maggiealderson

Seven Days of Positive – Day 77

In Art, FIlms, Food, Friends, London, Uncategorized on December 5, 2014 at 12:08 am

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I went to London to have lunch and do the Christmas present exchange, with one of my oldest friends. And I don’t say that because she’s 82, but because I’ve known her since 1984.

We met when I was working on as a features writer on a magazine called Women’s World. Barbie was the book reviewer and came into the office about once a week. It didn’t take long for us to bond.

She was formerly a legendary editor, of both Woman and Woman’s Realm, which in her day were the biggest magazines around. My mother used to buy Woman’s Realm in the early 1960s when Barbie was editor. I was a Junior Realmer and had a pen pal.

Barbie had a driver in big black car and wore gloves and a hat into the office every day.

She’s also one of the funniest, wisest people I have ever known, which helped to cement our friendship.

Another thing that joined us at the hip was that she had fairly recently lost her husband and my father had died the year before.

With my new understanding of bereavement, I talked to her about her husband, asked questions about him, rather than pretending the deceased person had never existed – which seems to be the general British approach to avoiding the embarrassment of bereavement.

When we found out that her late husband and my late father shared a birthday, we pretty much became related.

We are both still great friends with another colleague from those days, Ruby, and Barbie calls us the Sticky Buds. She’s Sticky Bud #1.

Back in the days when we worked in the offices in Newman Street, the three of us would go for lunch at the greasy spoon around the corner and it has stayed a tradition with us to meet in those classic London caffs, usually run by Italian proprietors. Formica tables and over-brewed tea the norm.

Barbie always has egg and chips. I have eggs, beans and chips. Ruby prefers a proper meal, meat pie or something.

The only problem is such establishments are becoming rare in London’s West End and we’ve tried several to find our new venue, only to have them close shortly after.

Now we feel we have our new place, The Lido in Great Castle Street, just off Oxford Circus. It’s a bit posher than we’d really like, but the all day breakfast is on the menu and the mugs are big. We’ve decided it’s the one. Barbie is going to bring her own wine next time.

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I was thrilled to see Jelly and Cream featured on the pudding menu. These are the jellies. I couldn’t fit one in today, but I’m sure they’d come with squirty cream. Next time.

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Before I met Barbie, I popped into the National Portrait Gallery to see the exhibition of Grayson Perry’s works from his TV series on identity, ‘Who Are You?’

It’s brilliant and this explanatory plaque at the beginning, next to his work Comfort Blanket, brought tears to my eyes.

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After lunch I headed off to the heaven that is the Ham Yard Hotel, to see a press screening of Cate Blanchett’s new film Cinderella.

I had to sign a confidentiality document before watching it, so I can’t tell you anything about it. But if only I could just… no, I can’t. I’ll have to wait until it comes out.

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What a joy to watch it in that screening theatre. The smell from the rows of seats upholstered in leather the exact shade of Hermès orange is intoxicating and they’re so comfortable.

I could photograph every corner of that hotel – and it has many many corners – and never tire of it. On they way out I noticed the door handle of the Dinosaur Design boutique in the complex. Genius.

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  1. Hi Maggie – just cottoned on (77 days in) to your days of positive – I love it! – it feels like your herald column only daily ! Heaven xx

    • oh THANK YOU Lyn – please tell all your friends ha haha. Only difference is I don’t get paid for this ha ha, but maybe I’ll start to do that advertising thing when I get round to it x

  2. Never stop posting Maggie! Love reading your blog and your posts; you can post pretty much about cooking your own breakfast and I will read it!! Ahhh, my patience has worn thin with most of the blogs I used to read mere months ago as my boredom threshold has lowered dramatically. Alas, will need to go back to re-reading my old books for quick relaxation, or watching the odd old episode of M.A.S.H which my husband loves.. (Am so getting old, four something decades are definitely showing now…)
    Anyway, reading your ‘seven days of positive’ is like being a fly on the wall – observing someone without actually being there. I love your observations and musings on fashion, too.
    Ok, enuff talk now…

    • Thank you so so much. I can’t tell you what it means to me. I do sometimes think – will anyone be interested…? But I’ve started this now, so I have to carry on and now I can think about you reading it x

  3. Thanks for the lovely London words and pics. My husband fondly remembers the caffs from long ago – and when we went back to the City after a 25 year absence a few years ago, he took us to his favourite – same decor, same owner- a little greyer, though!

    I think I will send the Comfort Blanket words to our Prime Minister Tony Abbott as a much needed lesson in humanity

  4. I’ve only just found you, having read one of your books for the first time..sitting here in the Aussie bush, thunder rolling around, black sky and not a drop of rain to be seen, I think I want to come home! I am so enjoying your notes. Thank you !!

  5. What a nice read. Ta Maggie. I can’t put my finger on why it has warmed my heart but it has.

  6. Hi Maggie, I am a major fan of yours. I have (and love) all of your books. I became addicted to your writing back when you wrote for GW and I was in school. I now buy the Sunday Age just for your column in the Sunday magazine. Anyway, my treat for finishing my exams was to read your seven days of positive blog from day 1 through to now. What a treat it was. It was like having new episodes of your favourite TV series all downloaded and ready to watch all in one go. Thank you for keeping it up, it’s brightened my day. I can’t wait for your new book!

    • Oh Claire! You have made me quite teary. What an absolutely LOVELY thing to read this morning. Messages like this from you and Leonie above, make it all worth while. I just need to find a way to make it pay me some money, but at the moment I’m doing it for the love of writing it – and having exchanges with people like you xxx

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