Packing, again

So far, this has been a long week. I started on Sunday, packing to work south for a few days facilitating a 3-day training course in Welwyn. So I packed the usual (work wear for 3 days and enough smart/casuals to last 3 nights. Now when I worked at O’Connors, this used to take me forever, primarily because I didn’t have the luggage or wardrobe to make it easy (surf t-shirts, cargo pants and trainers weren’t really the right match). However, when I took my current role, with a European remit, one of the first things I bought was a new suitcase, that was small enough to pass for hand luggage but which included a shuttle bag (so I didn’t also have to take a laptop case). To date this has served me well, although with various travel restrictions in the job, I’ve had minimal call for it at work! Outside work, however it’s my trusty companion and pretty much serves as my ‘other wardrobe’. So Sunday night, I pack the aforementioned items and head off to Welwyn.

An 8am start Monday, with a 9pm finish officially, Monday was a long day. However, when hosting a course of this nature, where the delegates are staying over, it’ rude not to socialise in the evenings too, hence it was perhaps closer to midnight by the time we finished the last beer.

A 7.30am start followed on Tuesday, but luckily we had a normal finish time, so back to the hotel for a few beers in the garden – our first glimpse of Summer – lovely! The sight of the Global Account team going off for a run, clad in shorts, vests and trainers, was perhaps less pleasing (sorry guys – far too hot to be running in 25 degrees!)

Wednesday was a normal start and a 4pm finish, but by the time we’d cleared-up, pulled the evaluation report, analysed and discussed it (ie publicised the good bits and made the necessary excused for the bad) and driven back to York, it was about 10pm before I got home.

At this point, most normal people would have thought ‘long week, early night’ – but as I’m far from normal, quelle surprise I opted to make a fish finger sandwich (triple decker, of course) and make a list of things I needed to do before I left in the morning… eat, unpack, put washing on, hang washing out, clear down email from past 3 days, prep work for next 2 days, repack and THEN hit the sack. So I got to bed around 2.30 – joy!

OK, in true fashion, I’m down to paragraph 6 before I get to the point – don’t worry, I don’t write press releases in this way! So the point is, packing.

Last week, I did 3 countries, in 6 days, including work wear across 2 climates, beachwear, race stash and enough casuals to cover 5 days and nights away. This I achieved without having to check in any bags on the flight – hand luggage only, happy days. But tonight I’m packing for 4 days, 2 countries (3 technically), one work day, race stash and the necessary casuals. Yet I’m struggling to get everything to fit in? The only reason I can think of for this, starts with the word Monte and ends in Carlo, with a spot of rain thrown in for excitement.

Yes, the Monaco Grand Prix beckons. I’d love to say this was in the plan for 2012. But no, it’s a last minute decision, a flying visit, but one I just have to do. 2012 is my year and, if something makes me happy I want to do it. So when I got the chance to do the Monaco Grand Prix, there was a momentary lapse of reason before I thought “oh sod it, why not?!” But most races are generally attended by a combination of avid petrolheads, those who just love the atmosphere, or a combination of the above. Contrary to what you see on TV, they generally care little about what they wear, make-up doesn’t get a look in, and the humour and creativity comes more from the extravagance of people’s picnic infrastructure that their style or fashion (but that’s another story!) So when you pack, you include functional clothes, not fashion and accessories. You take sunscreen or a pacamac, not Channel and Prada (although they’re often an accidental pick-up on the way home).

But Monaco is different. It’s my first complete street circuit. It’s the most stylish destination on the planet. It’s in the south of France, it’s May but forecast thunder and rain. Something tells me my baseball cap, shorts, t-shirt, flip flops and rucksack won’t quite cut the mustard down there. This is complete unknown to me – so what do I pack? Oh lord, help! At times like this, there’s only one person who can sort me out. My friend Laura has a wardrobe bigger than my bedroom. Her clothes are stored by colour, and she has accessories for all occasions. But more importantly at this point, she knows what I should take and how to mix things. So I call Laura and beg. I turn up at 10pm with a bottle of bubbles and we pick out a wardrobe. I’m tempted to take her dog too (Bailey) – a gorgeous white Maltese who would not only keep me company, and love Monaco, but would fit perfectly in the Prada handbag I spotted in T5. However, Laura’s not so sure so we leave him to help his dad (Rob) to get over the jealousy of my adventure.

So, I need to pack things for it to be hot and muggy, yet wet, allowing for the fact that the forecast could be totally wrong. We need stash for me to watch the race, but allow for the fact that, if it’s pouring down, whilst the race will be über exciting, the grass bank on which I’ll be sitting could end up a mud slide (hardly Monaco darling, that’s the white skinnies out then). I also need to prepare for the possible invite to another F1 party after the race (perhaps on board a yacht?) as well as the possibility of venturing into the casino (oh… my… god…). Whilst much of the above may not happen, you can guarantee that it I don’t pack for it, it’ll happen in abundance, hence I’m going prepared.

All this means my SLR camera has to be ditched, in favour of my point / press. My Vodafone McLaren Mercedes umbrella (perfect for the grassy bank) has to stay at home, in favour of buying a little one out there. (Don’t tell Laura, but I snuck in the Regatta waterproof last minute!)

So, I’ve no idea if I’ve packed the right things, but who cares, right now it’s 2.30am and I’m getting up in 3 hours – I need to sleep!

ttfn /R xx

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