The London Dungeon

Saturday morning with Letad and his daughter in tow, we started with an early breakfast at our favourite cafe, Camomile in Belsize Park.

Fortified, we set off to Apple to receive the tragic news about the death of the iMac. And so we lugged it home and started again. I’ll have to deal with that another day.

We headed back into town and started at Carnaby Street for a little teenage retailing. We avoided getting matching Doc Martens before setting off to Borough Market for lunch.

Now a major tourist attraction, Borough Market was jam packed full of people and we couldn’t face the prospect of actually going in. Luckily a Mediterranean stall was just at the entrance and we were able to nab a small table. With Paella and tasty Mediterranean wraps for lunch, we were just in the nick of time as it started to rain just as we finished.

With my very stylish new navy and pink striped umbrella being put to immediate use, we set off to the London Dungeon for an afternoon of fun!

An hour or so in the queue and we reached the entrance! There’s nothing like standing in the rain to whet the gory appetite.

After shuffling around numerous stage sets and sitting on a couple of gentle rides, we emerged an hour and a half later.

How would I describe it? Hmm, well it wasn’t Disneyland that’s for sure. With a lot of overacting, a lack of scary bits and a great deal of shuffling, I won’t be rushing back.

Having said that, the highlight of the afternoon was the photo taken on the Gallows Drop. I’ve obviously been desensitized as a 30 foot drop barely got a raised eyebrow from me. Letad, on the other hand…

Perhaps it would have been worth buying the photo after all.

Morning Musings

There’s something quite surreal about walking in the morning and my recent observations do nothing to dissuade me.

On Thursday morning, a man on a very large unicycle rode past me. Not your average unicycle either, this was almost half a penny farthing. Why?

On Friday it was West Highland Terriers in raincoats. Everywhere I looked there was another one.

It’s been a good week. My stress level has dropped massively, I’m calm and everything is going well.

A surprise business trip to Arkansas, the home of Walmart might be on the horizon (oh the glamour!) and perhaps a couple of extra days in LA for a meeting.

More to come and more morning observations…

iMac demise

Tragedy has struck as my trusty, hardworking iMac has officially died.

I’m completely gutted as I’m not entirely sure how much work, photos, music and emails I’ve lost, in other words, the documents of my life. In the last six months I’ve lost my laptop and my iMac and now face the dismal prospect of having to buy a new computer. Ouch!

On top of buying a flat and saving to buy the Christmas ottoman, I feel as though I’ve already spent my salary for the next two years.

A Christmas bonus would be nice!

The Morning Walker

Every morning this week, I have left the warmth of the midget’s bed and walked around Regent’s Park.

London at 7am is dark, the streets eerily lit in pools of yellow and buses of early commuters trundle sleepily by. This morning it was raining and despite my initial misgivings, off I went.

As I walked across Primrose Hill, it started raining heavily, pouring down my face. I laughed as there was nothing to do but keep going. I ran for a little while just to get back quicker and then the rain eased and the morning light appeared.

Joggers passed me and on I walked. Over the lake where seagulls were starting their early morning cries, through the rose garden where the last few roses signalled the change of season, through the beautiful Victorian wrought-irons gates from another era and back along the Broadwalk where conkers and horse chestnut leaves lay thick underfoot.

I was soaking wet but invigorated and so with a rather damp spring in my step, I made it home.
I think I’ll go again tomorrow…

YouTube Yoga

It’s been a while since I did yoga. I hate to admit it but I think it’s been almost two years since I did it properly. Ouch, that hurt.

I used to go regularly in LA. Every Saturday I would trot off to Exhale in Venice where I would take a fairly advanced class and then I’d be back for more on Sunday or an evening after work if I could.

I’ve never been flexible but I was strong, I could move and I really enjoyed it.

Then I moved to London and started running but for a year, other than walking, I’ve done practically no exercise.

So with my confession over, I decided enough was enough so I spent an hour walking briskly around Regents Park (and it was only drizzling at 7am) followed by YouTube Yoga this evening.

YouTube is a brilliant thing. Free classes uploaded and hundreds of choices.

I made my selection, rolled out my dusty mat on the floor and bent my creaky body as far as it would go.

Despite the screams, it wasn’t very far.

