The Post

On Saturday, Hubbie and I watched a film, The Post at Barbican Centre.

 

And the first thing I did as soon as I got home was to take out a subscription to The New York Times.

Why do I pay for a paper, especially a foreign one?

The film was about the Nixon Administration and the Vietnam War, but it also reminded me about the present Trump Administration.

Nowadays, we are awash with information of all sorts from multiple sources and the majority of those materials are free. Most of us, including me, find them handy and feel benefitted by the “freebies”.

However, is it really healthy to expect everything to be free? Especially news? The film has started me thinking.

Is it because so-called news are broadcasted or fed through Twitter or Instagram immediately, they are more valuable? Is it because they are unchecked and raw, they are honest?

The relationship between the media and its audience is changing.

While the speed of the news reaching us is shortened dramatically, thanks to the internet, the quality of the news can not be acclaim the same because there is never enough time for the materials to be scrutinised deeply.

Some bits and bobs floating in he media are light-weight and can be passed over our heads without too much fuss. But some issues are not to be dismissed or fobbed off too easily.

That is why we do need investigative journalism.

By subscribing to The New York Times, I am supporting freedom of speech and independent press.

“The pen is mightier than the sword” is a famous saying by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and I always support those warriors with pens who fight against tyrants!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Paella, paella, paella…

‘Let’s have paella because there is almost no queue!’ Our decision was prompt because we were very hungry and also cold. The urge to fill our stomach with something warm was too strong to resist.

Hubbie and I were standing by a pop-up gazebo, selling freshly cooked paella at Cubitt Square. The pop-up canteen was one of the many street food shops, especially there for Lumiere London 2018.

Mmmm…, I’m starving…

There were two choices, seafood and chorizo. And we opted for the chorizo one…

The paella looked great and I was only very grateful because the rice was piping hot. However, my joy was short lived.

Why they make it salty?!

The dish was very very very very salty. ‘I tasted the paella as salty as this when I went to Málaga ages ago.’, I told Hubbie as I ferried the rice to my mouth gingerly.

Yes, the seriously brined paella did bring back a bitter sweet memory of my holiday at Málaga. The trip was my very first solo holiday and also turned out to be the last one. I was supposed to go with my friend but she got cold feet at the last minute and as a result, I ended up being in a foreign city all on my own.

After spending tedious four hours in a departure lounge at Gatwick Airport because the plane was delayed, I found myself walking through a deserted arrival lobby of Málaga Airport in the early morning. I can’t recall exactly how but I managed to communicate the address of my hotel to a taxi driver and he took me to an unassuming hotel on one of the quiet streets in the city centre.

My room was small and modestly decorated. It had no TV or a great view from the window. Then, the reality dawned on me, ‘Oh shit, will I have to spend my entire Christmas holiday alone in here?’

I must say I didn’t enjoy my four days in the Spanish port city at all. The first two days was especially boring because they were Christmas Day and Boxing Day. No place, except some eateries, was open and I spent my time, walking around a deserted port and a crumbling fort which overlooked the beach.

The hotel I stayed did not have a bar nor a restaurant, therefore, I had to find somewhere to eat. Would I look odd if I dined alone?, I pondered. Then, I saw a brightly lit sign of a tapas bar in the distance and decided to eat my first dinner of Málaga there.

The walls of the eatery was clad with dark brown wood and there were legs of pork dangling from the ceiling. I picked up a laminated menu from the counter and pointed at the picture of paella and then a word, “Diet Coke”. A man behind the counter gave me a slight nod and disappeared into the kitchen.

The man came back from the kitchen surprisingly quickly and placed a plate in front of me. The steaming heap of the sunflower yellow rice looked very tempting because I didn’t have a chance to eat properly that day, therefore, I picked up a cutlery eagerly and spooned the content into my mouth. But oh no, no, NO! The paella was very salty. It was so salty that I could only managed to eat less than half on the plate, despite I was starving. How can anyone find the dish that salty be palatable?!, I was utterly dismayed.

After the fiasco at the tapas bar, I resorted to eating every dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. Their food was bog-standard but at least, their fried rice was no way as salty as the paella.

‘So the paella you had in Málaga was as salty as this?’, Hubbie shook his head in disbelief.

‘Oh, I can eat no more!’

I handed my half eaten paella to Hubbie who volunteered to finish it off. While watching him scoffing the rice and the chorizo in the dark at Gasholder Park, I wandered along a colonnade around the circular lawn. ‘Next time, we shall take paella with a pinch of salt.’ Hubbie declared as he joined me and Bella. I couldn’t agree more…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Lumiere London @ King’s Cross

It was definitely that FOMO feeling which motivated me to visit the event Lumiere London 2018. I missed out on the same event in 2016 and this time, I didn’t want to be the one who was pitied by those, who made it to the spectacles, how foolish I was to skip such a fantastic do.

