Thank goodness for our nation’s very sensible decision to roll over public holidays that fall on a weekend into the working week, because that meant I had a delicious extra day to get back into London life after I landed at Heathrow in the very early hours of New Year’s Day (Sunday). I used it wisely: sleeping (a lot of sleeping), picking up Lettice from my sister’s,
(she’s just about forgiven me), sorting out the piles of washing from my trip, and going on a long dog walk on Hampstead Heath that I organised through a sausage dog lovers FB page.
By the way, flying over New Year’s Eve was one of the most genius ideas that I have head in years. The ‘plane was only half full, so I had an empty seat next to me in Premium Economy and slept for a full ten hours, without a sleeping pill, which is nigh on extraordinary.
I flew Air France Premium Economy so had a free two bag allowance: I took advantage of this, clearly.
I designated last week as a ‘get shit done’ week and, although jetlag wiped me out for the first few days, and I’m only just starting to get my sleeping patterns back to a semblance of normal, I was pretty much on it. I’ve done a huge sort out of my office, filing, sorting, donating, storing, binning…I find it very hard to think clearly in a cluttered space, and I’m hoping that my doing a radical tidy things will look clearer in 2017. (Although my poor white Poinsettia didn’t make it into 2017. Does everyone else manage to kill their’s too? Or is it just me?)
One of the things I’m most pleased about is the beautiful new carpet I bought from TK Maxx – it’s forced me to clear away a lot of random stuff in order to give it room, and it has now defined the centre space of the office, meaning I’m less likely to chuck stuff on it. Already the room looks both more pulled together and emptier. Lettice is also pretty keen on the dog bed I got as part of my project with TK Maxx.
Now I just need to make sure that Lettice doesn’t mistake it for an extra glamorous wee pad. Speaking of small annoying dogs, I met up with Phil from the Sausage Dog Hotel on Wednesday lunchtime for another long walk on the Heath.
Lettice (wearing her LISH quilted coat) and her new friend Otto.
Above – a rare shot of Maisie actually RUNNING.
(The Sausage Dog Hotel calendars, which I wrote about here, are now a bargain half price, with proceeds going to Dachshund charities – and Lettice is in it!)
Regular readers will know that I have five godchildren; three of them are in London, but one is in Paris, and one in Wiltshire. It’s actually simpler to see the one in Paris, as I am often there for work, and every time I drive down to the South West I seem to pick a week when the Wiltshire family are on their holidays. So I was determined to see them before January started to get going. In the end I drove down very early on Sunday morning, having dropped Lettice back off at her holiday home with my sister, and had a delightful day catching up with one of my oldest partners-in-crime.
Jo and I met at boarding school, bonded over the NME and The Smiths, attended the same university, have made mischief together from Paris to Delhi, via Glastonbury, the Highlands of Scotland, farmhouses in Normandy, mansions in Anglesey and goodness knows where else. We’ve been friends for twenty-eight wonderful years.
The only thing that I had not legislated for was the tube strike, which started at 6pm on Sunday evening. I just couldn’t face a two hour drive turning into a horror show on the roads into London on the M4 so I’m afraid I took advantage of the Spontaneous Stays programme for Soho House members and booked myself into a discounted last minute attic room at Babington House in Somerset for the night.
I spent a very productive day there on Monday – I swam for half an hour first thing, ate a healthy-ish breakfast
then holed up doing email until 630pm, when I left on the 2hr30 drive back to London. Apart from a languidly strolling dog fox crossing my path somewhere outside Bradford-upon-Avon, my journey was effortless all the way home.
I also denuded the Christmas tree on Twelfth Night, and spent a very productive hour on Friday at the Covent Garden Apple Store, getting my Mac Air fixed – thank GOODNESS. They were great, and in the end my hard drive was replaced for free, because I was only five days out of warranty when it failed, with me only having to pay for a new battery. A good end, all round. Apple really do win on customer care.
I also wanted to let you know about some wonderful news: there is a new puppy arriving next week chez Mama Wilkins. This is Mouse the Jack Russell.
This week is really now going to be all about the writing, and some more catching up. The blog is going to be full of places that I recommend for breaks over the next year – whether you are looking for the perfect country break, a wellness retreat, or a sun and sand holiday we’ve got it covered…