Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Long and lazy weekend - the first

I do so love a long weekend. Religious rites, royal weddings - whatever I can get and this weekend was the first of two consecutive four day weekends here in London and it has been BLISS. Apart from a small freak storm, the sun has shone and with most other Londoners having absconded for more exotic locales, those of us left behind have had plenty of room to move in the parks, on the tube, along the pavement. Love it.

I started the weekend on Friday with a godless pedicure. I say godless because what other kind of good pedicure can there be on Good Friday? The afternoon was spent drinking pink wine in the sun with a lovely new pal until 4pm turned into 10pm and I was what in polite circles is known as totally smashed. So smashed I misplaced my centre of gravity and walked into the kitchen doorframe on getting home. All class....

Saturday my head hurt from the sturdy mix of a frazzled, water-deprived brain and a knock-now-lump above my eye..... Thankfully a hair appointment, some time with the token rubbish magazines and an afternoon BBQ at LB's BF's penthouse in Chiswick went some way to improving the situation. It was such a beautiful afternoon, hot even by London's usually shite standards, and so when the freak storm appeared out of nowhere the surreal state of London's weather was really hit home. Rain lashed the roof, the trees swayed, thunder, lightning. It was the kind of storm that made you wish you were lying on your own sofa listening to it all and not contemplating a trip home through it.

Thankfully the storm was fleeting and yesterday LB and I headed into central London for a date with some wedding decorations - Wills and Kate's - not Lovely Boys and mine, but should the municipality of greater Avalon decide to decorate the main street with bunting in our honour next January I probably won't protest...

Paddington Bear getting into the street party
spirit in the window of Hamley's
Liberty window.

Probably not sanctioned by the Palace...

It was quite a fun day, playing Spot the Tat among the windows of Regent and Oxford Streets, and the stroll through Hyde Park afterwards was also quite lovely, in that "Ok I'm getting hot and self-conscious now, can we please find some shade" sort of way. We did find shade - and a view to die for - at the top of the ferris wheel near Hyde Park corner, set up for the celebrations next Friday and there was something so childishly fun to the whole experience. All that was missing was the ice cream really.

Having walked up Regent St, along Oxford St and then across Hyde Park we decided that seeing as our invitation to this week's royal soiree has clearly been lost in the post and hell will freeze before we line the mall with 100,000 others, we should stroll to Buckingham Palace, up Pall Mall and then hot foot it out of central from Embankment. And so we did.

Having seen all the set up being, well, set up, I'm not so sure the best place to watch the whole spectacle won't be from the comfort of my house. Pajamas optional. The forecast for rain also votes for this option... And frankly, if Wills and Kate - The Wedding is anything like William and Kate - The Movie, which I shamelessly watched last night through slightly ajar fingers (in fairness The Guardian did describe is as "So bad it's awful - toe-curlingly, teeth-furringly, pillow-bitingly ghastly" so it's not like I didn't know what I was in for) well, I'm not sure how much of Friday I'll be able to stomach. But by god I'll give it my best. Never mind the dress, I'm just impressed with the hilarious contemporary art it's inspiring...

Rachel House, Royal Pinata, 2011
Lydia Leith, Throne Up, 2011
Today was the last day of the weekend and was spectacular only for its uneventfulness. I didn't quite manage to clean the house, book my flights home, book Berlin for the August long weekend or do anything else I had on my list - including the photography exhibition at the V&A but what can you do? Apart from wait three days and try again on the next long weekend.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Let the sun shine

I forgot to add these yesterday - irrefutable proof of warmer weather finally upon us. Strange that I dreamt last night of getting lobster red burnt.........

Crazy busy days

It's midnight and I should be long asleep but as that seems to be the case most nights lately I'm not entirely distressed. The knowledge of an impending four day week undoubtedly helps.  I probably would have been in bed an hour ago had LB not insisted on plugging what he considers to be a major gap in my childhood by having me watch Back to the Future with him...

Monday, 4 April 2011

This week I....

So Sunday evenings appear to have become that place in the week where I sit down to gaze at my navel and spout nonsense and First World trivia about the week just gone.

