I thought the last few weeks in my ‘day job’ might be a bit strange – well feel a bit strange, and I suppose they did. Going into the Swindon office of the School Library Association (SLA) for the last time. We all had a lovely lunch together – and I’m still pondering how to spend the lovely token I was given – books obviously – just which ones?
My landlady for the last nearly 10 years was wonderful – and I shall always have a soft spot for Jackie and Roger at the Old Post Office, South Marston. If you are ever down Swindon way do stay with them – it’s a lovely place to stay, and I shall miss the friendship, the warm welcome and the gorgeous breakfasts. Don’t worry Jackie – I’ll be back!
Then it was using up my annual leave until the end of the month when I officially finished. A lovely relaxed long weekend in Liverpool with the family including lots of eating and drinking done! Plus, Sarah and friends ran the Liverpool half marathon too! Very proud of her – I couldn’t run a mile never mind 13.
Then down to London to celebrate my actual retirement. To start Will and I went to see the amazing musical that is 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal. The stage is huge, but it was filled with a cast of 50, plus 20 musicians making this one of the most spectacular theatrical events – a great way to spend an evening. The sound of so many tap shoes hitting the stage in unison is just mind-blowing!
The next day we pottered – a lovely early morning in the Foundling Museum. This is a fascinating and moving collection about the history of the Foundling Hospital full of emotionally engaging objects and witness statements on the way the place worked. I had especially wanted to visit as there was an exhibition of the wonderful artwork for The Lost Words by Robert McFarlane and Jackie Morris. Great to be able to get up close to these wonderful illustrations of the natural world.
We then moved on to the John Soane Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields – an amazing house full of Soane’s eclectic collections. Fascinating, but especially so for any students of architecture.
When you are in the house you are asked to turn off all electrical devices – so it was not until we came out into a rainy London we heard via a voice mail that the venue I was holding my ‘Semi-retirement party’ in was closed – due to a major gas leak beneath Longacre and St Martin’s Lane! Several anguished phone calls to the organizer at the venue followed – and I tried to contact as many people as I could with the news – we had no idea if the venue would be open in time, or at all that day! If nothing else I have now learned never to leave home without all the documentation about any event! I didn’t have everyone’s contact details on my phone, or even in the email account I could access from my phone! (I always take ‘work’ event details, but as this was personal I hadn’t!)
We knew there would be people who would turn up not having been contacted so we set off to get as near to the venue as we could – to discover that, although it was within the police cordon, it was so close to the edge that it was allowed to open, but entry was via the back door! We went in rather intrepidly to find out what, if anything, they could do for us to rescue the situation. They came up trumps! Rather than our private room (which hadn’t been prepared as they hadn’t been able to get in the building) we had a semi-private area of the bar, most of the canapes ordered were quickly prepared (and were delicious) plus we had a bar assistant spending the whole time with us topping up our prosecco glasses! Well done to Brown’s Covent Garden for rescuing the situation so very well!
So, as the event was somewhat reduced it means we can have another – to celebrate again – and make announcements about the future – all very exciting!