Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Kew is now officially 250 years old.

..and I saw the Queen at the birthday party. My goodness, she's short. She had on a wonderful hat, though; shocking coral pink with a black band, and assymetric. Very dashing.

Ate too much cake at the Reception, afterwards. Almost flirted with the head of catering. Had an interesting chat with David Shipp, a bloke I met three years ago at a training session on "making the most of your annual appraisal" (yecch). The other Kew staff at said training session were the only good thing about it, and I've often wished I'd had a chance to follow through on more of these brief aquaintances - but this venerable place practices some rather arcane operational blocks to fraternisation between departments. Result; I have (I think) chatted to David three times in as many years. Whereas The Geek, who was also at the training day but was also in the same department as me, went on to become a friend (& a good thing too).

An odd weekend. Tried twice to book a holiday; balked both times by the ridiculous prejudice more and more package tour companies have against single travellers. All I want is to go to Greece for a week and have a clean warm sea to swim in and wonderful scenery to walk in and sketch; good Greek food is another vital element, and that's about it. I want to eat, drink, walk, sketch, swim, eat, swim, sketch, walk back, eat again, and sleep. In the sun, if possible. Good birdwatching and wildflowers a plus.

Now I'm reduced to trying to book something independently, at twice the cost, knowing that if I fall down and sprain a wrist (not impossible, sadly) I do not have the safety net of a rep in the resort to whom I can turn and say "Take me to the nearest doctor". If I were part of a couple, I could not only go to my favourite Greek island for £225, but stay in my favourite resort of Skala Potamia, on Thassos, and be in a lovely apartment place I've stayed in once before that is literally twenty yards from the beach, with swallows nesting under the eaves and dozens of cats, lounging on the balconies and drinking out of the swimming pool like rock stars. They have plenty of availability; but they "never undersell"; company policy. I was sitting there in the travel agents saying "Please, take my money, I want to give it to you!" - but the computer says "no" and there's no arguing with the computer. Company policy.

Stuff them, then.

Never mind; I'll sort something out. I also planted a lot of dahlia tubers, did some more writing and made a cake, and went to a very enjoyable if slightly crazy late First-of-May picnic on Monday, which was forever threatened by rain but never quite got soaked, only dampened a little in places.

Going home to make a loyal toast, since I missed that bit of the celebrations, and to eat picnic leftovers, and no doubt do some more writing. "Café Tano" is proceeding into chapter three. I'm not entirely sure it may not be in fact "writing-as-therapy", which I believe is generally deplored as being a Bad Thing and jolly poor show, what, what?... "Café Tano" is proceeding anyway. Face it, no-one will never write a believable character that isn't created in large part through their knowledge of human nature; and my knowledeg of human nature comes from the people I have known and the relationships (small "r" as well as capital) I have had with them. So it is unavoidable that at times I will hear echoes of the voices and see flickers of the reflection of people I have known, as I write. That's my excuse, anyway.


Jules said...

Wow you've got a good memory. I do remember that we met at a training session with David, but I couldn't for the life of me have told you what we were getting trained in

Imogen said...

What can I say? My mind is a junk yard...

Hope your innuds were okay and you hadn't gotten any of the wrong sort of crumbs in the intake on Monday. We've just finished the cake in the office today (friday); being Greek style and soaked in sugar syrup it had kept well and just got stickier as the week wore on.