French cuisine

PC invited us over to their place last night for a delicious meal. From the savoury olive cake starter, to the juicy pork and vegetable stew, to the mango tarte tatin, it was all reeeeally tasty.

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“I was one the Internets, using the Googles…”

This has been a super weekend.

On Friday night we went down to Shepherd’s Bush with one of neighbours. We stopped in to The Defector’s Weld pub and had a bite and a drink. Afterwards we went across the green to the cinema to see No Country For Old Men. It lived up to the hype: what a serious, slow-burning, well-crafted film. What a portrait of evil from Javier Bardem. I definitely need to see it again.

Saturday was jam packed.

  • I got up early and went for a 10km run, ate breakfast, got cleaned up.
  • Went to The Social, a cool bar on Little Portland Street, where The Duke Spirit were having a CD playback of their upcoming album,Neptune. It sounded great, just like their other stuff. It was a laid-back atmosphere, with a couple of dozen people and a couple of guys from the band hanging out around metal tables and dimmed light bulbs.
  • Met up with a couple of friends at The Ship on Wardour Street, had a few drinks, and sold one of them a Queens of the Stone Age ticket I can no longer use. After catching up, we had a tasty dinner at Neal’s Yard Salad Bar since one person is vegan, and then had a quick drink at The Boardwalk in Soho (half-price drinks before 8pm, and the place was empty!).
  • Afterwards, Kitty and I broke from the crowd, because we had tickets to see Henry Rollins at the Hammersmith Apollo. It was a spoken-word event, which is Henry’s shtick these days. He came on promptly at 8pm, and didn’t stop ranting, even for a drink of water, until just after 11pm. He’s nearly 50 but he still channels that punk rage, and in a really entertaining way. He talked about his penchant for visiting places like Islamabad, Damascus, Tehran, and Beirut on his own, wandering the streets and meeting people (he was in Pakistan when Bhutto was assassinated). He talked about being disappointed by heroes like Ted Nugent in his youth, but finding new ones like Van Halen. He talked about being an obsessive musical collector. He talked about loving – and then getting a chance to perform with – The Ruts. He talked about how awesome Canadians are. He apologised just a little for George Bush: since his days in office are numbered he suggested we simply sit back and laugh, since without Karl Rove the president is saying stupider things than ever. Henry’s irascible and funny and loud and inquisitive; it was a good show.
  • I got home in time to enjoy the tail end of a dinner party thrown by our neighbour two doors down.

So far, the only excitement Sunday has held is doing some laundry. Even if that’s it, it’s been an excellent weekend.

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Hooray, I’m old!

I turned Nearly 40 on January 2nd. Because most people are still hung over on that day, SWMNBN and I celebrated with a nice Italian meal at Ealing’sOsteria del Portico. Super, as ever.

Today, we gathered with PC and AK for a combination happy-birthday-Tim and welcome-to-2008 at the Builders Arms pub in Kensington. We’d been here once before with PC, and it’s a really nice pub. Nice area, comfy inside, lots of choice on tap, and good food. The service was a bit slow today because of some problems with the kitchen, apparently, but we had it better than those who showed up later than us. I saw the bar staff chew out the cook, and at least one customer asked for their money back.

In any case, everyone’s well, we caught up and had a laugh, had some grub, and I got some birthday swag (mostly books, and quite nice ones). It was a good use of a lovely Sunday afternoon.

There will be one more birthday celebration: later this month, a joint party with our neighbour.

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‘Tis the season

Our neighbours had a Christmas party, which was a lot of fun. I met a physicist from Minnesota.

We’re putting the finishing touches on our Christmas shopping this weekend, too. Luckily, we’ve been able to avoid any serious crowds by making use of the internet and focused, specific gift acquisition missions.

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Vincent Furnier = Alice Cooper

We met up with PC and the She-Aussie last night to take part in a charity quiz. A colleague of C’s is leaving her current workplace to work for an international children’s charity that does work in Belarus and India. Last night was a fund-raiser event for her to do this work. A good cause, and a chance to flex our trivia (trivial?) muscles!

We did fairly well. There were about 19 or 20 teams there, and we came 7th. There was an auction, a raffle (C won some CDs), and some music afterwards, although we didn’t stay to the end. The room was full, and some of the auction items went for large amounts, so I hope she hit her fundraising target.

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The social life

PC and the Colombian came over last night. We had some sausage and bean stew (which started out as bean soup, but good cooks know how to react on the fly), a couple of bottles of vino, and a few good laughs.

Today, SWMNBN and I took advantage of a half-price Sunday lunch offer atCharlotte’s Place, one of Ealing’s finer restaurants.  It was excellent, as always.

Weekends are nice when you don’t really have anything to do, but you wind up doing a bit anyway.

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La Retour

We’re back from France. It was a really good time.

The drive over was smooth: the Eurotunnel is a quick and easy way to cross the channel. We stayed at C’s parents’ place (which was gorgeous) in quietSoisy-sous-Montmorency. It was relaxing and friendly. We did little except eat and drink and kiss-kiss a few dozen friends and family. The weather was gorgeous, and we made good use of the deck in the back yard. The weather has been so rubbish this summer that the sun was a real catalyst for a truly excellent weekend.

On the drive back today we stopped in Rouen for some sight-seeing. We loaded up on cheese and wine, too, and managed to get home before dark.

Everything is so nice in France. Big thanks again to PC for a great weekend.

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