I was chaffing over not getting into the posh seats but the seats we did have were fun enough, a hundred years old or so and smelling of museum, all leather and wood. Neat. I rather liked the old lamp shades and the old greeen leather. REminded me of the ancient rolling stock I used to ride on as a kid.
So we got to Central (by our teeth, as taxi driver seemed drunk or asleep or both) in time to see the old engine choof in (#3526 c1917) and it was all aboard and we were off, cuffling out of the station and pumping black smuts over all the washing hung on balconies overlooking the line (built after the age of steam). Heh. It was great, even though I could see my carbon footprint streaming out behind me. Choof-choof-choof-Whoo! Whoo!
Sorry. There's just something about a steam train in full flight that gladdens one's inner child, and if it doesn't, you're dead inside, like that guy just walking along, texting. Most folks in the city were too cool to care (exacept that cool guy guy in Newtown whose inner five year old burst through like sunshine when he saw us hurtle past) but once we started pulling up the montains we really started in on the waving to everyone, especially once we had the extra two engines shunted on. Folks driving on the highway squealed over to the side and leant out of windows to wave madly, it was mad. And then there were the trainspotters, flying into cars and roaring off up to the next vantage point like some crazy car rally. It's a wonder no one was hurt, but it was far to much of a fun day for that. Even if it was pissing down when we got to Blackheath.
Oh yeah, after fussing for weeks over what I was going to wear on my big day out, I ended up wearing a bin liner (plastic poncho). Vanity, vanity. Anyway, it was the local fete day and all very Midsomer (really, really, you've no idea how really) with stalls set up on the village green and a half arsed parade that shambled up the hill looking for all the world like a New Orleans funeral with all the umbrellas. And at that moment the brass band struck up. I guess the MI6 agent had been heaved into the coffin, then. There were old cars and even a pink unicorn, whose pinkness had started to run in the rain.
Then we climbed up the hill and through the seriously spooky misty woods (the Blackheath Witch Project, chirruped the PG), down to the Rhododendron Garden, being one of the few places clod enough to let them grow (and trust me, it was cold). The rain had eased into a general damp and I finally got to see what these things they call rhododendrons are like. They is like azaleas, only bigger and better. I like 'em. We settled onto a damp wooden seat and had our pork pies and ginger beer (lashings, natch) and decided it was a good day (if a little damp, but it added character, and I've been out in worse).
Caught the magic trolley bus back to the station (magic because it always shows up when I'm stranded somewhere in the mountains and not up for taking another hill, though it probably uses up all my transport mojo to conjure it up out of the nowhere as it seems to appear from) and onto the antique stores - yikes. I made it out with just an old blue ginger jar, like the ones in that Monet painting, to replace the ones I loved that were ruthlessly chucked. Well, they do have value, and I speak from experience. But it was a happy purchase (as I've been looking everywhere) and I was even given a couple of sweeties for the train trip back.
Back in the train, more sandwiches and ginger beer and watching the shadows of the train race across fields and buildings. Pulled into Central as the sun set. Took a few more pics of the old girl and then we piled back into a taxi.
It was a grand day out (and you should have seen us, the PG in waistcoat and hat, me with the Chinese parasol and Indian shawl I'd bought at the markets).
Before that I think I mentioned I'd been exiled out to the old branch office, and loving it. Not just the sleeping in, breakfast in my own kitchen and less than half on ahour door to door commute (as opposed to the four hour ordeal I endure every night), but I ended up sitting at the desk next to my old desk to there was my old beloved view, far less changed than I might have thought, and there were old familiar faces, why I even ended up having lunch. I also went mad with shopping, because I didn't have far to bring it home and it's ages since I've had time to go to the shops (I normally never get a lunch break) and I could just work away without getting yelled at every thirty seconds (not exaggeration, actually timed). It was like a holiday with coding.
It was great too because I managed to get a lot of what I would have had to have done on the weekend done during the week, bar the washing, which was a washout anyway on account of rain. Had friends over on Sunday, which was funny, because I was slobbed out on the couch watching a spot of telly getting absolutely covered in food dye from eating the last of the leftover Halloween Smarties and remarking it was just as well there was no one around to see me like that. Whoops.
Never mind, it was all good. Telly? Mostly Bones and Castle (catching up on the IQ, Fox8 as well as that night's screening), Burn Notice and some other stuff I don't want to admit to. What can I say, it was a weekend for silly and what with getting some sleep and talking to people and, well, I felt like a human being again. I felt like me, the me that goes on holidays and has good times).
