I have been out and about in the big city. And it was really rather nice.
Went up to London as usual on Monday morning, had a successful day at work (yay me), then met my mate Tall Richard outside his office for an evening of middle-aged frolicking.
I took the Tube to Embankment, planning to walk over to his office in about 2 minutes from there. As is traditional, I managed to go in completely the wrong direction on leaving the station, wandering up past Charing Cross into the Strand. I navigated by the stars* till I found Downing Street, then made my way to the appointed rendezvous, still slightly early. So no-one need ever know.
We strolled back the way I had just come (making me feel knowledgable and not too touristy) to Champagne Charlie's, where I had a couple of glasses of fizz. I very seldom drink during the week, so it felt like a real treat. Tall Richard had Beer In A Tankard, but disappointingly, he drank it nicely, refusing to quaff it properly.
We both managed to get covered in sawdust (it's all over the floor in there...I may suggest they add glitter for the festive season), then wandered across the road to an Italian restaurant where we had a very nice meal. Tall Richard, having lived in Naples, is unabashed about asking Italian restaurant staff for free liqueurs. Which they gave us with a smile.
We then took the Tube all over London, as there is no interchange at (I think) Embankment, so we had to go up and down several different lines till we were on the right one to get us to the Docklands Light Railway, and out to Shadwell, where Tall Richard lives during the week.
I honestly think it would have been quicker to walk all the way. We went up and down stairs, along endless tunnels, through stations full of commuters, into little secret doorways to vast empty chambers, along platforms, up and down escalators, finally finding a train to take us where we needed to be.
Anyway. We finally arrived at his little flat (which reminded me very much of being a student), had a nice cup of tea and a chat, then fell asleep to the relaxing sound of every police siren in London being let off outside the windows.
As Tall Richard and family live in the wilds of Suffolk, Mr WithaY and I don't see them nearly as much as we'd like, so it was lovely to have a chance to catch up in the middle, so to speak. Apparently next time I have to wear sturdy walking shoes and be prepared for Chinatown and a Blues Bar.
The trip into work the next morning seemed much less complicated, and I was at my desk by 0815, giving me the chance to be first in, and therefore smug as everyone else arrived.
Arrived home last night to find Mr WithaY suffering from a streaming cold, poor bugger. I think it's the same cold he had last week, and it never really went away properly. I am keeping my distance, whilst providing love and support. And cups of tea.
Other news: Who saw this? I wish I'd thought of it first. I could have borrowed all the dogs in the village and made up a husky team, stapled antlers to the bigger ones and called them Reindeer, and got Mr WithaY into a Santa suit.
We could have borrowed one of the farm fields and roped off a bit in the middle for the festive grotto (no photography) and sprayed the whole place with fire extinguisher foam to make it look nice and snowy. Could have paid for a fantastic holiday in the sun.
*followed my nose