Hate To Be Cherry Picked

Yippee! I’ve got a front row seat in the upper deck!
With a panoramic view of London at hand, the journey by bus becomes so much more agreeable.
Even though it was around 5pm, the late afternoon sun was surprisingly zesty and scorching my bare thighs through the window shield…

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The No.19 double decker  trundled through the West End traffic, heading towards Cambridge Circus…

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A rickshaw on Shaftesbury Avenue.
I was behind one of those years ago. It was a rather slow and dusty journey. Not recommendable…

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Just take a look how Piccadilly Circus was swamped by people!
Where do they all come from, I wonder…

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How could I imagine that I would be a victim of pick-pocketing in a few hours time when I was taking the snap from the bus?
It’s a second time that my wallet was stolen at Piccadilly Circus!
It was done ever so professionally that I didn’t realise what happened on my wallet until I rampaged the inside of my Vanessa Bruno tote at Cafe Concerto on Piccadilly.
What’s happening ??? Where is my wallet???
I was out with a friend for dinner. We were enjoying dessert & chat.
We hurried back to the restaurant on Lower Regent Street to check if I left the wallet there.
Then, I encountered a guy on Jermyn Street.
He grinned at me knowingly when I walked past him. It was definitely not a friendly smile but more like sniggering…
At the restaurant, we didn’t find anything.
Crest fallen, we trudged back toward Piccadilly Circus. Then, I bumped into him again. What is he doing here? Loitering? The oddity really struck me.

I bade farewell to my friend and made my way to the police Station on Savile Row.
A bored looking clerk took my detail and handed me a slip of paper.
Then, I phoned my bank and Hubbie.
So that’s it then. Just like that.
I didn’t know what to think…

Prince of Cambridge

Welcome to the world!
Kate gave a birth to a healthy boy yesterday.
Hubbie and I had been speculating the gender of the baby. He reckoned it would be a girl while I thought it would be a boy. So I won the bet!!
I can’t wait for the moment when William & Kate emerge from the hospital with their baby.
Also, what name will he be given. I am guessing it may be “George”?
Oh please don’t keep us biting our nail too long!

The thunderstorm scared hell out of Mr.B last night.
He was trembling like a leaf every time thunderclap struck. I tried in vain to comfort him with cuddling & stroking. Despite of all my effort, Mr.B was transfixed with the commotion outside and kept me awake till the early hours. *YAWN*
I imagine Kate & William must have been up all night, busy feeding their newborn son.

Mr.B, crushing out on the rug, exhausted with the heat wave & a lack of sleep…

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SKOOB BOOKS @ Brunswick Centre

Ever since I bought a pedometer last March, I have been taking more than 10000 per day.
Fortunately, my flat is a factory conversion with a sizeable open living /dining area which allows me to pace around freely even if the weather outside is not so great. At home, I put on MBT shoes and just walk, walk & walk…
After 5 months of this regime, I truly see an improvement in my health.
My waist and upper arms have become visibly slimmer. I sleep like a log. My shoulders feel less knotted even after hours of knitting. Generally, I feel great!
Walking to everywhere has become a second nature to me now.
So when I have errands to run in West End, I just put on flat shoes and start walking.
A pair of my treasured Church’s Burwood often accompanies me…

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I can’t help glancing at my reflection on the shop windows every time I wear the pair.
They are elegant and comfortable. No sneakers can achieve the same.
On foot, there are so many more to be discovered, aren’t there?
It’s like reacquainting with my beloved London all over again. I love it!

The other day, I started my walk from Shoreditch Grind by Old Street roundabout.

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This location used to be occupied by a mobile phone outlet.
Then one day, this busy yet friendly coffee shop spouted and it transformed a forlorn urban patch to a cheerful crowd-magnet.

Their sandwiches are gigantic!
They look much nicer than a counterpart from the Starbucks around the corner…

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Damn, I had lunch already.
So I ordered latte and cherry tart…

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Which route should I take today?
I pondered a little while and headed towards Rosebery Avenue. It was a hot day and I wanted to choose a leafy shaded route.
Rosebery Avenue, like Exmouth Market nearby, is lined with a cluster of quirky independent shops. And Antoni & Alison is one of them.

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I have a list of places and shops I mean to visit but unfulfilled due to my laziness. And this shop has been on the list for years. Will today be the day so I can eliminate them from the list?

Alas, they are closed!

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I peeped through the gap between the poster and the window frame…
One day soon, I must come back and satisfy my curiosity, I thought.

Then, I headed towards Brunswick Centre by Russell Square Station.
Brunswick Centre does not have anything remarkable – their courtyard is lined with well-known (& boring) high street giants like French Connection, L.K.Bennett, Oasis..,etc. You get the picture?
However, there is a gem hidden behind the shopping centre.
May I present SKOOB, the secondhand book store.

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Until one day a stall holder gave me the direction, I was completely unaware of this Aladdin’s Cave…

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Contrary to their deceptively understated entrance, a basement shop floor is large and overflowing with used books…

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I am one of those who moan the demise of secondhand book trades on Charling Cross Road. There used be a book store like SKOOB all over Central London when I started to live in the city two decades ago.
Hardcovers or paperbacks, sometimes they were strewn across the shop floors like a heap of bricks. A musty odour of old book stroke my nostril every time I turned the pages and I pondered “Is this book too smelly to take it home?”. Sounds like a light year ago, doesn’t it?

