I’ve been in the UK for a week for work. Although that allows me to catch up with colleagues and family, I’ve felt strangely cut off with the lack of facebook, goodreads, skype and so on. It’s surprising since the connection in the UK is about a million times better than what we have here, but I didn’t have the time to check anything online whilst I was there. It was a strange feeling. There I was, surrounded by some of the people I speak to online nearly every day, yet I felt I was missing out on the usual rants that make the day go by so much more quickly. Maybe it’s a sign of the times that we feel more comfortable telling the anonymous world about our day rather than popping round to a friend’s house or picking up the phone, but I for one really missed knowing what everyone in my circle was up to. Ho hum. Never mind – as you can see I’m back and merrily telling you all what I’ve been up to.
The journey to the UK was, for once without all it’s usual dramas. The flight arrived ahead of schedule, I picked up the hire car (the reason I even need a hire car is another, much more irate story) and was in my home town shopping and stuffing my face full of Burger King in no time. I did however find it a little disconcerting that there were several hundred more people in the shopping centre that there were at our local “international” airport. I watched smugly as my fellow Brits ran around like headless chickens, scrabbling for the best bargains in Primark and thought to myself “God I’m glad I don’t live here.” Now don’t get me wrong, it was absolutely brilliant to see everyone, but people were almost maniacal in their determination to grab their shopping with “sod you Jack,” written all over their faces. I much prefer the slow meander of life over here. Yes it can be frustrating when deliveries don’t turn up when you thought they would and sometimes the process of things just doesn’t make sense, but it’s all so much more relaxed. Manana isn’t just a word, it’s a way of life.
So my shopping trip over I made my way down to Devon to the in-laws and the office for the rest of the week. I am very lucky in that I actually get on with my in-laws and I can use their house as a base when I’m back in the office. I have to say though that getting up in the dark, having to wear office attire and proper shoes and everything soon lost it’s novelty. Driving to work leaves something to be desired too! When I’m at home, my commute takes all of 30 seconds, and I can sit here in my pj’s and slippers if I really want to. It was great to be back in the office but I wish the makers of Star Trek would hurry up and making tele-porting available to the masses. It would be much better than having to fit all my make up into one of the stupid zip-lock bags at the airport and then hanging around for hours eating tasteless sandwiches at a fiver a go. I’d also forgotten that with office life comes the office illnesses. Everyone was coughing and spluttering. I spent the week holed up in a corner covered in alcoholic bacterial rub hoping I wouldn’t catch anything. So far so good, but it’s early days.
Whilst I was in Devon it was my father-in-law Reg’s 81st birthday so needless to say there was much merriment, enough food to feed an army and gin and tonics flowing till the wee hours of the morning. I felt like the guest of honour since everyone wanted to catch up and hear about our life in Spain and waxing lyrical about the Spanish weather. It was a great night and I know Reg enjoyed having his friends and family around him. He is impossible to buy for so i settled for a good bottle of Barolo. I went to Asda to purchase said bottle – an experience I hope not to repeat. It was bun fight of epic proportions. Christmas certainly brings out the worst in shoppers. Everyone also seems to think they must stock up for a siege because the shops will be closed for 2 days over the holidays. I’d forgotten all about the madness that is Christmas food shopping. The woman in front of me at the checkout spend nearly £300 on a trolley full of booze and turkey. And there I was feeling faint about the price of wine in England!
Finally the week drew to a close and it was time for the “End of Year Bash.” As I’ve said before, it is always fancy dress and you are considered a completely loser if you don’t at least make some sort of effort – even if that effort means you get all Blue Peter and make yourself something out of sticky-back-plastic and an empty Fairy bottle. This year’s theme was “Medieval Banquet,” and seeing as though they don’t really do fancy dress in Spain, I laboured lovingly over my sewing machine to come up with my Medieval Princess creation. I have to say, especially as I didn’t have a pattern, I was really rather pleased with my outfit. It looked the part and didn’t make me look like an idiot, so all in all, I’d say it was a winner. Lady Lipman finally made it to the ball! Hurrah!
Sadly all good things must come to an end, so I left the party and made my way back up to Gatwick, stopping en-route in Basingstoke to pick up some pals who were also back visiting. When I booked this trip, the plan of going to work, setting up for a party, going to a party and then driving to Gatwick for a 6am flight sounded like a genius plan. It wasn’t. It was dark and miserable and not fun. To add to my misery, I got to sit in front of the token idiot on the plane – you know that one you spot at the boarding gate and want to avoid at all costs? Yeah. That’s the one. Added to that, the plane had more ill people on it than a doctor’s waiting room. Not surprisingly, I slept for the whole flight, but was squished into the window, desperately trying not to touch any of the great unwashed who were sharing my air. Unfortunately, this included my 2 friends, who are also full of snot, but I’m hoping they were breathing over the people in front of them instead of me. If I get a cold I won’t be happy.
Back home now, wood burner on, tapas eaten, drinks drunk; Happy Days!