Sarah just got three paintings accepted for the SBA's annual botanical exhibition in London. This is a big deal. It also means we get to go down to London. Again. And it means that if she sells any of them I won't be able to describe her as a 'talented but penniless artist' in any of my writer bios any more.
Two weeks ago we had to deliver the pictures (five in all) to the Central hall in Westminster. The cost-saving plan was to stay a couple of nights at a swanky hotel just outside Oxford, and between times we drive to Walton-on-Thames to pick up a train to Waterloo. No need to go to any great lengths with the bubble wrap and cardboard because Waterloo is only a ten minute walk from Westminster. What could go wrong?
So we hit the queue for London before we even reached Reading. We parked on the M4 for an hour. I swore a bit. Then we devised plan B.
We drove into Reading, parked the car, and picked up a train from there. Why hadn't we planned to do this in the first place? – much easier and only a few pounds more expensive. (Except for later when we paid for the car park - over sixteen quid for just half a day. OMG!)
We had to stand up on the train, but then that's UK train travel for you, you pay for a seat and then you stand up for forty-minutes, but then as often as not you don't get a train to stand up in, either, so we were still on a winner.
So, good plan. Adaptability is the key. Think on your feet.
Except the train from Reading went to Paddington, not Waterloo. We had to get the Circle Line to Westminster. So did a million other people. Only they didn't have five, quite large, quite fragile, glass picture frames with them.
We went through Monopolyesque places like Notting Hill Gate, South Kensington and Sloane Square, and every time the tube stopped more people squashed inside. We gritted our teeth and hoped that a glass catastrophe might be avoided through the power of jaw muscles alone.
And of course, jaw action prevailed. You already know this, because, as I've said, three out of the five have just been accepted.
I hope Sarah sells them. Because if not, in March, we have to bring them back again. But we'll take more bubble-wrap with us next time.
Postscript – we also got to visit Oxford the day after. Fascinating city. Lots of good book shops. Lots of history. We especially wanted to see the Ashmolean museum, but according to the guide book it is closed on Mondays. Also closed on Mondays, said the book, is the History of Science Museum that had a Steam Punk Art exhibition that would have been worth seeing. What kind of town closes it's museums on a Monday?
So we went home.
Then, when we got home I realised that it was Tuesday.