Monday, April 28, 2008

not high enough
Friday night we went for drinks at the top of the Gherkin – courtesy of Sam’s new flatmate who works there. Looking down on the whole of London, we drank champagne and watched the sun go down (or would have if it wasn’t so cloudy).

From the top bar, you can see the whole city stretching out in every direction, but you can’t talk about it because the pointed dome of the roof creates terrible acoustics – turning the chatter of the bar into a deafening row.

Looking down on the city you really get a sense of how it’s laid out, but what I noticed most of all was how flat it all is. Spreading out from the Thames, there doesn’t seem to be any kind of gradient anywhere – everything for miles around is just a few feet above the level of the river. When you pass over the Thames at high tide, you can see how close it comes to the top of its metal banks.

If the Thames ever flooded, it really wouldn’t take much to sink this city. Global warming doesn’t need to do much.

The weekend
With my 40th party and work deadlines looming, and our house due to be full for the next week or so – with us having to meet people and do things every day – we decided to take this weekend away.

Now, we’ve tried this before with mixed results… booking into a cheap hotel, we’ve discovered is often worse than staying at home. We’ve found various places where we’ve been given single beds pushed together, hotels where we had to eat our breakfast in our room because there was no dining room, and even one hotel room in Manchester where when I drew the curtains, I discovered the room had no windows!

We’ve come back from these weekends away even more tired than when we left.

We decided not to risk it this time and we shelled out for an expensive hotel room in a cheap town (Malmaison in Reading).

Sometimes you just have to be extravagant. This weekend we were, and it was great. They’d just had the hotel fitted out and we couldn’t fault any of it It was so relaxing – we even got a babysitter to come to the hotel room so we could go down and have dinner in the restaurant where the wairess seemed to already know so much about us already that I thought she was going to ask about the party!

However, I’m glad she didn’t…. Lisa and I had to spend at least some of the weekend diffusing an argument which threatened to stop my 40th birthday party in its tracks… I won’t go into details here, but suffice to say our negotiating skills have been put to the test and we’ve now taken over organising the night’s itinerary….

Anyway, hopefully we’re back on track and I’ve now got to go down to the venue tonight to try to persuade the pub to get appropriate drinks in.

On the way to Reading, there was traffic all the way out of London and although George is great in the car travelling at above 20 mph, as soon as you drop below that speed, he goes off like a bomb, screaming and crying.

I finally realised where the absurd plot from the movie Speed originated.

The writer was obviously travelling through a city with a baby. It’s so obvious to me now.

When we stopped, I was mortified to discover that I’d put him into the car seat with one of his legs trapped in a really uncomfortable position– so he had every right to cry….

Things that aren’t advertised

Why is it that some things are advertised to death and others never get any airtime at all? There doesn’t seem to be any logic in the products that are and aren’t advertised…

Loads of ads for toothbrushes… none for scrubbing brushes.
Loads of ads for cars… none for motorbikes
Loads of ads for beer… none for wine

Who decides?
There was a time when lawnmowers were all over the airwaves… but now it’s vacuum cleaners… do people use mowers less now, or hoover more? I don’t think so.

Suits you sir
Over the weekend, I tried to buy a suit for the party… in the end I got three pairs of jeans and no suit… it was a pretty close call, and involved an abortive visit to “Suits you”… by the time five different people had asked me whether I was after something special, what size I was and how they could help me, and I’d tried to tell them all as rapidly as I could to bugger off, I was so annoyed by them, I never even got to find out whether they had anything I might have wanted to buy.

If they’d maybe got out of my way for long enough for me to see the rails, I might have bought something, but that was never going to be an option.

“can I help you?”
“yes, I’d like somebody who’s never met me, doesn’t know what I’m looking for and doesn’t have any idea of what I wear, to sell me whatever they’re trying to get rid of, please”

In fact, actually…. Just leave me alone. Maybe I could try making my own mind up.

The first wave
We’ve been trying to drop George’s night feed and it seems to be working… he wakes up occasionally but it seems to be working. We’ve also just introduced him to the idea of breakfast (an idea he seems to like as much as he liked the concept of Lunch and Tea).

Last night, putting him to bed, I showed him (as I always do) his reflection in the mirror so that he could say goodnight to it. It’s part of our bedtime routine which involves splashing in the bath, eating, drinking and saying hello to Mr. Elephant…. The whole process takes about 45 minutes.

Anyway, I said goodnight to Mirror George and waved as I turned the bathroom light off, and suddenly George waved back! So cute… he’s now waving hello and goodbye to everyone and everything…. Mainly because Lisa keeps encouraging him to!

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