I parted my £3.00 for this…

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I read one of his publications when I was writing an essay at my Alma Mater, UCL.
It brought back good (& hard) old memories of there & then. His writing was so profound and I had to read every sentence over and over. And it used to send me to sleep in no time.
Let’s see if still sends me to sleep…

Japanese Canteen, Tottenham Court Road

Yesterday, I continued to work on the coat.
I always get worried at least once if the pattern I am trying to create may not come together.

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Unlike dress-making, which uses a predetermined pattern and calico to be cut and assembled quickly to see if the pattern in concerned is successful or not, knitting requires a whole garment to be finished even before I discover if it pleases me nor not!
Especially the method “finger-knitting”, I am the pioneer, I have nobody to turn to for advice.

Still, this one is coming up nicely. The coat will have a collar and two pockets. Mmmm…I can’t wait!

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While I was keeping my fingers busy, Hubbie was equally busy at work yesterday.
We both know that we should enjoy weekend as a time-off, rather than treat it as two more extra working days. Unfortunately, demand exceeds supply. And we have to answer it.
Under the circumstance, we try to spend time together as much as possible. I may pop into his office for tea & chat or we go out after work.
So, he suggested maybe I could join him later for dinner.
What shall we have?
We decided to grab a quick Japanese style curry at Japanese Canteen on Tottenham Court Road and to go home for a documentary I recorded the other night.

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It was not a proper Japanese eatery. However, we wanted to eat very quickly since the both of us were rather tired.

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The staff was very business-like, no smile at all.
She took our order mechanically and handed us a receipt. ‘We call up the number when it’s ready’. Oh yes, are we “#37”?

We perched ourselves on the stools by the window.
Shortly afterward, our number was called out and we picked up the food at the till.

This is my Chicken Katsu Curry Bento…

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I had zero expectation for this.
However, my scepticism was happily contradicted as the dish turned out to be more than just OK. The katsu was crisp and the rice was cooked properly – much stickier and more tasty than that overpriced Japanese in Paris.
I will definitely come again and try their noodle menu next time…

At home, we watched “Imagine…Don McCullin“.
We had been holding his work in the highest esteem. And the programme did not disappoint us.
I hope there will be another exhibition of his extraordinary works in London this autumn…

Bill Cunningham New York

The heat wave which had been taking up residence over London seems to loosen its grip today.
The sky is overcast and the air is much cooler.

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While we Londoners, are rejoicing “a proper summer” with Pimms & BBQ, there is more serious implication of this extreme heat wave.
The woodlands around London are made vulnerable to wildfire because of a lack of precipitation.
How Epping Forest smouldered under the afternoon sunshine, the scene in yesterday’s evening news was extraordinary. I gaped at it in silence.

Before the weather turned to a record-breaking sizzler, I was experimenting with a new oversize jumper.
Knitting can be rather monotonous, especially, the part I am working on is a routine or less complicated. In order to relieve the boredom & to keep myself going, I always watch movies with my MacBook.
It depends on my mood, I watch action & adventure or drama or documentary. However, I am hardly attracted to comedy or romance.

Have you watched “Bill Cunningham New York” already?

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I knew about his work long before this documentary film was released.
He works for The New York Times and in their website, under Fashion & Style, he has his own column space – “On the Street“. In his weekly video clip, Bill’s chirpy voice describes what fashion he notices and is intrigued (in mainly Manhattan) while a collage of the images he captured streams by.
Until I saw the documentary, I didn’t what & how he does it or why.
And how much he is dedicated to his cause!
On his 29th bicycle (that means he lost 28 bikes so far), he zooms around New York with his non-digital 35mm and snaps away extraordinary clothing worn by ordinary people.
He is uninterested in celebrities. His disarmingly charming demeanour opens many doors and opportunities. Yet, he declines to abuse it with an admirable steadfastness. Time to time, his assignment demands him to be & mingle in opulent and glamorous dos where he is much revered. However, his integrity as a journalist seems to fortify him from being corrupted by the trappings of fame and fortune.
He sleeps on his cot bed surrounded by towering filing cabinets in a small apartment above Carnegie Hall. He munches on unpretentiously his pastrami sandwich at Kat’s Deli in Lower East Side. His streamlined lifestyle resembles Spartan’s. Still, he appears perfectly content and “sorted”.
His fanatical dedication to his job, standing on the street day after day, rain or shine, clicking away wave after wave of nonchalant New Yorkers, has produced a vast resource of history in fashion which will benefit our future generation and beyond.

We must recognise that we are enriched by those obsessive & fanatical collectors like Mr.Cunningham.
While some mocked them as an eccentric then, their unwavering self-belief kept them going and left us with invaluable artefacts which we enjoy and cherish in galleries and museums now.

Please stay safe and share your wonderful fashion snaps with me, I sincerely hoped as I watched him negotiating through Manhattan traffic. Oh, he is brave!

Whilst Bill dedicates his passion to street-photography, somebody who shares the same initial “B” dedicates himself to…

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a NAP!
Oi Mr.B, you must feel a bit ashamed? How much sleep do you need a day?

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