My pal-of-the-messy-divorce and I managed a “Girls pre-Xmas night out” in Leeds last night. I am suffering…mildly, but definitely suffering, having belatedly investigated the reason why we are warned never to mix the grape and the barley… (Oh! but that wine was divine – and the whisky! Smooth and rich – an icy fire begging to be savoured).
I made it to Marton-cum-Grafton (gorgeous wee Yorkshire village where she is currently living) in a record 2hrs and 34 mins – despite snow at Beattock Summit, a ten mile stretch of densest fog over the A66 and an average speed (50mph) section on the M1 roadworks after Scotch Corner. The old Passat did the ton, eating up road, lunging forward ever faster with the lightest touch on the pedal – yet, strangely, delivering an impressive 43.6mpg (ok ok, it can do much better than that – but it would involve killing the speed)… It might look a wee bit scruffy now (scratch on rear bumper from an idiot driving a Chelsea Tractor – aka a 4×4) and it needs cleaning on the inside. But it is a dependable beast of a turbo diesel.
Of course I am a faithless shallow besom. Which means… that I promptly ditched the Passat to climb into my pals Audi TT.
And this is when the real fun began.
The M62 passed in a blur of muscular car-power.
The QPark staff handed us free handmade chocolate as we parked.
Then the Leeds Malmaisons dark glamour embraced us – sultry, Stygian, obliquely hinting at debauchery… excess… secrets… Interior metalwork intrigues with a style that nods to Gaudi. Upholstery whispers, insistent, touch me, stroke me, caress me… Walls are densest navy. The intricate metal-worked wall lights echo the designed metalwork beauty of the entrance.
Reception staff were attentive, recognising us from our visit just a couple of weeks ago.
We had a room upgrade. And that was a good thing. Linen to die for. Vast bed. LCD screen, surround-sound. Champagne mini-bar and luxury snacks. A huge en suite that dwarfed my bathroom at home… Malmaisons own fragrant toiletries…
We cracked open the red wine. And took precious wonderful child-free time to adorn ourselves.
I had a wee panic when I thought the black leather jeans I had bought (but not actually tried on for lack of time…never a good idea) were going to be too tight. But no! They were perfect. Ahhhhh. Heaven… Then the silk t-shirt, the crystal-pleated cobalt blue satin scarf, the new earrings, my Fornarina boots… (yip I am shallow… fashion fascinates me…I take pleasure from new shapes, from textures, and colours…)
My pal has a stunning sense of style. She has a dark and dramatic, arresting beauty. She turns heads. And she looked painfully good in a simple satin shift teamed with astonishing, chunky, faceted and gleaming jet necklaces.
The taxi turned up on time. Just as we had finished that night out cigarette.
We met up with some others. Began laughing. Drank some more. Hunted out the best bars. Danced for hours and hours and hours. And at 3.20am we ate a big bag of fat chips with mayonnaise on the hilarious and inebriated walk back to the Mal.
I am old enough to know that funny, happy, on-top-of-the-world nights like last night rarely occur when you plan and rely upon them to happen. But it all came together last night. We were the right people in the best of places and at the perfect time.
We are now beginning to plan for the next time!