Friday, 6 June 2014

The month of May

As May was spent catching up on April's holiday extravaganza, I thought it best to condense some of the best bits. Admittedly, I was half expecting to be able to do this at the end of May itself before it could be rendered totally redundant, but it seems I have slowed down my writing pace, so instead I bring this to you now, in June. It may well have been easier to just pretend May didn't even happen, but I couldn't have people thinking I spent an entire month indoors, particularly not when there were two bank holiday weekends and a half term holiday to account for!

The first bank holiday weekend kick-started the month, and, as always, I managed to pack plenty in! The Friday night saw myself and my school colleagues venturing out of familiar territory and to Angel, where we danced on a male-dominated, illuminated dance floor. Not sure I'll be doing that again, no one needs to see my face that clearly...

On the Saturday, I made my way to Norwich. I'm so glad I decided to keep my hairdresser there as my appointments are providing the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends and check-in with the Fine City. It's always nice to experience a little fresh air and a lot of sky and to come away from the hustle and bustle for a while (even on a busy day in Norwich the city feels practically empty to me now). While last time I had failed at the art of coordination, and managed to see no one and do nothing besides sort my hair out, this time saw my return to some favourite haunts, which in turn saw my missing the last train (to be fair to me, it was CRAZY EARLY... although no, I didn't check), but hey, at least I was having a good time!
Following my being late to bed the night before my journey, I set off at a relaxed pace and arrived just in time to go straight in to the hairdresser. My usual stylist was unavailable this time, and the prospect of someone different always fills me with dread. Nevertheless, she was of a very similar nature; not too much pointless chit-chat, and not too crazy with the scissors (I really am very easy to please)!

Once out of the hairdresser, I met a friend from my teacher training and found myself ordering a cocktail at The Ten Bells (notorious for particularly lethal combinations) before I'd even really had time to think about the fact that I was probably actually still hungover from the illuminated dancefloor (plenty of Dutch Courage required). Writing this such a long time after the event, I'm now frustrated because I can't remember what I had to drink, and I was going to be an advocate of it... never mind, maybe it will come back to me. It had gin in it anyway, which is never a bad thing! After the one drink, my powers of persuasion sprung into action and I managed to convince my friend that I needed to visit more places, which meant more drinks, which meant a car needed to be driven home to remove barriers.


In the meantime, I stumbled into the Travel Agent (I hope not literally) and got locked in in order to spend far too much money on flights for the summer before meeting my friend again.   

The next port of call was the Bicycle Shop where tequila and tapas were the order of the day (yum!). From there we headed off to Franks as I was suddenly in the mood to cover as many favourites as possible. Sadly (well, for me anyway), Franks is always crazy popular these days so a seat is hard to come by without a wait. In the mean time we graced Bedford's with our presence. Although I only ever seem to end up in there when Franks is full, I actually quite like the charm of Bedford's; who can resist a proper wooden beam? Upon discovering that we would still be required to wait at Franks, we gave up and instead moved on to The Playhouse for some outdoor seating!

It was here that I decided it was probably best to head back for a train before my arrival into London would be too late. So once drinks were finished, I headed back along Prince of Wales to the station... where I discovered the last train had been and gone. Having explored all possible options (including a taxi, coach travel or the bus back to Kings Lynn), I wound up on a sofa where back-to-back episodes of Pokémon were watched until 4am. Best Saturday night!

Sunday finally saw a London visit from my little brother, so I was up and out of Norwich nice and early in order to be ready for his arrival! Unfortunately, I had made a blunder and told him I was stuck in Norwich, so his own departure from home was far more, shall we say, relaxed? He eventually landed in the early evening and we ate pizza (complete with polystyrene base) and drank beer in preparation for Hospitality.

The last time I was at a Hospitality event it was at Building Six at the O2. Having hated on this venue the first time I visited, I absolutely loved it for Hospitality, with its multi-levels making for great views and incredible sound system. This time Hospitality was at Heaven, where they used to have a residency. Upon discovering that Heaven was Britain's largest gay club, I was a little unsure what to expect, especially with 3 males in tow. Nevertheless, the venue was one of the best I have been to, with so much space for manic helicoptering (those who have seen me dance will understand), viewing platforms and a more than adequate soundsystem! Didn't manage to make it to 6am, but we did survive til 4ish, which we didn't think was a particularly bad effort at all!


The following weekend saw a rather different musical experience and a spontaneous trip to Trafalgar Square to see the LSO perform some Prokofiev. It was a wonderfully surreal experience! To be in such a large space with so many people yet for there to be so much peace (apart from for the sound of trundling road sweepers and low-flying planes swooping by every now and again - oh, and the sound of our own incessant giggles that just would not stop!?) was really quite magical. To top it off, the sun even made an appearance - thank youu London!

After a quiet weekend that followed (got to break up the madness occasionally?), the next bank holiday saw my return to Norwich for the end of the NNF. On Saturday night I was hypnotised by Lavinia Meijer playing Einaudi and Philip Glass on the harp in St Peter Mancroft. After a few pints with pork scratchings from Sir Garnet (Lady Garnet's namesake pub) and with a tummy full of food from The Grosvenor, it was an incredibly tranquil experience! I don't think I've ever truly experienced a solo harp performance, but I will definitely be seeking another in the future; so magical! Still in a bit of a stupour, we lasted just long enough for a cocktail accompanied by tea and bread and oils at Frank's (all the food/mixing of everything was a pretty big regret for us both that night, and again, upon reading this back I can see why) before calling it a night.

An intentional walk along the canal this time on the quiet weekend in between the madness.
This time my Norwich stop over was planned, as Sunday I experienced a mighty roast at The Reindeer (as if their pork scratchings weren't enough to blow me away already). Food was pretty unneccessary for the rest of the day. Just, wow. Before roasting, I took a stroll (probably did that the wrong way around) and finally managed to sneak in the Plantation Gardens which certainly didn't disappoint! They have a real 'Secret Garden' feel about them, and particularly so when adorned with enormous pieces of material (the cynic in me may have wondered why someone had hung their towels out to dry) hanging from the walls at the far end of the garden, setting a rainbow backdrop for the rest of the garden, which was still lacking some colour so early on in the season.


Sunday evening back in London was a pub crawling, aimless wandering kind of evening - a lovely end to another pretty hectic weekend! (I even saw a baby fox; pretty exciting?)

The next day marked the start of half term, and a first full reunion since graduation with some very special friends was an excellent way to begin! (As I write this, I am suddenly aware of my alcohol consumption and feeling less sorry for myself regarding the state I am in by this point following half term and the weekend just gone... oh dear.) We met at Southbank and, as usual did a remarkable amount of wandering (although thankfully there were no injuries sustained this time). Somehow we ended up inside The Shard (pretty special) and then carried on to China Town for food because 'it's not that far'... when will I learn?! The best kind of friends are those that you can not see properly for almost two years and yet still feel like you were all together yesterday. Beautiful day!


May was busy! But, as ever, I had so much fun and it was really wonderful to manage some catch-ups with people not seen in far too long. So far, June is already proving to be pretty fun - think I've got that summer feeling (bring on the 6-week holidays)!