I’m sitting in bed suffering from some unknown lurgy that has plagued me for three days now. I’ve slept for the best part of the day, but am now awake and bored with daytime TV after, erm, five minutes and wondering what to do. It occurs to me that I’ve not written a blog post for quite some time and really should cover my very social weekend before too much time has flown by, so here goes…
Some weeks ago Darren announced that he had finally got around to booking trains tickets to Newcastle for a weekend with his mate Lee, something he had been promising himself for months. Not being one for spending “me time” (can’t think of anything worse), I set about organising my weekend to ensure I was kept very busy indeed! First on the agenda was something I’d meaning to organise for some time, an office night out. The first one back in May (entitled ‘Bag the Interns’) was a riot, so ‘Bag the Interns Part 2’ had something to live up to. Being a small office of just two but with enough work for many more, we rely on an army of interns to keep us ticking over. Being primarily students and graduates, their time with us tends to be short and many of our interns from the first part of the year had moved on to gainful employment. What better excuse to catch up with them all, as well as putting our new recruits through their paces?
The evening kicked off with pizza and a cocktail fountain (courtesy of Alison Swaddle and always a big hit) in the office. I insisted on rum based cocktail this time around after the vomit inducing vodka mix from May… and very tasty it was too! No fewer than 11 of us were present for the early frivolities, and after a game of Roxanne and with the cocktail fountain running dry, it was clear the evening was shaping up well. The original plan had been to take a sobering walk to the pub at around 8pm to meet up with our boss, but that soon went out the window and we called three cabs to get us all to the Moderation in Caversham.
More drinks on the go we settled ourselves in the pub garden (in October… what is going on with the weather?) and began a round of ‘never have I ever’. It doesn’t take much imagination to work out which route this game took, and the subject matter didn’t exactly improve when our boss (and local MP) turned up. Several drinks in, no one seemed too concerned that he was listening in, but despite several attempts it became clear that he wasn’t going to join in (forget what you read in the press… politician = boring). Hilarious as ever to watch Alex take a drink after, well, basically every round… bless him! A few secrets were given away… but I will remain quiet! ;0)
And then it was time to move on again, this time to a club in central Reading, Lola Lo. A few people pealed off at this point (with excuses about work and training the next day… lightweights!) but a group of nine of us were still going strong. Alex had arranged for us to be on the guest list, so we were straight in and straight up to the bar, where I was greeted with a vodka shot (not sure what I was thinking at this point, but down it went), swiftly followed by a rum and coke (0h dear). A fun few hours of dancing, drinking and some more secrets being spilled (again, my lips are sealed!) followed until I finally gave up and decided to head home somewhere around 1am. I don’t like to think of myself as old but when I try to party with 20-somethings, I do feel it! Although, I have to say, I certainly wasn’t the first of the group out the door… (Ben, you are even more gorgeous when you’re drunk!). I was home and tucked up in bed with a toasted sandwich and cup of tea by 1.30am, and feeling relatively sober considering the amount of alcohol I had consumed (and that was me being sensible, knowing I didn’t have Darren to look out for me!). Despite a couple of wobbly moments when my low emotional mood of late threatened to get the better of me, I had a thoroughly good evening and can’t wait to do it all again!
The next day, I had arranged to meet an old friend in London but had been sensible enough to arrange it for 2pm, leaving plenty of time for a recovery lie-in! By 11am I was up and on my way out the house feeling relatively healthy; a quick visit to the office to pick up the bits I’d left there the night before (ignoring the chaos as I walked through) and over to Darren’s. I’d taken the decision to stay there as it’s an easy walk to the station, rather than the expensive taxi ride to and from mine. I dropped the car off and headed for the station, with a headache beginning to kick in. An hour later I was stood outside Bayswater Tube waiting for Jenn. Jenn and I worked together at the Financial Times in the early days of FT.com, she’s still there and has done brilliantly (only mildly jealous!). We walked down the road to Whiteleys Shopping Centre and settled on Cafe Rouge for lunch. We started the catch up over food, having not seen each other for over five years, and were still going eight hours, two coffees and three glasses of wine later… I’m sure the staff thought we were taking root! It was really good to catch up and although she’s off to Hong Kong with the paper in March, I’m determined not to leave it so long next time!
Back at Darren’s, I took some pills for my now banging head and headed for bed. I have to say it wasn’t the best night’s sleep, being the first time I’d slept in his bed (and house) alone, but at least the headache had gone by the time I woke up. Slightly thrown out by the changing clocks, I was out of bed far earlier than I needed to be. But it was nice having some time to chill out on the sofa, indulge in some crap TV and read a book. Before I knew it, it was time to head out again. Sunday’s fun was in Reading, where I met Alex for lunch, shopping and cinema. Both very tired after our Friday night frivolities and busy Saturdays, we weren’t exactly the life and soul, but we had fun nethertheless. I particularly enjoyed watching him try on new jumpers in Debenhams (high on caffeine… Alex and coffee don’t mix) and the moment he told the waitress that we wanted to be seated away from the window in case my boyfriend walked past. She was still looking at us strangely when we left. We saw The Help at the cinema, which was fairly easy entertainment, and then headed for a final drink.
Much as I had enjoyed my very social weekend, the best part was yet to come… (grab your bucket, folks)… When I rounded the corner of platform 10 to find Darren waiting for me, you couldn’t have wiped the smile off my face. A great weekend, spent with some good friends, but the cherry on the top had to be having my man home (even if he was extremely hung over!).