Life in London

Life in London for a not-quite-middle-aged gay Australian guy. Oh, the glamour of it all!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Oh Dear.....

I had such a lovely day.


Massage and facial

Party last night.

Then dancing

I had a really great day and am so lucky to have such a lovely boyfriend, friends and family.

And then today at lunch
Ewan McGregor was at the next table - does it get any better than that?

More pics here.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Their cunning knows no limits.

Monday night we met my family and went for quick curry (and a few pints!) in the heart of Banglatown, Brick Lane. Yes, yes, it's not the most authentic Indian experience in London, but it's close to Mile End (where my family are staying), so that's where we went.

Tom took this photo - not only can he talk the hind leg of a donkey - he also has a good eye for a 2 year old.

Ang and Div glamourously sped to Paris via the Eurostar yesterday, for some europleasure. They are staying at the Hotel les degres de Notre Dame (one of a select few to make it into Paul and my 'Affordable Charming Hotels in European Capitals' book, coming to a bookshop near you soon) and their room has a view of Notre Dame. No wonder they were going to bed early last night...

I love the Eurostar - I wish it went everywhere. I tried to go to Strasbourg when I had to go there for work, but it was going to take 10 hours. Now that the TGV from Paris to Strasbourg is running, I might see how I get on next time. Must reduce carbon footprint and save planet etc.

Last night I went over to see Tomas and Mia before they went to bed. I got to read Winnie the Pooh!! Another dream realised before I turn 40. Mia rubbed her cheek when I kissed her goodnight. 'Ow' said Tomas, when I kissed him goodnight. I know it's a cunning plan on their part to make me shave off my beard.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Still Spring

Friday my family arrived from Australia (hooray!!). I went out to London's fabulous Heathrow Terminal 4 to pick them up (I am so looking forward to terminal 5 opening, bugger the planet, at least Heathrow will finally have a terminal building that poeple will want to spend time in). My brother-in-law is an aesthete, and expressed admiration for Terminal 4's style and grace. We got the train in to Paddington, and then the tube accross town to Mile End - it was a lot of fun travelling near Friday afternoon peak-time with two pushers (no, not drug-dealers, push-chairs) and five suitcases the size of small refridgerators. M y family were all in remarkable form after their 23-hour flight across the globe. I cooked some food for them and told amusing anecdotes about my life until they fell asleep.

Saturday we went for a walk along the Thames, just to blow the cobwebs off. It was beautiful and sunny.

Lots of people were taking advantage of the sun who perhaps shouldn't.

Mia got a bit carried away with the bubble man.

And the London Eye was packing them in.

The mother of all parliaments was sparkling too.

Saturday night I cooked some food for my family after I took my father for a quick pint of Guinness. The things I do for others.

Yesterday Mum wanted to do some Jude Law stalking, so we had a picnic on Primrose Hill. (Only after I cooked for the picnic - my family eat a lot). We saw lots of beautiful people, but my mother wasn't impressed. ("I think that tan's out of a bottle" she said.) My niece asked me to be a bear. I am trusting she meant the animal, not that I she thinks I'm fat and hairy.

More pics from the weekend are

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Shoreditch is still the new Shoreditch

The weekend was a bit busy - or at least Friday and Saturday were. Sunday Paul wasn't feeling very well.

Friday night saw us out farewelling a colleague of Paul's - Caroline - she is good fun. I get along well with a couple of Paul's colleagues, who for some reason find me amusing (imagine!), so I enjoyed myself. I am sure that I am probably even more amusing after 4 pints of Guinness.

Saturday I managed to get down to the gym around 9, and saw a very hungover Vicki, the gym manager. Seeing her suffering made me forget my hangover. I admire such selflessness in others.

I met Paul in town after doing some birthday shopping for him. Paul finally ended up buying some very cool Armani sunglasses. So cool he seems to be a bit shy about wearing them. I really like them though, and that's what's important.

There was absolutely no-one in the west end either, everybody was out enjoying the unseasonally hot weather. We had some texts from a friend who was up at the Highgate ponds, but the water temperature was only 51F (10C!), so there was no way we were heading up for a swim. All this warm weather in April is quite disturbing, I find strange for people to be sunbaking and swimming when they should be planning summer holidays.

Saturday night we met Damien at Loungelover. We had been wanting to go for quite a while, but we are never over in Shoreditch. Anyway, Loungelover might be uber-cool and really difficult to get into, but it is a really good bar. My God, the drinks are expensive though! £11 for a margherita! And I didn't even bat an eyelid - I think I've been living in London too long. But it was for Paul's birthday, after all. Because it is so uber-cool (Madonna had her 48th birthday there, and they employ eastern-europeans who can speak english), we were only granted a table for an hour. After that we had to rub shoulders with the plebs up at the bar. We stood under the stuffed Hippo's head. As we reached the bar, everybody sang Happy Birthday. Paul was very touched, until he realised it was someone else's birthday.
The pleasant thing about Loungelover was that although it is difficult to get into, and you may not have a table for long, the staff were more than helpful and affable, which is unusual for London. We had read a couple of bad reviews about attitude, but we didn't experience any of that. Do yourself a favour, as Molly would say.

