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Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Every gang needs a club house

When I was about 6 years old, the rents took Annie and I (Izzy was not yet born, not left at home) on an old fashioned family holiday to the Isle of Wight.  I remember the whole trip very fondly.  Probably more fondly than Annie, who at 3 years old was persuaded to alert the hotel receptionist when my tooth fell out so they could get my parents out of the hotel dining room and to come and help my dire medical situation. 

One day we had a day trip to a theme park on the island, and my dad and I went on one of those flight simulator rides.

I've managed to find a picture of it - it is exactly how I remember.  God bless Google. 

I remember the whole episode being utterly thrilling, but best of all was the sticker I was given as I darted off the ride, leaving my green looking dad trailing behind. 
It said, simply, the name of the ride - SUPER X.  It was a big glossy thick sticker and I kept it clutched in my paws all day long. 

I knew exactly what to do with it. 

When we were kids, Cousin LL, Cousin TL, Annie and I had a gang.  Cousin LL was in charge and bossed us all around.  Obviously.  I was the creative brains of the gang and bossed the younger ones around.  Cousin TL was the muscle - very useful if you needed to dig a pond or get someone to dress up as a doctor.  Annie was in charge of props and toys.  We spent our summers charging around gardens, building dens, fishing in streams and creating mysteries that needed solving (who can forget the case of the Chicken Skull Mystery, Dorset,  July 1988?).   In winter, we mostly got under our parents' feet, watched MGM musicals, acted out MGM musicals and chucked bits of monopoly at each other. 

Upstairs in our house was a cupboard in the eaves, small enough that only children under 10 years of age could get in, but plenty big enough for the 4 of us. 
As soon as we got home from the Isle of Wight, I headed upstairs, stuck that sticker on the door and hey presto - the Super X Club was born. 

From that moment on, the 4 of us were The Super X Club.  A gang can be great fun, but till it has a club house, it is nothing.  Incidentally, my parents still call that cupboard the Super X Club. 

So recently the 4 of us needed to meet up, just us, not plus 1s or anyone else for a Business Meeting.  You see, in March we are all going en masse, to a village in Somerset for some very jolly times over a long weekend to celebrate the Matriarch's birthdays.  This year it is a special birthday.  (Yes, 39 again). 

I suggested we meet at Bill's in Covent Garden, a fantastic cafĂ© / restaurant you might never come across as it is tucked down a side street.  Here is a pic of the aperitif - blackberry and banana smoothie. 

It is utterly charming, totally packed for brunch but worth the wait. 

We all agreed, we had found our new club house.  As soon as Izzy hot foots it to the big smoke, that is where we will take her for her initation ceremony..

We had a great and productive time and are all very excited about giving the Matriarchs a wonderful fun weekend, as you can see - they have given us many many happy times so it is lovely to be able to repay them.  I urge you all to go next time you need somewhere decent to eat in central London. 


Saturday, 25 February 2012


 It is mid Feb and yet here in London the last few days we have had some glorious Spring weather and it has been glorious. I feel like whooping: WE MADE IT WINTER IS OVER AND WE ONLY HAD ONE COLD WEEK!!!! 

Of course Spring isn't really here but for a few days we can all wonder where our espadrilles are and dream. 

To make the most of my gardenless flat I like to fill it with flowers especially in the Spring when all of my fave flowers are around. So on Friday evening I shot out of work like a bat out of hell, hot footed it to the northern line and gasped the fresh (ahem) air of the A1 at Highgate Tube.  In the evenings there's a lovely lady selling flowers so I hastily bought an armful of orange tulips and blue hyacinths and took this pic as I walked home thinking to myself that I had an armful of Spring. 


 Once home I realised I didn't have quite the vases I needed so I improvised and voila 




Enjoy it while it lasts guys, it will probably be -3 next week 



Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Happy birthday, Charlie boy

I am something of a fan of Victorian literature. 

To illustrate this, let me tell you that growing up I named a cat Charlie after Dickens, Tess after Tess of the D'Urbervilles (I don't think as a 13 year old I quite understood the rape scene…) and my illustrious mother had a cat called Trollope. 

As a fan I have been so pleased to see the publicity old Dickens is getting on his bicentenary.  He wrote some of the best characters and stories in English Literature and any publicity that will drive people to actually read his books is a Very Good Thing. 

You can barely move today without seeing an article about him, or a TV adaptation.  Even Google are honouring him on their homepage.  Here are two of my suggestions about how you can gain a little insight into the fellow. 

Firstly the Museum of London (where I used to work) has a fabulous exhibition all about Dickens' life and his experiences of London.  More information here.  While you are there you should check out the London Wall Bar and Kitchen, a fabulous restaurant within the museum walls  

Secondly, one of my fave websites is Letters of Note. It does exactly what it says on the tin - it is a collection of interesting letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes etc.  It is fascinating and charming - nothing can make a person from history come to life as reading a letter they sent their mum / husband / school teacher etc.  Dickens was a great letter writer and I urge you to read their selection of his letters here and here specifically this one  (warning the last one brought a tear to my eye)


Monday, 6 February 2012

Golden things

I have long had a stationery fetish.

This is well documented.

One of the most acute aspects of my fetish is diaries. I have been given a 2012 diary. I have bought two 2012 diaries. None of them were right.

They have to be slim enough to fit into my handbag without weighing me down. Soft enough leather to feel luxury. Week to view is of utmost importance as I have to see a week ahead what I'm up to.

Above all, I have to like how it looks when I get it out of my handbag in a smart cocktail bar to write in the next meet up with a girlfriend. Or, when I'm frantically scribbling in a dentist appointment whilst getting the 134 bus up Archway Road.

So as I wasn't getting on with any of my 2012 diaries, I decided to see if I could get into the modern era and just use my iphone. This hasn't worked and I nearly booked a hair appointment during the First Twin's 60th Birthday Weekend Away Planning Meeting with all Cousins!!!!! Lordy lordy, my roots need doing but that is one lunch I CANNOT miss.
So I happen to spot this in the Aspinal sale. Just a subtle little number. And only 11 quid!

Aspinal gold snakeskin diary