Friday, 14 December 2007

Blowing this coconut stand

So, today was my last day in the office for 2007. I’m taking the last week off before the office closes for Christmas to fly to London and visit friends before heading ‘oop north’ to spend a week with my family in Yorkshire before heading back to NYC in time for the New Year blow out, although I am not sure I will make any plans. I’m quite bah humbug when it comes to New Years Eve. It’s one of those evenings where high expectations of a good night out pretty much guarantee a mediocre evening, plus the over-priced nature of the festivities always makes me feel a little resentful, especially as it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact my best New Years Eve was probably one of my cheapest. I’ve yet to beat the year I spent in St Ives with 7 gal pals back in…hmmm, I’m not quite sure….I think it was 1998. I probably killed a few brain cells that night which is why my memory of it is spotty.

St Ives is a small, pretty seaside town on the north coast of Cornwall and on New Years Eve it seems that the entire population gets dressed up in costume and hits the town. Everyone, young and old, joins in the fun, you meet so many people. You also don’t have to pay fees to get into the bars and the prices seemed to be pretty much the same as usual. I highly recommend it if you ever get the chance to go. We had a grand old time.

I’ll be flying off to London tomorrow, several hours ahead of the severe winter storm that’s heading to the north east of the US this weekend. Leaving a week early means missing the office Christmas shindig, but to be honest it’s a bit of a lame effort compared to the fun parties I’d got used to in London, since it’s usually combined with the annual general meeting!! Can you believe that? We work our arses off all year and how are we rewarded, -certainly not with bonuses I’ll tell you that for, literally, nothing - with a pigging meeting. Hmph!!

Christmas parties in London were an entirely different state of affairs; they were typically themed costumed parties with vodka ice statues and all that jazz. I remember one year the theme was underwater and was held out at some place in the depths of Fulham. It had a courtyard where they’d put a giant inflatable octopus – unfortunately you couldn’t go outside and jump on it – with the interior decorated like the sea bed. A few of us from the department went the simple route with our costumes and dressed as deep sea divers – all in black with snorkels and flippers. It didn’t take us long to start drinking vodka down our snorkels. As the party degenerated into a drunken haze I spent a good hour fending off the attentions of an amorous client – not a client of mine, I might add – who was dressed as a yellow submarine - a concoction he’d made from cardboard boxes – who chased me around the party trying to snog me under the mistletoe. Fortunately for me his costume was so big it prevented him getting within 3feet of me. As you can imagine we were always a bit worse for wear in the office the next morning, and the last one in had to buy bacon sarnies for the team.

Anyway, who knows what I will come back to at the office in 2008 since rumours abound of significant redundancies come the first week of January, which is not great at all, but we’ll see. I’m not going to let it mar my trip, although I am going to try and be careful with money. No rampant spending sprees in Top Shop for me this year. Fortunately I don’t have to shell out on a hotel since Miles has kindly offered to let me stay at his lovely Kensington pied á terre while I’m in London. Fabbo!!

I’ve only stayed at a hotel in London once before; it was a few years ago with my friend Kimberly. I was staying with her that year and on the Saturday I arrived (on the red eye) we had a 9.30pm dinner reservation with a pile of friends at
Locanda Locatelli, a restaurant which at the time one of the ‘in’ places to dine according to my in the know friends, but which I remember being extremely unimpressed with, especially the service, we were halfway through our mains – this was around 10pm - when the wait staff started putting the chairs on tables around us.

Tsk!! Talk about making us feel unwelcome.

Anyway, since Kim lives on the fringes of London, beyond the reach of the tube, she typically ends up hot footing it off to Marylebone to catch her last train come 10.30pm, but neither of us wanted to cut the evening with our friends short, so we decided we’d stay at a hotel for one night.

After rummaging around the internet for hotel availability I found out that, the usually pricey, One Aldwych, a lovely hotel perfectly located close to Covent Garden and very convenient for the ice skating at
Somerset House, had an internet special. I emailed Kimberly who gave it the thumbs up, so I wrote to them from my work email to reserve us a room.

Now, I make a point of mentioning that I made the reservation using my work email address because, by default, my work email adds my job title to the end of any message I send, a job title that by UK standards is rather fancy, but which is actually fairly run of the mill in the U.S., where everyone and their dog seems to be a Vice President of some such. However my job title does include the word ‘Partner’, a pretty meaningless sobriquet where I work, whose only benefits are: a guaranteed 4weeks vacation (pitiful really compared to Europe, but a definite improvement on the 2weeks that I started on); a yearly medical and a business card guaranteed to impress the hell out of any compatriots who are of an age to have grown up with the likes of L.A. Law or Ally McBeal, American shows where all anyone seemed to care about was being made Partner. These shows made a lasting impression on the British public that being a ‘Partner’ is something pretty special, not in all cases, although I think I’m right in thinking that being a partner in a law firm still actually means something. It’s just not the case in marketing.

We got to the hotel around 5pm on Saturday afternoon, and as I signed the registration card I noticed they’d pre printed it with my business information, information they’d clearly taken from the footer of my email. The staff were also very deferential, except we couldn’t help noticing a lot of nudging and giggling going on among the all male staff behind the reception desk – seriously there were like 6 of them – and a lot of pointed glances in our direction. We appeared to be the source of their amusement and, in fact the seemed to be almost wetting themselves in excitement at prospect of two women sharing a hotel room*.

