The cost of spending a penny in London's Covent Garden is a quite startling £1.
I suggest to the Darling Daughters that we should maybe see if we can wangle two
for the price of one. Otherwise known, I understand as a BOGOF. All three laugh weakly. They know how to humour their Dear Old Mum. Bless them.
The four of us are in London as the latest round of celebrations
for the Eldest of the Darling Daughters' fiftieth birthday. We have an exciting plan for the afternoon and evening, starting with lunch in the peculiarly named Crusting Pipe and ending in the Orrery restaurant in Marylebone. In between we are planning to chill
out (sorry, yet another bad joke) at something called The Ice Bar. We are, indeed, Girls Who Like To Have Fun.
The Birthday Girl has arrived at our initial stopping place more than an hour ahead of the rest
of us. This is mostly my fault as I had to drive an hour and a half from home to Hook and to catch a train into London from there with the Middle and Youngest DDs, due to yet another Southern train strike preventing me travelling direct. Regular readers will
remember that I am convinced the railworkers union has access to my diary so that it can synchronise its industrial action with my plans for trips out.
The early arrival in London of the Birthday Girl meant
that (i) she was able to save us a table for four and (ii) she sat through not one, but two performances of a slightly screechy solo singer and a lively string quartet. "It's Bolero next!" she informed us, towards the end of the string quartet's reprise. We
had each had a glass of wine by then so, I am ashamed (though not very much so) to say, we all four simultaneously flapped our arms in a not particularly passable imitation of Torvill and Dean's gold medal winning routine in Sarajevo. At least we didn't all
sink to the ground as the final notes played out. Though, to be honest, I was tempted...
The photograph of us outside The Ice Bar shows me clutching my handbag in front of me, looking rather like Princess
Anne's adorable granddaughter Mia in that photograph to mark the Queen's 90th birthday. Except that I look rather older. And distinctly less adorable.
Oh, the Ice Bar! What tremendous fun that was! Before
you enter the Icy Palace, you are decked out in a thermal cape with gloves attached by strings. Inside you are treated to a "free" cocktail, served in a glass made of ice - so that every time you sip at your glass, you melt a little more of the glass's rim.
Only about half of the 4.15 p.m. intake stayed the 45 minute course (why, oh why, did people think this was a suitable outing for babies and toddlers?!) but we, of course, were still there, right to the end, swaying along to our own music, enjoying the chilly
atmosphere, the ice sculptures and our own company. There's nothing like a Jolly Girls Outing for keeping the cold at bay.
Finally, The Orrery. An orrery, did you know, is a clockwork model of the solar system.
Don't you just love it when the Daily Blog comes over all educational? Or - now let's be honest - do you not give an orrery?
We started off with cocktails in the bar where I scandalised the Birthday Girl by
choosing a non-alcoholic cocktail. "Non-alcoholic?!" she cried. I consider it A Good Thing to surprise one's Darling Daughters occasionally. Plus I was saving myself for The Main Event.
At the end of our (delicious)
meal, our waiter arrived at our table with a plate decorated with the sweetest of Birthday Greetings for my eldest daughter. It was a picture-perfect finale to our lovely day out.
There are so many different
ways to celebrate, aren't there? So many places to eat. So much to see. So many experiences to enjoy. So many cafés in which to quaff coffee and share a Danish pastry. Each to his or her own celebration, I always say.
All that really, really matters, of course, is to celebrate with those you love.