The week just gone has been a big one - first week of full-time work since 2006. Looking back now it's nothing short of impressive that I've managed to build a career based on multiple forms of part-time and freelance work. The audacity in the face of current economic woes both global and very, very local is breath-taking and I wonder if I'll ever again find myself with a work day that involves pottery classes and morning swims again? Without the justification of god forbid small children..... I guess it's just bloody lucky that if the last week is anything to go by full-time work should be most-parts enjoyable and only two-parts "Where HAS my week gone?"

I'm still loving the little team I'm now part of, still getting to grips with the reality of the project I'm working on - not least the not-so-small involvement of a major international fashion conglomerate - and still very much trying to get to grips with finding where things on the server/organising my desk/remembering everyone's name and packing my lunch everyday so as to avoid the buy-one-get-one-free deals from the petrol station down the road. Oh for an Eat or a Marks and Spencer. Convenient location Peckham is not. Interesting it is.

Not Peckham unfortunately. Rather, Kew Gardens...
This week I got to see first-hand some of the work the education department does at the gallery with the local kids, a lot of whom come from the council estate that is literally in the gallery's back garden. On Wednesday we took a group of kids to the Hayward Gallery for a cross-site visit and on the way there it was all cheeky tough talk and adolescent obscenities. At the gallery it was casual conversation about the suggestion of materialism in one work and the detail of another. Then there was dress ups and ice cream. It was brilliant.

We'd actually been at the Hayward earlier that day with the film production company that we're working with to create content for the site - lots of short films and interviews - scoping locations for a chat with the co-curator of the upcoming Tracey Emin survey. It makes me stupidly excited when I think that these are the kinds of things involved in My Job. I feel so ridiculously lucky - even when my lovely boss is reduced to tears after a particularly horrendous meeting and I'm given a rather salient insight into the soon to be my realities of working on this project. I mean, don't kid yourself, I am still hugely overwhelmed and paddling like mad to look like I'm calmly moving forward but every day offers another iota of confidence so hopefully by the time my contract ends I'll feel reasonably capable.

I have no idea what this week will bring but if last week is anything to go by it will be Sunday evening again before I know it.

Daylight savings started last Sunday and it is amazing. The light has changed almost overnight. It's as if someone has removed the filter and everything is now so much brighter, even with the cloud cover. One part of me is delighted and another part is cowering vainly and avoiding the mirror in our window-heavy, light-drenched bathroom. No one needs that real a reflection at 7.30 in the morning. Every pore, every fine line, every fucking freckle. BAM. Hello, This Is What Getting OLDER Looks Like. And it isn't pretty.

What also isn't pretty is this:

Tights are not pants, girls. I don't care how shapely your legs. Stockings, tights, undergarments - they go UNDER something. They are not worn with converse and a t-shirt. You look stupid and as a consequence I worry about the state of the world. Libya and the Middle East are what can only be politely referred to as pretty screwed, Japan is buried under rubble and sludge, rioters are trashing Fortnum and Masons while more polite protestors take to the Thames and the youth of today are leaving the house without pants. I'm not sure whether or not to be grateful for the fact they left their ugg boots at home but I'm nonetheless troubled by these developments. All of them. If only the Libyans had to put trousers on to solve their problems. How happy would the world be then?

This weekend, me, LB and our trousers decided to celebrate the tentative turn in weather with a picnic in Kew Gardens. After a detour through Barnes Farmers Markets for tallegio, pesto, custard tarts and all other kinds of delicious goodness, we took ourselves to the gardens for some idling through the flora. It was so lovely, despite the overhanging threat of rain and the daffodils, magnolias, azaleas and cherry blossoms were just exquisite. As was the chocolate we bought at the gift shop on the way out.

It was what can generally be referred to as A Good Day. We'd had dinner with Tors and the Hungry One on Friday night - sloshes of wine and sparkling conversation and this afternoon we met in Leicester Square for coffee and a film. I think the maintenance of Life Outside Work is going to be critical to the enjoyment of work and LBB and I have already booked in a date with a pizza in Brixton next Saturday at the recommendation of a certain food queen. I'm already hungry thinking about it.

I'm not sure what this week will entail but it's sure to be busy. Bring it on. All that's missing is 10 more degrees and a skirts and sandals montage.