But if you’re looking for something to complain about…

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There has long been an unspoken adage in our family that no matter how much my father enjoys something he will always end the praise with the words – but if you’re looking for something to complain about – then he’ll cite something trivial which didn’t ruin the occasion but without it could have made things better.

That in mind I must comment on the blissful weekend just passed.

When you’re born in December you spend a lifetime of joint birthday and Christmas presents – how boring! You can never enjoy dinner out because the menus all change to Xmas crud, the service is dire, the food is luke warm and conversation frequently battles with drunken female office staff flashing their thongs while swearing loudly and spilling some trite drink down their gaping cleavages – remarkably the men are almost always better behaved!

We travelled down to London and stayed in the Royal Park Hotel in Paddington. It’s a delightful place. The decor is absolutely lovely, very tasteful in a regal way, sumptuous without being over the top, very friendly, helpful staff and a great location with two tube stations a five minute walk away.

Our room was equally adorable, the comfiest London bed I’ve ever slept in and with a bathroom I’d like in my own home!! The place was so immaculate you could literally have eaten off the floor.

But if you’re looking for something to complain about – i really missed that contrived tray of brewing facilities. I was gasping for a brew and really didn’t want to have to put any clothes back on once I’d completely vegged out in bed to answer the door to room service……so went without.

We went to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Novello theatre which was absolutely perfect. The cast without exception was phenomenal. There are some lengthy monologues in there and the delivery in every case was superb. Of course there was a real excited ripple when James Earl Jones hit the stage.

Be still my beating heart.

He was brilliant absolutely brilliant and the play was funny, heartbreaking, wicked and magical all in one. It was odd to see Richard Blackwood in an almost silent role playing second, third even fourth fiddle to a  much weightier cast – but he was good nonetheless. Phylicia Rashad (Mrs Cosby of The Cosby Show fame) was wonderful, still gorgeous in spite of being older than you imagine  her to be and Adrian Lester is a revelation. Sanaa Lathan, who plays Maggie, for me, stole the show.

But if you’re looking for something to complain about – why do theatres allow latecomers in before an interval and THEN allow them to eat wrapped sweets??? Why don’t people have that basic common courtesy any more? Stay at home you inane morons!

The bonus was sitting behind Kathy Burke trying not to say “Hello Mrs Patterson” within earshot!

Don’t believe what you read in the FT review – it’s a financial paper – what does it know – see it – you’ll love it.

Dinner at John Torode’s Smiths of Smithfield on Saturday…..weight gainingly delicious. We dined on the top floor. What a great experience. I had feared some arsey, poncey atmosphere full of people I’d loathe trying too hard. Au contraire! Very laid back, really great staff, contemporary furnishings, a sense of buzzing conversation and a divine menu. The food was delicious, simple, straight forward fayre. I had a terrine with a wine jelly and toasted brioche. Each individual element was tasty but the jelly was so very wine-laced it dwarfed the terrine in taste and the brioche was slightly burned round the edges and when you got a bit of burnt edge it wasn’t the best. My main course of pork belly and confit duck was faultless. The mash dreamy. The spinach creamy. The stolen broccoli exactly how I love it. My frangipan pudding was hearty and warming and perfect for winter’s nights and it was almost too warm outside to enjoy that heartiness to the max.

But if you’re looking for something to complain about – the loos are set to one side of a large airy landing yet you open the door and it virtually hits the toilet seat it’s such a snug fit and then you have to get yourself in and it’s almost like you have to stand on the loo to shut the door before trying to spend the proverbial penny. It stank and the basin looked like it hadn’t been washed all day.

But it was heavingly busy and staff are only human and we had enjoyed a lovely evening. It would not put me off returning for one minute.

We visited the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery too. The former confirmed I don’t get Rembrandt. As my husband would say, I appreciate the technical merit but I don’t like the work. Equally I wasn’t that enamoured by Constable….just too much.

The Beatles to Bowie exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery was great, accompanied by a groovy soundtrack too. Great, great shot of Terence Stamp and Jean Shrimpton, superb one of Jimi Hendrix, lovely shot of The Who (how young does Keith Moon look?) and a lush pic of Mick Jagger with Francoise Hardy. A real treat. Made me realise that photography is right up their with ceramics when it comes to my passions.

Drown me more of the same any day and I’ll never be bored.

But if you’re looking for something to complain about…..it all went far too fast!

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