Monday, 17 September 2012

Lipstick, literature and a lovely weekend.

Back at my desk and feeling rather deflated (though sadly only in an emotional rather than a physical sense) after a weekend of brilliant company, amusing conversation, culture, champagne and shopping. Friday saw the annual Mills & Boon Author lunch, always a full-blown lipstick-mascara-heels event and a big gold-star date on my calendar. Travelling down on the train I tapped away at my laptop, enjoying the illusion of being a proper Professional Person, while trying not to bounce up and down on my seat with excitement at the prospect of seeing everyone and a whole day and night of behaving irresponsibly with Abby Green.

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...)

9 comments:

Catherine J said...

It sounds like a lovely weekend. And to top it all Downton's back. Put out the flags. Oh wait - they already did. Looking forward to your next post ...

Abby Green said...

I was about to wax lyrical about how gorgeous it was to see you and spend time talking and gadding and quaffing but then I listened to that poem and I got distracted. I want to marry Mark Grist.
x Abby

ros said...

What a brilliant weekend. But you missed out the important cliffhanger information... did daughter #1 win?! Also, I now have an ambition to own a pink Moleskine notebook with the M&B logo on it. How fab.

India said...

Catherine, I know! I did mutter about the white bunting, but Daughter #2 gave me a warning look so I shut up. So glad that it's back!

He's fab isn't he Abby? Obviously I'm very insulted that you think he's more fab than a weekend with me, but I'll let it drop this time...
(xxxxx)

Ros, she came third against some pretty talented poets so that was brilliant. The lovely message Mark Grist wrote in her poetry notebook was the highlight of the event though - better than first prize!

Jane said...

Enjoy the goody bag, India. Downton Abbey 3 is airing in about four months, so I've been on the web looking for spoilers.

India said...

Jane, it sucks that we don't all get the Downton joy at the same time. I can't resist the urge to post about it, so anyone who doesn't want to know will have to steer well clear.

The trouble is, having watched episode 1 while drinking my goody bag champagne, a precedent has been set. A cup of tea or a glass of cheap supermarket Soave isn't going to cut it from now on...

Samantha Veerasamy said...

Sounds like you had a fab weekend! I have to say, I am just a teeny, tiny bit jealous os your pink, champagne filled gift bag! :-p

Christy McKellen said...

Hi India

Well done to your daughter, what an achievement.

Your weekend sounded fabulous. I'm with Samantha, just the tiniest bit jealous of the goody bag...

x Christy x

India said...

Samantha, unfortunately I couldn't squish the actual bag into my suitcase to bring home and had to bury all the bits and pieces in amongst my clothes. I bet Kate Winslet and co don't have that problem after the Oscars!

Thanks Christy - the daughter is a very talented poet. (I like to think it's because of all the angst of having me for a mother.)
The goody bags were a very pleasing addition to what's always a fab occasion - although of course the best bit was getting together with everyone. (Did that sound convincing? Don't want it to look like I'm all about the chocolate and champagne... though probably everyone who reads this blog will know the truth!)