When this month started, I said it was going to be a quiet one, before the storm that is my September. And of course, me being me, it hasn’t really worked out that way at all.
Instead there’s been several visits to the cinema, a bundle of social evenings with food and the like, catching up with people, three or four London days, and all of that jazz. In some ways I’ve been busier in August that I am in usual months – the difference has been that I’ve been based from home, rather than weekends away.
Looking back, it seems like this is actually pretty much standard – last year was the same, and so was 2015. (although there’s no ‘busy’ post as such, I was still doing a lot of stuff) So that idea of a ‘quiet’ month is… pretty much bollocks, really.
And then yesterday was a late afternoon / early evening visit to the National Burger Day event down in London (which will be a post all of its own, I’m sure). Still to come this month I’ve got another big walk over the weekend, a cinema visit, and a social thingy, and then the idiocy of September, which currently includes (but is not limited to)…
- Meatopia on the Saturday and Sunday (although the Sunday is somewhat based on what’s going to be on, but I haven’t bailed on one yet)
- as well as seeing the Sisters of Mercy on the same Saturday evening. (Yes, I’m a lunatic)
- possibly a pub-crawl of sorts
- Seeing Coriolanus in Stratford-upon-Avon
- Walking a full marathon overnight in London at the end of the month
- Two other concerts as well as the Sisters of Mercy.
So yeah, daftness abounds. As ever.
Last Sunday, I was in London to meet friends and eat food. (I know, it’s a shock)
I was hugely early (also not a shock) but semi-intentionally so, as I’d originally planned to do a decent-ish walk (still no shocks) and then meet up. But other plans from the day before had changed, so I started off by knocking the planned 8-miler on the head, and instead taking the Tube in to London, have a smaller more sensible walk, and then meet up.
And then I walked, and it all changed a bit, so I ended up still doing a nearly-eight-miler. Because I’m an idiot. (Hey, where are those shocks? Nope, still not happening)
The route was a bit different to my usual ones though, and on a couple of occasions ended up with “Oh, I could go that way, but I’ve done that before. So let’s go this way instead”. On one part of that, by Hyde Park Corner, I opted to cut through by Wellington Arch instead.
And in there, it turns out that there’s a huge sculpture piece for the New Zealand War Memorial. It really is quite epic – and yet dwarfed by the buildings, arches and other stuff nearby.
I really liked it – and although this time I was on a bit of a stomp, I’ll definitely go back on an occasion where I’ve more time, and look at them properly.
(no, that’s not a euphemism)
So – this is a perfect example of how my life suddenly ends up getting busy…
As long-term readers know, I’m a regular at the Meatopia cooking festival at Tobacco Dock in London, which is usually on the first weekend of September. I’ve got tickets for both days (again, as usual) which would usually be enough to keep me out of trouble for that weekend.
Except now there’s a gig I want to see on the Saturday night, also in London. Which is also utterly doable – but makes for a rather busier and more complicated weekend, it’s safe to say.
So my plan was
- Drive down to Barbican, park up
- Walk to Tobacco Dock
- Eat Lots
- Walk back to Barbican, check in to hotel
- Travel to Camden for concert
- Travel back to Barbican
- Walk to Tobacco Dock
- Eat More
- Walk back to Barbican
- Drive home
- Die quietly.
Except it turns out my cat-carer can’t do that weekend. So….
It now consists of
- Drive down to North London
- Travel to Barbican(ish), then walk to Tobacco Dock
- Eat Lots
- Walk/Travel back to Camden
- Travel back up to where the car’s parked
- Drive home
- Drive down to Barbican, then walk to Tobacco Dock (or maybe get the train, depending on other stuff going on)
- Eat More
- Back to Barbican / Euston
- Home, and Die Quietly.
