My favourite place

Especially during the ongoing heatwave, one place I really look forward to visiting is an ice rink in Streatham.

Jimmy, who organises ice hockey practices, kindly invites me to his scrimmages when ice time are available, and yesterday was one of those weekend days.

Before setting off to the ice rink, Hubbie and I decided to have brunch at Ozone Coffee Roasters…

We found no customary queue at this popular eatery and a smiley staff ushered us to a table in the basement…

For my pre-scrimmage food, I opted for gluten-free pancake with smoked pear custard, hazelnut meringue & rhubarb ambrosia. I also ordered extra strips of crispy bacons…

The pancake was divine! It was fluffy and the topping was delicious.

Envious Bella, staring at my pancake…

Sorry, Bay Bay!

After the brunch, I headed to the ice arena with my friend who wanted to watch me playing hockey.

What a bliss! It’s so cool and comfortable on ice!!

Unfortunately, there weren’t enough players to play a proper scrimmage and Jimmy set up a few drills for us and it was fun.

Only one goalie turned up but he was a really good one – very mobile and aggressive with his stick! One of the drills was we, forward players, were to receive a pass from the defencemen standing by the blue line and to shoot at the goal. My turn came so I sprinted out, received a pass and I was about to shoot. However, before I knew it, a huge wall in the shape of a hockey goalie was right in front of me and I had no choice but simply crashing into him. Because I was such a light-weight midget with less than 95lb, I ended up flying away like a deflected bullet while he stood still, like a bloody bank vault wall! How embarrassing…

Another thing I kept on doing during the drills was losing my footing every time I tried to do tight turning.

What are wrong with my skates today?

I took my gloves off and ran my finger on the blades after skating to the end of a queue. The edges of the top halves were noticeably dull and it was clear that they needed sharpening.

After the drills, we did a 3 on 3 scrimmage using the half length of the rink. Despite my skates skidding on the surface instead of biting into it, I somehow managed to stay on my feet and enjoyed the game enormously.

‘Wow, it’s so hot and sticky!’, my friend and I moaned when we walked out of the arena.

Then, we drove by my place first to pick up Hubbie and Bella, and then drove to my friend’s to rink up with her husband.

My dinner at Andi’s on Church Street, Stoke Newington…

Pulled pork bao! A post-scrimmage protein fix.

It is a shame that I can’t come to a Monday’s practice because my skates are left in the skate shop and they won’t be ready before Thursday. Oh well, I shall work on my shooting at home then…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Lovely Baladine

After enjoying a bit of retail therapy at Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, we continued on Rue des Trois Faucons in s eastward direction. ‘We should hop on a Baladine if one comes along.’ I looked back towards Place des Corps Saints. The sun started to beat down brightly and I was worried if the walk was straining mum’s hip before our visit to Palais des Papes.

Baladine on the move…

 

Baladine was an electric-powered mini bus which went along a designated route every 15 minutes.

A green line with “BAL” was the route of Baladine. The bus would stop at any point as long as the destinations of the passengers were near the wriggly loop.

The size of the mini bus was small – 4 adults plus 2 children if they were toddlers.

Cars, except the ones with permit, were banned from the city centre in Avignon. While we were watching Baradine in action, we witnessed the drivers touching in & out of the streets which were equipped with automatic bollards. As the pass card was pressed to the reader on the column, the bollard lowered itself to the ground level so the bus could entered the street.

Come and enjoy the ride with us!

 

Isn’t Baladine lovely? For this, it costs only 0.60€. What a bargain!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Les Demoiselles d’Avignon

I am so glad that the boys who have been trapped in the cave in Thailand are finally being rescued. I do admire the courage of the rescuers and my heart aches every time I think about the navy diver who lost his life during the rescue operation. I sincerely pray for all the people – the boys, the coach and the rescuers, to come out of the cave without any injury.

If someone asked me which street I loved the most during our road trip, I would answer Rue des Trois Faucons without hesitation. Avignon was such a charming city with many pretty streets and squares. However, I would recommend it because the street was free from chain stores. All the shops lining the street were unique and original.

A vintage book shop which was specialised in art.

Librairie Paroles was another vintage book shop specialised in history and literature.

Mum and I loved this boutique, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, the most. I visited there alone first and returned with mum later because the shop was so pretty. We bought from them mainly jewelries – she bought a beautiful silver necklace and I bought five dainty bracelets which I wore them all at once.

Ahhh, how I wished if they were in my neighbourhood in London! I would shop there every week…

After loading laundry at the laundrette, I strolled up Place des Corps Saints to investigate the street. Further up, the street became Rue des Trois Faucons and I started to see more shops. ‘Shouldn’t I buy a notebook for mum?’, I thought when I walked past Les Demoiselles d’Avignon.

Why a notebook?, you may ask.

Well, mum and I had a tiny discord that morning and the tiff was about her notebook.

One of my mum’s personal traits was being a bit disorganised and it sometimes drove me crazy. Perpetually, she was looking for something which she mislaid and it caused a mini havoc. ‘Oh no! I can’t find it!!’, was the dreaded cue for her messy search which involved turning a room upside down.

