Capers Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, well actually that’s not true there’s our dog Polly pottering around the kitchen, Abi’s cat Romeo, who is thoroughly put out by the arrival of Alana’s kitten Frankie, and the impending arrival or her other cat Pickles, plus the sound of all the footsteps of the girls running after said animals in order to protect presents being ripped open, tree light cables chewed through – it’s like an animal mad house here!
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Little Frankie!
Anyhow, before Chrsitmas gets completely underway, let me tell you all about last week and a few of the fabulous events I attend. Starting with my trip to Oxford, to The Feast at Keeble College. I attend along with my nephew Rhys, who is one of their alumni. Wearing my beautiful lace patterned Erdem dress, I arrived to what I could only describe as walking into the Great Hall at Hogwarts. It was truly magnificent, long tables stretching all the way along the room, candles and flowers beautifully laid out, it looked truly magical. I was sitting+next to the Warden, and it was so interesting hearing all about his life and times at Oxford, the stories were fascinating. It was a wonderful evening, and a real privilege to attend.
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The next day was not one but two Christmas drinks parties, the first being out in the countryside at Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beautiful home at Sydmonton. It was a very intimate party, with family and friends all sipping champagne and excitedly discussing as well as everyone’s Christmas plans, Andrew’s new musical Stephen Ward, opening later that week. I had a wonderful catch up with the divine Nicky Haslam, and before I knew it, It was time to head to party number two! This time at the home of some dear friends of ours George and Hugh, where it was of course another wonderfully theatrical affair. I spent the rest of the afternoon gossiping  with Anthony Van Laast and Elaine Paige – you don’t get much more theatrical than that! I also got to talk dance for a good hour with choreographer and ex So You Think You Can Dance star Drew McOnie, who I know is going to go far.
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Later on in the week I was invited to a fabulous Arts Lunch at the Science Museum, where seated in every chair was someone from the world of television, theatre, literature and art. I had a truly hilarious conversation with authors Kathy Lette and Francesca Simon – who also introduced me to Claire Tomalin – and the four of us discussed which historical figures in history could, as they say, cut a caper. Despite my obsessional love of dance, their knowledge I’m ashamed to say put mine to shame! I also caught up with Imogen Stubbs and Rebecca Front as we were all ushered after lunch through the museum to see the Hadron Collider exhibition which was truly fascinating, but so far above me I had to buy the pop up book to follow it!
I had a wonderful breakfast at the Charlotte Street Hotel with my darling Debbie Moore, where as always it was gossip galore as we sipped on bucks fizz and picked at fresh fruit platters, clearly the breakfast of champions!
I was thrilled to attend the opening night of Stephen Ward, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical I mentioned earlier, as the trial and Profumo affair was all going on around me when I was younger, and although I thought I knew so much about it, there were still so many things revealed that I was amazed to hear. I loved the show, the music was beautiful , and the orchestrations were some of the best I have ever heard. The star of the show, my dear friend Alex Hanson, who I had the pleasure to work with in We Will Rock You, was just sensational. I had a lovely chat with his beautiful wife Samantha Bond, who was so nervous for him – with clearly no need to be! It was also wonderful to see my old Starlight Express cohorts Trevor Nunn and John Napier, the old team back together again. It was a wonderful evening, sadly somewhat overshadowed by the events at the Apollo Theatre and the collapse of the balcony there. Thank goodness there were no fatalities, but of course my thoughts go out to all injured and I’m sending you lots of Christmas cheer.
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On that note, I wish you all lots of love and Christmas wishes, and I’ll check in next week – probably about a stone heavier – with my Christmas news and New Years resolutions and diet tips!
Love Arlene x

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