Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Chin up, think of Christmas...

 Well, that's me installed on the King's Cross train from Dundee. I have very little voice left, even less money and a real sadness about leaving my sister behind in the city. It feels like when I take Freya to nursery, I actually want to call the whole thing off and take her home with me... I feel the same way about my sister. I don't think we are meant to be apart as a family as when one of us leaves someone always cries. Chin up and think of Christmas...

When Becky said that she was buying me a train ticket for a trip away without the girls, I was excited but the weekend has so exceeded my expectations. It has been like a spa retreat. I had a room with fresh flowers, white sheets, thick towels, padded hangers for my clothes and a bathrobe.

The shower was to die for and I even had a relaxing bath on the Sunday. I can't say I feel refreshed, I actually feel like I have alcohol sweats and laryngitis but it's been good for the soul to be me again.
The date had been arranged months before, but as usual Thursday night was an exhausting last minute marathon of packing and washing. I also had to pack the girls and the dog to go over to Immingham for the weekend. I am guilty of micro managing Craig and made a mental note not to do it again. I began packing my own clothes at half past midnight. Admittedly, I had spent time painting my nails dark burgundy and polishing my shoes and boots and then finding nice accessories. I really wanted a holiday from the scruffy, yoghurt covered woman that I have become.

I think I achieved that 'polished' look this weekend. I had even had my haircut for the first time in two and a half years. Becky's friend Gill was horrified after recently having to give up monthly appointments for six-weekly ones. I explained that the transformation between rat's nest and beautiful do was much more noticable under the two and a half yearly appointment system.

The thing that I most enjoyed packing was my hand luggage, not because it was Cath Kidston loveliness but because it was things to fill my time with on the journery for five hours. I usually don't get five minutes so... I had crochet, magazines, my kindle, my laptop, my MP3 player and if I got bored I could take a little snooze. I was not disappointed.

My day started early at half five. I had left a lot of time to get to Preston as I was freaking out about missing my pre-paid seats and having to buy a really expensive ticket to Dundee. With my beautifully coiffured barnet, new yoghurt free coat and long earings swinging in the breeze, I got a taxi. When I told the taxi driver my ultimate destination he was rather excited about Fat Sam's, a nightclub in Dundee, apparently, it is his dream to go there one day.

Damnit, have just paid for some crisps and a twix and realised that I haven't got rid of my 'funny money' before leaving Scotland, bugger.

At Preston, I had a time buffer and decided to get a nice cup of twinings and do some crochet. I even got to take my cup cosy for a test drive... very good it was too.

I just finished the edging on Becky's orange cloth to match her kitchen tiles. I know that they definitely match because I have had to transport 5 tiles in my case after some of theirs had been damaged and the replacement tiles could only be found over the border in England. The cloth may not be perfectly practical but good enough for swilling mugs out.

I got a call from Mum at around Penrith to ask who Moomin was insured with, uh-oh. She had been a little whingy the previous night but had managed to vomit which is usually the end of it. Apparently, when Craig went to take her to mum's she couldn't get up out of her basket, her stomach was rigid. Dad took her to the vets and she was given a couple of shots and sent on her merrier way with painkillers and instructions to come back if necessary.

Edie was also sick. I was starting to feel that the universe was conspiring against me. Luckily for me, Mum and Dad are very capable and I was on a one-way train. I reasoned that I was already away. Luckily, it all worked out OK and Craig took all the girls and supplies of medications away with him.

Becky came and collected me from the station looking stunning as usual. We dumped bags, had a cheeky wee glass of champagne before heading out to lunch at 'Byzantium'. We caught up over Lamb Kofte and although the waiter talked about snow in Aberdeen, it was warm and sunny.

After lunch we retired to the comfort of Becky's sofa where we watched Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and snoozed with the dog. It was warm and soporific like the 'Wood between the Worlds' in C.S Lewis' book The Magician's Nephew.

After a cat lick in Becky's 'boutique hotel' bathroom, Becky, Serge and I were off out. Becky's bathroom is worth a mention. It is very stylish and contemporary but with little splashes of Becky thrown in. 

She had bought bright pink bath towels and accessories which seemed to be causing a bit of banter between her and Serge. Could have been worse, she could have purchased a giant metal chicken to piss her husband off, like a woman on Pinterest

We started in 'Droothy Neighbours', and then moved to Laing's and finished in a bar in town where we bought a bottle of champagne, probably the first one they have sold this year, however, it was Champagne Thursday all weekend. We had sunk a fair amount of alcohol before we got a cab home. The taxi driver was telling us about a film that we just had to see called 'One Day Removals' it was supposed to be a low budget Aberdonian Trainspotting. Serge actually got up and downloaded it next morning, I look forward to hearing all about it.

A lie-in followed by tea and toast, then a woodland walk by the hospital Becky works at, Nine Wells. It was a lovely morning but I had forgotten my camera so the photos are poor to say the least.

I loved these stone thistle gates to the hospital. Apparently, they had recently finished making a woodland trail in the hospital grounds. It was lovely, much nicer than the view that patients get out of the Royal Blackburn. We talked about Becky getting a new dog, they can't decide on a flavour though. Serge wants a lab but Becky is hanging on for a Basset hound.

Serge was working a night shift on the Saturday night. This is Freya's toy Uncle Serge that she carries around with her, she even knows what B.A. stands for (if you don't know, I'm not telling).

Becky and I headed into town for a quick mooch at the shops. She wanted to try on her first pair of size ten jeans which she did and they fitted perfectly. I am so jealous but know how hard she has worked for the pleasure. I saw a couple of things that were fabulous but having the weekend away was my treat for this month, so I managed to restrain myself.

We then headed to the Playwright, one of Becky's favourite bars. She has been wanting to take me there for ages. They have Belle Epoque on the bar and do great champagne cocktails. I was rather partial to the Jane Mansfield which is a strawberry champagne cocktail, it was going down very easily.

It wasn't long before Gill and Paula arrived, looking glamorous as usual with killer heels, great hair and make-up. The food was to die for and sadly just the right portion size (rather than too much) We chatted about everything from conjoined twins to Jimmy Choo shoes. We stayed there till late, deciding not to go home for a power nap but mooched on up to the casino because I had never been.

What a cracking idea, there were big sofas and you could chat and the bar carried on serving until 6am. We did a fair amount of people watching, there were some sights to behold, mainly big girls in short clothes although there were a couple of corkers that particularly stood out. Namely, a girl in a greying white dress with a blue bra on and pink shoes and a big girl in a catsuit with a belt up round her rib cage.

Loved the Vegas 'Golden Nugget' style  lights.

We were also being bothered by some harmless but irritating men. After being out drinking for 12 hours we were ready to go, Becky seemed amazingly composed but developed narcolepsy in the taxi. She just about managed to cook a pizza and I made a cup of tea before bed.

Another lie-in, tea and toast on Sunday morning. We were quietly dying on the sofa watching the X-files film. Becky popped out for some milk and I went and had a really deep, hot bath. Becky had bought mince pies from the shop, my absolute favourite although I was planning to restrain myself at least until November (having had a mince pie problem in the past). I had a big mug of tea and two pies.

In an attempt to clear the 'fog' we took Bailey across to the park for a nice refreshing walk, this enabled her to add to her stone collection. She is building a small cairn by the back door therefore if any of us are killed in a mountaineering accident, the job is already done.

And here I am back on the train rushing to see Craig and the girls who are meeting me at Preston station... if only I could stop sweating.

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