back to the station and had a late tapas meal on the way back to our hotel.
Wednesday was our last day so we had planned a more relaxing day with a leisurely stroll to the Metropole Parador, an odd modern structure in the middle of a large Plaza. There seems to be no reason for its construction but I think that someone eating churros and chocolate at the cafe was inspired by the shape and swirliness of his churros and thought a raised viewing area based on a churro would make a talking point. It does. It’s not ghastly but I imagine it had a hard ride through it’s planning stages. Bit more walking, bit more lunch then the idea was to go to the Cathedral but I opted out of that and strolled about in the warm sun, as I knew it would be cold when I got home, then ended my day with a wine spritz on the roof garden. Now it was time to catch the bus to the airport and head home. The flight was longer than expected as the French air traffic controllers were on strike and so we had to go round France. (I think they have they been on strike on and off my whole life – I have never known why). Seville is a lovely place for a short break, I would suggest always staying in the old town as we did, as there are plenty of small hotels hidden in the alleys, and comfy shoes as there are lots of cobbles and suchlike and they make walking feet a bit sore.
Thursday I braved the M25 at 9.30am to get home foolishly thinking the rush hour might have dispersed. I don’t think it does – there is nothing more to say – it’s awful. How anyone can do that everyday of their working life is beyond me. I do love coming home.
This week I spent mostly being a steward at Cheltenham Festival. This was the view from the poshest boxes in the Princess Royal stand which I took on Saturday, a training day. In the end I only worked three days not the full four, but six and a half hours standing on a cold stairway took its toll and my back was aching off by Thursday night. It was a long day although only 10 until 6, in fact I left home at 8.15 and got home at 7.15 because of traffic and getting off the site. And then it turned icy cold again. And this is young Bertie’s idea of hiding.😊
I’ve had quite a hectic week. Sunday was a day from Hell. My niggling tooth which has been super sensitive on and off for well… years has been slowly getting more and more hard to cope with. Nothing wrong with it, but it’s close friend, my wisdom tooth next to it, has been pushing it for years and has decided that this would be a good time to appear. So off he went with a vengeance this week and by squeezing my back molar sideways turned what was just a sensitive tooth into a screaming banshee. A trip to the dentist then and an X-ray, the poor chap was pondering what to do and in the end decided taking the molar out was a whole lot easier than fighting with a wisdom tooth. A bit of invigilating, two lovely lunches with friends, (partial) new stripes for SilverBeast – expensive, but put in the shade by the cost of new bathroom taps 😳. ( it’s not worth replacing the cartridge thingies on these fancy taps- “might as well get new taps love”. Who would have guessed that?)Then a few WOW moments…
Wow 1. Tooth out with absolutely no pain whatsoever at any point. Dentistry has clearly moved on.
Saturday was my training day for my Stewards job at Cheltenham Festival.
Wow 2. I had no idea how utterly huge and extravagant event it was. There’s a Boodles in the tented village for goodness sake. (Like Tiffany’s – they don’t price stuff just leave you to guess)
Wow 3. There are 8,500 staff to 70,000 visitors- that’s about the same ratio as some cruise ships.
Wow 3. I have never seen so many tables laid up so beautifully in one place, half the worlds wine glasses must be there, and most of the current barrelled Guinness.
Wow 4. Still very naive about this but the work involved in getting this kind of massive event up and running is mind boggling. They are working hard today.
Wow 5. I will be in the Princess Royal Stand, the very poshest of the posh, that’s where the picture is from. The Royal Box is on the far left. No-one is quite sure how as a newbie I got that but hey, I might have to learn to curtesy. This is my jacket, I get a scarf and blazer on Tuesday.