Thursday 11 April 2024

A March Round-up Part One.

Well I think I might have to do March in two postings it was a mega busy month. 

I started with a treat to myself, something to look forward to for surviving January, and as it turned out February at work. What used to be a busy month had now morphed into a busy 8 -10 weeks!

I had wanted to go to the Coco Chanel exhibition at the V&A but it sold out before I could get a ticket. Just before I travelled to New York I got an email to say they had extended the run by 2 weeks and that the tickets would be going on sale at 10am the next day. I stuck a reminder in my calendar and logged in for 10am, I was over 200th in a queue…

Over the next 2 or 3 hours I would check back every so often as my position in the queue crept closer and closer to single digits. I was convinced it would be sold out before I got to 1st in the queue but miracle of miracles it didn’t. I managed to get one ticket for the 4th March. I instantly put in a holiday form which was thankfully granted.


I found myself on the tube with a huge school party which entertained me no end on the short journey to South Kensington. We all piled off the train and headed down the museums tunnel where several other school parties added to the decibels! 

Thankfully all bar one group peeled off at the entrance to the Natural History Museum. I had a bit of time before my entry, so first stop was the café for much needed cup of tea and a cheeky pain aux raisin. I then had a mooch around the shop and a couple of my other favourite galleries.

Also stopping to watch a busy team of staff painstakingly manoeuvring this gorgeous statue into position. 

I got told off for taking this picture later that day, I’m not quite sure why.

A friend had gone to the Chanel exhibition on the Saturday and said it was rammed. I had hoped a Monday would be a little quieter, but it was absolutely packed too. I just took my time and waited patiently to get a closer look, read the information and take some pictures. It was definitely one of the best exhibitions I’ve been to in some time, I absolutely loved it and managed to spend a crazy amount of time in there. It really was lovely to just go at my own pace though, especially after the frantic last few months. I was of course more taken with the early pieces but I surprised myself with how many of the later pieces I loved too.

I decided against eating a late lunch there and instead made my way back to Paddington, very randomly catching the same tube train back as the school party I had met in the morning! 

Instead, as I had 30 minutes before my train, I grabbed a meal deal in Sainsburys which I ate on the train home. I’m so glad I got to go, and also that I had planned this treat for myself. 

The next day I had the afternoon off work and went for lunch with my friend's Liz and Carole. We tried the new Italian where Himself and I went last month. The food was more flavourful this time. I will definitely go again.

I had to travel again for work that Friday, this time going to Munich. 

The timing wasn’t great as it was not only Mother’s day on the Sunday it was also a year since Dad died and again my brother was away. I really could have done with being at home for Mum but instead settled for flying home on Saturday evening, going straight to the airport from the event. 

Luckily the colleague I was travelling with also had Mother’s day plans so was happy with the arrangement. We had decided to fly on Friday morning so we could at least have half a day to look around Munich but sadly it was not to be. 

On Tuesday late evening I got a voice message to say my flight had been cancelled. Cue 2 days of frantically trying to organise something else with the company who books our work flights (don’t get me started on what I think of them – it’s a long and exhausting story!) 

It turns out not only were Lufthansa on strike, so were all the rail staff. We by sheer fluke it would seem managed to get on a flight with BA at 5pm on Friday, finally arriving at our hotel at 9.30pm after we had a nail-biting 30 minutes at the airport trying to confirm our seats on the Lufthansa flight home the next day. The strike was due to end on the Saturday morning and as our flight had been a return they had cancelled the whole thing, so we had to rebook the return part of it. By that point I couldn’t be bothered with going out to eat so went to bed with a book instead.    


The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast, checked out of the hotel and took the 15 minute walk to the venue where the event was. It was a glorious day.

On arrival we were greeted with 'did you have any trouble getting here?' It turned out 2 of the Italian business schools didn’t make it at all because Italy was also in strike, and we got off very lightly compared to others. The poor girl from London Business School had had to fly to Amsterdam and could only get a flight home and 8pm that evening and into Gatwick!   

