Last weekend was one of those weekends that left me feeling like I really need a weekend, if you know what I mean.
On Thursday evening I drove to Hungerford to link up with the BBC Cardiff production crew and fellow antiques experts David Harper and Charlie Ross to film four new episodes of Bargain Hunt over two days – the first at an outdoor fair on Newbury Showground, the second in a fantastic antiques arcade in the centre of Hungerford.
One of my teams were mother-and-son Joy and Paul from Gosport, who were great fun and didn’t take things too seriously.
Naturally, we were the Blue Team.
The picturesque Berkshire town of Hungerford was the location for our second day of filming and with its numerous antiques shops and canal barge excursions on the River Kennet, I could have quite happily stayed for a week.
On Sunday it was an early morning drive to Kings Cross train station to catch the 9.45am direct to York.
Having missed the funeral of our friend David Gest when we were away visiting our son in New York, we couldn’t miss the scattering of his ashes in his adopted home town of York.
Before the scattering, a party of around 12 of us, including David’s sister Barbara and closest friends, went for lunch at his favourite carvery.
Throughout dinner, we swapped our favourite stories about David.
We barely had time for hugs, kisses and farewells before running across town to catch our return train to Kings Cross.
This took a remarkable 1hr 45mins, the same time it took us to drive the 4.5 miles from Kings Cross station to the Royal Albert Hall.
In my opinion, this is the best concert venue in the country – though I might be slightly biased by the fact it was built with bricks from the Fareham Brick Co.
Accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, conducted by David Giminez, and supported by the talented young soprano and mezzo soprano Celine Byrne and Margarita Gritskova, Jose Carreras selected his favourite songs from a number of famous operas.
While he didn’t sing Nessun Dorma, we were treated to a powerful and emotional performance of Ave Maria that left few dry eyes in the house.
A birthday present from my wife, this was my first opera and a real treat.
By the time we negotiated the Sunday night west London traffic and drove back home, it was midnight.
In three days I had travelled nearly 1,000 miles and visited four different towns and cities.
And in less than seven hours’ time, I had to face the Monday morning gym session!