Afterwards we went around the corner to the Great Eastern Dining Room for too much to eat and yet more to drink. This was another official Summer of Food tm reg event. Bizarrely, there was a group there who had been in Lounge Lover. The food was very good, the duck in particular was one of the best ducks I've had. I can still taste it.

Shoreditch is pretty cool - Paul still wants to live there (I think) - it's probably more us than St John's Wood, so we'll see.

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Global warming is good for you

24C in the middle of April, in London? What's not to like about that???

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Stroke, stroke, stroke

Last Saturday the annual Oxford - Cambridge boatrace took place. We were invited down to Barnes to lunch, then a group of us wandered over to the Thames to watch the finish. I think you can see how dejected the Oxford (Cambridge?) crew were to have lost the race. It could have been worse for them, last year was windy and raining, at least this year it was sunny. Who says global warming is all bad?

We took up our position near the dilapidated warehouse (and the finish line) you can see in the following photo. I had commented that the warehouse was 'ripe for redevelopment' to Paul, then not 10 mins later someone in our group was bemoaning the fact they would probably be turned into 'yuppie flats'. I didn't know that anyone still used the word 'yuppie'. And I don't see the problem with turning a rundown, unused warehouse into apartments, whether they're for the well-heeled or otherwise. Anyway I left the communist pig to entertain himself after that and chatted to my more affluent friends.......

I had been to the boatrace a few times (but never into the changerooms afterwards, like Paul has) and this year there seemed to be quite a lot more security. No doubt it was all part of the war on lycra. There were some threatening looking boats driving around - but they may have just been full of old dons, who knows?

Friday night, we had had Damien over for dinner, as part of the pre-summer-of-food. I cooked a duck. I didn't know ducks were so big! Does anyone have any recipes for leftover duck?

Sunday was Easter Sunday - I got a chocolate egg! Who would have thought?

Lunch on Saturday wasn't an official summer-of-food (tm reg) event, but that didn't stop it being very pleasant. The table was very diverse (Well as diverse as a group of 9 gay and one straight gay way). There was two Malaysian Indians, two Irishmen, two Englishmen, one Welshman, a Canadian, and Italian and an Australian. I think Paul got to use his 'Sometimes I think I'm the only English person in London' line. This line would be a lot more effective if Paul was
Cockney, or even a Londoner, but he's not. I am more of a Londoner than he is. Oh, and last night I was told I was 'practically English'. I don't think I should have to sit the citizenship test.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Oh Happy Day

This weekend my lovely boyfriend bought me a replacement Baby Gaggia coffee machine for my birthday! Look - it's beautiful!! And it's crema is beautiful.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday

You'd never have guessed the house we stayed in last weekend was occupied by an Anglican priest.

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My Gaggia has died after over 14 years of faithful service. I am suffering with caffeine withdrawal, but I'm sure that if I go without coffee on Good Friday, souls will be released from purgatory into heaven.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It was like another country.....

Last Friday Paul and I flew to Glasgow for Paul’s old primary school friend’s wedding.

We had to pick up a car and drive to Dumfries and we stayed at this B+ B – it’s was an old regency-style house that is still part of the estate of Charles Stuart. I’m confused as to whether that is Charles I, Charles II, or Bonnie Prince Charlie’s estate. Anyway, it was a lovely old place, run by an Anglican priest David and his partner David. They had a Bichon Frise called Bertie, which was actually a lot more fun than it looked. I think I offended David and David by asking if it was poodle. Bertie escaped on the afternoon we left, so we had to chase him through the village, trying to get him to jump into the car.

David the priest was telling us about the history of the house – and how the land around the house was given to the Stuarts after the dissolution of the monastries. It’s incredible to think that someone would be handed all that land because of their friendship with royalty. Sweetheart Abbey originally owned of all the land in the estate and was destroyed as part of the dissolution.

I do like staying at bed and breakfasts, but to be honest, after 3 days of a full Scottish breakfast, I reckon I had consumed my egg and pork product allowance for the month. To top it off, we were given roast pork for dinner on Saturday night, which was delicous, but by God I was sick of pork by Monday morning.

Bizarrely, we were given a full airline meal on the way up to Glasgow and on the way back. It’s strange because my flights to Stuttgart which are about 2 hours, you’re lucky if you get a sandwich, sometimes it’s just a packet of ‘drink snacks’, but on the 50 minute hop from Glasgow to London, we were treated to real airline food. V strange.
Surprisingly, on the trip back I had two mishaps with my boarding pass. I dropped my first, presumably when I was subject to security for the sake of the war on handcream. After getting another printed, I then proceeded to drop that in the loo. Oh well.

We didn’t want to fly and tried hard to get a train up, but it was going to take about 9 hours, so we reluctantly flew and waved goodbye to several endangered species as we did.

The wedding was good fun – but quite small with about 40 or so people there. We did ceilidh, which reminded me of dances at secondary school (minus the student with bad BO of course). The Scottish guests were very patient with those of us who constantly got things wrong…..There were lots of ginger people there too, which was handy, as I’m to be surrounded by them in two weeks.

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