At home today recovering from two busy busy days. Drove to London on Thursday along the delightful A12 and the North Circular. I know John Betjeman offended a lot of people when he said 'come friendly bombs and rain on Slough' well substitute the North Circular and you will have some idea of how I feel about it. I have now become adept at wending my way along and getting in the right lanes and cutting corners and I bung on the radio, make sure I have a coffee in the holder and a banana or two and just get on with it.
I was attending a Christmas Carol concert at a church on Kew Green and met up with daughter Helen and Grandma No 2, Felicity. There is something rather throat catching and eye watering about watching small, innocent children singing with such gravity and earnestness and I had a job to refrain from a quivering lip. Afterwards, Florence went off to a play date, Helen went to collect Beatrice and Felicity and I repaired to a local hostelry for refreshment and sat in the Library where an open fire was burning and we were surrounded by shelves of books. Lovely.
Dropped the girls off to school next morning and as I had got up at 6am and fed and watered and dressed them was feeling a tad shattered so repaired to a coffee shop for a cappo and a quiet for a bit. Got back to the house and went through the veg drawer in Helen's fridge, always an interesting experience, chucked out a load of stuff, unearthed a heap of leeks and a slightly weary looking cauliflower and ended up making a saucepanful of leek and potato soup and a cauliflower cheese. Then off to school again to collect Les Girls and met up with Grandma No 2 again and Grandpa No 1 and we all went to the Pizza Express for lunch along with Louisa, the lovely nanny and another little girl she was looking after, and had a great time.
Home. I put my feet up for an hour.
Due to go to Christmas at Kew in the evening. Helen and James delayed because of trouble on the District Line and arrived home fraught and frazzled, girls getting tetchy and not a good start to the evening. Off we went to Kew Gardens for the Christmas lights etc and it is all really lovely and gorgeous but tiring. It was dark and keeping an eye on Florence and Beatrice was a nightmare, particularly Bea who has a tendency to suddenly shoot off with the acceleration of a Usain Bolt with parents haring after her. I cannot honestly say that it was an enjoyable evening. If it had just been adults I think it would have been better. The children were over excited and over tired and Florence was in tears and wanted to go home, 'Grandma I am tired'.
I think they need to go on a day when they are not doing anything else. The best part of the whole evening was the light show and music on the great Palm House reflected in the lake which was gorgeous. Florence was very quiet watching this and then said 'Grandma that is beautiful' so pleased to know that some of it went down well. So home to bed and children tucked up and asleep in no time at all.
And, finally, the bookshop. When I walked back to the house after the carol service I realised I was passing Lloyds of Kew Bookshop. I have driven past it many times and kept thinking Oh I must visit so decided today was the day. Oh what a gorgeous shop inside. Ceiling to floor packed with second hand books and a simply wonderful place to rummage. I thought I was being very good and only came out with two purchases. A copy of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, I already have on but never mind having another, and a wonderful 1960s Pan edition of The Castle on the Hill by Elizabeth Goudge, one of my all time favourite authors. Dire cover but I love them they are so wildly in appropriate. Do pop in if every you are in Kew, they are located in Mortlake Terrace near Kew Green.
Drove home Saturday morning and as Beatrice had crept into bed with me at 5.30 am and woken me up I was feeling slightly shattered when I got home and took to my bed for an hour or two. So today is a duvet day and a watch cricket day and a marziapn the cake day which I will be doing when I have finished this post.