Saturday, 31 July 2010

Marina And The Diamonds

I absolutely love this song. Her album is pretty good too.

Storm In A Teacup & The xx

Phewwwwwwwww, it's the weekend!!!!! Not that the work part of my week is over, I had to bring a good amount of work home, but at least I can close the door on a week I am more than happy to see the back of, although I did straighten things out with my manager, Ryan, after Wednesday's fun. I had a meeting with him on Friday and explained to him how unsettling I found his approach to my team in light of my junior team member's resignation and the recent developments with Kenny and his team's departure, a situation which ultimately led to Kenny's resignation - an encouraged resignation I am betting since I know they were looking at their legal options in terms of ending his contract.

"Didn't I tell you I was inviting your team members out to lunch?" asked Ryan

"No, you bloody well didn't."

"Oh, sorry, given the context I can see why you were worried. It won't happen again!!"

I was a little bit taken aback that he was so willing to put his hands up and admit it wasn't the best approach, historically Ryan has been a lot more combative, so this is a change, but definitely a change for the positive.

Anyway after all the stress and torment let's mellow out with The xx shall we. I love their album. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Management F**kwittery

I had a bit of a rough day in work today!!

I was in a meeting with my direct report, Jay, and he asked me to stay behind a few minutes after a meeting with a client to ask my advice about lunch meetings he'd been invited to over the next couple of days with my manager, Ryan, and his manager, the head of the division, Daniel.

"Yeah, it's really weird, they both invited me to lunch independently, so I have lunch with Ryan today and then Daniel tomorrow."


I knew not a sausage about either invitation and said as much to Jay.

"Well I think with Tessa resigning they just wanted to check in with me and talk to me about my career, so I wanted to ask your advice. Obviously Ryan knows that I am planning to do a part-time MBA, but do you think it would be okay to mention that in a few years I'd like to work abroad?"

Absolutely!! I didn't see why he should keep his future intentions a secret, especially as the agency network is big enough to make that to happen for him. He's is a real asset to the department, so I hoped that the powers that be would bend over backwards to accommodate his request. I know all about the benefits of being transparent about future intentions, since if I hadn't shouted from the rooftops that I was interested in working in New York then I wouldn't be here.

So that was all fine....however...

...I couldn't help but have this nagging feeling about the fact that neither Ryan or Daniel had mentioned anything about these lunch meetings to me. Not that I have a problem with the senior managers taking my team members out to lunch to chat to them about whatever they want to, but I did feel weird about the fact that they hadn't said something to me in advance. It all just felt a little too secretive.

"I'm sure it's just to chat to me about my career aspirations what with Tessa leaving" said Jay.

Hmmm...but then what if Tessa said something about me that was less than positive in her exit interview? I mean we've just had 360 reviews and that was fine, but that doesn't mean....that's what happened with Kenny afterall, he had 3 team members leave in quick succession and all of them made negative comments about his management style in their exit interviews. Of course a bunch of clients also complained about the quality of his work, which I don't think has been the case with me, but....what if.....what if I was next for the Kenny treatment???


To be honest I try my very best as a manager and I pride myself on at least trying to do a good job. Megan has said several times that she thinks I am the only manager that really gives a shit about her team and I think that has a lot to do with the fact that my friends Miles and Kimberley were great examples of good managers for me, but I've had my share of bad ones too, so I feel I have enough of a sense about what I like and dislike in managers and where I can I try to emulate their style with my team, however I'm also upfront about the fact that I've had no formal management training and that it's a learning curve for me, so any feedback from my direct reports is always appreciated, because one person's supportive manager is another person's micro-manager so while I try my best to be the former who knows if someone is perceiving me as being the latter if they don't say anything.

Unfortunately these thoughts festered for a while and even though I had no real cause for concern, at least that I was aware of, I wasn't feeling at all good about my team member being invited to lunch without my having received a heads up, especially as it didn't appear to be a department wide initiative, more that a valued team member of mine was being singled out.