What a horrible realization. It hasn’t taken long to lose my strength and flexibility and I feel I’m back to square one.

Still, the only way is up, or it would be if I wasn’t stuck in downward facing dog…


It was a lovely Sunday until…

I was having a lovely Sunday. After a very delicious omelette, I had a parental chat and then took myself off for a brisk walk in blustery sunshine around Regents Park.

From there it was to Whole Foods to buy a butternut squash as, despite being able to buy ready-made soup for a pound, I decided it was time to make it myself.

All was good. I was enjoying a restorative weekend and while I roasted the squash in the oven, I reboot my iMac which had crashed. 

And from there, it was downhill. My Mac wouldn’t reboot and despite trying every option (reboot from the system software and other techie advise I found on the Internet), it would appear another of my devices had reached its demise.

I’m off to the Genius bar next Saturday and hope they can salvage something otherwise I will have lost a lot of work, emails and photos. It’s more frustrating and upsetting than I can say.

And so with nothing else to do, it was time to make soup.

Hix Soho

This week Letad and I took one of my senior colleagues to dinner at Hix Soho and I have to say, we loved it! Hix Restaurants

Mark Hix is one of the stars of British gastronomy and refreshingly, he doesn’t have a TV series. I hope it stays that way as his food was contemporary British, simple and delicious.

Finding a good restaurant open on a Sunday evening in London was our first challenge. These days all good pubs and restaurants are fully booked for Sunday lunch and by Sunday evening, most people are at home preparing for the week ahead. We were delighted (and an inspired suggestion of Letad) to discover that Hix Soho was not only open, but ideal.

We started with a selection of appetizers. A delicious plate of late asparagus with quail eggs and greens, thinly sliced smoked salmon and a collection of earthy mushrooms followed a typically British amuse-bouche of pork crackling with apple sauce.

For the main course it was duck for Letad, delicious Hake for me and for my colleague, a steak the size of a double decker bus. It was all perfectly cooked and a pleasure to eat. In true American style the remains of the steak was packaged up to take home and Letad had lunch for at least two days.

Dessert, oh why not? A dense and delicious Pecan pie, an Autumn Mess (meringue, berries and cream) and of course a selection of incredibly rich truffles finished us off and we left, perhaps a little too replete!

We’ll be going back for seconds!

Wishing I was in LA

This weekend is Rob’s 60th birthday and I wish I was in LA to help celebrate sixty years of fabulousness! This is one day when I really wish I could teleport.

I have attended many memorable birthday parties in honour of one of my best friends. Who could forget Rob’s legendary 49th birthday which will live on forever as one of the best birthdays ever (why wait till 50?!)

Anyway, I’m wishing I was in LA and while it’s not physically possible (I know because I just checked, just in case), I’m definitely there in spirit.

Cheers to all the Venetians and Happy Birthday Rob!

Loving French wine!

A weekend alone

After what was a fairly insane week, Friday dawned with a farewell as Letad set off to France for a week. We’ve had a lovely three weeks together and have filled our time with house hunting, walks, renovation ideas and future dog conversations. We’ve laughed a lot and talked about our future plans.

I strolled down to work for the day before eventually coming back to a dark, empty flat. The first time in a while. A weekend alone stretched out in front of me and while I do enjoy my own company, I’ve become quite accustomed to having Letad around.

Still, it was a good opportunity to get things organised and so Saturday started with a good clean and tidy and as grey clouds rolled in, it seemed like the ideal day to be at home.

Time to relax.

Not so sunny Watford

Thursday morning and I strolled into the office for the first time since Monday. I spent a couple of hours wading through emails and then, lucky me, I was off to Watford for the afternoon.

I’m still not entirely sure where Watford is but it didn’t matter as I was picked up and driven there in a very nice chauffeur-driven car only to be deposited at the entrance to a Tesco superstore. From one extreme to another!

We spent the afternoon (the Americans and I) walking through Tesco and ASDA discussing the various merits of UK to US mass market. Gripping stuff!

By 7pm my day was done but in true Groundhog Day-style, I found myself with another senior level US colleague who needed a taxi.

Luckily I had learned from my previous experience and when a taxi proved elusive, I was lucky enough to discover a mini cab office just down the road. With a mini cab sorted, I packed the American into the back, waved goodbye and set off home.

Phew, crisis averted!