Another week has gone by and I haven't had two minutes to sit and blog, let alone cruise the Interwebnet in my normal fashion. I've had a visit from my parents and then three days volunteering at a conference, followed by a day and a half with Lola II. Today I'm at school, but only for admin-type things - teaching starts on Thursday.
Mum and dad's visit progressed in the usual way. They bring items to be put through a dishwasher cycle and things for me and Mr A they'd been saving up since I last saw them - chocolates and a floor mop and bucket this time, but it could be anything. I hand over things I've been saving up since I last saw them, then we have lunch, everyone has a nap and they go home. This time lunch was particularly splendid, at the Restaurant in the Park, given that we'd enjoyed it so much on the Taste Trail. It came in joint first place along with Sabai Sabai, which was the place with that amazing carrot sculpture.
I actually drove mum and dad back to London this time, since I was going to be doing a stint of volunteering there. I was helping out at a conference, mostly guiding and directing people around the venue, but the special part was that it is a conference that I used to run, and many of the events team, exhibitors and delegates are old friends. It was held at the Excel Centre, and apart from views of the O2 arena, the Isle of Dogs and the Thames barrier, apparently this venue has the longest corridor in the world. I saw it; it was indeed a long corridor, with a corresponding long balcony looking out over the Royal Victoria Dock.
I had extra fun at the Docklands Light Railway station. Members of the general public aren't allowed to wait about on the platform to meet people, so a few of us were 'platform trained' by a lovely lady called Jeanette. I now know where the button is that will stop any trains moving in the vicinity of Custom House station. I got to wear a high visibility jacket and a walky talky, which made me very important. Well, not that important if I'm honest, but it was great fun.
The whole volunteering thing was exhausting and lasted three whole days - I was so tired I could hardly speak by the end of it. But I caught up with news from my previous workplace, while trying very hard to steer clear of the politics.
I don't think I've written before about the elves who inhabit our lives. Last year, when I went camping with Lola II, we unexpectedly found single chocolates under our pillows in the tent. I was expecting the Tent Elf's deliveries each evening, but during the course of the day Lola II forgot about it, so it was always a lovely surprise for her. Until the last night, when clearly she'd remembered the routine, and she found a chocolate under her pillow while all I found was an empty wrapper...
The Tent Elf isn't the only member of the elfin family. Mum, dad and Lola II all discovered that the Computer Keyboard Elf had visited while I was staying with them last week. But mostly, the elves we meet are Pillow Elves, who leave a chocolate under your pillow. Until last week, when a new variety appeared. I was staying at Lola II's during the conference, but I was so tired that I failed to detect that some sort of mutant variety of Elf had secreted an aubergine under the pillow! Lola II said that I could never be a princess...
After such a long trip it was great to get home on Sunday and catch up with all of Mr A's news, pay a quick visit to the pub and then chill on the sofa. Today I've come into university to do a session with this year's new intake of mature students, and then go to a meeting where we can discuss those difficult module choices. Then I have just two more days of holiday freedom until my third year begins in earnest on Thursday.