It really didn't help that when Ryan came over to let Jay know he was ready he didn't come right to our desks, but rather came halfway down the department and gave a half cock of his head to let Jay know he was ready to go.

It all just felt a little too secretive for my liking!!

Paranoid, or justified?? I mean I would have labelled Kenny as paranoid, but then I saw how that went down and yup....people WERE actually talking about him behind his back, he wasn't just imagining things, so what if.....nooooo surely my managers would talk to me first about any issues. Surely they wouldn't go straight to my team members...would they??? Well, not unless they were after collecting evidence...

Double ugh!!!

"Just take the direct approach," advised Debs, "email Ryan and ask him if you have reason to be worried."

Good idea!!

"Hey Ryan, do I have cause to be concerned that Jay is having lunch with both you and Daniel over the next couple of days?"

Hours response.

More hours passed....still no response!!

Even more hours passed....



Productivity went out of the window as I became more and more concerned (paranoid?) about Ryan's lack of response to my note.

Jay came back...he said nothing. I didn't feel it was my place to pry as to how his lunch had gone.

The afternoon was a little on the tense side as internally I started freaking out and I got slightly tearful in the bathroom on a couple of occasions!!

Fuck this for a game of soldiers. Why the hell would I go the extra mile and work late after this??? Why the fuck am I staying in New York to be treated this way???

Seriously, was I being completely paranoid?

I IM'd with Debs and Megan who agreed that the whole situation seemed weird and not in a good way.

The 'fuck it, just move to California' buzzing I've been experiencing of late got REALLY loud!!

"I'd hate for you to leave, but if you do move to California can you put in a good word for me with your landlord for your apartment" said Debs

Ha!! New Yorkers!!!

I was so distracted by the whole affair that cancelled a late afternoon meeting with Jay and left at 5pm with a deliverable hanging in the balance - much to the astonishment of my team. Leaving at 5pm is something I haven't done in at least 2years, much less with a deliverable due, but I really wasn't in the mood to 'go the extra mile' as I usually do, I was so upset at the whole underhandedness of Ryan's approach - and walked home through the park.

5minutes from home I received call from Jay, although I couldn't bring myself to answer, I was too upset to talk. I listened to his message about an hour later, the upshot being that he'd noticed I was upset and wanted to reassure me that he wasn't resigning - God forbid - and that he had the impression that Ryan had just wanted to check in with certain members of the team, but he'd had nothing but good things to say about me as a manager.

Bless him, I felt really bad that I'd caused him alarm, but to be honest I wasn't too worried about what Jay would say, or even that he'd met with Ryan, it was just the whole sneakiness of the meeting that pissed me off. Had Ryan just been upfront, or even offered a convincing lie I wouldn't have been the least concerned, but Ryan does have a soft spot for the sneaky approach. He seems to think that because he doesn't notice what goes on on the department the rest of us won't either, but he couldn't be more wrong. He also seems to be of the impression that he's really good at being discrete, but he's as transparent as Wiley Coyote hiding from Roadrunner behind a twig.

Megan called shortly afterward to say that Jay had come over to ask for my phone number and said he was very concerned that he'd upset me. Bless!! I wasn't upset at him at all and Megan said she had explained that it was Ryan who was the real target of my wrath.

8pm....a mere 8hours after my initial email to Ryan - who can I just point out had been present in the office since 2pm!! - I receive the following response to my earlier email...

"Noooo, it's been on the calendar for weeks"

Yeah, right. He's such a liar!! He does that all the time, he tries to glibly smooth things over, but he's so obvious. I responded by saying that if by being secretive about the lunch his intention had been to encourage me to update my resume and reconsider my current position then he could consider his day a success!!

After the afternoon I'd had I was of a mind to let him freak out about his retention bonus being in jeopardy!!

Too harsh??

Fuck it!!

Monday, 26 July 2010


Good Lord, I just read about this terrible tragedy on Gothamist today. I walked by this particular Starbucks, which is a few blocks from my apartment, around 8.30pm last night and wondered why the street was taped off.