Clearly they thought they had a couple of power lesbians from New York on their hands. My only regret was that I wasn’t dressed the part in a nice black pant suit and heels, but looked like an utter scruff in the jeans I’d travelled in.

If I hadn’t been so utterly jet lagged I would have grabbed Kimberly and given her a big snog to give those giggly boys something to really talk about. Men eh!! They’re such simpletons at times!!

Anyway, I’m all packed up and ready to go first thing, you should see my suitcase, it’s teensy. It’s hard to believe I used to lug suitcases full of stuff over, however after one back pain too many I gave great thought to the clothes I would pack, double checked to ensure I am not inadvertently carrying any weapons – nope, not unless an eyelash curler counts - radio active materials, poisons or infectious substances. I’ve checked in online, topped up my Oyster card for travelling about London. I’m done and dusted. All that’s left to do is get the taxi to the airport.

However there were a couple of things I didn’t get to do before I left this year: I didn’t get to go ice skating with Tel Aviv in Bryant Park, due to the aforementioned preferring to keep his bones intact. Spoilsport!! And I also didn’t get to take some photos of New York getting it’s Christmas on, which is something I keep intending to do every year, as I think NY does Christmas bigger and better than most places I’ve been to, however I never seem to find the time, so instead I did my usual and snaffled a few from flickr which I’ve shared with you below (thanks to the photography skills of keithmaguire, thegirlio, lickyoats and redxdress).

I’ll be offline for a few days while I’m in London, but wherever you are I hope you are having a lovely time, festive or otherwise. Fish xx

*Did I mention the hotel only had double beds? It was no matter to Kim and I, we’re two straight women who’ve shared a bed on many an occasion without any such temptation for a bit of slap and tickle.


Noah said...

Merry Christmas!! I too am departing and going even further North to the realms of Newcastle for Christmas and New Year, the latter of which is bound to be a disappointment, as always. Have a good'n anyway!!

Amel said...

HAVE A FAB vacation and Christmas, Fish! And GREAT to hear you don't have to stay in a hotel he he he...

LOL LOL!!! on your funny story! ;-D

Heather said...

awwww, happy and safe travels, fish!

and I couldn't agree with you more about the New year's eve let down. I've yet to be blown away by one - mostly, I wake up the next morning thinking, "eh."

I did have one really fun NYE, though. I was in college and visiting my parents in Italy.

At the stroke of midnight, they began to throw random things out of the window..."out with the old, in with the new". You seriously had to watch where you were walking. I think i saw a few men flung overboard...

Kitty said...

Have a grand time, Fish. Enjoy the time away from work! Hurrah!

I'll miss you!

Amel said...

Hi, Fish!

I wrote your name on snow...check it out. I'm not satisfied yet with it, but I hope you like it anyway ha ha...

Name on Snow

And don't forget to read this fun post, OK?

Pre-Christmas Party

I bet you're having SO MUCH FUN now he he he he...take care!!!!

Flowers said...

i love the drinking vodie through a snorkel image!

have fun in london. i too am heading back to blighty for the christmas break before heading back to poland to try my hand at skiing over new year. a bit scared if i'm honest.


Anonymous said...

"The amorous advances of a yellow submarine". That image cracked me up!

Enjoy the festivities!


fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Noah, have a great Christmas up in Newcastle. I'm braving myself for the frigid north, travelling up to Wakefield tomorrow :-)

Hi Amel, yes it's great having friends to put me up :-) Have a lovely Christmas and New Year in Finland.

Hi Heather, thanks for the warm wishes. Hope you and April have a wonderful time over the festive season. I'm giving serious thought to a new year's eve in Italy sometime :-)

Hi Kitty, have a lovely time over the Holidays. I'll be posting from England if there's anything of interest to write, although I'll pretty much be overeating and drinking :-)

Hi Flowers, welcome back to Blighty. Good luck with the skiing when you are back in Poland.

Hi Kate, thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed the image of the submarine :-) Have a great Christmas, I shall check out your blog.

alcoment said...

Hope you have a good time Fish! You're right about New Years Eve, a lot of hype for one night really.

Merry Christmas!

Agnes Mildew said...

I hope you have a marvellous Christmas back with your folks - and I am sure you will be safe and secure in your job. If you aren't, I can get you a job in the warehouse at our place - haha!

I'm most impressed by the 'Partner' effect. My title is Online Marketing Manager, yet my counterpart in a sister company is Internet Development Executive. I want his title...

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Fish. Hope you have a fab time.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Agnes, thanks for stopping by. Hope you have a lovely Christmas. Fish x

Hi Pawpads, best wishes to you and yours for a lovely Christmas. Fish x

Anonymous said...

Hey you, I haven't been around for a while. I hope you are enjoying yourself "back home."

And your post teased me too much!

"Power Lesbians..."

"...slap and tickle..."

Good grief, Pet! *wink*


Amel said...

Hi again, Fish!

How was your New Year? Hope it was fun-tastic he he he...

Anyway, not sure if you're interested in doing this meme or not, but go check it out when you have spare time later, will you?

New Year's Resolution or Not?

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi PA Poppet, happy new year to you. I've been a complete lazy wench over the festive season, but I'm back for '08 now :-) Hope you had a good one. Fish x

Hi Amel, funny, I just posted about my New Year's Eve, which was very low key, and my resolutions, which are to give up the booze - for a month to let my poor liver recover - and avoid Starbucks, but I'll check out the Meme. Fish x