What Katy Did: Of horses and ukulele
East Anglia is a great part of the world to live in. We have the best of both worlds in Suffolk and Essex, in that the coast and countryside are right on our doorsteps.
East Anglia is a great part of the world to live in. We have the best of both worlds in Suffolk and Essex, in that the coast and countryside are right on our doorsteps. But yet if you want to experience the cosmopolitan delights of the capital, it's only an hour or so away.
There was a time, in my student days, when I visited London pretty regularly, not only because I had a boyfriend who lived there but because my Young Person's rail card allowed cheap travel. On turning 27 I mourned the loss of that money-saving card, along with my youth (I still like to think of myself as young but, as a colleague loves to point out on a regular basis, I'm nearer to 30 than 20 these days) and so travel to the capital tailed off drastically.
But over the past month or so I've found myself in London rather frequently - well, you know what they say about London busses.
I wrote the other week of the Sport Relief party at Heaven nightclub, and only the week before I was at by the launch of my friend Momtaz's book Bollywood Crafts at the Nehru Centre in Mayfair (after which I couldn't resist a sneaky stop off in Selfridges, down the road, for some scrummy chocolate cake).
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A few days after that I was back at a rather bizarre art exhibition at the Horse Hospital (very weird clay creations set in horrible old frames - but I'm sure someone loved them) and then on to a friend's birthday celebration at a trendy bar in Trafalgar.
As we were staying overnight, the next day - suffering from mild exhaustion not just from trekking through the city centre on high heels but from far too many late nights in a row - I soldiered on to Columbia Road flower market in search of giant plants to breathe life into my new abode (the Ipswich house, by the way, is finally coming together). Then it was off to Hackney Road to purchase blinds for my newly painted sash windows, as well as a rather fetching, art deco vase.
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Still in time to catch the final hours of the Brick Lane Festival, we trundled down the road and collapsed down into the first available street-side chairs at one of the many Indian restaurants, where we waited a further nine hours (slight exaggeration), to be served a rather mediocre curry. But it was 5pm and the staff were no doubt flagging from serving around 50 million people in just one day (another slight exaggeration, but probably not far off the mark).
Brick Lane was absolutely brimming with people of all nationalities and it was interesting just to sit and watch them all wander by, shovelling samosas and curry dishes down their necks as they walked.
A quick trip to the bagel bakery for Danish pastries and, surprisingly, bagels, and we were on our way back home for much needed rest.
But Suffolk can offer up just as many fun times, if you search for them, and last Friday I had the pleasure of hosting the East Anglian Daily Times' table at the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain concert held at Snape Maltings. It was a bit of a mad dash to get there straight after work, what with rush hour traffic, but it was a delightful evening with superb food, great company and fantastic entertainment, courtesy of the ukulele players who injected their performance with humour throughout.
I plan to head back to Snape next weekend (this one, as you read) for the first Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival, which promises to be good - though it seems rather bizarre to call it the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival when it's held at Snape. But anything involving food gets my vote, as is evident from just having re-read this column, so I'm not going to grumble.
I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live in London, with all its glitz, glamour and excitement (though also noise, pollution and crime) but for now, I'm happy to have Suffolk as my home and use London for the odd night of entertainment. And with even more great events being staged in this neck of the woods, such as the Latitide and V festivals, not to mention the forthcoming Dance House on the Ipswich waterfront, bringing with it top class dance companies from across the world, perhaps there will be less and less need to venture out of the region.