On the train (£46 return!), cheaper than paying fuel and going in the car (plus I'd have to pay congestion charges). I quite like trains. And you know I always bump into the best people on my journeys. Down the way I spent pretty much most of the time speaking to Robert. He was ace. He works in London twice a week and travels by train each time. I'm loving the train. You sit back and relax and are in the capital in 2 hours - no clutch or accelerator foot ache (bonus!). Driving takes 3-4 hours and that doesn't include traffic problems. Trains don't tend to have problems. Or maybe they do (more on that laters)
I arrive in our capital on possibly the most scorchio day of the year. IN SEPTEMBER? This is crazy. I travel to E17 (cue songs and boys in baggy jeans and baseball caps). I arrive at my destination almost sodden from over exposure to underground turkish style baths. I meet my oldest friend in the craft industry, Kate Hemmings. She has been good to me over the years. As I have with her. We get each other out of deadline pickles. She is lovely. I have my presentation with the company and am given work almost immediately on a freelance basis. I love this company, it's a haven of crafts supplies for children (and adults). I would move to E17 in a heartbeat to roll around in all those cute kiddie crafts, especially the glittery bits. But for now, I'm taking the homeworking option. It suits the needs of Belles. The Creative Director really likes my work which is hard to accept as I am the most modest of humankind. I will sit here one day and congratulate myself on my achievements. I WILL. But not yet.
I am shown around the business - it is thriving. It is packed to the rafters with all the kiddy craft you can imagine. I am dreaming of all the fun I could ever have with it and I am transported back to my childhood where money was tight. Where I had to make do with what little we had but had the most fun fashioning something from nothing. And now this company has everything - I am just in awe of the potential that children in the UK have. It awesome. This day is good.
I leave and head to Covent Garden to grab a bite to eat before my train (last one from London at 2100). Wow, I had 4 hours to kill. And Covent Garden was bursting at the seams on such a balmy night. I plum for an Indian meal. I sat like a losery loserton, on my own, just watching people. I love watching people. Their mannerisms, their randomness and their dress sense. I secretly love being on my own and wonder if they also think I am the most losery-ish loserville they have ever clapped eyes on. I have an air of mystique about me. Perhaps they think I have been stood up on a date. One day I might actually pretend to cry and add to their speculation. He heeeeee.
After my meal, I wandered around Covent Garden, trying not to fall over on the cobbles in my wedge heels. I teeter on each cobble, avoiding the crevices which (if wobbled over) would break my ankle as cracky as snapping firewood in half. I know I look ridiculous teetering on the stonework. I almost feel I could pretend I'm a street entertainer and make out I'm walking on an imaginary tightrope. I head for Laduree. HELLO? I ain't going to pass up this opportunity. "Ill have 8 of your lardiest Macaroons and don't spare the chevals!" I bark (like Hyacinth Bouquet) to the little server in all her sweet frenchness. If you are going to have cavities, cultivate them in style with macaroons. Also, in order to help add inches to your thighs, you **could** bypass your mouth and rub the buggers directly on to your thighs. But that would be sacrilege.
I wander (teeter) back to the tube to head for Euston station. I pay 30p to spend a penny (what the.........) and head to Ritazza for a gallon of Latte. I'm sat there, flicking through a children's craft catalogue when the loudest man on earth plonks himself next to me with the largest portion of Harry Ramsden's finest, ever. He was on the phone to his friend. He was so affected with his accent that I thought he might choke on his poshness. I was forced to listen to everything he said. He was telling his friend that he had just been to an event where the Arch Bishop of Canterbury was in attendance and that Lord Julian Fellowes had given a speech. He was guffawing at the spectacle, like it was such a hoot. And all the while he opened 15 (yes, FIFTEEN....cos I counted) sachets of vinegar on his fish and chips. He was so blase and so excitable that I actually was hooked into his convo and felt I had been at the event with him. I actually wanted to touch him so that I could have grasped some of the Julian Fellowes voice DNA from him. Julian Fellowes, right now, is a god in my eyes (think Downton Abbey for starters!). It was all really bizarre. You just can't make this stuff up. I could see myself making a career out of observing people, honest to goodness. I LOVE IT!
Then came train time which should have seen my back in Wigan at 11.30. But there were delays and I was tired and a little bored. Thankfully SJ kept me sane for almost an hour and facebook too (thanks Roobs!). As the conductor announced we were going to be late, the entire trains population stirred. You know how it is. Mumbling and complaints under our breaths but smiling at our neighbours though gritted teeth....like you do. This invited the lady to my right and the lady opposite to start talking. And before you knew it, we knew each others inside leg measurements and toileting activities within the space of 30 minutes. It was utterly random. I just love it that a delay can create so much conversation about nothing and everything. Honestly, the people I meet on journeys are fabulous. Proper fabulous. The gift of speech, sounds and sight should never, ever be taken for granted.
That was my trip to London in 4739 characters.
And you don't get that on Twitter!