Bone & Broth

Brrrrrr, isn’t it so bloody cold?! I am moanng because I am being punished for my presumptuousness. So, what did I get wrong this time? Well, I made the mistake of swapping my winter wardrobe to the spring’s straight after the Easter holidays. The weather was truly lovely at the beginning of the April, warm sunshine and the temperature soaring to mid-twenties, etc. However, the cold air from the Arctic decided to return over the British Isles and the weather had turned to wintry again. The sad thing is I make the same error every year and find myself having to suffer for a week or more in inadequate clothings. But who can blame me? My desire for wanting to shed all those heavy woolly outfits at the first sign of the Spring is so strong and it simply overrides my common sense! I sincerely hope the present weather system will be shooed off by the warm Mediterranean cousin very soon so I can turn off central heating and cast away my Uniqlo fleece jacket which seems to have become my second skin at home…
This cold spell also influences my choice for what to eat when I am out and about. Instead of reaching for a box of salad, I yearn something warm and comforting. 
And I had been intrigued by the pop-up shop near Exit 1 at Old Street station for quite a while…

Old Street underground station is definitely not one of those modern and smart show-case stations like London Bridge or Westminster. It is rather grey and even a little neglected. The passage walls sport calcified water damage marks and the tiles are missing from them here and there. And the state of the damages indicates that those defects have been left to decay for years. However until 10 years ago, the station was even more depressing and grotty. A mixture made up with revellers to the clubland of Hoxton/Shoreditch, aggressive ticket touts and drug addicts used to loiter around the ticket hall. And it did not make an attractive sight. The forbidding atmosphere definitely made me quicken the pace so I could get away from the station which resembled a den.

Then came 2011, the neighbourhood around the station metamorphosed into Silicon Roundabout – a hub of Tech industries, thanks to Google which open Google Campus on nearby Bonhill Street. The transformation also became a catalyst for cleaning up the antisocial activities within the station and energising the retail area. Now, decorative shrubs are placed in the ticket hall and the retail units which used to be vacant are being let out to host various pop-up shops. 

Bone & Broth is a typical pop-up shop which depicts the undertone of the Tech City tribe – their desire for being innovative and wholesome. The information savvy crowd are no longer excited by freshly press juice or low-carb muffins, but very much intrigued by this special “broth”. The people behind the venture claims their broth is made from slowly cooked roasted bone and packed with nutrients such as vitamin, collagen, amino acids, keratin and minerals. Sounds great, doesn’t it? So I decided to try this elixir of wellness myself.

On the shelves, there were three gigantic thermos flasks which kept  three different kinds of broth warm. ‘Would you like beef or chicken? Or vegetarian broth?’ I explained to a smiley staff behind the counter that it was my first visit and I wanted to sample their beef broth.

She filled up a small cup with ivory white liquid and handed it to me. ‘You can add some flavour to it too. We have chilli, spring onion and ginger’.

Slowly, I sipped the broth with ginger and a pinch of sea salt. The broth had a distinctive cooked beef smell, similar to roast beef. The flavour was surprisingly delicate and some may say it was a little too bland. The additional ginger gave a kick but chilli would have been a better choice as the stuff recommended. In the end, I opted for a cup of beef broth with ginger, spring onion and sea salt.

Wrapping my hand around a warm cup of broth was definitely agreeable on a cold afternoon. And if the broth was to do a load of good to my wellness, what not to like about it? 

By the way, the pop-up at Old Street station is gone but their branches can be found at St Pancras station and also at Natural Kitchen on Marylebone High Street!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

I hate water…

The leak yesterday was finally stopped by an emergency plumber and it ended our 4 day’s long ordeal. The plumber reported that the water supply to the upstair’s loo was the cause of the leak and in spite of dripping slowly, it ended up saturated the concrete slab completely because it was left without a remedial work for so long.

I am so happy that I am no longer tormented by that pit-a-pat. However, the incident has left me with damages on parts of the ceiling and the floor.

Hello comet! This is one of the marks left by the splashes… 

I have a seamless black rubber floor throughout the property except the bathrooms. And the surface of the flooring is laid with non-slip wax as untreated rubber floor is too slippery for Mr.B to walk on. One drawback of this treatment is, the wax reacts to surface water and it turns to unappealing shade of murky grey if the water is not mopped up in time. Over the period of yesterday’s leak, too many splashes, which caused by the droplets travelling down from the 3.5m high ceiling to the buckets below and hitting the bottoms hard, were allowed to dry by themselves. As the result, my black floor resembles an image of galaxies with speckly constellations, each indicating the position of the buckets and pots placed under the drips.