And that is how my weekends suddenly get silly. (We’ll also mention that September already has every weekend booked with stuff to do)
This week has, again, been somewhat theatrical (and with a fair dollop of travel, just for balance)
On Wednesday I finally got round to seeing the Harry Potter play, which was very good (and I’ll write some thoughts about it later on) but made it into a seriously long day. Because of the size of the story/play, it’s been made in two parts, both just over two and a half hours. Including the break between plays, it meant I went in at 1pm (for performance starting at 2) and left just after 10pm. Then including getting back to Euston, and the Train Of The Damned to get back to Milton Keynes, I got home at about half midnight.
Yesterday I was down in London, going to see Hamlet at the Almeida Theatre in Islington. I’d gone down earlier in the day, which was fine, and the play itself – again, very good, although I still need to formulate my thoughts and reactions to it a bit – was pretty complete, and ran to nearly four hours, including intervals. So again, starting at 7pm, I didn’t leave ’til 11. Driving home was easier, but still, I wasn’t back ’til gone midnight.
This evening I’m back down in London for a friend’s birthday thing (and another late return home) and then tomorrow morning I’m over in Reading supporting another friend who’s running the Reading half-marathon (again) and raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis Trust.
So yeah, busy, and there really is no sign of sanity impinging on my life at any point soon…
The last couple of weeks – and the coming one – have been… chaotic, to say the least. I’m used to this in general, but it’s felt like it’s been even more frenetic than usual this month, and there’ve been a lot of contributory factors that have all conspired to make it so.
Work-wise, I’ve been ending up on-site at least twice a week, rather than the usual one day a week, and that’s just disturbed things a bit. Usually I can take my work laptop on-site on a Monday, and then leave it in my own office for the rest of the week, rather than constantly lugging it around. This month though it’s been on-site, in-office, on-site, in-office etc. etc.
Around the work stuff, there’s been a lot of other bits going on, with stuff in London on some evenings, as well as other social stuff and going to the cinema. And it all adds up.
For example, this week has involved…
- Monday – on site
- Tuesday – working from home, then going to London to Mere in the evening.
- Wednesday – in office
- Thursday – on site, then seeing Kong: Skull Island in the evening
- Friday – in office
- And then just my usual idiocy in the coming weekend, another trip to London to see friends, and a social-and-food even locally on Sunday
Next week is no different really, including two London trips to the theatre, as well as all the usual work. I’m vaguely hopeful that I won’t be on-site more than once, but I’ll only find that out during the week.
Once next week is done, I’m hoping that things will be a bit quieter again. That’s certainly the plan – if nothing else, I need some downtime – but we’ll see how it goes. In fairness, I can handle the multiple days on-site or I can handle the other stuff – it’s just when it’s both things at once that it gets somewhat harder to deal with.
So, this week is somewhat varied in its activities.
Yesterday was John Wick Chapter 2.
Tomorrow, I’m off for a meal at the Fat Duck with friends, and driving them all there and back.
There’s stuff lined up for the weekend too, but that little lot should keep me going for a while anyway…
Last night, I went with a friend to one of my favourite places, Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch. I’ve been going there fairly regularly over the last eighteen months or so, but usually on a weekend. This time was different though – they had organised a three day “Surf vs Turf” event, bringing in the chef team from Extra Fancy in the US to ‘do battle’ with the team from Blues Kitchen, with a special menu (including cocktails) to play with.
And it was epic.
Once it had been announced on Twitter, I had booked in straight away. For me, it was a no-brainer, I wanted to try it. And I am so glad I did.
As well as the food and drinks, it meant we got to spend time with some of the people we’ve been talking to on most of the visits, talked about what was good on the menu, what they should be keeping, and even got introduced to one of the owners of the group that owns Blues Kitchen. For me, that’s what makes Blues Kitchen stand out from every other place in a similar vein – the people make it, even more than the food.
Between the two of us, we had everything on the menu – including the cocktails. Plus a couple of things that were so good we had two…
I’m hard-pressed to even decide what the best things were – it was all good, and most of it was great. Hell, even the cocktails were awesome.
All told, a great night, and a type of event I hope Blues Kitchen repeat – there’s plenty of opportunity, with lots of different kitchens and teams that would be up for it, I’m sure.