A skip in my step

So the great Chicky Adventure is done and my sibling partner in crime has arrived back on the other side of the world (and is working through her jet lag by all accounts).

It was such an amazing two weeks – firstly for the unadulterated ‘just us’ time, secondly for the opportunity for me to introduce her to this amazing city I call home, and thirdly for our shared pilgrimage to Amsterdam, Dad’s childhood home, and the delicacies we enjoyed in memory of our Oma and Opa.

I’ve been meaning to pick up the blogging ‘pencil’ again over the last few days but I have felt so full of everything we did that I haven’t known where to start. The anticipation of Lil Chicky’s first trip here. The pride in the sharing of my new hometown and experiencing its fabulous-ness through her ‘new’ eyes. The privilege of helping her celebrate her 40th birthday. The sheer intensity of spending 2 weeks – 24/7 – together for the first time since…well forever.

All underpinned by a lifetime of sisterly memories, the effortless and uncomplicated recall of funny stories, childhood scrapes and sibling rivalry, and squillions of photos…

…including a few selfies.

DAY 2: Fab Finchley – looking for coffee in the pouring rain. 

DAY 3: Can’t go to London without visiting the Queen. 

DAY 4: Hamers do ‘the henge’ (squeezed between visits to Salisbury and Bath). Technically not a selfie thanks to a kind Aussie chap on the tour, but close enough.

There’s a small selfie gap here while we undertook birthday celebrations (part one – The Mousetrap and dinner in Covent Garden – and two – Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley)…

DAY 5: Fashionista food at the Berkeley

…Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Globe Theatre and a visit to Carnaby Street.

DAY 6: Yes, we bought these. Because we had to get out of the rain. And the Irregular Choice shop was just there. Really.

Then we went to Amsterdam…

DAY 9: Arriving at Amsterdam’s Central Station about 2 minutes before torrential rain…

Waiting for our first poffertjes (teeny tiny pancakes served with butter and icing sugar and eaten with a toothpick) of the pigrimage trip in Dam Square.

(More on Amsterdam in a later post).

After 4 days, we returned to London, hired a car and drove first to Silverstone and then to Donington Circuits to tick a few things off Lil Chicky’s motorsport bucket list. Looks like Day 13 was a lucky one…

The Winners’ Podium at Silverstone – cheesy but had to be done.

We decided to take Day 14 easy with a visit to the Museum of London after the ‘wild storm‘ had abated…and when Day 15 dawned bright and blue-skied (if a little chilly), there was just one thing left to do…

DAY 15: It endeth on The Eye – our last sibling selfie of the trip.

Full of our time together and tired from our two weeks of tourist-ing, we said our emotional good-byes at Heathrow last Tuesday. After I’d waved until she’d disappeared behind the security barrier, I made the long trip home to Gidday HQ. It’s still my warm and cosy haven but a little quieter. And yellow banner of the Money Shop, which became our welcoming ‘nearly home’ beacon as we turned into my street each night, has now taken on a new and poignant significance. Another memory, meaningless to anyone else but enough to inspire a skip in my step…

…one that only Lil Chicky will understand.

A Penchant For Poirot…

I love a good whodunit. Film, book, TV, play – it doesn’t matter, I love them all. Most of the time it’s a guessing game trying to work out who the culprit is but sometimes it’s evident quite early – whether that’s via masterful deduction a good guess on my part or a through the story itself – but the thrill remains in seeing how the criminal will be exposed.

Christie 1890 – 1976

I have long been a fan of Agatha Christie and it was she who sparked my love affair with novels of the criminal kind long before modern crime writers put their graphic, and often gory, pens to paper. Her ingenious storytelling has me lifting layer after layer of delicious and dastardly detail with every page I turn and her quirky protagonists capture my imagination with their idiosyncracies and perversity.

Christie’s first murder mystery was The Mysterious Affair at Styles and was published late in 1920 in the US (followed by the UK early in 1921). She went on to write over 200 of the little blighters as well as 6 novels under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott. That’s a lot of tap-tap-tapping in my world!

It all started with Parker Pyne Investigates when I was about 11 and I went on to enjoy books, films and plays – like The Mousetrap, which has been running on the West End continuously for 60 years and began life as Three Blind Mice – as Jane Marple and Hercule Poirot were brought to life for me again and again. There’s the international – Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, Evil Under the Sun – and the close to home – Murder at the Vicarage, 4.50 from Paddington, Pocket Full of Rye – to name just a few. And having only read/seen 31, I’ve still got quite a few to go.

Suchet masters Poirot’s peccadillos perfectly

This weekend, ITV3 is playing Poirot movies all day every day – I am in heaven. David Suchet is absolutely brilliant as the pernickety Poirot and I’ve managed to add Sad Cypress and The Hollow to my seen/read list today. Death on the Nile is running now but I’ve seen it before and know whodunit so it’s time to check out tomorrow’s TV listings to see what other Christie gems I can add to my cache.

And Mrs McGinty’s Dead is looking promising…