Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hello Olympics - 15

Amazing fireworks. Sorry about my rubbish camera phone - they were incredibly close and clear and spectacular but look fuzzy in the pictures.

It's been a remarkable opening ceremony for something so hotly anticipated. Unlike the previous perfectly choreographed opening at Beijing this was choreographed to seem more characterful and quirky. They got a lot in and it was incredible how much fun the participants looked like they were having.

We drank champagne and skipped between the TV and terrace to watch the bits inside the stadium and the changing lights and fireworks visible from where we stood. We ate and drank and chatted and critiqued and laughed and praised and sang/ hummed/ played at guessing songs.

About to go to bed now, the adrenaline rush from the excitement of the evening means I shall read till I unwind. If I haven't said it before I'll say it now - we are so incredibly lucky to have witnessed this. I love my London life.

Hello Olympics - 14

Torchbearers x 7 young athletes nominated by 7 Olympians. Brilliant idea. Gorgeous cauldron.

Hello Olympics - 13

Fireworks! I love my house!

Hello Olympics - 12

Ussain! Rockstar athlete!

Hello Olympics -11


Hello Olympics - 10

Reflections of the tragic events of 7/7, the day after the Olympics were awarded to London 7 years ago.

Hello olympics - 9

The hilarious Rowan Atkinson - simply the best face ever!

Hello Olympics - 8

Mary Poppins.

Hello Olympics - 7

The NHS!

Hello Olympics - 6

James bond and the queen.

And the lights as Daniel Craig parachutes down.

Hello Olympics - 5

The rings.

Hello Olympics - 4

Industrial revolution. And feminism at the Olympics.

Hello Olympics - 3

Dinner is served.

Hello Olympics - 2

All the amazing yachts and super yachts in the dock by us. The buzz of people and machinery and adrenaline is palpable in the air.

Hello Olympics - 1

It's time! And we have a fab view from our home. We have friends round, snacks, champagne and a hearty if simple meal. Here goes:

This is the sky as the red arrows have gone by.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


One of the loveliest things about London - also one of the things that is rapidly disappearing - is the number of independent shops.

I'm not one for sewing or knitting (two pastimes oft pressed upon our summer vacations) but I absolutely love looking at the colours and orderliness of a haberdashers. The last one I went to was in John Lewis in Oxford street and that was about 9 years ago, in pursuit of white ribbons for a campaign I was involved in.

Wandered into the lovely Papillion in Greenwich days after it opened. It's an adorable little shop full of colour and creative ideas and managed by it's talented owner for most of the day. It has skeins of wool, ribbon, thread and fabric, all the accompaniments to create things from knotting and knitting needles to kits. It was a cheerful interlude on the way to the park, and I even bought some wooden letters to do a craft project with my son.

Don't know that I'll take up cross stitch again but I know where to look if I do.

Papillion: 90 College Approach, Greenwich SE10 9HY

Sunday, July 22, 2012

An east end Saturday night

Went out for dinner with friends last night. Stuck to the bit of London I love most. Excellent meal at Upstairs at the Ten Bells. The buttermilk chicken with pine salt was divine and I could have gladly eaten those moreish bites all night.

Not the largest portions (and me, I am partial to comforting large bowls of food) but beautifully presented and absolutely delicious. Shabby chic with creaky old stairs and a high ceilinged room above the noisy pub. Very lovely attentive waiters and an ambience perfect for an evening out. Don't know that I would go back seeing as there is much more of London unexplored. But I would definitely recommend this to try.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

37. In the real world.

Age has lowered my tolerance for a number of things. Included in this list are gigantic delicious meals (I can no longer do a buffet any justice) and people who think the world exists to serve their needs (I no longer seem to speak to 3 people who till very recently were pivotal to my life).

The food one is easy enough to solve - eat less, be healthier. The people one is trickier - after many many attempts to understand the others badly/ unexplained points of view I now have to stand my own ground and get on with my own life. While this is taking up more of my mind/ heart space than I would like, I feel like i have to stand by what I believe in or else who am I. Even though this makes me look and feel like a resident of Old Street (not the physical place but the mental space that older people seem to need to adjust to). I'm sad like you wouldn't believe but I'm also right in my own mind (or maybe just to old to alter my point of view) and nothing short of an apology or a change in behaviour will get me out of this mindset.

But enough of dwelling on this unhappiness. Today I'm 37. And I've had a lovely string of celebratory days since the beginning of July to mark it. I went for dinner with two friends from my local area to a favourite Japanese restaurant called Roka. Then last week I went for dinner with 6 mums in the neighborhood to a lovely Turkish deli. Last night V and I went for dinner to Goodmans - a wonderful steak place. Today after a lazy morning we went back to Roka for the sumptuous Sunday brunch. And this coming week I have dinner with my gals in the offing. If food could assure me of how wonderful a year lies ahead it's certainly trying it's very hardest.

I got a lovely pair of earrings and a necklace from a friend. Two cd's from another friend and books and a dvd from yet another set of lovelies. A whole new wardrobe (with no black!) is being bought bit by bit. I alone am propping up the online economy!

I must say I like being 37. It feels solid and substantial. I know what I've written makes me sounds stubborn and stagnant and securely old. But in reality what I am is surer and stronger and satisfied with my life. Happy 37th to me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Three. Or Free

My son turned three on Friday. And compared to last years crazy playdate where 14 children and about 30 adults spent a Saturday at our house turning it inside out upside down, this year was tame as a goldfish going round it's bowl.

We had just 6 other kids, all within 5 months in age to him and all of whom live locally. We decorated simply with swirly yellow things hanging from the ceiling and lilac and yellow helium balloons floating amidst them.

As activities we had painting. Each child got a ceramic birdhouse and a tray of paints. And in the centre of our low plastic covered coffee table was a giant jar with about 40 different paintbrushes. When they were done with the birdhouses I gave them each a small square canvas with their names and the date on the side. With motherly supervision they each managed a lovely colorful hand print. I then acrylic sprayed everything on the balcony away from them so that the fumes wouldn't bother us. This made the colours pop and harden the paint against future exposure to water/ sun. Then they all went and jumped on the bed and scattered the contents of his toy boxes all over the house while I got lunch organised.

Our circular table had a pale yellow tablecloth with his wooden track encircling it. With a tunnel, bridge and toll gate for interest and every one of his wood engines on the track this made the table fairly interactive. We had square yellow paper plates, purple glasses, yellow cutlery and lilac napkins with sheep on them.

The cake was a marvelous train. We decided not to go for a Thomas the tank engine train as I imagined a mini meltdown involving a beloved character being cut. Instead My friend made this masterpiece - chocolate with sheet icing, Oreos for wheels and carriages piled high with m&m's. We also had a second cake, strawberry and marzipan, from Paul, which was not inflicted with spit from the mouths of 7 children blowing out candles with great vigour.

So the final menu was cake, fresh strawberries, chunks of cucumber, pots of yogurt, buttered bread and fresh salmon fishcakes to eat. For the adults a platter of cold cuts, baguette and cornichons. Juice for everyone.

Our return gift was the birdhouse and canvas each child had worked on, the reusable paint pots and a book individually chosen for each kid.

It was a small and intimate party. It was over in 3 hours from start to finish in the morning when the kids were in the best possible mood.

My son is three. Or as he yells 'free' while he tries to show us the correct number of fingers to accompany this announcement. Again and again. Loud louder loudest. As if if it is not said at the highest decibels we might not take this seriously.

Spending my morning with this bunch of little ones I fear we have moved on from the terrible twos only to land in the unknown but possibly terrifying threes! Wish me luck.