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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Tripping up on the light fantastic

Looking outside to yet another overcast day albeit one which is not exactly grey, more dull/bright, I wondered exactly where summer is hiding. We enjoyed a beautiful if unexceptional day yesterday and managed to eat both lunch and dinner outside for the first time this year. We did eat lunch and even breakfast outside in April but of course the days are still short and by dinner time it was decidedly chilly and dark! Yesterday we were still outside at 11pm though by then we had donned cardies or jumpers and were indulging in a small cognac whilst scannning the night sky for stars and meteorite showers.

Disappointing as the weather has been since April I wonder whether our expectations in general are unrealistically high these days. I don't think I mean unrealistic in the same way the meteorologists try and explain away our fixation with summer sunshine as being founded on our holiday experiences - hello! since when was a lighter shade of grey typical summer weather anyway? - but rather how we have become a bit superlative about everything.

For example, using the word "nice" is virtually sneered at these days. We are not allowed to have a nice time or a pleasant evening any more. These days we have to have a fantastic time or a fabulous holiday or a superb something or the other. And when we don't? No wonder there are so many of us popping some kind of happy pill or just putting up with feeling less than ecstatic.

Perhaps it is time to make "nice" acceptable again, to promote "pleasant" to its rightful place in our everyday vocabulary. With the pressure off maybe we will start to feel satisfied with a less than incredible, mind-blowing, mega, stupendous, brilliant time?

In the meantime I would be happy with some pleasant weather although I am trying to organise some Rhodiola to support my enfeebled efforts. Of course when we get to Mallorca in September the weather had better be amazing!!!!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Hotter than July - 1000+

Just returned from a week in London to the hottest weekend of the year - warmer even than April maybe! - at 32C. And what a summer it hasn't been so far. Somehow, the weeds have flourished and spread yet the butternut squash which I grew from seed are at best disappointing and I wonder if they will indeed yield any fruit. Something of a life metaphor in there somewhere but, hey, it is too hot for my brain to disentangle it from the undergrowth that covers my vegetable garden. The slugs too are back in force chomping their away through some marigolds and dahlias. I am increasingly nimbyistic about such creatures realising that they too are battling against the elements for survival yet asking myself why they cannot go do it somewhere else.

London was the way it always should be but seldom is when one lives there ie fun! No rain that I can remember though I did once borrow Angela's rather decorative umbrella which features a kind of impressionistic view of Paris. I did not have the opportunity to unfurl it.

Apart from A&P's fun company I was lucky enough to eat out four times during the week. The Terrace CafĂ© at Somerset House is much to be recommended when the barometer is set fair and especially when a friend is treating you - thanks CW1. Having experienced the 20€ bottle of wine in even the most moderate French restaurant I find myself almost forgiving the £16.50 at the shallow end of their wine card.

Tas in Borough High Street if not fanTAStic - ha ha - was good value and tasty - the aubergine thing was dee-lish! - and nowhere near as ear-drum splittingly loud as Brindisa the tapas place on the corner. Why is London so NOISY?!
Friday lunchtime saw us in Kingston and following two capuccini at Carluccio's we found ourselves slurping down noodles in Wagamama - still dependable in the noodle world much in the same way as Pizza Express is for pizzas.

Nigel produced his usual delicious fare on Friday evening. It is not so much that the food is always so good but that he is exceptionally able to produce it with such ease and seemingly no stress. That is a real skill. New old recipe for the summer must be Delia's avocado soup, a pistachio coloured cold starter with a smooth and creamy taste perfect for whenever we have a modicum of warmth in the air.

I am tempted to mirror Charles Bremner and to announce that blogs will be sporadic over the holiday month of August. It is visit central chez the Newman-Legros with Polly and Ellen from tomorrow for five days, Dawn, Dean and Darcey for a long weekend then the return of Margaret for a week to include a long weekend in Paris. Then we head for two weeks in Mallorca. Bring it all on!

Oh BTW - I note with some incredulity that this blog has now been viewed 1001 times!