On Friday, I headed off to Windsor to meet Holly and the end of her first shift back at her job there. I meant to leave early, but a certain something was occupying my mind Thursday evening, and the morning went slowly. When I did go to the bus stop, I waited a little while for the inevitably-late 71 only to realise I didn't have enough money for a day ticket in my purse. Cue me heading to the cash machine on campus, buying a drink from the surprisingly busy college shop, and waiting another 25 minutes for the next inevitably-late 71. The actual bus journey into Windsor seemed to take no time at all in comparison.
Once there, and surrounded by people with young children for some reason, I started browsing shops. I had planned to do some dress shopping before meeting Holly, but I hadn't really left myself long enough, so after heading to a small place under Windsor station (down a staircase that smelt of raw sewage pleasantly enough), I quickly browsed one or two clothes stores. None of the dresses really caught my eye, and most things were expensive, but I did see a cardigan I quite liked. Before getting anything, though, I went to meet up with Holly, and we then went to Lush, where Holly seems to now know the staff personally, as we spent a good half hour chatting to them about various Lush products. I picked up a few more items from there because I like nice-smelling warm baths. After we left, I went back to the clothes stores, and after some more browsing, decided to get the cardigan and leave the dress to somewhere like Matalan because I a cheap person. We then picked up a few things in Waitrose and meandered down to Zizzi's for dinner, stopping at the fudge shop first because it has been too long since we got to enjoy their extremely-melt-in-the-mouthy sweet goo. And then Zizzi's. Which was really nice. I had a bowl of olives which I liked (which doesn't always happen), and the pasta main dish was gorgeous, even if the pasta itself seemed a little cheap. I was thoroughly full, and quite content, although perhaps the rose wine had something to do with that.
Outside, it was really cold, and I felt like just heading straight home and curling up on bed. However, I'd promised myself to go get some kitchen things from Slough since Laura's visit reminded me of what I was lacking, and I did have an all-day ticket, so we headed across the Thames to Slough, even though only the huge Tesco was open. I rejuvinated my kitchen supplies, and then felt in an odd mood considering I was so tired, so I picked up some makeup (3 for 2!), a dressing gown (which goes with my new pink La Senza pyjama set), hot chocolate (with mini marshmallows), and to spoil the pattern, some of the spicy Asian crisps they sell there. The total of it all came to more than I was expecting, and that combined with my fatigue and the claustrophobia the hypermarket was giving me left me in a bit of a collapsey state, clinging to a bottle of flavoured water to stay upright. It was a long bus journey back, and when I finally did get back, I managed to drop my purse with my debit card in outside my flat. Holly noticed on her way back down, thankfully, but that left me pretty shaken, and I didn't really get much done that evening. Weirdly, though, I got a call from my brother saying he was waiting at Golder's Green coach station, surrounded by Romanians waiting for a coach back to Bucharest, and that he'd just returned from a week in Norway.
But my plans for a warm bath, and then my new dressing gown with a mug of a hot chocolate were scuppered. I ended up in Holly's room, drinking hot chocolate with a bit of Bailey's, planning how to get her to Pimlico for her training session today.
I ended up giving her directions through Google Maps this morning, and it turned out it was only a short walk from Victoria. I had made plans to meet up with people in London today, but I ended up lying in bed thinking about a lot of things, cuddling my panda and enjoying the snugness of my dressing gown. As such, it was pretty late before I left my room. I took the chance to wear my new cardigan, which I thought looked pretty good, and thus left my coat here for the first time in a while. I had luck on my side, as the bus was waiting when I got to the bus stop. I ran to it, even though I really wasn't wearing running shoes, and got complimented on for my running by the friendly bus driver. I ended up running again at the station, and somehow the train lingered just long enough for me to get on. I ended up sitting next to a chav family, with very young mothers who boasted of their driving bans and getting drunk, and who got their daughters to play 'I spy': when the little girl said 's', the mother guessed 'ceiling'.