'Yesterday evening around 6 p.m., a man fell 18 floors to his death, landing in the seating area of a Starbucks at First Avenue and East 85th Street. One customer told the Daily News, "I thought it was a gunshot. I ran into the liquor store... You're sitting, having coffee. You don't expect that."'

I assumed at the time that a piece of the building had fallen off and that they'd cleared everyone out to avoid anyone being injured, but on clicking through to the article I learned that the man in question had actually jumped 18floors into the outdoor cafe area of the Starbucks below!!

Now, I don't know about you, but as much sympathy as I have for someone who clearly feels their life is so bad they have no option but to end their life by jumping from a high rise, there's another part of me that can't help but think what a horrible selfish arse he was to not only have done this to the friends and family he left behind, but also the innocent people below who were probably traumatized at witnessing his death - and there are frequently small children at that Starbucks too - but who could also have been killed if he'd landed on someone.

Good grief!! It beggars belief it really does.

Anyway enough with this unpleasant topic, it freaks me out to think about it. How was your weekend? I hope you had a good one. I had my first OK Cupid date last night, with H, a 45year old divorced fellow from Brooklyn.

He was pretty nice, I had a good time, although I am not getting a dating vibe from him just now. He's really into history, politics and the environment and it was quite a struggle for my frivolously attuned brain to keep up with some of his chat about hydraulic fracturing and the like, which I know is a critical issue for New York from what I've read in the Manhattan Users Guide, with potentially very very serious consequences for our drinking water, so I definitely do appreciate him having a keen interest in environmental issues that affect us all, especially as I am way too preoccupied thinking about critical things like how to sell more shite to people that they don't really need, however sometimes on a date you just want to see a bit more of a person's fun side don't you? Then again I did have quite a nice time overall, so maybe a second date will coax the fun side out of him a bit more. We'll see.

I'm generally not feeling the online dating to be honest. Admittedly I don't have an awful lot of time to make an effort with it, but still a good number of the men who contact me seem to be a bit weird. One sent me a note

"Hey there ok thinks we stack up. You seem kind of keen. " exactly do *I* seem "kind of keen"??? I hadn't logged on for days and HE contacted ME!!!

Then a day later he 'winked' at me

Then a day or so after that he sent me ANOTHER note that read "I just winked at you! If you'd like to strike up a conversation with me, simply reply with something short and encouraging, like “Thanks for the wink! What's new?”

Now being busy at work, I hadn't logged into the site for days, as I already mentioned, and read any of his messages, so to log in for the first time and see 3 notes over the course of as many days definitely raised a big red flag upon which were printed in bold capitalized letters..."NO THANKS!!"

...And then there are the elderly....seriously I'm like catnip to your average geriatric. They are all over me on OK Stupid, it's quite perturbing. One man is in his late 60s and has a username which is akin to "2makebabies"* which is just....well.....ewwwww!!!


I had this very same problem when I used to go to salsa dancing class, all these much much older men would be inviting me out to see live music in Canarsie and the like. I mean they were older than my Dad!!! Wrong wrong wrong wrong!!!

Online dating has reminded me that there are a lot of men out there who are seriously weird!! I'm starting to think that the single life might be perfect for me. Usually when I've tried these dating sites - I've tried twice before when I just moved to NYC and both times lasted less than a month - I've become depressed about how I will never meet anyone, but these days I am valuing my single life more and more. I also still have a bee in my bonnet about moving to California and the buzzing is getting louder. I think I just need a change of scenery although upping sticks and starting again freaks me out a bit. Maybe I just don't appreciate how good I have it in New York??? How settled I am with my job and with my friends!!

In an ideal world I'd be able to afford to maintain my apartment and life in NYC and pop back and forth. Although if I could do that then I'd throw London and Paris into the mix too. It's funny I was telling Megan from work about the old codger that is potentially after me to have his babies - ugh, I just threw up in my mouth a little - over a couple of drinks on Friday and she tried to get me to reconsider my outright rejection of a man older than my father by playing the money card....

