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What a disappointment. This beautiful looking shop/cafe/cookery school on the corner of Grove Road as you turn in to the car park (where Budgens used to be) had looked so inviting driving past that hubby, youngest and I thought we’d have a Saturday lunch there. Unfortunately the design of the shop window and the graphics are the most tasteful elements. The food displays are not inviting and the food itself bland. Surprisingly cold harissa burger – surely that should be freshly fried and hot? – and mini samosas microwaved. I went for the chicken tikka, indian coleslaw and butternut squash salad. None of it remarkable, and certainly nothing to make me want to try the cookery school.

Next time we’ll go to Farm W5 just up the road where the salads and breads are seriously tasty.

On the Uxbridge road so easy walking distance, we went out after an evening moving furniture. Well, I didn’t move any but drove a car containing furniture. Others did the hard work and we all rewarded ourselves with some pub grub. The soundtrack was good, if a little loud to easily hear conversation, and the very drinkable wine flowed. I chose the burger  -predictable but it makes me an aficionado. And that was a good burger. Very tasty meat, nice bun and great hand cooked chips. Although I could have done with more of them. But that’s because I’m a greedy bastard.

It’s a bit bizarre isn’t it how at the flick of a switch or stroke of midnight we are suddenly a whole year older than we were. We’re not of course, but that’s how it feels. And today I am feeling every inch my age. After a stonking night out to celebrate. Starting early at the Radio rooftop bar on the Aldwych where the Moet flowed like water. Well, no water flowed but you get the drift. We were tanking along at a cracking pace with minimal interruptions for food. Tapas-style nibbles. Not a good idea. We should have learned we don’t do tapas well in large groups as we always spend too much time drinking and minimal lining of stomachs to absorb it.

The bar has been open 18 months and we had lovely comfy sofas on the terrace and luckily there was plenty of outdoor heating to offset the unseasonal coolness in the air. It’s expensive and wants to be classy but really it’s more like an Ibiza beach bar than an exclusive venue. The staff are young and trained to continually greet and pour drinks, but the quality of the food was disappointing. So over to Axis Bar in One Aldwych where we ordered more bar food and champagne until we moved on somewhere buzzier. A pub I think (getting hazy now) and the jaegerbombs arrived and hey, be rude not to. I can’t remember much else about the place apart from it being dark, but a cab ride home with one daughter on the floor  sums it all up. At least it wasn’t me this time. So perhaps I am learning after all.

Imelda Staunton can make me laugh and cry in equal measure and in this play she does both. But mostly cry. I feel for her. And am surprised when the audience laugh at parts I find traumatic. It’s probably me being oversensitive to  the injustice of life – and in this case the luck of the hand you are dealt – something that I find too many successful people somehow manage to ignore. Believing instead that they have created their own luck and those in less fortunate positions have somehow wilfully made bad choices and that is why they are in the situation they are in. The truth is usually a combination of both – getting a lucky break and then making the most of it.

I’m making this play sound ‘worthy’ and dour when it isn’t – it is entertaining, has a clear narrative and we feel for Margie, the main character. The first half sets the scene but it is the second half where the gloves come off and the real action happens. A single Mum with a disabled daughter living in the slums, she finds the one who got away is now a successful fertility doctor and she asks him to help her find a job. Inviting her to a party that gets cancelled, she turns up at his plush home and meets the young, black wife  (excellently played by Angel Coulby) and a brilliant scene ensues.

It’s not perfect,  and annoying American accents that could be done away with, but a classic West End drama played at a pace and executed well. A good night out. Nearly Four Stars.

 

Last night we went to a wine tasting. A friend imports wine and he brought the owner over to talk us through an array of the wines he produces. Sparking white, sparkling rose, flat rose, whites, reds oaked and unoaked and a sweet white to round it all off. Plus an array of nibbles. It was a lovely evening. We reminisced over the St Emilion as it was my favourite red when we were young but we could hardly ever afford it.

But one of the  best bits about it for me was being introduced to the Electric Coffee Company where the event was held. It’s been right near Ealing Broadway station for six years and I’ve never noticed it let alone been in. And it is SOO nice. A great space – industrial bare walls and bare decorative lightbulb thang going on. And the most glorious smell of coffee when you walk in. And it’s in the top 5 London coffee shops. So I’m going to get over there this weekend and try their usual offerings rather than wine. Will report back to let you know if it lives up to my very high expectations!

Seen it before but so worth seeing again – the interpretation of the classic ballet that gives us vicious male swans rather than the pretty floaty sylphs we usually have. Sharp choreography, stunning sets and perfect costumes. Not to mention the wonderful score. And the leads were so physical, passionate and graceful. There seemed to be moments where the main guy was suspended in the air as he leapt. Breathtaking stuff.

And this time we’d had a pizza beforehand so there was an absorbent on board for the alcohol. But i was taking it steady. Still feeling frail from last night’s excesses, I moved on to beer when we settled in to Wimbledon Wetherspoons. Oh yes. I’m making a tour of them all. having never been in one till this year, I’ve now visited three different ones. This was the lairiest. With fat orange women with dyed blond hair and load voices shouting at each other. Bouncers continually circulating and police doing regular sweeeps.  It didn’t feel the nicest place to be, but perhaps all that security is reassuring. By the time we left there were people collapsed on to their tables.

But a fabulous minicab home to the tunes of the Motown greats and one of my mates singing her heart out. A great night.

The play was our era to a tee. Mrs. T to be precise and her weekly audiences with the Queen. The set up is clever with young versions of the women being commented on by their older counterparts. “I did NOT say that.” or an aside about what she’d been really thinking. All conjecture of course as these meetings are notoriously private and so although the events they discussed were real, these conversations were mere suppositions. And all the funnier for it. Playing to our received wisdom about their relationship and executing their impersonations brilliantly. “Others” are played by two men who squabble over who plays Neil Kinnock and again narrate to the audience about what is going on.

Probably too long for me – I would have preferred a 90 minute straight through as it started to wear a bit thin, but definitely worth a trip if you remember Mrs T as  PM. Four stars.

And then we stupidly met up with hubby and some work mates and before we knew it were singing along with the post show knees up that is the Players Bar. And drinking. And drinking. We’d  already polished off a bottle of wine at the theatre and here was more. And more. I didn’t feel too bad waiting for the cab. But as soon as we were on the open road I had to hang out of the window. A passenger in another cab asked me if i was OK as we waited at the lights. I hadn’t even the strength for conversation. I was just concentrating on breathing. And keeping it down. But eventually I knew there was no holding back and had to get the cab to stop. And sure enough. My guts turned inside out and emptied themselves  all over my shoes. Three large bouts of projectile vomiting spewed out over the road. Nice. Classy. Mature.

Today was probably the worst hangover I have ever had. I woke up still pissed. Took Nurofen, coffee and water but had to go back to bed. An hour later I tried Alpen with Crunchy nut cornflakes as a sugar boost. It helped slightly. But not enough. More Nurofen , a couple of paracetamol and some fizzy water later I am starting to feel more human. And looking forward to going out this evening for another trip to the theatre. It can’t happen two nights in a row can it?

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