I know, I know - I haven't blogged for days. Life has been a little complicated and has left no time.
The weekend was taken up with giving a birthday present to some friends down the road. How does it take a whole weekend to give a present? I'll tell you. You idiotically suggest that you could babysit two children for a weekend so that the parents can go away and pretend they are childless, whilst you slowly descend through the Dantean circles of hell that comprise parenting.
I've done all sorts of things in my life I've white water rafted on the Zambezi, herded 150 horses on a Wyoming plain, dived with sharks, done short order cooking for 50 people. I've crossed the salt lakes of Bolivia and seen the wilderness beyond, I've refurbished a house in spain with a builder who speaks no English when I speak no Spanish. NOTHING compares to looking after a five and seven year old for an entire weekend. How do all you parents out there do it? It's relentless. Everything takes twice as long and is complicated by a running battle of wills between you and a person a quarter your size who scares you to death. Even taking the Loyal Hound for his walk was nearly impossible as I was assured with tears, sulks and more tears that it was too cold to leave the house - ever. But we had to go out. With two screaming children in tow our walk lost a great deal of its charm (and length) and I then had a sulking hound to deal with as well.
I'm happy to report that we all survived with no breakages of bones or valuables to blight the scene on the loving parents return. Having made it through the weekend I am now certain that all women and men who think they want children should be forced to look after children on their own for 48 hours - the population explosion would be resolved just like that. I almost booked a hystericalectomy there and then.
Having survived the weekend and relinquished my charges with a sigh of relief, I returned home only to unpack and repack. 5.30 on Monday morning saw me in the car and heading for Northamptonshire for a meeting that went from 9.30 in the morning till 7.45 that night, followed by a 2 hour drive to London. I didn't think it was possible to be that tired.
Today I resorted to chewing on coffee beans to stay awake. My first meeting was a the back end of Acton and I got there to discover the client had been and gone having forgotten that she was to meet me there. Gee, thanks. Late this afternoon, having finally got my work out of the way I decided to go and visit the vast new West London shopping centre that opened last week. Oh. My. God.
I'm not sure what I can say about it, other than the fact that I will never need to go to hideous Oxford Street again. Everything, and I mean everything is there. Tiffany, Prada, Gucci, even Rigby and Peller (obviously, I shop in all these places regularly) are shoulder to shoulder with every other good high street store you've ever wandered into. There are small food stalls everywhere, selling everything from perfect cupcakes with lashings of icing to truffles, smoothies, champagne, or just sandwiches, just in case you get peckish between shops. One of the open areas had the entire Grazia magazine office there producing next weeks edition of the magazine under the curious gaze of the shoppers. Even the car park is cool. Every space has a light above it - red if there is a car in and green if it is empty and at the end of each aisle it tells you how many spaces there are free so no more trawling around the aisles. If you don't like carrying your shopping with you, there is somebody there who will take it all for you and bring it to the car at the end of your sojourn there. It all feels thoroughly unBritish in it's organisation, cleanliness, design and glamour and I'm all for it.
Having exhausted my credit card in defiance of the economic armageddon I have returned to my friend's house for a much needed break before heading back out into the metropolis this evening to meet a friend for supper and the new James Bond film. There's no rest for the wicked. However, this time tomorrow, after another two meetings and a four hour drive, I shall be home on my hill and will be able to sleep in my own bed for a whole two nights before I have to go away again. Roll on tomorrow.
The price of health
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