"but what if he's a billionaire?"

"I still wouldn't!!"

"Okay, a multi-billionaire?"

"Nope." I accompanied that one with an emphatic shake of my head.

"Well....what if he bought you homes all over the world and you didn't have to live with him, say he lived in the house next door, would you date him then."

"Nooooo!!! He'd still expect me to have sex with him."

"Well yeah, could close your eyes."

Honestly, she's got completely the wrong end of the stick about my shallowness that one, it's looks and personality I am shallow about, but not money.

Speaking of which it's funny how many guys on OKStupid have put their salary bands on their profile. The vast majority still respond by checking the "I'd rather not say" option, but I am wondering if those that do divulge their salaries do so tactically in order to put off the women who might be after them for their money. H was one who listed his salary band and it was significantly less than what I make - most who list their salaries do earn significantly less than I do - which kind of surprised me for someone who's been working for a number of years in a respected creative field and has a degree from one of the more high falutin' US schools, however he also made some comment about how he's been getting a lot of interest from women in the Philippines who are after "a nice generous man," so that would be one way to weed out the gold diggers.

*Creepy as I find this guy I respect his privacy enough not to out his actual profile name on my blog, so if there is someone on OKCupid with the same profile name as the one I made up then it's absolutely NOT the same person.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Chris Isaak Sat On Me Last Night

....and put his arm around my shoulder

....and sang to me.

Clearly he fancies me it is only a matter of time until we are wed ;-)

This was of course at last night's concert at the Nokia Theater in Times Square - a pretty nice venue, but the house lights from the stage were a bit brutal on the eyes - which I went to with Melissa. Mr. Isaak did his usual thing - at least I think it's usual since he did it the last time I saw him in concert - of wandering around the audience for a song - "Love Me Tender" - and climbed the short flight of stairs to where we were sitting. I completely expected him to go to the back of the theater, but the next thing I know he was squeezing in between me and Melissa and putting his arm around my shoulder.


Be still my beating heart.

I took my opportunity to cop a feel and put my arm around him too. I mean seriously, how many chances am I going to get to snuggle up to Chris Isaak???

Neither Melissa or I could quite help ourselves from having a good ogle close up since the man looks so damn amazing for his age (54??) from the stage. Admittedly he does look older close up and not quite as attractive as he looks in photos, but I totally still would ;-)

After our close encounter with Mr. Isaak it took a while for my adrenaline to stop pumping after the concert and I had to layer my under eye concealer on with a trowel today, I was so tired. The whole week's been this way to be honest despite my best intentions to get a good night's sleep. Why is it that when I make every effort to be tucked up in bed by 10pm so that I can get a good solid 7plus hours of sleep I end up tossing and turning until 1am???

It's sooooo not good when you get up for work at 6am I can tell you that for nothing!! I'm exhausted!! I'm barely coherent!! After a good 30minutes of irritable thrashing around I got up and went into the living room to watch TV where a cute Canadian biologist type was chatting to Craig Ferguson about bed bugs enjoying traumatic sexual encounters, the impressiveness of moth testes and the ball of worms you can get in your stomach from eating sushi. Cute as he was he put me right off my usual Friday night treat of spicy crunchy salmon rolls!! Pht, thanks for nothing attractive Canadian scientist bloke!!! Maybe that's why I have a bit of a podge of late, perhaps it's nothing to do with all that hearty fried food I scarfed down in New Orleans, perhaps it's the ball of worms!!! Ugh!!

Speaking of food I took my team out for lunch at the Shake Shack today - I don't even want to think about what might be lurking in burgers - a lunchtime treat to thank them for all their hard work as well as a farewell to Tessa, who - along with Alice from Emma's team - has her last day at the Agency tomorrow, before heading off to work for a competitor. It's been a weird and stressful old week to be honest and it's severely tested my recent resolution of sobriety!!