faepirate had managed to also be late for our appointment, and we quite hilariously texted each other to apologise at the same time, unaware the other one was also late, in their pyjamas. However, I managed to get into London a fair bit earlier, and so picked up a packet of crisps (Walkers: I regret it a little, it's so plain) and a bottle of cranberry juice before making my way slowly to London Bridge to wait for her. I was keeping an eye out for a girl surrounded by a wave of beautiful long golden hair (her hair is amazing), but she had a ponytail and thus managed to catch me out and find me unawares. We had no idea where to go, so we headed to Camden until, at Old Street, we realised that with the amount of people in London already, Camden would be pretty crowded. As such, we ended up in St Pancras station at the small coffee bar where I wait before catching my trains to Nottingham. We chatted about the past (it's been 6 years since we got to know each other!), her music (please please please have a listen to Helen Trevillion on iTunes), how we relate to other people, and hair. She also has amazing earrings, which reminded me it's about time now I can take out the sapphire studs and wear what I want in my ears! Yay!
We didn't get to talk for too long though due to the delay in meeting up, and me having arranged to meet Nat near Centre Point for lunch. So I bade her farewell, and hoped that she didn't think me too crazy! What was definitely crazy was the amount of people everywhere. Apparently, there was a big football match taking place, and the Underground was more crowded than I am used to. I tend to fit into small spaces, so it was okay, but made getting to Tottenham Court Road a little more stressful than it needed to be, not to mention delaying me a little. But I got there soon enough, and then we spent a good two and a half hours just chatting about things. I had a falafel meal that came with a lot of salad and was surprisingly filling not to mention delicious. I also saw someone who really very closely resembled Helen Marnie of Ladytron. It may have been her, I didn't ask. Nat (who also has really amazing hair) eventually had to go, as did I to meet up with Holly in aforementioned Pimlico. Nat advised me to take the 42 bus, but I saw one leaving, and being unused to London, figured I'd have to wait a while for the next one, so thus followed another dance through the Underground, including a delightful stroll down the lesser-used part of Tottenham Court Road station (with a spiral staircase of 99 steps).
I emerged overground again at Victoria, where I had a very surreal experience. I saw a steam train at one of the platforms, and like many others, stopped to watch it leave with full blast of the whistle and white steam rising to the scaffolded rafters above. As I did so, a giraffe poked me in the head. The woman watching the train next to me had an inflatable giraffe, and the neck had suddenly lost air, causing it to 'nudge' me. Bizarre. Also strange were the disproportionate lack of dryers to sinks in Victoria's toilets. I ended up walking the same route I'd directed Holly that morning, and waited outside the training place trying to avoid the smell of fish from the small market stall there. Holly soon appeared, and although we'd planned to go the nearby Dim T restaurant, I was still slightly full of falafel, so we went to the nearby tea bar, and over a mug of Moroccan Mint, we discussed our respective days. Eventually, when it had got dark outside, we went nextdoor to Dim T and were warned the service was slow. We had to wait a long time to get to order, but we accepted that, although we made a mistake when ordering and ended up with more Dim Sum than we had expected. Actually, I wish I'd only had the Bang Bang Chicken Salad and nothing else with it, and I also felt a little bad for having a meat dish after eating vegetarian all day (uh-oh), but the salad was great. I cannot use chopsticks to save my life, however, which left me feeling a little useless, even though I have a legitimate excuse in my dyspraxia.
My fortune cookie told me 'You'll get it all done', which shocked me a little, given how much I've been worrying over having not devoted enough time to my workload or dissertation and growing gradually convinced I was dooming myself. That aside, when we asked for the bill, it was a full 20 minutes before we actually got to pay it. That was excruciating, especially since I was getting badly claustrophobic with all the people that had entered the restuarant since. I was really glad to finally get out, hurry up to Victoria, and head home, via Clapham Junction and a long wait for a bus in Egham under the outlines and headlights of planes leaving Heathrow for distant lands. The bus driver on the way back was really polite and pleasant, leaving me to have quite a high opinion of 441 drivers, bless them.
And now I'm here. Needing to do some work, but basically wanting to do what I didn't do last night: hot chocolate, warm Lush bath, dressing gown, warm comfortable snugness. I'd say 'a good book' would complete the picture, but I am badly out of touch with reading, for which I blame the corrosive lure of the Internet. I hope to regain my relationship with books which I lost around the age of 15/16. But I can't now. If anything, I need to be reading textbooks relating to my dissertation. But maybe that will go with the gown and the cocoa.