Chance Encounter

A chance of bumping into something intriguing increases dramatically if I am on foot, moving through London in a slower pace.

And I came across a pub with a lovely name the other day…

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“The Blacksmith & The Toffee Maker”
It’s a bit hard to imagine what connection they have with each other.
Still, sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

Then, I discovered this wall…

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Words overlay on top of another, creating a fascinating illusion of the depth on the wall.
I could read the words, “Cures Wounds Sores”. Were they advertising any medicine?
Anyway, it was a great wisdom that the owner of the wall decided not to white-wash over them.
I can’t wait to find what gem awaits me next time I am walking through the city…

BTW, I found Mr.B tangled up with a chair leg this morning.

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While I was washing my hands, he walked around the chair more than once…
And hey presto, he is stuck.
How silly you are. But I love your silliness nonetheless…

Button Queen

How would you like a slice of Banoffee pie for breakfast?
I doubt not many can resist the offer.

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We had some leftovers from last night and Hubbie suggested maybe we could polish them with milky coffee.
What a devil!
However, I did like the sound of it very much. So we indulged ourselves with unhealthy calorie-laden Banoffee pie from the morning. Mmm… A sense of guilt made the sweetness even sweeter. *YUM*
Isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day? Does that mean we’ve ruined our day already?
Oh well, never mind. It was delicious.

After breakfast, I cracked on with the jacket I had been working on ever so hard recently.
The job for today was making buttons.

They are the buttons I use…

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I knit a small pouch with the same yarn I use for the jacket. Then, I slot the brass button in it and stitch around it. This is the only time I use a crochet hook and needles during my finger knitting process…

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And they look like this upon completion…

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Then, I stitch them on the jacket…

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How do they look? Aren’t they sweet? I am mightily pleased with the result.
The next job is attaching pockets.
I shall let you know when it’s done…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Shoryu @ Lower Regent St

Hubbie doesn’t like noodle, especially, noodle soups.
His reasoning is that he makes a mess with chopsticks and a slippery noodle.
“Practice makes perfect” is my advice. But he is adamant that there are better things to do in life. C’est la vie…

Therefore, when an acute noodle craving plagues me, the person I turn to is not Hubbie but my good old friend, Fei.

There are more than a few noodle bars in London nowadays, thanks to the Ramen boom in NYC which has leaped across the Pond and ignited a lively interest in this particular Japanese cuisine.
Ramen always existed within the menu of Japanese restaurants in London. However, it was just as one dish amongst many, never featured or specialised.
Then, the hype took hold of the city, and Ittenbari on Brewer St, Tonkotsu on Dean St, Bone Daddies on Peter St…etc, sprouted with a vigour in a very short space of time.

Shoryu, where we visited on that fateful Wednesday, was one of those Ramen boomers.
My apology for not having any images of the interior. The restaurant was already full of diners and I found rather awkward to point my iPhone at them.

We ordered a starter each and shared them.
Gyoza dumplings…

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& Tori no karaage – Japanese style fried chicken…

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Both of them were perfectly ok.
We found the fried chicken especially  moreish.
The accompanying Japanese style mayonnaise had a sprinkle of Ichimi chilli pepper which added a kick to those crispy and succulent morsels.
To be an extra critical, I found the Gyoza a tad on the thin side.
The skin lacked the texture and the filling was a little bland. They could do better than this, I thought.

Here comes the piéce de resistance, my Kara Tantan Tonkotsu ramen!
It had spicy fried minced pork topping with miso flavoured soup…

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The soup was flavoursome without being too sharp.
The miso’s saltiness was moderated by the rich flavour of Tonkotsu – pork based broth.
When it comes down to the noodle itself, I am not a ramen connoisseur, therefore I cannot evaluate it properly.
The texture of the noodle was just right for me, not too soft nor too hard. Comparing with the papery yellow strings I encountered in Chinatown, Shoryu’s noodle was in a different league. That was for sure.
My verdict regarding Shoryu was a 5 out of 5. The service was swift and pleasant. And the atmosphere was lively and comfortable. I will definitely visit them again.

After dinner, we sauntered towards Piccadilly.
The air was balmy and everything looked perfect. I did not have a care in the world.
We sat outside at Cafe Concerto and marvelled at the beauty of London summer…

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It was more than a month since we met each other last time.
So we carried on chatting over Black Forest gateau & latte.