Emma emailed to see if she should send out the invitation for the girls' leaving do and I asked her if she'd mind taking charge since I had a client in town unexpectedly. Now usually the invitations to a send off are somewhat on the verbose side extolling the contribution the departing team member, or members in this case, have made to the Agency and rounding it all off with invitations to raise a toast to the next chapter, however Emma took a somewhat more direct in her approach with an email that simply read "Tessa and Alice are leaving the Agency. Please come by and say good-bye," with the address of a local bar posted beneath.

"Well that email says it all. Very Interesting," said Megan in an email to me later. was certainly brief and to the point.

"Too bitchy?" asked Emma when I said as much to her a little later

"Um....not necessarily, but definitely direct."

I think my nose may have grown a good 6inches when I told her this since it was obvious to anyone on the recipient list that Emma was done with the pair of them. I can't say I blame her in some ways, there's definitely been a decline in the quality of Tessa's, usually excellent, work over the past couple of months and I know Emma has noticed the same thing with Alice. Admittedly the standard of Tessa's work has still been pretty good, but she's been making a good number of basic mistakes lately and it was clear she'd checked out a couple of months ago.

Still overall she's been a positive addition to my team, so had I been aware of the brevity and bluntness of Emma's invite perhaps I would have taken on a little more creative control. Hopefully the lunchtime treat of burgers and shakes went someway towards demonstrating my appreciation for Tessa's contribution.

Totally gratuitous photo!!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

California Dreaming!!

Good Lord I am tired this week. I know I say that a lot, but this week seems worse than usual. Of course it doesn't help that I am always in the office so early, largely because if I am taking the subway - as I did this morning, must ween myself off the cabs to work, it's getting costly - I prefer to travel when it's a little less busy between 7am and 7.30am. If I were to leave at 8am or 8.30am I would have to squeeze myself sardine like into the carriage and y'know, that's not quite as appealing as it sounds when you are only 5ft 1 and therefore armpit height to your average six foot bloke. Combine this with the NYC being at the peak of humidity - you only have to walk a block before you feel that horrid trickle down your back - and....well you can understand why I've been taking cabs a lot more often of late.

It's miserable!!

In San Francisco right now it is 54F (13C)!! Sigh...imagine that, that's sweater/jumper wearing weather!! Admittedly it is also 5.25am, however according to the predicted high today isn't much above that. Bliss!!

Apparently London has been having a bit of a heatwave of late and Miles was telling me that he took advantage of his lunch hour to top up the tan he has from his recent trip to Turkey. He said he was inspired by a fit builder he saw, so it was top off and tits out for a spot of sunbathing in Shoreditch graveyard yesterday.


Well wherever he was I hope he put lots of SPF on his nips, there are some places you just don't need a sunburn!!

So not much news from this weekend. I pretty much collapsed in a heap after my parents flew home on Friday night. I was good for nothing to be honest and all my good intentions to get back to my gym routine went out the window, although I did prise my arse off the sofa to go and see the Inception movie on Sunday morning as I couldn't stand the thought of everyone talking about it at work on Monday - I saw from FB updates that many had seen it. The theater was packed out at 10am!!!! Anyway, I thought it was good, better than average, great to look at, not as overly complicated as the critics made out, but it felt slow in places, especially in that last hour where I needed some excitement to take my mind off the numbness in my arse. Those flip down seats weren't made for watching 2.5hour movies eh? All in all 7.5 out of 10 - 1 point off for the length - anything over 2hours is too long in my opinion - 0.5point for the bit in the story that dragged in the last hour and then I penalised a further 0.5point off for each of my numb buttocks. Perhaps if I'd been more comfortable I'd have scored it 8.5!!

Anyway the others in the department rated it as follows:
J1: 9/10
K: 10/10
T: 8/10
J2: 8.33/10
A: 9.7/10

8.76 overall isn't a bad score eh!!

