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Good Things

Singing around the piano on Thursday night, my friend bringing the room to life with his exquisite playing, party at a chum's on Friday night, lots of bubbly and good food, chatter with enthusiastic musicians and magicians, baby shower on Saturday, and an actual nappy cake, mittens, booties, the lot. Smiles from the mother-to-be who's blooming in preternatural beauty, children absolutely everywhere and a return to the Hampshire hotel in Leicester Square. The last time I was there was in the early 90s, I stayed in a glorious room full of chinese lacquered furniture. Now it's a Radisson Blu, and though it's twenty years less glamorous, at least our tea room was vast, with a panoramic view. Some of the children tried to climb out of the windows. One may not have been missed had he succeeded.

I'm quite a fan of baby showers. Many sniff at the idea as an Americanism, which it is in form perhaps but in essence, similar gatherings occur everywhere. Personally I find it gives me the opportunity to hear lurid tales of motherhood, ooh and aah at pretty baby things and make a fuss of a pal approaching the most extraordinary change in their life. I am very glad to celebrate with them - and very relieved I never did this myself.

We all went on to the National Gallery and moved from deep conversations about women's issues, to admiring the glimmergold background of Van Gogh's Sunflowers , and the mystery of Holbein's Ambassadors. The former is never sucessfully reproduced by photo or poster, and the latter brings out all my scooby-doo cravings for a clew.

The weather was awful of course, and today promises no better. Outside, the sky is a weird bright salmon colour. I'm up for another cup of coffee and then on to work.

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