Life seems to have been non-stop since I came back from holiday. Work deadines, family obligations, friends in need for all sorts of reasons, not to mention domestic trivia and various bits of socialising, have all conspired to fill every waking moment. I've felt hugely frustrated about the lack of time to get on with writing and studying, aka what I really want to do.
But in the last 36 hours, life has eased up. I had a lovely weekend in Oxford, staying with a dear friend who was on top form because she's just landed the job of her dreams. We celebrated on Saturday night at Jamie's Italian restaurant, pushing out every boat we could find. I know you like a good menu, so here it is. We started with prosecco (for me) and a Bellini (for her). Then we shared gorgeous huge green olives on cracked ice with tapenade and flatbread; a mixed veg starter (various titbits of perfect cheese, salad, and marinaded grilled veg); and fabulous polenta chips with rosemary and sea salt. We started a bottle of excellent Merlot with that lot, and finished it with prosciutto, pear and pecorino salad, with truffle chips, for her; char-grilled free-range chicken, garlic and parsley chips, and Swiss chard with garlic and capers for me. Then she had an affogato (vanilla ice-cream with a hot espresso poured over it - she asked for a decaff one) and I had a perfectly silky pannacotta with seasonal fruits (mostly strawberries, which was fine by me) and a glass of dessert rose wine. My friend asked for a sip, and then promptly demanded a glass for herself. After that we rolled gently back to hers, and finished the evening with her housemate, a bottle of fair-trade sparkling wine, some scrumptious goodies from Hotel Chocolat, and a Dennis The Menace board game.
I slept like a log, woke inspired, and wrote 1000 words before breakfast. Then another 1000 on the train home in the afternoon, and another 1000 this morning. Not only that, but I've made good progress with both my OU courses today, as well as meeting a work deadline and getting a few other jobs ticked off my list including subbing a short story. I love times like this! It's like the bit on the motorway where you've been stuck in the traffic jam for ages and suddenly it all frees up and you can zoom along at 70 mph again. (I could offer a more scatological analogy but, ever mindful that this is a family blog, I shall resist the temptation.)