The London Eye

Sunday morning and with two teenage guests staying for the weekend, we set off to do a little touristing of London. I had booked tickets to go on the London Eye and had judiciously selected a morning slot to avoid the half term crowds.

Point One: Thick white fog blanketing the city. 
Point Two: No crowds. They’d probably looked at the sky.

And so we were soon aboard the giant white bicycle wheel. Round it went almost imperceptibly, giving us a slightly hazy view of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament on the way up.

And then we were up at the top and we could see nothing but white cloud.

It reminded me of going up the Empire State Building and seeing nothing but white cloud. And it reminded me of going up the Shard and seeing nothing but white cloud. I really think these high rise tourist attractions are over-rated. Or perhaps I’m jinxed.

The London Eye Can’t See Anything!

Sausages and Cider

Despite being 98% Pescatarian (I still consider myself a fairly high maintenance eater), when Autumn comes around there’s nothing nicer than a hearty meal of sausages and mash washed down with a nice dry cider.

And what’s more the M&S sausages are actually nicer than the organic, free range sausages from our local farmer’s market. Sacrilege I know!

On Sunday we spent the morning tromping across Hampstead Heath with the little dog in tow. She behaved very well, didn’t run away and came back when she was called (no mean feat for a terrier apparently). 

To celebrate we enjoyed a pint (or a half depending on preference) at the Bull and Last in Parliament Hill and then home on the train for a warm and cosy Sunday lunch of sausages, mash and cider.

The Wishful Sausage Thief

It doesn’t get much more Autumnal than that.

Grey Doors and Gentrification

We live in a small triangle of West London which is sandwiched between several nice affluent areas but which is still on the wrong side of the tracks, literally. 

Still, things are on the up as house prices continue to rise and the area has improved considerably since we moved in. As we walk around the neighbourhood, there are two visible clues which state the obvious as much as a painted sign saying “Under gentrification!”
The first clue, plantation shutters instead of net curtains. Luxurious, white wooden horizontal shutters (not cheap IKEA venetian blinds). A sure sign that the occupants are not council tenants as they would surely have the net curtains twitching.
The second clue, the biggest give away of the signs of gentrification, the colour of the front door. Tatty black, red and blue have given way to sophisticated Farrow and Ball shades of grey. Stainless steel hardware and frosted glass panels complete the look.
As for our front door, we are guilty. We bought the whole package, a muted grey paint, frosted glass and stainless steel door furniture. We even have the tiled black and white Victorian path. 
We are grey door gentrified!

Georgia O’Keeffe at the Tate Modern

My impression of Georgia O’Keeffe has always been one of big flowers and lady parts. I had never really taken her work seriously, after all, if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. Right?

Anyway, with a senior colleague in town, we headed out for a bit of London culture and set off to the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition at the Tate Modern.

En route (travelling by tube) we spotted the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. Minding his own business, he was unaware as our senior colleague took a quick snap and before we knew it, had uploaded it on to social media. He was shorter than I’d thought he’d be but had great hair!

Before long we were walking across the Millenium bridge, the best way to appreciate the Tate Modern in front and St Paul’s cathedral behind. An ideal juxtaposition of old and new.

The Georgia O’Keeffe exhibiton was a pleasant surprise. A retrospective of her work, I was surprised to see the development of her work over decades. The big flowers, often synonymous with her name, were few and far between. 

From there we explored the new building, The Switch. A fantastic 360 degree panaramic view of London from the top floor was worth the walk up. Even better was the view into recently completed luxury flats. Apparently the owners aren’t too happy.

We treated ourselves to lunch in the restaurant on the eighth floor. The food was good, service a little slow and somehow the chairs were too low to see the view out of the window. Someone made a mistake ordering the windows or the chairs. Definitely sit on the stools if you go!

After lunch the express tour of culture continued as we popped into Shakespeare’s Globe for a quick look. We bought one standing ticket and took it in turns to watch a few minutes of The Merchant of Venice. The Globe was full to the rafters, the audience laughing much as they would have in Elizabethan times. We might have to go to an entire performance!

And then it was back on the tube and off to Oxford Circus. I managed to fit in a quick whizz around Liberty including the always fabulous Christmas shop (which will be cleaned out in a few weeks), jewellery, fashion and trend research.

With all that done, I accompanied my colleague back to her hotel, bid her bon voyage as she returned to New York and jumped back on the tube sprinting back to Camden for a busy afternoon meeting. Cultural day out, done.

Georgia O’Keeffe… not just big flowers.

The Alcoholic Labrador

Labradors will eat and eat until they die. It’s a known fact in the dog world. As a result they can get very fat and have health problems. They’re also very lovable but they shed a lot. That’s the labrador.

Having left a very small amount of cider in a bottle in the fridge which had to be drunk (whilst also drinking a very nice glass of red wine), it became apparent that Big T is also a labrador of sorts.

He has no off button when it comes to alcohol but also when sausages are involved. It would seem we have an alcoholic labrador in the house!

Tech Savvy

This weekend we have managed to get Big T on to an iPhone and into the 21st Century. Hurray, it’s time to FaceTime!

We were also finally able to order fibre broadband which is a huge step up from our dismally slow internet connection currently run by an aging hamster in an old creaky wooden wheel. There are times when it seems the old hamster has fallen asleep or died, how pitifully slow our poor internet is. It should start in a couple of weeks.

Anyway, just in time for the winter as the nights get longer, darker and colder and we spend more time inside, we’re getting tech savvy and attempting to sync all devices. 
We may even get Apple TV but let’s not rush into these things. 
One device at a time!

Conferenced In

It was a busy week with senior American colleagues in town and a tradeshow on in London. 

We managed to pack it all in with days out retailing at Harrods, Selfridges, Liberty and John Lewis (trend research, not shopping), days out going to exhibitions (Georgia O’Keeffe at the Tate Modern, not just big flowers after all) and bonding over dinner with colleagues. 

There were a few topics of conversation we tried to avoid… anything political (we were with a Republican and a Democrat), anything to do with Brexit (we’re still too fragile), anything to do with work… so we landed on religion, film and celebrity culture. Nothing too contentious there!

The end of the year seems to be approaching rapidly despite there being two more months to go. We’re even going Christmas shopping this weekend to try and get the worst of it over. Not exactly the Christmas spirit!

Still we’re booking in lots of things to look forward to so it’s not all doom and gloom!