Wednesday 19 June 2024

Chelsea Flower Show

 As I special treat I got myself an 8a.m to 8 p.m  ticket for the first members' day of the Chelsea Flower Show. Staying just moments away I fully intended to be there when the gates opened. But then the RNA Awards came along and my plans went up in smoke with a late night of celebration! I made it to the show a little later than planned and reading the runes on the weather did the marquee first. This was the voice of experience as once the rain began everyone came flocking in and I was ready to wander around the other exhibits under my trusty umbrella. The gardens were lovely - I got a few ideas for the Tuscan idyll I eventually want to create outside my back door. There were some drool worthy plants. I celebrity spotted Monty Don and Rachel De Thame being interviewed for the TV. I bought lilies and a mushroom growing kit and a few other odds and ends and had a good time, despite the weather. 

The Newt's Roman Villa garden
This is a hydrangea - I thought it was an azalea. On the plant of the year shortlist and on my wish list. 

An Italian Balcony - Venice, not Tuscany, but I'll take it. 

The lilies I hope are going to grow for me.
I'll try anf rememebr to post the results, and the mushrooms! 

Wednesday 12 June 2024

The Joffe Garden party

 As part of my fancy week staying in London I was able to attend my first publisher's party - a garden party no less, in the grounds of the Royal Overseas League, off Piccadilly. Luckily it was a lovely evening - the rain had stopped. The Choc-lit authors met up first in the pub around the corner and then it was on to the party. It was a lot of fun with the chance to meet and talk to the staff of the publishing house - including the man himself - Jasper Joffe - and other authors including a few friends from the Crime Writers' Association, as Joffe publishes crime as well as romance. It was the tenth anniversary for the publisher, although the Choc-lit family has only been with them just over a year. It was good to celebrate with glasses of bubbly and some very fancy - and tasty - canapes. We all enjoyed ourselves, photos were taken (I've stolen a few again) and the rain stayed away. Looking forward to doing it again next year. 

Meeting in the pub. 

Me. Carol Thomas, Jasper, Morton S Gray
and Jan Baynham

The Joffe authors. 

Wednesday 5 June 2024

What I did in Chelsea.

 My original plan for my recent London trip was a day at the Chelsea Flower Show. I decided to do something I'd had in mind for a while and book a couple of nights in the mansion block where I lived when I worked in Eaton Square. Then the awards were announced, and my new publisher Joffe invited me to their annual garden party and the few nights became a week. Cost a fortune, but I had a wonderful time. The apartment in the mansion block is the one that features in Summer in San Remo and Masquerade on the Riviera. It was good to re-visit old haunts.  I had a studio, which was fun and spent a couple of days flaneuring around the neighbourhood.  I did the RHS show - more of that in a future post -  and the party - more about that later too. I spent some time in the re-vamped Battersea Power Station - lots of shops, a very nice bookshop and lunch at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant. I accidentally had dinner in Tom Kerridge's London pub too, without realising. It was raining, I was tired after wandering around the show and the pub was the nearest eating place, at the end of the street. And very good it was too.  I ate icecream in several up market icecream parlours, went to a concert in Cadogan Hall, which was just around the corner,  a ensemble called Voces8 which I had never encountered before, and which was very enjoyable. As well as the flower show, Chelsea had it's own flower festival going on, with all the shops dressed to the nines, so the place was manic on Sunday with florists getting ready and then on all the days after with tourists taking selfies. I intended to take some too, but it was just too crowded! I had a wonderful, if expensive, time. Now I'm wondering if I can do it all again next year. 

There will be a full post on the flower show later - but until then these are a few of the friends I made along the way.