Four days in Lake Garda and Verona. Gorgeous food, long, wine-filled meals, a little bit of relaxation and quite a lot of lycra-clad cycling around the Italian countryside. There is an excellent reason why there are no photos of me in my cyling ensemble....
Or, more accurately, nine hours in Prague, 12 hours in a field an hour outside Prague, and three hours at the airport.
I flew out for a speedy work trip earlier this week- although my actual Prague-time only involved a very late night dinner and some sleep (not enough - by yesterday I was zombie-lady).
Main things to note: the Czech Republic in September is COLD. It's also very beautiful. And my attempt to ward off the cold mainly involved eating eight meals a day and experimenting with the cappucino machine.
My return journey left me with an enduring hatred of Gatwick - the queues at immigration were ridiculous, and I ended up missing my last train home. Good thing I have to be back there for another stupid o'clock flight in two days' time....
Oh yeah, did I mention I'm off to Italy on Saturday? I didn't? Oops. Well, I am. The prospect of almost three weeks off work is making me a very happy lady right now!
When September rolls around, and you're plunged from 30 degree heatwave to drizzle and darkness and damp in the space of 24 hours, you have two options.
I've thought seriously about this - I could happily just retreat to bed until April. But then I'd miss Halloween. And Bonfire Night. And Christmas. Also, I'm not sure how thrilled my work would be about an impromptu six-month sabbatical.
Which brings us to:
2. Embrace autumn
The miserable weather and the early nights I'm not such a fan of. But I can totally get down with the seasonal ingredients and the cosy jumpers.
Yesterday I had a day off, spurred myself into tackling a huge list of chores that had been steadily mounting, and then invited my friend B over for dinner.
Three-bean chilli, plum and apple upside-down cake and some malbec. Could be worse, I guess. If I really concentrate on toffee apples and mulled wine, woolly scarves, casseroles and log fires, winter seems marginally (very marginally) more like a bearable proposition.
Just in case you felt the need for one, here's a weather-appropriate croon-fest that's helping me get on board with the end of summer.
"Boo!", I hear you cry. "No fair. Poor Celia, trapped in the office hiding from the sunshine."*
I don't really deserve any sympathy, though. Because:
1. I'm squirrelling away lieu days for future adventures (seriously, it's trip-planning a-go-go round here)
2. I did manage to see my beloved S, who was over from Amsterdam, for brunch before I went into work. Veggie brunch no less, with smoothies and bubble and squeak and general good things.
She loves me taking pictures at brunch. Really she does.
3. Working in a super quiet office is strangely therapeutic, and I actually got. shit. done.
4. I just postponed the fun and games to Tuesday.
I got lucky and blagged tickets to a screening of The Way, Way Back for my friend B and I.
To be honest, it has Allison Janney in, so I probably would have been sold right from the beginning. (CJ! Who doesn't love CJ?) But still - it reminded me once again why being a teenager is a fucking bitch. And why being grown-up isn't always a huge amount easier.
It also reminded me why I love Sam Rockwell. There are many reasons why I love Sam Rockwell.
And then we got to go for German sausage and saukraut and Breton cider in Soho - without any queues, because the rest of the world was knackered/impoverished post-bank holiday.
So yeah. As bank holidays go, no record breaking adventures, but not too shabby!
* Or alternatively, feel free to remind me that I usually work four-day weeks and that I'm not exactly a miner/ice fisherman/UN weapons inspector. That's fine too.
I had big plans for my Friday off work. Then I made the fateful decision to watch the first episode of Top of the Lake on iplayer.
Goodbye plans. Au revoir productivity. 4-mile run? Totally didn't go.
I mean, it's not like I hadn't suspected I might enjoy it. There were some things tipping the balance in its favour before I'd even watched a second:
:: Elisabeth Moss. Aka The Best Thing Mad Men Has To Offer Except Don Draper. Aka the President's youngest daughter in the West Wing.
:: Jane Campion. Because she's weird and awesome and The Piano is a very unsettling film.
:: New Zealand. Because, hello. Have you seen Lord of the Rings?
The thing is though - and I'm almost scared to admit this in Britain, c.2013 - I'm not really much of a crime drama kind of girl. Even skandi-crime. Yep, it all looks great, very nicely shot, I totally appreciate all the cool knitwear and the chance to learn some Danish, but it always just kinda reminds me of a really, really jazzed up version of Silent Witness. Or Inspector Morse. Or Taggart.
Kid/adult disappears, is found dead. Policewoman/man with deep-rooted psychological problems investigates, gets too close to the case. Gets thrown off case/causes a rumpus. Steps in, saves the day. All potential suspects are investigated, weird facts uncovered, eventually we find out it was the creepy neighbour/jealous wife/greedy heir/local gangster.
And this - this is the same but also so totally different. Are you asking why? Good. Here's why:
:: Holly Hunter with waist-length grey hair, playing a creepy/charismatic kinda cult leader followed by sad lonely women.
:: The sad lonely women - one of them has had a very traumatic experience with an chimp called Brad. With whom she used to share a bed.
:: It's all just weird. Slightly off-kilter, slightly bizarre. There's the guy high on methadone who'll only let people speak in the present tense. There's Peter Mullan, flagellating himself at his mothers' grave. There are references to the Bible, and Paradise, and serpents. It's all veering towards Twin Peaks, in the best possible way.
:: The guy above? Standing next to Elisabeth Moss in a terrible hoodie and drop-crotch jeans? Shouldn't be hot. But so is.
:: Episode 5? Gut-wrenchingly good final ten minutes, culminating in the perfect use of Bjork. Who, in weirdness terms, is clearly some kind of long-list soul-mate of Jane Campion.
One episode left to wrap up about a million loose threads - eek!