Ever since I was a teenager, I had been witnessing mum going around like a mini-tornado, flipping everything in her path upside down and inside out while moaning how she could lose the sight of it – spectacles, keys, a receipt, a handkerchief, etc.

So that morning, when she started to turn our room over because she couldn’t find her notebook, I became a bit fed up and complained, ‘How can you be so disorganised all the time?’

The corners of her mouth went downward and she looked miserable. Oh dear, I did it. The room was filled with air silently screaming “AWKWARD!” so I grabbed a paper bag with our dirty laundry and left her in the room with her missing notebook.

‘You know she was always like that and shouldn’t have been annoyed.’, I talked to myself as I pottered down the street.

‘Bonjour, madam.’, I greeted a woman behind the cashier as I entered the boutique. By the till, there was a pile of small notebooks and they were very pretty, black and white stripes with gold lettering embossed on their covers. This will do, I thought and bought it for mum.

When I returned to the room with the gift, she was sitting on a bed with bags which were emptied. ‘I think the notebook was gone. I am such a silly woman.’, she shrugged her shoulders and smiled. ‘Then, use this.’, I handed her a new notebook. ‘And you are not silly but a little careless sometimes.’

Mum’s face lit up like a 100w lightbulb and all the awkwardness we had between us early on flew out of the window and gone. Phew!

‘Once the laundry is sorted, we are going out, mum. Let’s tidy up! On the double!!’ Mum and I picked up bits and pieces which were sprinkled by Mum Tornado…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

They’ve done it!!

Ahhhh, well done, England!! Hubbie and I were truly euphoric when the final whistle was blown and England was through to the semi-final.

We watched the game at our local pub, the Eagle.

A brief period of calmness before our tension and excitement rose in a crescendo…

 

Then, came the second goal…

 

The place simply erupted!

We were going to leave Bella at home but she insisted to accompany us by sitting between the front door and us.

Well, you didn’t know what you were letting yourself into, did you?

She was a bit scared by all the shouting and clapping.

Ahhhh, they did it! They are through to the semi-final!!

 

It was utterly exhausting to watch the game but it was all worth it in the end.

I can hardly wait for the Wednesday’s game!!!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Laundrette @ Avignon

One of the problems everyone faces during a holiday, which lasts longer than a few days, has to be how to deal with your dirty laundry. Our trip was over 16 days and as the days went by, our worn clothings started to take up more space in our suitcases.

‘It would be great if there were any laundrette near by’, mum sighed as she went through her luggage. We were planning to stay in Avignon for three days, therefore, it would be ideal if we could sort out dirty washing during our stay.

At the hotel reception, I found a man on a ladder, trying to fix a light bulb above the entrance. ‘Bonjour!’, I greeted him not too loudly so he wouldn’t be startled. ‘Bonjour, madam!’, he smiled as he lowered himself down the steps.

Once he was behind the desk, I asked if there was any laundrette within a walking distance. ‘Oh yes, there is a one at the end of the street in front of the hotel!’ Oh cool!

‘Could you change this note to small change?’ I produced €5 from my pocket. As he was checking their till, another staff came out from the kitchen and told us that she had just used up all the small change they had in order to pay a delivery. ‘Désolé.’, they apologised.

Ok, I must do some small shopping with this note and get some coins. There was a gift shop on Cours Jean Jaurés and I ended up buying a small lavender soap in the shape of a cicada.

With a few euro coins in my pocket, I returned to the hotel. ‘L’opération a réussi?’, the staff on the ladder wanted to know and I gave him the big thumbs up.

At the end of the street, a laundrette awaits me!

The street in front of the hotel ended when it met Place des Corps Saints.

‘Oh bu**er! Why didn’t we come here for dinner yesterday?!’ The square was surrounded by lovely looking cafes and restaurants, and there were many tables under the shade which would have offered beautiful alfresco dining. I was gutted.

Anyway, I have a mission to complete.

Tadah!

There was no one when I walked in and I never used a laundrette in London so I had no idea how it worked…

It was a bit daunting.

Let’s study an instruction…

I forgot to take pictures but there was another machines, one took the payment and the other dispensed a laundry detergent.

In the end, everything was kind of self-explanatory – you put coins into the machine and it lit up the the options available according to the amount of the coins inserted. I chose mixed wash under 4kg and also bought detergent. As the coins fell through, a slot on the wall, a small opening a few feet away, spat out the detergent! Haha, what a fun. I would have loved to see the inside of the wall.

I made a bit of mess when I was putting the detergent in a tray. Well, it crumbled without warning!

The wash was to be ready in 35 minutes so I went back to my hotel and had another cup of coffee with mum.

Then, I had to go back to put the laundry in a tumble dryer.

 

On the door of the dryer, there was a message to the staffs and owners of the local eateries. It warned that some laundries with fat and oil still left on the fabrics may catch fire while being tumble-dried! Oh please be careful..,

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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