Fortunately, the damage to the floor is not permanent as the wax can be stripped and laid over again. However, this process has to be done by a professional cleaning firm with specialised machinery.  And for this, all the firnitures have to be removed and the apartment will be unaccessible until the wax is completely dry which can take up to 2 days! Ugh, I just don’t want to think about it right now. I wish if I could hibernate and wake up when all the troubles are over and gone…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Coming down hard…

The piece of the panel, which was taken away for a close analysis yesterday, turned out to be not asbestos. You can imagine how relieved we all were when the call came from the lab. Even though the work had to be suspended for half day, the builders came back in earnest this morning and has started to chip away the existing tiles with a power saw. Let’s hope they can make a good progress today. 

I wish if I could say all is good but the water leak from upstairs is getting worse. Lines of droplets are formed along the seams of the plasterboards on my ceiling as well as an exposed steel beam and they are coming down at a quick pace. My stock of buckets and pans is rapidly depleting and the sound of pit-a-pat from multiple direction is driving me crazy!

Unfortunately, the owner of the flat lives abroad and her tenants seem to be away as their mails are uncollected for days. Someone will have to go in and stop the leak by the end of today as the area is expanding by the minute. Otherwise, I will have to stay up all night tonight, looking up the ceiling.

Ugh, bitter medicine never comes in small doses…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

What goes around comes around

It is a lot easier to bear a sound of banging if I were the one who were wielding the hammer. The pounding feels like repeated blows on my skull and wearing me down like a plant pelted by hailstones. Mr.B is also unnerved by the loudness of the noise and clutching onto my knee like he is hanging on to a piece of floating timber after being shipwrecked…

The noise is created by a team of builders who are finally turned up at my doorstep early this morning to mend a leaky waste pipe and to lay a brand new waterproof floor. The existing shower room has been a source of our headache for years. It leaked intermittently and as the result, we stopped using it altogether. Since we have another bathroom, it is not the end of the world but the leak to the office below still continued and we have to come to our decision that the floor has to be redone.

A horror we discovered when the floor was lifted…

The original floor laid by a very dishonest plumber. To my horror and indignation, we discovered my so-called waterproof floor was consisted of just two layers of tiles on chip board. He didn’t use any of the specialist materials we paid for, and instead, he appeared to be recycling old junk from another job. The worst was still to come though. The tiles had been laid on some fibre board which could be asbestos! The builders called in a specialist and he took away a small piece for a close analysis at his lab. Whatever it is turned out to be, we will have to deal with it and move forward. However, I am so pissed off from the beginning of week and that is not a good thing…

Guess what I found when I came back from Monmouth yesterday. 

A leak from the flat above. It is not dripping very fast, a drop every three minutes or less? Still, it hasn’t stopped and my floor is marked by it already.

Oh well, the thing which comes around also goes around. Therefore, just have to be philosophical and get over it, I guess…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Scottish DancingĀ 

I was sitting in a dining room of the B&B in Monmouth, Wales, feeling slightly dazed and very hungry. My elbows and knees ached a bit and my throat felt dry and strained. Oh dear, it must have been from the merriment of last night’s wedding, I reflected as I sipped my tea. What a night it was…

 A gang of my friends and I were celebrating our friends’ nuptials in Lydart and we danced, laughed, chatted and played Wii till it was well after midnight. They were all great fun but the most memorable was the dance. The bride and her family being the Scots, it was all Scottish dancing and the man in charge of entertainment introduced us to this amazing but also physically demanding activity. We the guests were herded up and being told to skip in a circle, to change directions, to hold hands, to link elbows and spin, to clap, etc etc… The tempo was fast and the hall was packed. And inevitably, we bumped into each other but it didn’t matter. The atmosphere was euphoric and jubilant. And after each dance, we all found ourselves slightly sweaty and panting rather heavily, and congratulating each other for surviving it without bruising toes! 

A welcoming sight of my full English breakfast. I was starving…

I stayed in Bistro Prego on Church Street. 

The B&B had a very comfortable bed which helped me to recover from the dancing fatigue.

Monmouth is best known as the birthplace of Henry V…

I found it was more than serendipity that being happened to stay in the birthplace of the king who was immortalised by Shakespeare’s play  during this particular year of the playwright’s 400th anniversary since his death. The connections between the past and the present are always more tangible if we care to look for them…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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