So as for OKStupid - did I tell you about the bloke I thought was probably a bit off because I found him on another website - he gave me his real name and as I wasn't getting a good feeling about him I did what any self respecting woman with slightly stalkerish tendencies would do and Googled him - indicating he was 40 whereas on OKC (OKS?) he'd put 33?? Well he didn't email me for 2weeks so I figured I was in the clear to just not bother contacting him - I hate doing that; it seems so rude, but it would be ridiculous to put myself in potential harm's way out of a need to be polite - but this week he's popped up twice, the first email was just a one liner which I just ignored and then yesterday he asked if I was free to meet this week!!! I'm not as it happens, so busy, but I'm not sure I want to meet him anyway now that I've uncovered a lie. As I said I feel bad just not responding, but my gut says something is a bit off there!! To be honest I'm losing my interest in the OKC thing already, I'm so busy at the moment that I'm finding it all to be something of a hassle. Emma has been trying to encourage me to continue with it by promising me a bottle of champagne if I made it 6months on the site, but to be honest I'm giving up the booze temporarily - it's not advisable for the unacclimatized to drink in the high altitude areas of Peru (Inca Trail here I come!!), so I was thinking it's probably good to be as fully hydrated as possible so as to hopefully avoid the effects of altitude sickness. I'm also hoping to ween myself off the caffeine although giving up my daily lattes will undoubtedly prove tough. I only have 2 coffees per day, but I feel like I really need them to keep myself going - so I'm not that fussed about a bottle of champers to be honest.

Anyway meetings this morning, so better start earning my crust,

Have a lovely day!!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Balance Of The Universe

Damn it's hot in NYC today, I'm glowing buckets. I keep trying to walk extra slowly from the subway station to the office every morning to minimize the perspiration, but it's not working, largely because the naturally impatient New Yorker in me takes over and I find myself speeding up to overtake the slowpokes or make a light at a crossing. By the time I get to work I am a sweaty mess with irritatingly limp hair. This is so not the day I want to have a mandatory photo-shoot for our team brochure. Sssshhhhhh don't tell the bossman, but I think I might oh so conveniently forget to sign up for my appointment with the company photographer.

Too vain do you think???? It's true, I am. I cannot tell you how frequently I've taken a cab to work of late. I pretend to myself that it's so I can get into work early, but it's really to protect my do from going limp!! What can I say, I'm really not a fan of this weather and Tasty Tom's* declarations that it is really so much nicer in San Diego where there is 'no humidity' is completely making me rethink living in New York. I mean imagine all the amazing hair days with no humidity? That would be excellent, however I am stuck in NYC until at least April 2011 so roll on autumn!!!

I'm back in the office this week after spending a few days in New Orleans and then Biloxi, Mississippi with my folks last week. More on that later if I get a chance to post. My return to work was met with good news....a 23% pay rise effective July 15th!!!


...backdated to July 1st.

Double yay!!!

Finally I am paid market rate. About bloody time too since I should have been earning this salary 12months ago. I'm kind of rethinking the whole OkCupid thing now since not only has it been slow going, but who needs a boyfriend when I can now afford to pay someone to change my light bulbs should that be my want. Seriously I kid you not, who needs the hassle of a relationship if I can afford to live comfortably by myself?? I swear that half the relationships in New York are begun/maintained due to a need to split the rent/bills, such is the cost of living in this damn city.

The additional 2weeks backdated pay hopefully means I'll be able to pay off the hillock of debt I've accumulated for my upcoming trip to Peru. Who knew I would need so many pairs of moisture-wicking, SPF deflecting trousers, but Inca Trail here I come!!

Unfortunately the joy of the pay increase was negated a few hours later when my junior team member, Tessa, resigned!!


