Packing it up and packing it in

Posted by Jeni in Ad Infinitum | 13 July 2011

Soho makes me into one person, Battersea into another and then when I'm home in East sussex I transmogrify into the East End country bumpkin I really am.

It's 12.30 am, and eleven hours earlier I was in Brighton cheering on my five year old grandaughter in her first sports day. I was freezing having chosen a fairly affable outfit fit for Pimms in the park, as it turned out my lime green Hobbs jacket and Nike 3 Free trainers, though dashing, afforded me no comfort whatsoever, and I wasn't even asked to run the granny's race, since there wasn't one.

Several young families pic-nicked on the damp grass as the red, blue, yellow and green teams, competed against each other to win a cup. Maia was in the blue team, they came last - a family tradition....and the rain spitted to compliment the loss.

We went back to my daughters house, played with the two kittens Fred and something unpronouncable, spilt camomile tea all over the floor and left.

Monday saw the start of the big move. I got up at 6.15, faced the sun and meditated for twenty minutes, had a green drink, put on my shabby pyjama bottoms and a grubby white vest and started on my office.

Seven hours later I had boxed up eight years of books, in nine boxes. Repeatedly washed my hands to get rid of the dust that had accumulated on the shelves and used up mountains of tissues to dry my watering eye. Actually both eyes were watering as I came across neglected letters, abandoned invitations and piles of birthday, anniversary and mothers day cards, not to mention years and years of theatre programmes.

My next door neighbour in East Sussex used to do house clearances, a persons life was dumped in the drive in a black plastic bag, a reminder that we can't take it with us, when I go I want my black bin bags to be full of exotic jewellery and half filled perfume bottles not scraps of paper so I dumped the lot, only keeping the ones featuring the old git in or my near-as-damn-it-son.

I dressed, having dragged the boxes into the hall, and took the 170 to Victoria, and the tube to Oxford Circus. I had no idea how hot it was so I dawdled into Greek Street where I was meeting three men and an agent.

I found the club, having walked past it three times thinking I was going to 100 Greek Street, in the end a man by a dustbin pointed to a door half the number I had first thought of, and I was let in.

I was greeted by two gentlemen who asked after my eye. 'Blimey' I thought, I'd better be careful what I write on my blog as you never know whose reading it. They knew everything about me, except my age, so I lied and said I was born in 1963 - of course I got away with it....

I had a full pot of camomile tea and left with the agent and two business cards which I must address otherwise they will end up the way of the theatre programmes.

Went to The Groucho Club, had a chin wag with Bernie and then set off with The Barry for our evening at The Palladium.

Thirty years ago Bucks Fizz was formed, last night they celebrated with a show in front of the kindest, warmest, audience of fans I have ever seen. Cheryl Baker asked questions the fans threw answers, Jay Aston introduced her husband in the band and Cheryls' children on backing vocals the fans went wild, we all watched on a big screen the coach crash all those years ago and Mike Nolans amazing recovery from brain damage, he cried, we all cried with him. The fans filmed videos on their phones, snapped pictures on the phones and did all the hand movements to all the songs. When Cheryl and Jay whipped their silver skirts off to reveal blushing pink pants I thought the three gay men in front of me were going to have a siezure. The after show party had bowls of pretzles, bowls of vegetable crisps, champagne and cup cakes. I left with my green VIP wrist band still in tact and 'Run to the Sun' running round in my head as I ran for the tube. To be fair I'm slightly more hard core in my musical taste but as evenings go for sheer exuberance Bucks Fizz take the biscuit.

It took me ages to get back to the flat but I decided I wanted to get home so at midnight I jumped in my car with a bag of green veg and my journals and set off.

It was quiet and dark and the news was rivetting. ( How much more are we going to have to endure with this hacking scandal?) The journey was a doddle until I got to the M25. Horror of all horrors it was shut.

The ruddy M25 was closed off.

Inaccessable.

Impassable.

I couldn't get onto it. 1.00 a.m. in the morning and the road to the last leg of my journey had yellow flashing lights, trucks, noise and a big sign that said ROAD CLOSED barring me from going where I needed to be, I could feel a wave of panic. How was I going to get home?

What was the right route?

1.00 a.m. pitch dark and nobody around.

I went twice round the roundabout to calm down and make a decision. I turned the radio off. Took a deep breathe and decided to go with my pigeons instinct - I am useless on outward journeys but can always find my way home - so I took the road back towards London and then trusted my gut as I hung a left towards Badgers Mount....three villages later and a huge sigh of relief as there were signs for Seven Oaks, I was back onto the slip road and the A21. I had made it.

At 1.45 I climbed out of my little red car into the silence of East sussex.

Leaving Bucks Fizz, Greek Street, The Groucho Club, Battersea and Badgers Mount behind me.

The old git greeted me, I had a bowl of salad and took to my bed.

This morning I did my admin from my bourdoir then set off to Brighton with the grandfather of Maia.

This evening we went to see Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve in POTICHE, at The Uckfield Picture House. The film is a delight, the picture house is cute as was the old lady who left the cinema with me and said:

'When you get to this age people don't realise the naughty things you have done in your life.'

I laughed. Growing old disgracefully is my new plan. So when we arrived home and the daughter shouted at us for not telling her where we had been I realised my plan was already working..

Frank darling Frank, I think my eye is finally clearing up, but I dare not say it aloud just in case it hears me, so you get better with your conjunctivits, and yes I did say con-joonk-ta-vi-tus in a Georgie accent.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At July 13, 2011 6:49 PM Lindy Fleetwood wrote:

Hmm Just for one second, one second mind I thought I had read that you got on the but with your boxes !! Goodness how much to fit into 24hrs it is just beyond me. Keep going you are getting there, keep that chin up and the smile on your face. Love to all xxhugxx

2. At July 13, 2011 7:50 PM Rhianon wrote:

Wonderful blog, Jeni. You sound more together than you have in a while. I'm glad.
Bucks Fizz is 30 years old? Ye gods. I feel ancient!
Be well, be strong and be you. What more could we want?

3. At July 17, 2011 10:04 AM Robin wrote:

Oh Jeni, it sounds like you're "leaving" LBC... Who will I wake up with on Sunday morning?

4. At July 21, 2011 2:43 AM Elizabeth Gumbel wrote:

Thank you for posting the recent entry; looks like at least someone in the world thinks the same way that I do. What year did you first start blogging? My son got me into the 'blog-world' about 3 years ago and I haven't stopped since. Working on starting the newest WordPress in about a month.

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.