The event went well, and we got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. It was frankly like being in one of those horror apocalypse films! This huge airport almost completely empty very weird. 

We did manage to find somewhere to eat a frankly revolting burger and chips. The flight home turned out to be on a tiny plane with Finair and the aircrew were so stereotypical you couldn’t help but chuckle. Literally all of the cabin crew being tall and blonde and one in particular with waist length white blonde hair in a loose plait, I was waiting for her to break into ‘Let it Go’ at any moment!

The Pilot was enormous, with a huge beard, long hair and tattoos, I couldn’t help wondering what my smart R.A.F short back and sides Dad would have thought of that.   


It turned out Nephew Number One’s band were playing in Reading that night so Himself had suggested we go. Initially I thought I would have time to go home and change but in the end by the time my airlink coach got back to Reading it was 8.45pm. 

So I just waited for Himself at the station and we walked to the venue with me in my smart work togs and with my work rucksack. I said I felt like the disapproving maiden aunt. We had time to grab a much needed and revitalising pint before the band came on. 

I said to Himself afterward I love how confident and comfortable in their own skin this generation are. When I was in my 20’s it was very much about having the right image, almost wearing a uniform, being part of the tribe. Whereas everyone there, particularly the girls, just wore what the hell they wanted and didn’t give a shit. I particularly loved that one girl was even sat crocheting as she watched.

Once the band had finished we took our leave and I got to go home, have a lovely hot shower and fall into bed. 


The next day we had a lazy breakfast in bed before Mum came over at 12. We had booked a table for Sunday lunch at our favourite pub and had decided to walk there as the weather had held and the ground wasn’t too wet. It was a gentle meander and we arrived with time to have a drink before sitting down. We all had roast beef and Mum and I also had the amazing homemade cheesecake. I think I rolled home.


Once we got back home Nephew Number One came over for a cup of tea. He hadn’t seen Mum in person since Christmas and I had also bought him a couple of silly bits in the US. Mum left before it got dark and he finally went about 7.30pm. A lovely day all round given the sad anniversary, we did raise a toast to Dad.


The following Tuesday I had another day off work to meet with Soo. Another long overdue get together! She had decided on Bourton on the Water as it has been years since we have been there together. We got there late morning and had a slow amble looking in various shops before finding a café/antique shop for a delicious jacket potato with tuna and a shared cream tea. 

This was followed by a bit more mooching  

I fell in love with all the moss growing on this tree.

Sadly the weather was miserable not that it mattered one bit, I’m not sure we drew breath the whole day, it was so lovely to see her and catch up properly. 

My only purchases were this ceramic bird plaque from a charity shop 

and a Snoopy from what I can only describe as the most terrifying teddy bear shop I have ever had the misfortune to find myself in. We were lured in by some Moorcroft pottery in the window, Soo is a big fan, but once inside….well. 

I’m not sure how but these teddy bears looked like they wanted to steal your souls in the night, they were quite unnerving, especially a shop full of them. I pinched this picture off their website!

I spotted poor old Snoopy in a cabinet and felt obliged to rescue him! Rather randomly he turns out to be a Steiff, and was crazy cheap for a Steiff. Anyway, I think he is relieved to be free and resting on the top of my bookcase!


On Saturday Himself and I headed to Oxford, we had tickets for 'Into the Uncanny with Danny Robins, Chris French and Deborah Hyde' as part of the Oxford Literary Festival. 

Himself did a crash course in the Uncanny podcast the week before we went as he has never listened to it before, I’m pretty sure he never will again! It was not really his cup of tea. 

The talk itself was fine, and I shall definitely be checking out both the books they were promoting, but it would definitely have been better if they had stuck to questions from the chair Stephen Law, rather than let the audience lose on the mic. As inevitably you got someone who wanted to go on and on and on about themselves. Overall, I did enjoy it though and I did bump ino a friend Alison there who I’m planning to catch up with again properly in the next couple of weeks.  


I shall sign off this post here and continue with the rest of the month in a separate entry. I’m looking forward to sharing the seaside, Bagpuss and Ghostbusters with you!