Cool professionalism was further undermined on arrival in the room where the lunch was being held (feel the urge to refer to it as 'luncheon', which tells you what kind of room it is) by the pink goody bags at each place setting. As someone who, over the years, has spent vast amounts of cash and many late nights putting together pink party bags for mini-guests at endless birthday parties this was a most pleasing manifestation of karma, though I have to confess that nothing as generous or exciting as Laurent Perrier champagne, Hotel Chocolat Kir Royale chocolates, candles or pink moleskine notebooks (with M&B logo) have ever appeared in a party bag of my creation.
It was a fabulous day, ending with a lovely, champagne-hazy evening at the M&B Author Toast (complete with dainty canapes, but no actual toast) during which conversation embraced such highbrow topics as The Actor Most Suited to Playing Christian Grey (Henry Cavill, obv) and Preparations for Childbirth (which I'm not going to mention, for fear of attracting the wrong sort of visitor via Google Search). The following morning I met Daughter #1 from the train at Euston as she'd been shortlisted in a poetry competition in Peterborough that evening, which was a fine excuse for a day in London first. Given the purpose of the visit and her literary leanings she was keen to make a pilgrimage to Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey, which supplied the cultural element of the weekend. Not only is she a talented poet, but she also has a prodigious skill in getting me to part with large amounts of cash, so after lunch I found myself in Topshop with my credit card in my hand. Seriously, the girl's a genius.
The evening's poetry event was hugely enjoyable and inspiring, not only because Sir Andrew Motion was the judge and gave a reading, but also because hearing the variety of styles and approaches to the theme in the shortlisted poems was so interesting. Also on the judging panel was the super-cool Mark Grist, writer and performer of one of my favourite poems of recent years. Check this out...
(I like a man who even knows about the works of Jilly Cooper,
never mind re-enacting the raunchy bits...)
Anyway, yesterday was spent sitting on draughty branch-line stations in the syrupy autumn sun and waiting for delayed trains and missed connections to get home. The days when this would have been an endurance test of endless games of I-spy and Hangman are still fresh in my memory, but it was actually a joy to spend time with lovely daughter #1 and talk about things we never get a chance to at home, where conversations rarely progress beyond the number of wet towels on the bathroom floor or the whereabouts of my Touche Eclat.
Back at home the fridge was full (of slightly random items ordered by Him in the online shop) the fire was laid, and there was plenty of time to unpack, hug daughters 2 and 3 and chill the goody bag champagne before DOWNTON ABBEY.
(And that, ladies, is a whole new avenue of joy and the subject of a post all of its own...)