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Then, a tragedy struck. I discovered that my wallet was no longer there in my bag!
The frantic fingers rummaged through the inside in vain. But alas, no success. How could this happen?!  I was dumbfounded.
The rest of this sorry saga is logged in my past entry. Please read it if you care.
It was last Wednesday and I have since recovered.
I have ordered three mean looking wallet chains which I intend to attach to each bag.
Pickpockets will have a nasty surprise next time they pounce on me…

Hokkaido Highway Blues

A blue-sky day is gone.
It’s replaced by uneven tone of grey.
Finally, this unusually “summery” summer has come to the end?
I hope not.
It’s nearly 6pm and I am wondering how tomorrow’s weather will be like…

We had our brunch at Shepherdess.
Instead of my customary Early Bird (egg, tomato, chips, toast & sausage), I ordered Egg Benedict.
First of all, a cup of builders tea minus sugar.
A quote from Wikipedia – Builders tea is an English colloquial term for the sort of strong, inexpensive tea drunk by construction workers taking a break. The term is used to differentiate from other servings of tea, as it is usually both brewed strongly and served in a mug (as opposed to being brewed in a teapot) milky with two (or more in some cases) teaspoons of sugar.
Mmmm… We need more milk. So we asked a small pitcher of milk…

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Here comes my Egg Benedict!
Hubbie was mightily jealous of me. Well, it was his fault that he decided to stick to the usual…

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Nothing was wrong with their cooking but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I expected.
I found the bacon extremely salty. Oh well, I will order my egg Benedict without bacon next time.
Otherwise it was great.

After brunch, Hubbie headed to the office, and I decided to spend my afternoon in the sun.
The place I spread a picnic blanket this time was Gordon Square near UCL.
I used to come here often when I was a student at the Bartlett…

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One of the great things about London is being able to relax in numerous public spaces like Gordon Square. It’s dotted all around Central London and most of them are well maintained and open to general public.

I read “Hokkaido Highway Blues – Hitchhiking in Japan” by Will Ferguson while topping up a tan on my legs…

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I must say his depiction of Japan was dead-on accurate as well as funny.
It was very hard to suppress a giggle when I was reading one of the episodes that he hitchhiked a police car by mistake and got arrested.
Anyway, please read it. I shouldn’t spoil the fun any further by spilling more beans.
One thing I can say is that there is alway something interesting when it is observed by a fresh pair of eyes…

Church’s @ Old Bond Street

Unaware of the tragedy awaited later on, I sauntered through Burlington Arcade towards Old Bond Street.
It was almost 6pm and the street lined with opulent show windows was shimmering in the warmth.
I assure you that I wasn’t there to buy any jewellery (I wish) but to take my beloved brogues to Church’s on Old Bond Street.

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This small but chic branch is totally dedicated to ladies shoes and accessories.
The boutique is manned by friendly staff who is happy to dispense useful tips on how to keep Church’s footwear in a top condition.
I brought my black Burwood which I smeared with too much shoe polish.
The staff inspected the pair and suggested to leave it with them so they could give a thorough makeover – stripping the piled on polish and reapplying shoe polish in a correct way.

In their show window, there were new models for A/W 2013…

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Wow! They look like Dr.Martens, don’t they?
Mmmm… I may try them on when I collect my Burwood next week.

At home, I found a couple of video on YouTube how leather shoes should be looked after…

 

By the way, about the train crash in Spain, isn’t that terrible?
If the claim in newspapers is true that the train was derailed because the driver was going over the speed limit deliberately, he is no different to a murderer. He was in charge of so many innocent people’s live. Yet, his lack of judgement and apparent no sense of responsibility resulted in this catastrophic consequence. How ridiculous!

It’s only my personal experience but I had a “heart in a mouth” moment twice during my holidays in Spain.
The first one was in Barcelona. I hired two cabs with a group of friends.
Once we hit the road, the drivers decided to race with each other. While we were screaming with fear and begging them to stop, those two idiots slammed their feet on accelerators and carried on having a fun.
Eventually our ordeal ended at our destination. Then, they demanded an extra tip because they ferried us quicker than usual. We didn’t know enough Spanish to settle the difference of opinion, so had to hand over more cash gingerly.
The second one happened when my long-distance train was terminated unexpectedly and all passengers, including me, had to be transferred to the next station by bus. It was already passed midnight. We were herded up and told to get on board the buses which were waiting in a row. Once the buses were filled up with hapless passengers, the convoy started. But oh my, it was one hell of a ride. The driver drove like a man possessed through rocky rugged mountain road. The route he took seemed to be full of hairpin curves and rapid ascends & descends. The road was unlit and the only light source  was the headlamps of the bus. I might have felt a little better if the journey were done through daylight. At least, I could see where we were heading and know when to brace myself for jolts!
The light swung left to right like a frantic searchlight and heightened the sense of speed. All the sudden, a quarry like rocky side wall came in a full view. The harsh lighting made the texture appeared even more rugged which amplified my fear.
A newspaper headline flashed in my head, “A tragedy – Bus full of tourists found in pieces under the cliff”…
In both occasions, no physical harm was done to me.  However, all professional drivers should offer not only a safe but also comfortable ride to their passengers. No passenger should fear for life at any moment in the backseat. Therefore, those Spanish drivers I encountered were no better than any joyrider, in my opinion.
Of course, every country has joyriders. But they are car thieves and reckless teenagers, not professionally qualified drivers. “Joyriding” while they are behind the wheel of public transport is insane and definitely  never heard of in where I came from & where I live now…

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