After a long, drab January, last weekend was the perfect time to make some kind of escape.
While people in the office flew off to far-flung destinations like Namibia, Tanzania and Zanzibar (not a made up place apparently - who knew?) The Boy and I made do with an hour-long journey to the dreaming spires of Oxford.
I say make do, we actually had a fantastic time, walking around the esteemed colleges, holing ourselves up in one of the many pubs for a homely Sunday roast, partaking in a little spa time and afternoon tea at the resident five-star hotel. Quite sophisticated, you might say.
A whole lot more sophisticated than another weekend break which occurred last week, when a group of girlfriends set off for Amsterdam. While I showed off pictures of Balliol College, Einstein’s blackboard and me ‘drinking with the Inklings’ - well, underneath a plaque and pictures dedicated to former residents and honorary alumni CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein - she paraded pictures of herself perched in the window of the red light district, visiting the local sex museum and enjoying rude shaped chocolates.
Quite a different weekend then.
And as the girls of the office enjoyed swiping through the X-rated album I suddenly felt a little old-fashioned. Nobody interested in about hearing stories about 17th century bishops then? When did I become such a prude?
Quite recently apparently. In fact, I can almost pinpoint the moment. And it wasn’t when I was looking through those pictures, head tilted to work out what certain images were. No, my puritan moment came when I chose NOT to purchase advance tickets to watch 50 Shades of Grey.
While one laughed at reports that the film – an adaptation of EL James’ incredibly successful series of novels – was a sell-out, it became quite clear the joke was on me.
‘You mean, you haven’t got tickets for Valentines day?’
‘You haven’t read all the books (on a Kindle of course, we don’t show off the covers) on your commute?’ Erm, no. On both counts.
Last time I checked, I wasn’t a middle-aged woman in need of a thrill or two from an erotic novel and/or movie. Though, to be fair, neither are my friends. And they’re all fans of the 50 Shades phenomenon. What am I missing?
‘Mr Grey will see you now’, or so the movie poster reads. But only if you booked early.