There is no place quite like home but as much as I love, love, love living in Devon, I also love my quick trips into London.
Just two and a half hours by train (as long as there are no track or signalling issues), I can be in Paddington in time for breakfast, which is exactly what I did on Friday. Coffee and avocados with a side of chat with my sister got the ball rolling. Always great to catch up and amazingly it seems that we almost get more quality time together living 200 miles apart than we did when we were in the same town.
Hugs good-bye and promises to meet again soon, and it was a meeting with an agency at Paddington, then down to Harley Street to meet a new client. I do a lot of my work remotely, and it has been that was for over 12 years now since I took that freelance route, but it is always nice to meet face to face and really get under the skin of a business so you can be a seamless part of their team.
Bags set down in my hotel room (funny as I checked in and out all via iPad and not one member of staff did I see) and I then went for a walk around Oxford Street and Carnaby Street before eating sushi in a tiny little restaurant that gave me the perfect window to the capital and to watch the world go by. I have been in love with London ever since I was a teenager. I would go into town with friends, hunt around Kensington Market for battered jeans and Nirvana t-shirts, and it was inevitable that after uni, and a stint in Tokyo, I would end up living there. The streets aren’t paved with gold as the fairy tale would have us believe, but the side streets and markets, offices and cafes, are full of life and stories, people who are rushing from work to the gym, those hooking up on Tinder and others like me who reminisce on days gone by and thoughts of what may come in the future.
I am not a fan of sleeping alone in hotels, but after ten hours of shut-eye, I was up and out of the door, enjoying coffee and pastries and reading the paper as London came to life. I don’t tend to work at the weekend, but I had decided to hold the first PR School meet up, and I am so pleased that I did. PR School is a business I set up this year which ties into my next book and one which helps people understand the fundamentals of public relations while giving them the confidence to go out there and shine, as I know they can. Three lovely ladies came along to the Ambrose Café, which is on the second floor of Heal’s, and as we drank coffee and eat cake, in the heart of in the Fitzrovia, we very much put the world to rights. Yes, we talked about PR, but we also discussed our own lives, our businesses, frustrations as well as when we would meet again. There is something special about meeting people you only have an online friendship with, and I can certainly say that having put real faces to online profiles Sue, Beverley and Antonina, are now on my Christmas card list.
This isn’t a post to reflect on the current political landscape and discuss my feelings on the Brexit car crash that is rapidly, but as I headed back to Paddington to meet one of my oldest friends, it was very clear there was a buzz in the air. As we caught up, I didn’t have time to do everything while I was there, Eat become busier with people holding placards and posters and wearing badges and hats. The excitement, electricity, and determination was palpable and as I talked to one of the marchers on the way back to Devon, neither of us could wonder why the brakes aren’t being put on the car crash no one is willing to stop. As I listened to the radio in the week, someone said they had ‘Brexit Anxiety Disorder’ and I totally get it, because it is as if we are living a nightmare and one from which we can’t wake up from. We chatted until Frome and my fellow passenger left at which point a fresher was telling me all about life at Plymouth uni as a retired company director handed out advise on how to let my boys go when all I want to do is keep them at home with me and never let them out into the world I saw as I walked through Soho on Friday night.
By the time I got home, my boys were waiting for me with a vodka poured and ready for me on the kitchen island, I was tired but happy to have been able to spend two days doing things I loved, with people I love in a place I love, but home is where the heart is and it is where I am today.