Monday, 30 August 2010
And thank god for the bank holiday in Old Blighty today. It was sunny and warmish and lovely. Friend Ilse and I decided to go west and explore Richmond and Twickenham. I had been to the park and the rugby ground but that was about it. We spent five hours outside. Walked along the fields, ate blackberries, we even took a wee ferry across the river. Lunch was BBQed food at a pub by the river in Twickenham and we finished the day with a cuppa and a cannoli. I took one pic that I am too lazy to upload now but trust me, it was fabulous. And worth the 20 stops on the District Line as the fecking Jubilee line was out of service again.
Thursday, 19 August 2010
She is larger than life. A total party professional. Drinks champagne like it's going out of fashion but luckily has so many braincells she can afford to lose a few. She inspires me to live life to the max. To drink champagne on other days than NYE. Damn, it even got to a point when her love of latino men rubbed off on me. When she's heart broken, I feel her pain, and vice versa.
Who'd have thought, when we met back in '06 or so, in Cafe Hans en Grietje, that we would hit it off like this. For three months only we lived in the same country. But those three months were the beginning of a special friendship. Despite living about 10,000 miles apart, we manage to see each other once a year on average. And 2010 is a good year. A week in Melbs, a week in Tassie, and now four days in London.
The photo was taken on Queensday 2007. On our way to the boat I hired, we bought two champagne glasses at the vrijmarkt. Hers survived the move down under, mine the one to London. A tangible reminder of the good times we shared in the Dam.
My liver is lined up, the Veuve is in the fridge, the nice restaurants are booked. Bring on miss Brimson!
Monday, 16 August 2010
What we expected was a gloomy, grey, weekend in Dublin. Bit of rain, plenty of pubs. Good for chilling, chatting and making the most of our stay in the beautiful Clarence Hotel. No sun is required for catching up with old friend Paul on Friday night and eating nice french food at Frere Jacques on Saturday night - things we had planned to do.
How different reality was! It was sunny, warm and there were few clouds to be seen. So we only stayed in the city on Friday and explored the 'suburbs' (a bit of an insult for the beautiful towns on the outskirts of Dublin) on Saturday and Sunday. Malahide and Dalkey are affluent coastal towns with lovely cafes, nice little shops and beautiful coastline. We walked down to Portmarnock, watching the sailors, snorklers, swimmers and sunbathers (they clearly only do stuff that starts with an S in this part of the world). We walked along the beach, through a park and in the forest. Saw castles and castle shops. Had lunch in the sun by the Malahide marina, polishing off a nice bottle of white (only to get rid fo the hangover from mixing cocktails, japanese beer and good old Guiness the night before). Smelled the smell of fish when we strolled around the boat rental places. Admired the runners in Dalkey (seriously....heaps of them on Sunday morning!).
A great weekend altogether. And a confirmation I have so not lost my thing for the north Dublin accent! Or Irish men.
Oh, and a new thing I have learned: people in Dublin wear a lot of green. Seriously. Not just the tourists. I always assumed it was called the emerald isle because of its green countryside. But it must be because of the dress sense of the Dubliners.
Monday, 2 August 2010
A big wish came through last weekend: with friends Ilse and Heather I went to see the Bolshoi ballet. Ilse is now spoiled forever as this was her first ballet, Heather used to be a pro dancer herself and saw it in that light. I just love ballet and was stunned by how good this company is. Unbelievable.
Two days later, Ilse, her parents and I joined the Arab contingent in Kensington. While we ate our pre-theatre dinner at a local Italian, we were entertained by two fat blokes with a fat car, boot open, who were handed bags full of designer clothes by the ladies they accompanied. Not once or twice, but four or five times. Business as usual in the rich parts of London in August, when many Arabs come here to shop, sometimes bringing their own cars from Dubai and the likes. It's a phenomenon that makes for great people watching. Anyway...the whole reason we were there was the Royal Albert Hall, as we had tickets for the Prom. I knew 3 of the 4 composers that were played that night. It's probably a good thing I didn't know the 4th as his piece was just awful! Nothing a three year old with the right tools couldn't do, we all thought. Weird avant garde noise. It was the premiere of that piece, the composer was there and half the crowd absolutely loved it. Rave reviews in the papers the next day too. Ah well.... Let's just say it wasn't for me. A half empty RAH on a Monday night by the way, turned out to be great for prommers who like to listen to their music horizontally. Several people were lying in the proms area as there was so much floor space. A funny view, from our balcony.
Coming up next on the culture front are Sondheim's Into the Woods, Shakespeare's As you Like it and Noel Coward's Design for Living. Plus I got tickets for Classical Spectacular. Slightly tacky but they do some beautiful pieces and play very English songs at the end.
Then food. Since I moved here, having access to proper supermarkets, I have completely rediscovered my love for cooking. At home I usually can't be bothered thinking ahead on a Saturday, and my local Albert Heijn is just that....an Albert Heijn. An inflated 7-11. Here, the abundance of great products make I enjoy preparing my own food more than ever. Throw in a website I discovered last year by a girl who does fashion and food equally well, and I eat like a king. The past two weeks I have made fantastic mozzarella and halloumi based salads, grilled organic chicken with lemon time and other stuff, squid salad, nice pastas, thai style tofu and what have you. At work, I am already thinking about that night's meal and popping down to Waitrose on the way home, I know another nice meal is on the cards that day. Life is good.