First thing Sunday morning, we were off. My hero had a little garage clearance to do, in preparation for the arrival of a new central heating boiler first thing Monday morning. I had an altogether different assignation, however and caught the 0930 from Colchester to Liverpool Street, so we said our fond farewells at the station.
I have never seen London so full of people! A sunny Sunday before Easter, with the London Marathon attracting a number of visitors as well, the train was absolutely stuffed and though I had boarded the train early enough to have a seat, by the time we reached Chelmsford, I was hemmed right into my corner with handbag, rucksack and all – hardly room to breathe. There was a collective sigh when a good number of folks got out at Stratford, where the Olympic stadium and the red Orbit tower looked pretty interesting, too.
I took my bags to my hotel at Paddington and then went back into town to one or two of my usual haunts: this one was a priority, but this and this took me a little further and whilst up at that end, I made my way across to here. Their green wall looked wonderful in the sunshine, too – what an eye catcher!
All the time, I was keeping an eye on my phone, because somewhere, in that crowd at Wembley were my cousins, there to cheer on Hull City in the FA Cup semi final. A Facebook update from Chris brought a tear to my eye; just like me, she’d been thinking of my Mum, my Aunt and my Uncle, all long time City fans who simply would never have believed that they’d be here, playing in the Cup. Later, walking along Marylebone Road on my way to meet Mary, Edward and Amy for dinner at Orrery, I passed a bunch of fans and we shared a “yesss!” – what an afternoon they’d had.
Of course, I wasn’t there for the football, nor for the marathon. I wasn’t even there for the World Irish Dancing Championships, though the little pony-tailed girls with fake tanned legs (which didn’t match their pale white faces, bless them) brought a smile to everyone waiting at the bus stop, because clearly, they just couldn’t stop dancing! I needed a fortifying breakfast though, because I was here for some serious shopping. Pat and I were going to share the fun with Jane, who was looking for a few key pieces for her wardrobe.
No, white jeans didn’t feature, but we had a great time pulling out jackets and dresses, searching for the elusive red cardigan and giving as expert advice as we could about accessorising and so on.
The pity is, we found the perfect jacket almost as soon as we began. Very much “on trend” with the biker styling and semi fitted shape, it seemed an ideal startling point on which to build a capsule wardrobe. (See, in less than five minutes, Pat and I had become expert personal shoppers, with all the lingo, too) But…(you knew that was coming, didn’t you?) as we took it to the tills, we discovered a large gaping seam at the back. The fabric was of such loose weave that the seam hadn’t held up through (I assume) repeated tryings on. Returning to the rack of jackets to find another one, we discovered that every jacket on the stand had the same problem and one of them had a hole large enough to put a hand through. No way was that going to be a good purchase, however stylish. We moved right along and though we didn’t find anything quite as edgy and spirited, we made sure Jane didn’t go home with nothing to wear!
Shopping is exhausting though, and when three like minded women are together, of course there are other distractions. This simple but effective installation in Anthropologie (of course) caught our eye, even though by that time, we were flagging a little.
As we went our separate ways in the late afternoon, we agreed to do it again – as soon as the trend for orange has passed, though I think that will continue at least until Hull City win the FA Cup, don’t you?