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The weekend
It was one of those weekends where we rarely seem to stop – and it started early. Wednesday, in fact. Friends were due for a long weekend. So I spent Wednesday frantically cleaning up, and Thursday driving round in circles. That's what it felt like, anyhow.

Pamela had arrived Wednesday night. On Thursday I drove Jean down to the station in the morning, and later also gave Pamela a lift, the buses being so unreliable. Marilyn was arriving at Euston at 2:30, and she and Pamela would decide then if they were shopping in London for a couple of hours, then coming home with Jean, or making straight for the house.

Pamela has a brand new mobile phone – her first – which I had equipped with various home, office and mobile numbers for Jean and myself. At around three o'clock, Jean rang me to say that Pamela and Marilyn weren't hanging about in London in the rain, but heading straight back, and would I pick them up in about three quarters of an hour at Newbury Park. Jean would leave work at about 4 o'clock, and I would drive down to Newbury Park, pick her up, and go on to Sainsbury's-round-the-corner. It seemed a reasonable timetable.

At around 3:45 I drove to Newbury Park, slid into the No Waiting area where everyone waits... and indeed, waited. And waited. I began to worry. I ought to have put the shopping bags in the back of the car, but I hadn't. I needed to pick them up before meeting Jean around 5 o'clock, particularly as Pamela had a voucher for TU clothing burning a hole in her pocket. It was now 4:30 and there was no sign of Pamela and Marilyn. Should I drive home? Should I drive to Hainault, where they might have got off instead?

I did the obvious thing and tried to phone Pamela. The phone rang. No answer. I left a message to ring me back, and then, just before I started the car, she did. Where was she? Oh, at the bus stop at Hainault. What did I mean I was at Newbury Park? She didn't remember saying anything to Jean about me picking them up anywhere so they were waiting for the bus.

I growled, "Stay where you are!" drove home through the pouring rain – oh, didn't I mention that? – grabbed the bags, and drove down to Hainault. There they were at the bus shelter on the opposite side of the road. I hooted at them, and swung round the corner to temporarily park in a side road. They arrived, got in, and I started up, then began to swing out into the street, just as another car started turning in behind me – and suddenly, on a side road which is notorious for its parked cars and narrowness (and lack of bus routes!) – there was a bus heading straight towards me. I couldn't back. The car behind me couldn't. In fact, the only vehicle that could move at all was the bus. It juggled back, and forward, and sideways, and then came straight at us. I admit to closing my eyes. (The car is only just a year old.) It got past us by a layer of paint's width.

By now, of course, I was late for meeting Jean. So off I drove through the rain and the suicidal drivers, and nipped into the bottom car park at Newbury Park assuming a dripping-wet Jean would waiting for me. She wasn't. We parked in a space and, trusting that the chap who checks the pay-and-display would not turn up (it's a long-stay commuter park, checked mainly at lunchtime), waited for another twenty minutes. Jean had been delayed at work. (Admittedly her current boss is not like her last one, who thought nothing of starting big meetings at 5 o'clock and booking people into them without checking with them first.)

Friday was get-Museum-feet-and-back day as we went to see the Tiffany exhibition at Somerset House. With a stop off for coffee where Jean threw a temper-tantrum at the standard choice spiel ("I just want a cup of coffee damn it! I can't cope with 21st Century coffee shops!")

The exhibition had some gorgeous pieces, and some to which you could only go: "But where could you wear it?" in both senses. (Where would it go on the average woman/man, and on which occasion would you have been seen dead in it?) 19th Century American millionaires seemed to have been into Bling. There was this American flag broach made of sapphires, rubies and diamonds that must have weighed a ton – any lapel or frock to which it was attached would have sagged about four inches the instant it was pinned on! Then there was the fire-opal and gold necklace that would also have weighed you to the floor – and blinded everyone in the room. On the other hand, the pearl necklace that President Lincoln bought for his wife was in exquisite taste, and the Art Deco and dragonfly and orchid pieces were as wonderful as expected. We also had a butchers at the rest of the Gilbert Collection, and went on for lunch.

It was, of course, pouring with rain, but there's this pub my office people use about five minutes away which does superb food. I headed for it. We got in just under the wire for the restaurant and, while the food did take ages to arrive, it was great to sit and chat and drink...

Being so near Covent Garden Market, we had to go shopping. I bought a very nice amber and silver ring that actually fits a finger other than my ring finger! HMV's sale produced Series 1-3 of Drop the Dead Donkey and Series 1 & 2 of Citizen Smith not to mention three episodes of Wagon Train and a Flash Gordon serial. So we felt a bit better going home.

Saturday saw us dropping our friends off at the local quilting shop while we went to deliver a signed claim form to the vet, then off into the wilds of Essex to Hyde Hall – where the Essex Quilters were, co-incidentally, having an exhibition and sale. I don't know how Pamela does it.... Home to see Robin Hood which is only watchable if you turn your brain off, but isn't, at least, pretending to have any correct historical features and, unfortunately, Strictly Come Dancing to which Pamela is addicted, and Jean, who has pros in the family, goggles at.

Sunday brought a nice drive round bits of Essex that Pamela and Marilyn hadn't seen, ending up at Tropical Wings which made this a very butterflyish sort of weekend, as there had been a lot at Hyde Hall. I think this set of butterly photos will turn out better than the last ones, despite the pocket camera having a problem with the menu button. It's going to have to go in for repair – luckily, I insured it. I'm trying to hold on until I get a new digital SLR – the Pentax K10D is due in November...

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I think I share your taste in jewellery...

I just looked up the Tiffany exhibition on the web and was drooling over the orchid and dragonfly pieces.

Apart from the silly fight scenes the first episode left me cold. What they need is a script editor who can write interesting dialog.

The archery mob didn't think much of it [grin].

I presume you've got a free account to so that you can reply properly without having to identify yourself. However, just a note that 'friending' me - or anyone else whose LJ you like the look of - will put any entry I make onto your 'friends' page - even the locked ones, as I have 'friended' you already.

Hear, hear! Some more acting wouldn't hurt, either, but it wasn't as if the cast was given much to work with.

Maybe it wasn't the video that was stolen, it was the scripts before they started? Surely you wouldn't OK a series on the basis of that script?

Hey, on the other hand, I've got some great ideas!

I like that idea! Unfortunately, the scripts appear to have been written by the production team, which means there is no quality control.

I wish they would make a choice between modern English (though they should stay clear of slang) and cod-period. One or the other is fine, but not both at once. I also wish they would let the idiot with the bow kill someone. Or are they aiming the show at five year olds?

I didn't bother watching this week. When he went to the previous sherrif's house I thought we had strayed into Midsommer Murders.

It just makes you wish for Richard Green. At least a half hour show moves right along.

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