She's heading to another agency with her friend, Alice, who works on Emma's team. Funnily enough they are headed for the agency where Emma came from. They are going to work for Emma's friend Peter, the very same friend who has been talking to Emma about coming to work at our agency, which would be an interesting turn of events. We are an incestuous bunch in advertising, but I imagine every industry is like that. Nevertheless it is a loss for our teams and Emma and I commiserated over lunch on Monday. It's a shame for us to lose just one of them never mind both, but I get it, they are young, just starting out in their careers and need to experience different environments. It happens, although it doesn't make me feel any less sad to lose a team member and I'm sure that commiserating over wine is soon to follow!! Besides I can't say I'm totally surprised, there were a few too many doctor's appointments for me not to be suspicious that Tessa might be interviewing. Emma said the same about Alice, the frequent updates of her Linkedin profile and sick days clued her in. Anyway this week I've been busy woo-ing Tessa's potential replacement who is conveniently interning in my team at the moment. She seems interested so I've been pushing Bossman Ryan, to make her an offer before someone else snaps her up. There are a number of interested parties from what I hear.

Fingers crossed she accepts an offer from us!!

*Strategy Hottie resigned, so view-wise Tasty Tom and Creative Cutie are all I have and the former is completely inappropriate** and the latter I rarely see.

**An estimated 12years younger + junior member of my own department = so very very very wrong!!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Cold Springs, NY - Celebrating 4th July 2010

My parents are in town at the moment for a two week visit. They often come to visit at this time of year preferring NYC at it's stickiest and smelliest for some reason. Summer is their favourite season and they like nothing better than to take the train out to Coney Island and lie on the beach all day. I think I must be adopted lying on a beach all day getting my fair skin burned sounds like hell to me, but to each their own. If I were to prioritize New York's seasons, summer would be at the bottom of the list, no question about it, autumn would be at the top of the list followed by spring and winter.

On Saturday my parents took the Seastreak ferry out to the beach in Sandy Hook, NJ while I cleaned my apartment in air conditioned bliss and watched the football - go Germany!!! I was very impressed by their 4-0 defeat of Argentina, but let's see how they do against Spain tomorrow - so on Sunday we compromised and headed out on a day trip to Cold Springs, New York.

An express train from Grand Central will you you in Cold Springs in about an hour and 15minutes and costs $22.50 per person for a round trip off peak ticket. The route runs alongside the Hudson River and so sit on the left side of the train, facing forward, for the best views. It's a very scenic trip!!

Once you arrive at Cold Spring station follow the path alongside track 1 - don't go up the stairs onto the other platform - and you'll arrive at the foot of Main Street where you can either take the pedestrian tunnel down to the river or walk uphill for the refreshments and antique stores. We plumped for the river first.

After taking in the views we headed back to Main St to browse some of the many many many antique stores. Main Street, Cold Spring is pure teeming with them, so if antiquing is your thing, then Cold Spring may well be your kind of town. Personally I would rather poke my eye out with a sharp stick, my father on the other hand....well let's just say my mother and I spent a lot of time sat on the benches lining Main St waiting for my Dad to finish his browsing.

We had lunch at Cold Spring Cafe where we overheard our waitress telling a customer that the 4th July parade would be starting in 15minutes at 2pm and that she needed to hustle if she wanted to be able to move her car, so when we left the cafe we joined the locals and tourists lining the streets to watch the parade.

It's always quite weird for me to see Americans proudly decked out in Stars and Stripes given that flying the Union Flag often stirs up accusations of racism in the UK. I'm not sure when that started, but I am assuming it has a lot to do with the Union Flag being adopted by the skinheads who aligned themselves with the British National Party back in the 1970s.

This little guy was my favourite. I love the look of concentration on his face as he tries to get his feet back on his pedals. I remember the feeling well.

A few more photos of the parade...

I don't know about you, but when I find myself thinking about how the US of A overthrew those fiendish Brits to gain their independence I immediately think....llama!!! What??

It was so hot outside I cannot imagine it was a good day to be furry!! It was a good day to get an ice cold beer though. Sadly it was too crowded to get a seat outside at the old Cold Spring Train Station which has been converted into an inviting cafe
so we enjoyed the air conditioned bliss of the bar at the historic Hudson House Inn across the street instead before getting the 4.05pm train back to New York.