30 March, 2008


had lunch at Arbutus in Frith Street with LSS the other day as had just read a Fay Maschler review in the Evening Standard raving on about how wonderful it was that you could have lunch at this place for only GBP15. Well, it was ok, though none of the clientele (including ourselves) was going to win any prizes for pulchritude. In toto though we did compose a pleasing picture of cosmopolitan sophisticates (excluding ourselves)in THE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD.

Then we had lunch at Cafe Anglais in Whiteleys at Easter with the little squish and Rambo the Architect. Again, it was OK, though expensive I thought, but I wouldn't go on about it. Perhaps being a food critic makes you rave on about stuff that other people think is just so-so. It's the same with book reviews - I've read reviews that make you think Shakespeare would be grateful to write so well, then read the book itself and thought, what, was the reviewer a friend of yours or something? The best you can say about this book is that it's nicely typeset.

Easter was spent at Langsmeade in Bucks - very cold, with snow flurries, but sunny in the meantime. Took kids to the Pitt-Rivers Museum which was great - just one man's collection of assorted weirdnesses from around the world. Went to the Kings Arms for lunch, which was delightfully unrefurbished. Kids endured several more lectures about how this is what a pub should be like, not somewhere that has been gastro-pubbed to within an inch of its life, just so it can have the gall to charge you 13 quid for fish and chips. Resolved to throw away my edition of the Good Pub Guide. What is the point? All they ever do is direct you to the gastropubs. What I want is a normal pub where they will serve you a baked potato with tuna mayonnaise within 3 minutes of your ordering it and charge you three pound fifty. And charge you 20p for your lime and soda, NOT two pounds.

Easter Sunday service at Christ Church Cathedral. LSS bunked out on pretext that he would have to move the car halfway through the service. Lovely singing and surroundings. Sermon lamented the fact that the service was not packed out and had a dig at Richard Dawkins. Good. The way he goes on, if I didn't believe in God already, it would be enough to convert me.

Took the kids to see the Yamato Japanese Drummers at Sadlers' Wells on Saturday. It was fantastic. I can give them no higher compliment - from a Chinese person - than to say that it made me want to be Japanese. Very manga, punky, youth-tribal, high-energy and at the same time very very Japanese, strength through conformity, all parts working together like a well-oiled precision machine etc.

Very tired. I think I must be trying to do too many things.

Slovenia next week. Very glad we are not flying via Terminal 5. Hope Slovenian Mountain Woman will not be offended if I spend the whole time asleep in bed. Mind you, she's used to it...

29 March, 2008

My Nose Is Knackered, My Knees Are Bent...

Oh dear I'm not a well girl. I went to see the doctor about the scratching who said gravely that it was urticaria - which I believe is medical-speak for "you have an itch" and prescribed 28 days of antihistamines. Then a huge boil blossomed on my hip which is now at the stage that I term "interesting" and the rest of my family terms "gross". None of them will let me show it to them - I do not think any of them is cut out for a profession in the medical services. I also have some kind of cold sore in the corner of my mouth. And to top it all, I have a cold. I went to the clinic yesterday to get a yellow fever jab for my forthcoming trip to Sao Paulo (where the natives howl-oh! and the bankers are foul-oh!). The nurse tried to slap me with diph-tet and hep A as well, but having consulted with me about my multifarious symptoms, told me to go away and come back when I was well.

Went to the girls' parent-teacher meetings on Thursday. Told by Curly's very nice teacher that we were lucky as, not only was Curly on their gifted and talented register (boast, boast), but she is also normal. Apparently this is quite a rare combination. Don't you just hate it when journalists boast about their children in the papers while pretending that they are really writing about some matter of general interest? Well, I am not going to do that. I am going to boast quite openly about the wonderfulness of Curly who is clearly a top brain. Although that does not prevent her from putting on her pants backwards.

Also did a good deed on the way to the school and unsolicitedly (it's a word!) helped a young mum overloaded with a buggy, shopping and a fractious child, to push the loaded buggy up the road. She looked extremely startled and not a little suspicious. I think I have slightly altered her conception of life in Olde Wandsworth Towne, and not in a good way.

14 March, 2008

Gym Instructors

I've been meaning for a while to write about the instructors at the work gym: we have Candice, the pilates instructor - who is actually not very good at pilates, I don't think it is her real job - who is a very pretty busty curvy spandex-clad gym treat; Fran, the circuits instructor - who is a flat-chested human dynamo; another pilates instructor whose name I don't know but who speaks with that kind of charming French Mauritian accent and is so gay; Conor, the yoga guy, who is Irish and wears a black stud through his ear that looks like a bolt, and is quite gay; and Trevor, the other yoga guy, who has a shaved head, and may be gay. In HK all the yoga instructors were guys from India holding the proud title of All-India State Yoga Champion or some such, and I never thought any of them was gay.

I like the gym instructors. It's nice, during the working day, to interact with people whose lives don't revolve around banking.

I am still ill today so I do get to have time off on the bank's ticket - hooray!

13 March, 2008

Rich Tea Biscuits

Groooaaaaannnn! I took the day off today to go to a Home-Start training day. Got home at about 5pm with all the fixings for Mo's birthday cake, immediately retired to bed and have spent the past 3 hours lying there groaning, apart from the time spent in the bathroom venting at both ends. I suspect the cheese and pickle sandwiches, which were suspiciously mushy. This is so unfair! Why do I have to be sick in my own time? Why am I never ill at work, so that I can say, I feel ill, and go home and be ill on my employer's time?

Anyway, feeling slightly better now so I made a request for some tea with condensed milk and a rich tea biscuit. Mind you, in the delicate condition my stomach is in, I don't know if I can handle a rich tea biscuit. Maybe just a poor tea biscuit. I must say I do wonder how much less rich a rich tea biscuit could get? It is hardly a foodstuff that is redolent of the luxury and sophistication of nights out at the Ritz, as it is. The only way they could make it any plainer would be to omit the scalloping round the edges and the words Rich Tea stamped on it.

12 March, 2008

Good Vibrations

Went down to Princess Grace’s Hospital in Baker Street for a scan (result: everything perfectly ok), where the nice nurse said: Ooh, I like your shoes. These shoes are the fashion accessory of the season as far as middle-aged ladies are concerned. Every time I wear them – which is a couple of times a week, some nice lady comments on them. They’re not boring and they don’t say I’m a man-chasing slag.

Mo got back from his camping trip in Wales in one piece. My little boy is all growed up! Have discovered brilliant locale for his 11th birthday party – Mercedes Benz World in Surrey. When LSS showed him the website, he started vibrating visibly.

Speaking of visible vibrations, there were a few people having a meeting at the breakout table near me the other day. One of them, a Chinese girl, was vibrating visibly, entirely unconsciously. It was the most distracting thing. How can you have a serious conversation with someone who is bobbing about like one of those bouncy toys on springs?