Monday, 22 August 2011

Cambridge Nights

With my departure from these green and pleasant lands getting closer and necessitating the leaving Emma behind, I decided to make the most of the remaining days for a day out in Cambridge and the chance to meet one of my facebook friends and fellow angel, Holly Johns.

Over the last few months I have become quite adept at my Bob to Emma tran$formation whilst on the road rather than incurring the far greater expense of a hotel and yesterday was no exception. I wore my underwear (apart from my bra) under my suit for work (a first for me) and at lunchtime, having taken a half day off got on the road.

The A1 was absolutely hell, between Grantham and Stanford and past RAF Wittering, with speeds hardly exceeding 25 – 30 mph and traffic toe to tail. Finally I pulled off into Peterborough Services for the next stage. Changing in the gents, I put on my bra and top, changed trousers for girly jeans and with a jerkin over the top, got back in the car heading south.

Traffic was somewhat easier now and I pulled into Cambridge Services to complete the change over into Emma. Parking away from the main area, I had no sooner started (wig on, forms in place) when first a van pulled up alongside me on one side, the guy remaining in his seat on the phone and then a bloody car on the other side! WTF, there were at least 10 empty spaces either side of me! Again the driver remained in his seat!

Sod it, I pulled out of my space and took up another spot across the car park only to find almost the same thing happen again. In disgust I finally drove around to the car park for the Day’s Inn and despite various people walking past, managed to put my face on and then do my nails before dashing in the rain to the services and the toilet.

Satisfied with my presentation and rid of that last coffee I had had in the office, I rejoined the traffic and made my way to Cambridge and the Grafton Centre where I parked up and joined the other shoppers inside. Wearing a vest type top, tight jeans and kitten heels, (I carried a nice pair of heels with me in my bag) I certainly did not stand out and once again enjoyed the fact that no one whatsoever paid me any attention other than the various shop assistants whilst perusing the goods.

However, memo to self – when wearing a ¾ cup bra with full forms and a low cut top, ensure that the top remains in place and doesn’t head south when you are not watching!

I started with some new make up from Boots including a long lasting eyeliner gel from Maybelline which comes in a little pot with a separate applicator brush. Well I can report that this does exactly what it says on the package and was so easy to apply. I certainly recommend this product.

I then had a good luck around a few clothes shops including Next before picking up a narrow leather belt fabric covered in a leopard skin pattern. As I said to the girl serving me when she commented that she was going to buy the same on payday, “I have a pair of shoes that match” I decided that admitting to owning a matching jacket and skirt was just a tad too much and refrained.

I finally moved onto Debenhams where they were having a sale “buy one and get a 2nd for free” off the racks. I loved working my way through the racks and found a great pair of jeans in my size only to discover they were maternity – oh well, back to the drawing board! I eventually ended up with Julian McDonald bodycon dress for £35 and a lovely cropped linen jacket in purple for free.

No trip out would be complete without trying on numerous shoes both in Debenhams and my favourite store New Look but I was a good girl this time and managed to leave without adding to my large collection.

With the stores closing, I had a mooch around Accessorise and Claires for some new earrings for my pierced ears, but whilst interested in a number of pieces, I have enough for the moment given the enforced absence of Emma in the months to come.

By now and in need of a drink, I went upstairs to the food hall next to the cinema complex and sat down on a high stool in the Italian Restaurant purchasing cold glass of Peroni. Sitting omn my stool, I got talking to the girls working there and having had a 2nd Peroni decided to have a starter having been tempted by the great smells and the look of food as it was being served around me. Settling for the meatballs with mozerella and bread, I tucked in as the world went by not a care as everyone was busy getting on with their lives.

The great feeling of everything being normal is so hard to get across and the very normality is what gives me such a buzz.

With time moving on, I had arranged to meet Holly at 7-30 and we were going to eat at CB2 – a bistro further into town, so off the stool, gather up my shopping, bag on shoulder and back to the car. No stares, no comments I might as well have been invisible – good feeling and very satisfying.

Plugging in the post code for the Bistro, I joined the evening traffic before recognising where I was and leaving my car in a car park close to the Magistrates Court (I was last there when accompanying my friend Liz during her court case some 18 months earlier). Umbrella up, I dashed across the road past a couple of pubs where the smokers were congregating under awnings and made my way to the Bistro again no adverse comments or reaction whatsoever, however I did note a number of sets of eyes follow me as I walked past!

Taking a proffered table upstairs in the Bistro, I waited for Holly to join me. Whilst we had been at the same meal at Villagios on the Saturday of Sparkle, we had somehow managed to miss each other and so I was looking forward to finally meeting Holly.

Recognising her as she came through the door, I quickly had to excuse myself as I realised I had left my phone in plain view in my car and so I quickly made my way back to the car. Taking a short cut through one of the pubs, I expected the worst but no, nothing! As I retrieved my phone and retraced my steps, I smiled at those who caught my eye. Smiling is one way to defuse any situation, make more use of it girls!

The meal and company was everything I expected, we discussed far ranging topics and to all and sundry were just two women having a quiet meal in a trendy bistro.

I was amazed to hear that Holly had only gone out for the first time last November as she came across very self assured and confident. Holly proved to be great company.

As it approached 10pm, we decided to return to our cars and drive across town and we would finish the evening at a pub where I am only known as Emma, The Pickerel Inn, close to the river.

Leaving the cars at Pound Hill, we walked to the pub which despite the poor weather was quite full. Ordering our drinks, we sat down and continued to chat. The only time we drew ant attention was from a group of French guys next to us and this was due to them overhearing our conversation, perhaps its time for me to learn how to change my voice as it is one aspect I have so far been singularly unsuccessful in when presenting as Emma.

All too soon, it was midnight and we made reluctantly made our way back to the cars and bade each other a good night. Holly was about 20 minutes away and myself just over an hour.

Driving back, I stopped at Cambridge Services for a wee stop and then a coffee at McDonalds at Peterborough before getting home at 2-30am after changing and cleaning off in my usual layby 4-5 miles from home.

Good job I made the necessary changes and cleaned my face as our three daughters were still up when I got home and insisted on trying to engage me in conversation whilst I had my jerkin over my top but still wearing my girly jeans!

A lovely day out and one I will cherish in the months to come when Emma remains packed up back in England.

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