Day two of my Christmas holiday to Essex started relatively early - 8am. That is early when you consider that I didn't go to bed until 1am this morning.
I was up because I had to get the 9:15am train into London as I was visiting my old work place - the place I left almost 6 years ago when love took me to Dorset.
The journey into London was a Somewhat nostalgic one for me. I had forgotten what it was like to travel on those trains and although they were comparatively empty, memories of having to stand in crowded carriages, or sit for ages on a train in the middle of nowhere (so it seemed) because of some delay or another came flooding back.
As soon as I got off the train at London Fenchurch Street, I remembered why I am glad I live and work in Dorset.
A wave of noise hit me as I left the station; traffic and thousands of people rushing through the streets - each one far more important that any of the others. And the number of people using their mobile phones whilst rushing around! If they weren't having very loud conversations, they were texting or emailing something very important - and all the time not looking where they were going.
It's a good two miles from Fenchurch Street Station to my old workplace, and I had forgotten how long the walk was. And to make matters worse, the Starbucks coffee shop that was kind of halfway between the two - and would be frequented by me every pay day - had been replaced by another wine bar. Like there aren't enough of those already in London?!
Fortunately, my dampened mood was soon to be hung out in the summer sun, then ironed, folded, and placed back in my soul all cheery and lovely, as I reached my destination: Phoenix Futures, Asra House, 1 Long Lane, London SE1 4PG.
Although not all the people that I knew when I worked there were still there, a select few were still there. It was amazing to see them again, and I was very touched to find how pleased they all were to see me. I was given a tour of the office - which looks nothing like how it used to - and met up with old friends and was introduced to some of the current staff. It soon became apparent that I am something of a legend still in that company.
To be honest, I'm not surprised - I am fab after all.
Talking of fab, I had picked the best day to visit apparently. Today was "Bring your kids to work" day, AND they had arranged for a special visit from Father Christmas himself to hand out presents to the children and to the grown ups.
Well wrap me in tinsle and tie a bow round me - when it came to giving out the presents for the grown ups, my name was called out first! Remember that I haven't worked there for 6 years! I was genuinely touched by this lovely gesture. My present from Santa was a joke a day notepad - a perfect gift for me!
After all the presents had been given out (some children got some cool LEGO sets), there was a small buffet of party food to enjoy. I sat with a small plate of sausage roll, mini pork pie, pringles, ham sandwich and cheese (not that small a plate) and chatted with some very good friends.
All too soon I had to go. I said my goodbyes with a heavy heart - because I don't know when I will see these people again. They were a massive part of my life for a long time, and I know I will never forget them.