A bygone age…..


It was my birthday on Wednesday.    Not a particularly special birthday, although I believe all birthdays are special.  I took the day off work as I was told we were going for dinner somewhere in London.  Since we were going into town, I decided to make a day of it and booked two tickets to the first day of the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Tate.

The exhibition was breath-taking.  So many beautiful paintings, all in one place.  Some I knew well and some I had never seen before.  Some artists totally unknown to me too.  We spent a couple of hours there, entranced and transported by the ethereal quality of the colours and the beauty of the compositions.

I did know by now where dinner was to be – we were dining at The Ritz!  


And WOW it was!  Stepping through the doors was like stepping back in time.  There is an elegance, a serenity, an atmosphere that cannot be described in words.  The lighting, the mirrors, the high ceilings – it felt as if we had walked straight back into the 1920s.

Dinner was fabulous.  Seated in the most beautiful room, with a quartet playing gently in the corner, we were served by waiters in lovely waistcoats who made us feel as if we were the only guests.  The meal was delicious, I had salmon, and it was mouth-wateringly beautiful, both to eat and to look at.  A sommelier served us the wine of his choice to compliment the food and that was the icing on the cake for me.  Everything just felt so ‘right’.

I imagined my great-aunt and uncle visiting the Ritz in the thirties, socialites that they were, and I saw a room full of ladies in beautiful long dresses and men in tuxedos with live music playing gently in the background.  On Wednesday, there was no such splendour but, in it’s hey day, the Ritz must have been dazzling.

We finished with a glass of Calvados and walked back through the building to the reception area and then back out onto the busy street again, back to reality and 2012.

The whole day was like a time travel experience to me.  I won’t forget this birthday.  

Like I said, all birthdays are special but this one was just that little bit more special to me.  Thank you, KD x



My little adventure


While Blackberry were imploding, I was at a conference that was spread over two days, in the Kings Cross area of London.   I went with my work colleagues and two of us stayed over

I thought I was pretty cool about getting round London. Until this time, that is

I have been to Camden loads of times but I haven’t actually been anywhere except Camden Lock/Market etc – the usual tourist bits really.  Our hotel was on Camden Road so I thought it would be easy to find. What I didn’t know was how long Camden Road is.  And we were staying at the Kentish Town end

So, the first surprise was how far our hotel was from the conference venue.  We had decided to go by bus – and that was the second shock

I haven’t been on a bus in years, apart from in Italy earlier this year. It seems times have changed in London and you can no longer hand over any cash!  The bus drivers have all been to the school of obnoxious, unhelpful bastards (the same one that medical receptionists go to) and we had to try to work out how to get a bus and how to get to where we needed to be

Half hour later, having caught the right bus with the help of a local Scottish man, we still hadn’t found our hotel, despite walking almost the whole length of Camden Road (having got off at the wrong end, obviously!).  I was on the point of calling a cab to take me to the nearest Hilton when we saw it

It was the sort of hotel builders stay in when they work away from home

I know that because there were lots of builders staying there who were clearly working away from home

So, we checked in and flumped on our bed in our tiny, weeny little cupboard of a room, having put the card in the slot to turn on the electric

Five minutes later the electric went and we were plunged into the last few minutes before sunset – I phoned the reception, he was very nice, came straight over to us and moved us into another little cupboard on the ground floor (which meant we had to keep the windows closed for fear of being mugged in our sleep)

Time was getting on so we headed out (on the bus again, by now we had mastered that challenge) for something to eat, into Camden, where we had a table booked at a ‘mediterranean restaurant’ with a ‘lively atmosphere’ and ‘regular live music and rave nights’ – more on that in a minute

We stopped off at The World’s End, a lovely pub that anyone who knows that area will be familiar with

There, we met a Welshman who asked us to mind his bag while he went to the loo.  We debated whether it might be a bomb but it didn’t tick so we kept an eye on it for him.  When he came back, he told us his life story, about how he had been a professional boxer and was now a law graduate, trying to get his first bit of work but with a criminal record for GBH he acquired three months ago after a club brawl.  Bless him 

We left Taffy and his Welsh bomb and went to find our restaurant, on foot.  Shops and restaurants fell away with each new road turning and we eventually stumbled on what can only be described as A DIVE.  This was my third surprise.  There are other bits of Camden apart from the nice market and the lock and the bit where all the cool self-harming Goths go

This was our restaurant.  In some tacky little backstreet you wouldn’t want to walk down alone.  The place was totally empty – it didn’t even LOOK like a restaurant. It looked like a ‘spit and sawdust’ pub.  An empty one.  However, as we were just in time for happy hour, we had a half price cocktail, kept quiet about the booking and disappeared off to have a bite to eat in a Turkish restaurant up the road as soon as we had finished our drinks

Feeling very local now, we easily got the right bus back to our hotel and went to bed 

At four a.m. my son (26) phoned to say his front door key had broken and did I know where the spare one was? I had a vague idea and told him and then couldn’t sleep for wondering if he’d woken up KD rummaging around for it in the garden

We had another fiasco with the buses the following morning but got to the venue on time.  The highlight of the day was when one of the speakers forgot they still had their radio mike on and went for a wee.  Very entertaining for everyone in the room

And then, it was time to come home

We witnessed a nasty fight on the street amongst some youths and reflected on how we dare not intervene because it was London and they all have knives – where we live, we still bang their heads together and tell their mums!!

I had to stand all the way on the tube because some inconsiderate bastard had once more thrown themselves on the tracks during the rush hour and I was ready to drop when I got home

The conference was brilliant, very interesting, and I’m glad I went.  I do love London and this was a very different experience from my usual jaunts up there.  I would like to venture forth into other parts of London I am not familiar with now

But I was oh, so glad to be home!!

Not getting my five a day!!!


We are advised that we should have five portions of fruit or veg per day to remain healthy.  Well, I’m definitely lacking one bit of fruit at the moment….

What is going on??? Blackberry DOWN???

I went to London on Monday for an overnight stay – a two day conference.  Great, I thought, this is where the BB comes into its own.  Not only can I use the map facility to find my way around, I can also Facebook when I get bored in the conference…..As well as check emails and all that stuff BB’s are good for


Typically, Blackberry chose this time to crash.  I didn’t know this until I got home, not having access to the news (ON ACCOUNT OF BLACKBERRY BEING DOWN!) so I spent half my time fiddling with my phone, trying to work out whether it was a Facebook issue or a network provider issue (never dreaming it would be a BLACKBERRY issue!) and eventually giving up and feeling very isolated

Not to mention LOST.  I was relying on that location finder!!

Anyway, it is still not working and now, on top of all that, my workplace have decided to introduce some new system that means they read every single email in detail before sending it out.  They don’t really but they might as well be, the amount of time delivery is taking!

Unless they are all in it together

You don’t realise how much you rely on instant communication until it isn’t there anymore, do you?