Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Back on the day

8 texts, 5 cards, 12 emails/ e-cards, numerous phone calls and one yummy Sacher Torte later, I’m here, on the other side of 30. And what can I say, the view looks great!

At midnight, I got 2 wonderful cards, 'Love' by Toni Morrison and fuzzy Alex (see below) from V, with some sort of art work promised as remainder of my gift (I want a framed photograph as I think it will mark the day, be meaningful yada yada yada – have not decided on what/ from where etc.).

Next, I woke in panic on the 15th, at 8.30am with the phone ringing and happy birthday being sung to me by a buddy, while I tried desperately to rub the sleep out of my eyes. The panic was that V who is normally in office by 7am was still fast asleep. Tried waking him up only to find out that he’d taken the day off to celebrate with me. YAY!!!!! Cunning fox had surreptitiously cancelled all the alarms.

Spent the morning on the phone/ net answering calls/ e-mails, getting more comfortable in the skin of the 30 year persona. Mid day and we set off for lunch at Nando’s and followed it up with watching ‘Madagascar’ which opened all over London to coincide with my birthday (not because of, just coincidental, new movies open every Friday…).

OK, quick review of Madagascar. But before that, just something I noticed. Millions of tiny children between the ages 2 and 7 were around with mums in tow to watch the movie. Most are just finding their legs and voices, constructing basic sentences and mis-pronouncing words. But all, and I do mean ALL, can correctly pronounce ‘Madagascar’. Go figure. Anyway, 4 Central Park zoo animals: star attraction, Alex (voiced by Ben Stiller), a happily captive lion, a zebra named Marty (voiced by Chris Rock), a hippo named Gloria (voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith), and Melman (voiced by David Schwimmer) a severely hypochondriac Giraffe. Alex loves captivity and has no curiosity about life on the outside. Marty, facing his 10th birthday and middle age, inspired by the penguins attempting their escape to Antarctica, starts thinking about life in the wild. Determined to find out what it would be like, Marty escapes the zoo to head for the widest open space he can think of: Connecticut. Shocked, his friends take off after him, planning an intervention to bring him to his senses and get him back in his pen. The good citizens of New York react poorly to hippos, monkeys, and penguins on the subway & at Grand Central station and things snowball until the whole lot of them end up in crates on a ship bound for the wild in Kenya. The wily Penguins hijack the ship and in the 4 friends land up in wild Madagascar. The second half is all about how tame animals deal with life in the wild.

It’s a great film, not in the league of Finding Nemo, but well worth the watch. The film’s supporting characters get the biggest laughs: commando penguins, literature loving monkeys and techno-dancing lemurs. Thankfully there are no obligatory moral lessons so often unnaturally forced into family films. The only lesson to be learned is that even the best natured lion gets hungry (not something we’d worry about in every day life). A good laugh.

Evening 30 lap swim, steam and sauna before heading off for dinner. Since we landed up early we went and had a drink in a local pub. Dinner was fantastic. We booked a table at Abeno, which claims to be London’s only Okonomi-yaki restaurant. Had never heard of this kind of cooking before and got the address out of a magazine article giving the top 5 places to eat pancakes in London. I’ve wanted to give this a whirl for some time now and this seemed a good enough occasion. Abeno is tiny, tucked away on Museum street, near the British museum – a real gem.

We preceded the main meal with ika itame, lovely fresh squid sautéed with garlic and topped with seaweed. Then the Okonomi-yaki: it’s a pancake made of a flour and egg batter, with a base of cabbage, ginger and spring onion. This base is then topped up with other ingredients (‘okonomi’ means ‘your choice’) and it’s all cooked on the hotplate which is inset into the table. We had an okonomi-yaki with corn, cheese and pork. Then we had a salmon teppenyaki, also cooked by our smiling server at the table. Fresh organic salmon and vegetables (lotus root, mushroom, bean sprouts, spring onions) cooked with an unknown but very tasty sauce. The staff was friendly, polite and helpful and we had a brilliant, relaxed evening.

Saturday evening we had a whole bunch of friends to help us demolish the Sacher Torte and indulge in lovely Caipirinha and snacks. Sunday was just sack-out and enjoy-the-wonderful-weather day! All in all, 3 wonderful birthday celebratory days. What more can I ask for!!

So now I’m 30, stronger and better for having come through my 20’s with love and joy. Thank you to the many people who read this blog and have wished me well for my birthday. It was a momentous occasion in my life and I am glad to have had the opportunity to record it (will it make an interesting read when I’m 50???!!!). This blog will go on. 30 in 2005 is just the point in time to mark what’s momentous in my life. It will continue to be where the views and news of this gal will evolve. Will you still be here???

Abeno: 47 Museum Street, London WC1A 1LY. Tel: 020 7405 3211


  1. Anonymous8:27 PM

    Hello 30in2005,

    Happy Birthday, Hope you enjoy the 30's

    Good to know the spirit still survives past the age barrier.

  2. What's age eh? I feel every burden of my 20's having been lifted and I can tell the 30's will be a blast. Thank you Shuggie!!!