Alas, back at work. I have my teapot, but that's just about it.
Friday. Well, it's been a week. First there were the murders, and the tone of reportage seems to be mainly disbelief that nice people get murdered. Have that not watched Midsomer? sorry, being flippant, but, well, let's chalk this up to compassion fatigue. They weren't my friends and nothing I can say or do will help so what's the use?
So the b-day was a muted affair, which was a pity because I'd really managed to get a great goodie bag going this year, including a book and dvd that had been fondled and lusted after in the shops. I'm so rarely on the money or having my gift giving act together at all so I know its selfish but I deeply resent the rain on my parade. Oh well.
At least Tuesday was spent out at the branch office again, which is practically in the shopping mall these days so there was more wild shopping and I have several new tops, some perfect, some ill considered with hidden flaws and destined for the charity bin but never mind because it was fun and I needed it after discovering some of my missing clothes rotting in bags under the house (living with lunatics that hate you, oh, the fun). I like the green top best, with the black crochet around the top and the jade floral pattern, I look like some enormous piece of Victorian Chinoiserie. I also have new sandals, which always look ridiculous as my little feet paddle along under the enormous barge that is the rest of me, I look like some huge papier mache float in a parade. Oh well.
At least there was cake, which he had to make himself because he doesn't like store bought and went pale at the thought of me baking (see eggs, below) so that was kind of sad but the cake was good and even though he doesn't like TB I thought the viking was a ripper this week (so wicked, so cheeky, so angsty) and QI was hilarious - so nice that it is finally screening out here, though only series six, I think.
Wednesday was miserable, but I've had to tell myself every morning in the shower that no matter how dreadful I think the day is going to be, it's going to be so much worse. It stops me from being heartbreakingly disappointed. It's sad that I have to expect the worst but optimism was just too distressing. I also attempted to make pho noodles for tea which was a disaster from start to finish (everything that could go wrong went wrong and then some, including exploding eggs), so I never did get online, or watch telly, but I did the ironing and mending. How very 19thC of me.
Thursday, well, I was bemused when noticing a pendragony like dragon motif on some private school satchel (kill the rich) and the very next moment a bus rolls up with an ad for the Merlin dvd on the side. Nice summoning, but next time, can we try for something a bit more 3D? Saw a bit of Top Gear, interrupted by a storm which didn't contain enough rain to get me out of watering (metaphorical rain only this week, it seems, which is no use for gardens), missed Maverick but then I did get to watch another episode of Desperate Romantics. Everyone was shagging everyone else, Sam West showed up being impossibly arch and Millais unleashed Bubbles on the world, to general mockery. Alas, they're all out of the special Bubbles box of Pears soap in the supermarket, but I bought one, because I am easily amused. Alas, the last two episodes, one of which I saw as it screened, are all downward spiral, but up until now it's been a very fine romp.
Meanwhile, I found this quote, which made me roffle:
Sam Troughton, as Brutus, overcomes a wardrobe based on Margaret Rutherford’s finest tweed outfits to deliver a series of fine soliloquies. - Northern Echo
Thank goodness I never read that before I saw JC or it'd been dire giggle loopiness, fer sure.
Oh, I also popped across to the Egyptian exhibition in the Oz Museum, if you can call two small rooms an exhibition. I stared off in a rush, thinking I had ten rooms to get through in a lunchbreak, but no, just two. Still, they did, indeed, have mummies as advertised, including one with flowers painted in his hair on the inner coffin and another that looked like I'd done it, was was so sloppy, half-arsed and skewiff. Clearly the most junior/incompetent apprentice knocked that one off. There were a few stele, one brilliant, the others a bit rough around the edges, and a few statues and a coupla cases of bric-a-brac and that was it. I did learn that there are only three known Eyptian statues of elephants (and I've seen two of them) and I wonder why elephants get such short shrift in both art and religion.
And for some reason triplej are playing that old disco version of the Star Wars theme, which is hugely distracting of thought processes (and cheesy kiddie nostalgia fun).
Anyway, it was the usual bits and bobs from the basement of some superior Euro-museum, but you take what you're given and be grateful for it I suppose (but BM it was not). At least I gots me some mummies. Gotta have the mummies (although I did eschew the BM mummy room this year on account of mild mummy fatigue, but I thought this exhibition would be bigger, oh well).
Oh, it was Seth Green was picked that tune. Sorry, I wasn't really listening before. Now I get it.
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