18 July, 2010

Chiswick House

Chiswick House gardens have reopened after a GBP12m refurb so Curly and I went along to have a look. It is an amazing house and park, but to be honest the gardens are not quite ready yet, though they will look amazing when they're done. In the meantime though, the walled garden is not open to the public, there's not too much in the conservatory, and the Italian garden is not yet mature. Still, it was a nice day and I've never been to Chiswick before, apart from driving through on the way to Heathrow. It's an odd place, it hardly feels like London, a bit like Wimbledon, you feel like you're further out in the country. And it's always fun to hang out with Curly, she's so funny and switched on and loveable.

Went to Neal's Nurseries in the afternoon and bought lots of plants for the big empty bed in the garden - some lovely grasses and bluey-silvery things and intense dark-red flowering things and some tall white flowers that the bees seem to like. Perhaps I should try to remember the names of all these plants, but they don't exactly trip off the tongue. The tall white things are antirrhinum(?) I think and one of the grasses was a stipa and the reddish-brownish one was a kind of sedge. Well, I stuck all the labels next to them, so I'm sure they'll eventually sink into my memory.

The wretched boiler seems to have stopped working. Someone's coming on Monday to look at it. In the meantime, I am dying for a bath. Showers are just not the same.

Watched Mongrels on iPlayer last night. I should NOT have watched it with the girls, it is far too rude. I've got a crush on the fox Nelson, even though he is only a puppet, because he has such a lovely posh voice.

We've got the Talkers coming round for a barbie today. Well, she talks (about herself). The rest of us just listen.

Got a penalty charge for going into the Congestion zone, even though our car is a hybrid one, because LSS forgot to renew the registration with tfl. I am not best pleased.

16 July, 2010

Henry VIII

I'm watching something on iPlayer about Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries. What a complete and utter bastard Henry was! I hate him. He was a disgusting barbarian. The academic who's fronting the show though, Jonathan Foyle, is cute. I love BBC4.

Day Off

So much for my resolutions! But I've got the day off today, so I can catch up. At the moment I'm very busy on Authonomy, trying to get my book up the charts and give it some profile. Meh, well, it keeps me out of trouble.

Went on a team dinner last night to a restaurant called Baltic in Southwark, recommended by the guest of honour, a Polish girl who is going on maternity leave. Unfortunately I'm still trying to do the semi-vegetarian thing, so instead of ordering a huge knuckle of pork the size of my head, horseradish coleslaw and red cabbage, I ended up with pickled herring, apple and beetroot, followed by Moldavian aubergine salad with flatbread and tzatziki. Frankly, I don't believe they eat salad like this in Moldavia and I KNOW taztziki don't come from there. Even as I type this, I'm beginning to wonder if Moldavia even exists, or is not just a made-up Hollywood-style Mittel Europa-type country.

Got up nice and late and went down to Northcote Road to buy Mo a pop-up one-man tent as he going camping tonight. It is raining slightly and very blowy, so he will have a very authentic British summer camping experience.

Lunch at Le P'tit Normand, which is like a little corner of France, as long as you don't look out the window onto the unlovely Merton Road. Trout for me, chicken for Mo, rabbit for LSS.

Now I am lying in bed groaning. I don't usually eat this much for lunch on a weekday. Snoozes, methinks.

11 July, 2010

Today's Food

Poor old LSS had to haul his parentals back up to Wolvo today, so me and the kids were left to our own devices. Took Scrabble down to Deen City Farm as usual for Larry's riding, but she didn't get much of a walk, as it looked like rain. Instead she shared some of my fried egg sandwich, down at the cafe in Merton Abbey Mills.

Church was even more shambolic than usual as the organist is in hospital, all the hymns were mixed up, and they'd prepared the wrong order of service.

We went up to Peter Jones to buy Larry ribbon to make her costume for the Robin Hood play, plus lunch at the Stockpot (lasagna for Curly, chicken for Mo, penne amatriciana for Larry, and whitebait for me).

Then back down again to Wandsworth Common for a picnic as specifically requested by Curly - chocolate eclairs, stem ginger cookies, cherries, cream soda and sherbet lemons.

Leftover couscous and sardines for dinner and so to bed.

Why does anyone care about the World Cup final, if they are not Spanish or Dutch?

10 July, 2010

Britain Sizzles in the Seventies

Another busy Saturday traipsing the kids (and also the in-laws) all over town. Breakfast at Sultan's. The Cookies & Co people have gone back to Thailand for a month because her older sister who has Down's Syndrome is in hospital, so we've decamped to Sultan's for the duration. Then to Northcote Road for Curly's ballet. LSS came along too for the ride. There was no badminton today as they are redoing the floors of the club, so Mo was off on some water-based jamboree down in Ham, while Larry was just mooching around at home with Grandma and Grandpa. Bought 4 of the best peaches I have tasted for years - perfectly ripe, drip-down-your-chin peaches from the stall on Northcote Road. Then back home to pick up Larry and Grandma and ho! for Southfields and on to Hammersmith for Curly's Mandarin lesson. While she did that, we went to buy black leggings from Primark, for Larry's end of year play. She's playing assorted villagers, heralds etc in Robin Hood. Apparently that's what mediaeval Nottinghamshire villagers used to wear - Primark leggings and yards of faux-hessian purchased from an Indian drapers in Tooting. Had a nice drinkie in the Grove Tavern on Hammersmith Grove, then post-class, we went on to the Cafe de Hong Kong on Charing Cross Road, as Larry had a yen for their belly pork with mustard (Grandma's treat). Walked back across the river to Waterloo, then home. Then had to drop Larry off at her friend Saskia's for a sleepover. S's dad, whose name I do not know, came to the door in his shorts. So now I know what his naked chest looks like, but I still don't know his name, and it is a little too late (3 years too late) to ask.

In other breaking news I'm trying to haul myself up the Authonomy charts by being a total I'll-back-anything slut. But at least I read it first and leave a comment, which is always the truth and nothing but the truth, if not always the whole truth.

LSS is now barbecuing, lovely meaty smells wafting up the stairs.

09 July, 2010

I'm back!

Been busy doing all kinds of stuff, but my mid-summer resolution is to start keeping my online diary (or "blog" as I understand the young people are calling it) again and to update religiously daily.

Went to a wedding reception at Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park today. Fabulous day - scorchio, as they used to say in The Day Today. Mo and LSS had new shirts, and the girls looked like beautiful flowers in their new Monsoon dresses - very "young girls in bloom" a la Proust. Pigged out on "the little shrimp guys" as Larry called them and my day was made when a VERY NICE French(?) woman came over from the other side of the room just to tell me that I looked very elegant. (Of course I did - I was wearing my new dress from the Jaeger sale. Jaeger is going through a very good moment this season.) Oh, our Continental cousins. No English person would ever do that. We were 7 in our little Toyota Prius on the way back to Earlsfield - don't tell the cops.