Saturday, 14 December 2013

Four days in Highgate

What a non-stop series of pleasurable activities I enjoyed this week! My friend in Highgate, North London, kindly lent me her keys while she went on a National Trust walking holiday in Sussex. So on Tuesday, I lugged my bag of clothes, presents and cards there, passing through St Pancras station en route, then two hours later I was back at St Pancras enjoying fish cakes and three big glasses of vino with my literary agent, Jenny.

Next day I awoke to thick, chilly fog, but dragged my hangover out of bed and went for a walk up and down the steep slopes of lovely Waterlow Park, home to Lauderdale House where I celebrated my 60th birthday (eek!).

In the evening, I got together with two old friends and we sang our lungs out in the raw night air, bellowing every verse of four pages of carols at the annual charity Highgate Carol Service in Pond Square. The trees were covered in fairy lights and there was a magical atmosphere. After that, we decamped to the Cafe Rouge for more food and wine.

On Thursday lunchtime, I was back at St Pancras meeting an old school friend, Eryl, plus my namesake Tony Read (no relation), an excellent astrologer. Yet more food and wine! On Friday, I lugged a slightly lighter bag (and heavier stomach) home via St Pancras and coffee and cake with my friend Jill at the Patisserie Valerie.

Now I am back to face the problem boiler - cost £150 so far, and plumber will be back next week - and another tooth threatening to ruin my festive season. Wish I could have stayed in Highgate, preferably for ever. Of all the parts of London and Greater London I've lived in, Highgate is where I have been the happiest. I wish I still lived in the tiny cottage I sold in 2003. It's worth £600,000 now! O great god of the Lottery, hear my prayer and please deposit a fat sum into my bank account tomorrow. That £2.60 you gave me today as my Euromillions prize was surely a mistake and you need to go to Specsavers as you missed a few 000's off!

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