‘We are going to their King’s Cross venue after dark!’ I declared to Hubbie’s back while he attended a pile of emails on his iMac screen. ‘Are we?’ His response to my suggestion was rather ambivalent.

Hubbie always made it clear that he hated visiting crowded places. I, myself, was not excessively fond of overcrowded places, therefore, I understood his reluctance. However, we were living in a capital city with the population of 8.8 million and the possibility of finding any event which was not crowded would be pretty negligible. ‘Well, we will wrap up quickly if it is too crowded!’, I quipped.

We arrived at a forecourt of King’s Cross station around 7 o’clock. The square was already teeming with the people who appeared to be heading to the installations which were dotted around Granary Square…

At Battle Bridge Place, we found IFO (Identified Flying Object) by Jacques Rival…

Any well-publicised mega event, such as Lumiere London, was bound to attract large crowds, and as a result, the installation was swamped by the waves of onlookers with their cameras and smartphones. Like them, I also tried to capture the vibrant colours of the artwork but my iPhone 7 was not up for a job, the images came out all too light and flat.

On King’s Boulevard, we were greeted by a row of giant office desk lamps…

The work, Lampounette, was by TILT, a French artistic studio. The desk lamps towered over us and gave us the feeling of being a doll in Polly Pocket!

While I took some snaps of the installation, Bella was held by Hubbie…

‘I have a great vantage point!’

We decided not to walk her on leash at the event. It was because the streets were too crowded and also too dark. We thought she could be easily trampled and the lead could be tripped by the pedestrians who weren’t aware of her presence.

Then, we arrived at Granary Square where a large installation, Waterlight, by Daan Roosegaarde was displayed..

 

The mid space of the entire square was filled with LED lighting which floated above our heads.

The art piece was breathtakingly beautiful…

 

There was a fog generator at the southwest corner of the square and it was pumping out the mist so the LED could illuminate the travelling mist in the air. Oh how much I long to be alone with this blue dancing haze! The beauty was ethereal.

Then, we moved on towards West Handyside Canopy and found the work, Aether, by Architecture Social Club…

 

I was really not sure if the audience needed this deafening techno music with the installation. Instead of enhancing the experience, I thought the tune was distracting and it also made the piece rather cheap and cliche. Like night clubs in Ibiza? I would have like it more if it was a silent piece.

After having a glimpse of Entre Les Rangs and Bottle Festoon, Hubbie and I opted to head home. We thought that some opportunities, such as Lumiere London, were too irresistible to pass on and that was why we went there. However, the venue was simply too crowded and we were a bit fed up with dodging the people and slow-marching in the freezing wind.

‘I just feel numb on my toes!’, I pined.

At Vinoteca King’s Cross, we bought mulled wine. The spiced wine was hot and it warmed our chilled finger tips and stomachs…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Enough!

I wished if I could shout out loud when Hubbie phoned me to let me know that the office experienced yet another break-in. I should have known something was up when Hubbie jumped out of a bed and ran out of the front door like a flash.

Yes, those buggers burglars came back last Monday night. And the same as the last time, they scarpered empty-handed but smashed up the temporary glazing completely this time.

I truly and wholeheartedly want to believe in the goodness exists in my fellow human being. However, my faith in the others can’t help wavering when I am faced with an out-of-order behaviour like this.

So far the only thing I could do was putting our life back to normal and the first thing I did was giving Hubbie a big hug and then got on with a clean-up with a broom and a dust pan.

Later on, a landlord arrived with a team of builders to patch up the window frame with plywood sheets.

Let’s hope the police will catch the bandits…

Bella had no idea why there were so many pieces of glass scattered on the floor.

Now, the police has informed us that they are on the case full time. I hope their investigation will bear fruit because I just can’t take the fifth time!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

She has an issue…

My girl Bella’s arch-enemy is our vacuum cleaner, Dyson, and she becomes super aggressive every time I pull out the appliance for cleaning. As I hoover the rugs and the soft furnishings, her irritation rises in a crescendo and it reaches to its peak when I unplug the power plug from the socket…

 

I have no idea why she is so annoyed by the plug. The funny thing is, she seems to have sussed out that the plug is a kingpin of her arch-enemy and she has to attack it at every opportunity.

Bay-Bay, I wish if I could be a doggie mind reader…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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