Yes, I know, I’ve not updated this for ages, but I didn’t seem to be doing anything particularly exciting, unless you count the addition of the ‘foam roller’ into my pilates class, so I decided not to bother you with just piffle and waffle.
Anyway its been over six weeks and finally I’ve got exciting tales -
I did my Splash heat and came second to bottom, which was a relief as it meant I didn’t have to dive again – but I made an ok job of my pike dive from the 5 metre board and nothing fell out on the way down which was the main thing.
Since then I’ve been back on the road with my rolling stand up show ‘Eclairious’, I cant tell you how much I enjoyed packing the old tour bag again, me and my tour manager Chris George hit the road for three days and I did a venue I’d not done before – a rarity after thirty odd years of gigging. This was in Barnard Castle, where once upon a time back in the 60’s my army Dad was based – so I ended up in school there (for less than a year), it was a really tough school on Catterick Camp, full of rock hard squaddies kids, and me and my sister had come in from a mega progressive international school in Berlin, where we had napkins on the dinner tables, so it was all rather a shock and probably didn’t do us any harm, but I fucking hated it. So it was lovely to be back in Barney and find that the place is really rather idyllic and full of nice places to eat and drink, I think maybe the school was knocked down, I hope so.
The girl turned 25 in Feb – which is kind of unbelievable especially as I have a photograph of her opening her presents and she could easily pass for twelve. Anyway we went out for a really nice meal and no one said the wrong thing and it was lovely and I’m so pleased for her because she’s signed with a really good literary agent, and her script writing work is going from strength to strength even though she has to juggle it on top of a proper full time job and anyway it’s a relief when your children find their niche but I’ll stop banging on about it, before I jinx anything. In some respects I wish she wanted to be in any other business but deep down I’m gladder than anything.
Anyway, I had a birthday too, but before that – me and the old man went on the Emirates cable car across the river and it’s mega lols – I promise, it’s a real hoot and has just enough James Bond about it, to make it a little bit thrilling.
So I turned 54 – which really is no big deal as birthdays go – but by coincidence we’d booked to go to Budapest for three nights on the day after – so it seemed like an extra birthday treat – which I didn’t really need as I got lots of lovely presents including a bottle of hugely expensive Frederic Malle perfume, Portrait of a Lady – (which obv, I’m not..) a scent I had been craving since I smelt it on another woman’s neck, months ago.
So anyway BUDAPEST – its quite mad – couple of hours flying time from Heathrow – all v easy and the city nice and close to their airport – so we’d arrived by lunch time – starving obv. Anyway, we’d booked into this fabulous place in an old Hungarian mansion, all peeling plaster, massive marble staircases and dilapidated grandeur, but it was a B and B, so no lunch or dinner. Brody House has only eight rooms, its glorious, but don’t expect frills like room service etc. Anyway we trotted off to the food market in search of sustenance but all the locals were shoving pike and grubby looking sausages into their faces and Ive never craved a Pret so much in my life – so we turned tail and flagged a rip off cab to one of the oldest café’s in town. The New York Café is all gold and chandaliers and bending over waiters – well here’s a photo.
The food was ok, but nothing to take an Instagram of, however the café is in all the guide books, so that was one sight ticked off, Im a bit competitive when it comes to ticking off sights.
Next we headed for the Gellert Hotel where there is the most amazing baths complex. Budapest is famous for its thermal springs and I’d have dived right in had I got my costume (and hat, they’re v keen on covering your hair in the public pools) so decided to do swimming thing the next day.
Anyway pop into the Gellert whether you want to swim or not, because its like a massive whack around the head back in time.
Instead of swimming, we climbed Gellert hill and popped into a church set into some rocks and got brave with trams then flopped back into Brody House where our room which cost a £100 per night inc breakfast for two – looked like this
Most cool of cools, the bed was vast, the duvet giant sized, it was a struggle to leave it and go out for dinner.
But obv we are very greedy so we took a booked cab – which is the only way to not get robbed blind by the cab drivers up to the magical castle district. I can’t tell you how stunning this area is, you can take a bus, or a cab or a funicular up to it and just wander around going ‘Ooh, look!’ And taking photos.
Couple of restaurant recommendations for you up there, are Pierrot and Restaurant 21.
Now just a word of warning about Hungarian food, its days since we got back and I’m still full, its exceptionally rich and heavy, expect a lot of pork, duck and sausage, I have no idea what a vegetarian would do, though I did have quite a nice beetroot risotto one night, just to take a break from the meat. Even though we walked the entire city and I swam outdoors in the Szechenyi thermal complex – which was utterly glorious, we both came back with massive meat guts.
The swimming was glorious, I am a huge fan of being able to swim outdoors in March in warm water, google these baths, they are mind blowing and right next door to the zoo, which we didn’t visit but we did admire the entrance – look at the polar bears.
While I swam Geof saw some art, next time I will tackle the museums and galleries, because I will go back, it’s a fascinating place, half Austrian/Hungarian Empire foll di roll and half Eastern Bloc grey concrete ugliness – the metro system is simple and you can buy a daily travel card which covers all forms of transport – in the three days we were there we used the metro, tram, bus and cog wheel train – so really useful. What Budapest has not got however, is decent shopping, this is a horrible thing to say but fashion and clothes aren’t v high on their agenda, they are a very conservatively dressed people and some of them are fantastically rude, which is obviously hilarious for me, because I’m good in a rude off.
Seriously the people were either utterly charming or a bit devious and sly! I’ve never been so ripped off in a cab in my entire life, but it was worth it – if you want a more fancy pants hotel poss try the Gresham Palace – where we flopped out on the sofas and lowered the tone for an hour with a cup of afternoon tea and don’t forget to have a drink in a ruin bar which are dotted around the city, we found two
Anyway, its great, the weather was lovely and apparently it gets really hot in the summer – and lastly and don’t tell anyone, it’s a lot cheaper than most European cities, like about a third less.
Ok that’s your lot, ive got jobs to do, and knitting to knit and stuff – laters…..
SINCE LAST TIME I HAVE
READ – The Goldfinch by Donna Tart which I utterly loved and The Tell Tale Heart by Jill Dawson which isn’t on the same massive scale, but is nonetheless a really lovely read, which takes you in all sorts of unexpected directions whilst remaining quite simple – a much cleverer book than I first thought.
SEEN – The Cement Garden at The Waterloo Vaults, easily one of London’s grooviest theatrical venues – keep your eye out for anything they stage down in this tunnel – it’s a great night out and I really liked the production though Chris George thought it overlong but that is poss because we were sitting on benches with pillows tied round them!
The Hockney at Dulwich picture gallery, just lovely and life affirming – basically a knock out show. Also popped into the Serpentine where the latest exhib is not worth mentioning so I wont, but I will give a shout out to the Martin Creed at The Haywood which is enormous fun.