Monday, April 09, 2007

A good Friday (and a good Saturday and Sunday)

Now do you believe me when I say it's Spring? Note the small blueish flowers in the picture. A woman was testing a toddler on his colours, and asked him what colour they were. He thought about it, and said blue. She said, as if he were stupid: "No, purple!" And OK (a) given his age, near enough would be good enough - what did she want him to say? Indigo? Lilac? and (b) THEY ARE BLUE! THE FLOWERS ARE BLUE, LADY!

As it turns out, Grant is not going to go to hell as he took Good Friday off work. On the other hand, the English service industry is totally going to hell, as the pubs were open not only on Good Friday but also on Easter Sunday. Apparently Jesus Christ died that we might all have a cold one, or in the case of bitters an appealingly coolish but not cold one.

Anyway, on Good Friday I had lunch with Jen in Kensington and went for a nice stroll through the Kensington Palace Gardens in the sunshine afterwards on my way home. There were a lot of half-naked people about for the purposes of Vitamin D absorption. It was AWESOME. On the way home I discovered that the Portobello Road markets were indeed running (of course, it being Good Friday), so Grant and I then had a stroll about and a sit in the Portobello Green, an attractive strip park which runs in the glorious shadow of the A40 Notting Hill overpass. Very pleasant. We had dinner at a fairly decent Moroccan restaurant. TAGINES. And since it was a textbook spring evening, we had a bit of a stroll about afterwards. I managed a mighty 25,000 steps for the day - 12+km.

On Saturday we exploded part of Grant's paypacket at Westbourne Grove and Bayswater in the form of:
  1. a BRAND SPANKING NEW KNIFE AND STEEL (slices, dices and juliennes). We have been getting by with a Woolworths jobbie, and the new knife is so sharp and so beautiful it makes me weep while cooking for reasons other than the housewifery-sucks kind. All foods are as butter unto the Knife of Loz!
  2. ACTUAL WALKING SHOES FOR GRANT WITH A SWOOSH ON THEM, since he had worn through the soles of the last Australian pair. Did we mention we've been doing quite a bit of walking lately?
  3. DIM SUM. We really miss the proper yum cha deal with the little carts and whatnot, but you still get dumplings with dim sum so I guess it's tolerable.
You can see that we've forgotten how to shop properly, since all of the above is either super useful or actually edible. A little bit of a forced break from rampant consumerism Sydney-style has done us good. That said, we're about to explode some more pounds sterling (TREMBLE AT THE POWER OF THE GBP!) at Ground Effect for bike clothes, because the three pairs of knicks and three cycling jerseys I have here just aren't enough.

Plans to hit the movies on Saturday evening stalled especially when Grant rediscovered his addiction to Civilisation III and found himself playing an island with no mineral resources. Harsh.

Sunday we were very slow getting started, but eventually decided to have a bit of a walk to SOUTH OF THE RIVER (gasp!) via Hammersmith. We were a bit worried about lunch facilities, but of course everything was open. We ended up having lunch at an Iranian place in Barnes which was actually really damned good, plus they felt so guilty about the tiniest of waits for the food that they plied us with free desserts and whatnot. Iranian food is much like Lebanese is much like [insert name of Gulf country here] but do not tell them I said so. We went past a set of allotments and a woman seeing us staring longingly through the fence let us in and gave us a tour. It was a very impressive set-up. GBP25/year for a 10x18m plot on good English soil with good English rainfall; I don't think you'd have to buy groceries ever. However, the waiting list is something like 10 years so I guess I don't get to have one, sadly. Probably just as well as I tend to kill or lose to infestation most food crops.

We walked along the Thames River walk via Wandsworth and Putney back over Putney Bridge to Fulham, where we accidentally found another palace. This one is Fulham Palace, home of various bishops; the grounds are a very lackadaisical botanical gardens, and include an 80+ year old wisteria vine and a 500 year old robur ilex or very weird looking oak tree, apparently the oldest in England. You can make that sort of claim here since (a) it's small enough that I'm sure they've found all the oaks by now and (b) they know it's 500 years old because great-great-great (etc) grandpa planted it on June 16 1532 and wrote a little note to that effect in his illuminated diary. Fulham is rather nice, or at least that part is. But it isn't chavvy enough, plus it's dangerously close to south of the river and even has an SW postcode, so clearly we can't live there.

We also abandoned movie plans on Sunday night due to the fact that after a 25,000 step walk (jeebus), we were not about to go to Shepherds Bush and back. It was a lovely walk though, and there was sunshine aplenty, to the point where I actually have a slight different coloured skin line on my neck now. I think my people may call it a tan. I didn't expect to have to wear sunscreen here - they have an actual ozone layer and all - but may have to change my reckless disregard to UV a little.

All up I walked 60,000 steps in 3 days over the weekend. A little under 30km. Those hiking holidays are seeming more doable.

Grant rode to work today for the first time ever. His usual walk to station + train + walk from station commute is 45 mins. By bike it took him 20 mins, or 30 mins including change time, so he's thinking the last 5 months of train commuting may have been a trifle misconceived. I'm trying to convince him to try riding in work clothes but he is resisting due to Perspiration Issues, thus meaning he is spending more time getting changed than actually riding, but who am I to argue?

Thesis words this week: zip. Still working on a way to finish it without adding words.
Steps this week: 4K; last week 95K BWAHAHAHAHA! First time I've beaten Grant in a while.
Cycling ks this week: zip, but Grant has managed a few.

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