It was the day of office Christmas party number one.
Yesterday was a day of contrasts. After the usual rumpus getting to school [late], stopping en route to the tube station to buy bread for packed lunches and finding nowhere to park, I had a relaxing tube ride into central London for a work meeting and then it was the workingmums’ office Christmas party. We retired to a Chinese restaurant and ate A LOT. We then moved on to a very dark underground karaoke bar with wigs and Santa outfits in it and proceeded to murder all the old favourites [at least I did]. The sales team put in some stunning performances, but marketing were also in full throat. Simon Cowell would have been impressed, or possibly frightened. I put Personal Jesus on in honour of my Depeche Mode-obsessed partner…
I had to leave early as I had arranged to do an interview at 5.30pm, the only time the person could do. Now, finding a quiet spot in central London pre-xmas where you can do an interview is not an easy feat. I had been told there was a good hotel in Charlotte Street. Unfortunately, I could not remember exactly where Charlotte Street was so arrived at the hotel around 5.20pm. It was packed with people making a lot of noise. I left and considered briefly Caffe Uno. Again, lots of people. I also considered back alleyways, but thought, with my luck, I would probably be mugged mid-interview.
With five minutes to spare I found the gloriously quiet Rathbone Hotel. I thought I had better get a drink to justify sitting in the lobby. Unfortunately, the barman had no change and told me to pay at reception. There was a long queue of people checking in at reception. The various clocks showing the time in Tokyo, the UK and other regions of the world ticked by. At 5.29pm I paid for my drink and retired to the lobby. The interview went fine and I rushed to the tube. Unfortunately, after a couple of years’ absence, I had forgotten what the tube is like in the rush hour. I had particularly forgotten what the tube is like in the pre-xmas rush hour and, of course, I had totally forgotten what the tube is like when you’re pregnant. I was crushed in a corner, being shoved against the glass by a tall man. I told him I was pregnant. His face showed absolutely no reaction and he didn’t adjust his position. I managed, after about 7 stops, to clamber my way into the bit between the seats and clung onto the pole there and closed my eyes, hoping it would all end soon. I felt sick.
Then a group of girls got on the train and proceeded to scream at another group of girls for about 7 or 8 stops. I debated with myself which stop they would get off at. I guessed correctly. I then walked to the car, which was parked miles away up dark side streets and had completely misted up because big girl daughter had left the window open a crack. I arrived home, ready to do battle again the next day for xmas party number two.