A bookshop, a café, and an unexpected night out with friends

I took the day off yesterday, and invested some time in our eldest daughter – who hasn’t had the best time in recent weeks and months. We wandered into town together, visited a bookshop, and had lunch in a café.

I picked up a couple of books that whispered to me while noodling around the shelves:

“The Enchanted April”, by Elizabeth Von Arnim

The Enchanted April: Von Arnim, Elizabeth, Bowen, Brenda:  9781784870461: Books


A notice in The Times addressed to ‘Those Who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine’ advertises a ‘small medieval Italian castle to be let for the month of April’. Four very different women take up the offer: Mrs Wilkins and Mrs Arbuthnot, both fleeing unappreciative husbands; beautiful Lady Caroline, sick of being ‘grabbed’ by lovesick men; and the imperious, ageing Mrs Fisher. On the shores of the Mediterranean, beauty, warmth and leisure weave their spell, and nothing will ever be the same again.

“The People on Platform 5”, by Clare Pooley

The People on Platform 5: A feel-good and uplifting read with unforgettable  characters from the bestselling author of The Authenticity Project: Pooley, Clare: 9781787631809: Books


Iona sees the same group of people each day – ones she makes assumptions about, gives nicknames to, but never ever talks to.

But then, one morning, Smart-but-Sexist-Surbiton chokes on a grape right in front of Iona. Suspiciously-Nice-New Malden steps up to help and saves his life, and this one event sparks a chain reaction.

With nothing in common but their commute, an eclectic group of people learn that their assumptions about each other don’t match reality. But when Iona’s life begins to fall apart, will her new friends be there when she needs them most?

Later in the day – while contemplating quite what I might fill the long weekend with – my other half wandered into the room, and said “Did you see the message on your phone?”


I fished the phone from my pocket, opened the messaging app, and discovered a conversation I should perhaps have been a part of. Idiot. I had put the phone on “do not disturb” the night before.

Ten minutes later we arrived at the pub with drinks waiting for us on the table accompanied by smiles, stories, and laughter.

Before we knew it “a quick drink and catch up” had turned into “another drink”, “some chips”, and then a call home to tell the children to get their own dinner while we ordered food to share at the pub.

The food was pretty rubbish (remind me next time to buy lots of bread!), but it didn’t really matter – there’s a lot to be said for ending the week spending a few hours with friends – unpacking the stresses of the week, listening to each other’s adventures, and laughing at our own fallibilities.


Time to go carry on with chores. While my other half takes the kids to watch England Ladies play rugby today, I’m washing clothes, dishes, tidying up, and trying to get the house somewhere near tidy – or at least acceptable enough that visitors don’t think we’ve been burgled.

How’s your weekend looking ?

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