I'm having one of my immensely productive weekend days, when I make a huge list and just run round manically until everything's completed. Usually I do this on a Saturday but I was out all day so today I've staved off the Sunday blues with my many and varied tasks. So far I've booked all my youth hostels for my trip, re-organised the budget, got up, done the laundry, watched the final day of World Athletics, cleaned, been shopping, written cards and wrapped presents. I'm so excited about the hostel bookings as it means everything is now falling into place: I have all my flights booked and I know where I'm staying for each night of my trip, so now I just have a few more things to buy and all my printing to do (I'm developing a quite impressive "Folder of Doom" containing all the information I could possibly need) and then it's the pre-trip arrangements that will take up the rest of my time - making a comprehensive change of address list, organising leaving parties (plural!), arranging to move out of the flat, sorting out things at work etc. I'm also quite excited about the shopping I did today - having opted out of my pension scheme, done some overtime and had a payrise, I've been able to buy everything that has been on my "I really need this and can't afford it list" for the past few months, including some black work shoes for winter that are actually waterproof (previously I only had my knee boots after the demise of my other shoes) and a new bottle of perfume which may not seem essential to any men reading this, but I'm sure all the girls will understand that it's not nice to go for four months without any perfume to wear on a night out. I've also picked up a rather fabulous fascinator to wear to a wedding in a couple of weeks' time - I'm sure it'll come in useful for Henley next year too!
Anyway, talk of weddings brings me to yesterday when I had a fun day out at Hannah's hen party. I met the girls in Stratford where they were very easy to spot in the uniform of bright orange tops that we'd been asked to wear. Hannah had a tasteful pink "Bride to be" sash and purple balloons which clashed very nicely with the whole ensemble! We hired rowing boats and split into three teams for a treasure hunt where all the clues were based around the river - cue comedy rowing and me running across the park to try to find an RSC leaflet and getting in the way of all the tourists taking photos of Shakespeare's monument while I worked out who the four statues round the edge represented. Our team finished first and got almost all the answers right which I think was an excellent effort.
After all that exertion we headed back to Hannah and Ant's flat to collapse in a heap for a couple of hours, eat chocolate and drink rose, and discuss weddings. Brilliantly girly, and although I only knew a couple of people there everyone was lovely and it was really fun to chat. Gradually we started getting ready for the evening before heading out with the world's worst taxi firm to Flamenco in Meriden for tapas and salsa dancing. I left at 10 to catch the bus home (standing on the A45 in the pitch dark waiting for the 900 was an interesting experience!) but it was great fun for the short time I was there and the tapas was absolutely gorgeous - the best I've ever had in this country. I definitely recommend the restaurant, although it's probably best to go there with someone who's driving! Anyway, I made it back home just before midnight and collapsed into bed after a great evening. I can't wait for the wedding now to see how lovely Hannah looks in her dress and to see everyone I met again.
This week looks set to be pretty quiet, with just one evening out at MGL's - he's making fajitas which should be yummy. Then at the weekend my brother's coming over which will be brilliant, and we're all going for dinner which I must remember to book tomorrow. Sunday afternoon sees a visit to Coventry to a colleague's birthday/housewarming party so it should be good fun all round. For now though, I'm going to watch the world rowing and feel virtuous after all the productivity of the day.