My enjoyment of my occasional trips to Nash's has been seriously compromised of late.
Every time I have been in over the past two or three weeks, I have encountered these two horrendous gossipy middle aged women.
I say middle aged but in fact they are probably the same age as me, they have children at the same school as Ollie. They just look older.
Anyway these two women sit in Nash's and at the top of their voices (so everyone in the cafe can hear) systematically slag off and bitch about everyone they know. It usually is along the lines of "You know so and so in the school playground - well I heard this and I heard that, bitch bitch bitch".
The older of these two women is the worst. Not a single pleasant word comes out of her mouth. Nasty, spiteful venom. And she is revelling in the sound of her voice, deliberately speaking loudly in that way people do when they want to be heard in the mistaken belief that they are impressing people with their opinions.
When not slagging people off they are discussing some other vile topic like the contents of their dog's faeces, as if everyone in Nash's enjoying their breakfasts will want to know.
I rarely slag people off - but really - ugly horrible people is all I can say.
Next time I am going to take my iPod.
I have a theory that people's looks change over time to resemble their personalities. For example, we all make snap judgements about people on first impressions just by looking at their faces. This isn't prejudice or stereotyping - it's just natural human instinct. And my impression is that if someone has got a hard and cruel looking face - then it's more likely than not that they will have the personality to match.
We've all heard of the "fat jolly persona" - well there's something to be said for that too. I think people who enjoy their lives and like to have fun also enjoy their food. That's my excuse anyway.
Anyway that was today's "Hors D'ouevre" topic. Now onto the main jist of the blog. Every autumn myself and Mrs A. like to have a weekend away on our own without the kids. Last year we stayed in Cheltenham in early December, did some Christmas shopping, had a day at the Races, and an altogether nice atmos all round. Now this year's trip has taken somewhat more to organise but now I am getting there.
Unlike a lot of things that the internet has made simpler, finding hotels has become incredibly complicated. There's no one obvious site to go to, and the number of sites that come up in search engines is huge. Even if you know where you want to go, prices, availability, suitability all vary wildly not to mention the huge differences in opinions on trip advisor about places - one person's "fantastic stay" is another's "worst hotel ever". Talk about pot luck!
In my younger years I stayed in hotels a lot, all over the country. Because of the many changes of role and clients during my time at Nielsen I have been almost everywhere and had nights out in most of the major cities and many towns. This used to be quite good fun when staying over with a couple of colleagues in a new city. Right we're in Nottingham for the night, let's hit the town...
My experience tends to be that the more competition there is, the better chance you have of finding a good hotel at a good price. I've rarely had a bad stay in the middle of a city
Hotels in the country seem to be very expensive and there's not a lot to do. Then it suddenly dawned on me - since I left Nielsen I have not set foot in London at all. So that's where we are going to go.
In my Nielsen days I spent a lot of time in London, especially during the pubtrack era. I used to go to a lot of conferences and big events - the annual Publican conference, the ALMR Christmas luncheon (chatting drunkenly at the bar to William Hague one year), it seems a lifetime ago. When I worked at Tesco Head Office, we often used to go down to London for the night, floating nightclubs on the Thamas, night bus back to North London, good times. Especially with the company AMEX in my pocket. Entertaining clients - what a licence to have a good time on the company's expense that was. But I digress.
It seems remarkably that it's cheaper to get a weekend break at a decent hotel in the middle of London than it is out in the sticks. This goes totally against everything we are ever told about rents and property prices, but there you have it. Maybe it's because there's so many places competing at being in the city, they make all their money from businessmen in the week so can afford to give good deals to tourists at the weekend. Especially in November.
So there we have it, I have found a nice hotel, so we're going to live it up in the West End, do some Christmas shopping and who knows what else? There's no shortage of things to do. Might even have a ride on that London Eye thing.
Now all I have to do is co-ordinate my work, Claire's work, the mother-in-law's work and my own parents time in order to make this happen. Easier said than done! But I want to be out of here and on the train as early as possible on the Friday and as long as I'm back in time to run my Sunday night karaoke, all will be well.
Six years away from the Big Smoke - it's been too long :-) London here we come.
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Jason x x