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

Good As Gold Beyond Awesome

Exactly three weeks ago, Hubbie and I were at Maharishi Store on Great Pulteney Street, sipping beer and chatting to our friends and acquaintances. It was a launch party of a book, Good As Gold Beyond Awesome, and we were invited because Hubbie designed the book,

The weather then was not as hot as the one we are experiencing recently but it was pretty summery and pleasant.

The venue of the party was a well-known boutique and it had a beautiful Japanese warrior’s armour on display.

The place was buzzing with the excited crowds.

While Hubbie was putting the layouts together, I contributed to it by doing most of the typing in the book. Yes, typing, proper typing using a vintage Olivetti typewriter! Unlike word -processing with a modern keypad, typing with an old-fashioned typewriter was a pretty physical experience. It was like mini boxing with my fingers! I had to hit the keyboard hard so the letters would appear crisp and clean. And the noise of it! It was raucous. How anyone coped with those deafening sounds in the offices, especially in a room with multiple typists working, before desktop computers became norm?, I wondered.

The book was a great success.

The images were juxtaposed in such ways, it would stir your imagination.

The man himself, Ed Morris!

He may have looked a bit annoyed but he wasn’t. He was a very intense man. Right?

Bella was a bit taken aback by the amount of the crowds at the party.

I don’t know where to stay..

As she grew more mature, she developed slight shyness. As a puppy, she was very outgoing, almost a bit like manic.

Then, you don’t want to leave the party?

Oh Bay-Bay, can’t you make up your mind? We are leaving because Hubbie has started having a migraine!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Bella & Mulberry Harbour @ Arromanches

On the beach at Arromanches-les-Bains, Normandy, there were gigantic remnants of WWII.

A huge chunk belonged to the once harbour could be reached on foot during the tide was out…

During last September, Hubbie, Bella and I visited Normandy with our friends.

Our two days’ itinerary included a visit to the Normandy American Cemetery & Memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer and Arromanches which was famous for the Mulberry Harbour B, aka “Port Winston”.

For anyone who is not familiar with Operation Mulberry, I advise you to watch this documentary…


It explains about this phenomenal military project from the conception to the execution.

We parked the car in a car park, facing Gold Beach, one of the five areas of Normandy coast which was assigned to the British Army to take on D-Day…

– a map by Daily Mail
Today, Arromanches was a quiet seaside town with a museum, souvenirs shops and cozy family-run hotels and B&Bs.

Reminders of the history, serenely resting on the beach…

Can you make out where these parts belong to?

An aerial view over the Mulberry Harbour in action…

– an image by the Imperial War Museum.
The photograph shows the enormity of the project.

My girl Bella enjoyed an unhindered run on the beach…

‘Yipee!’

And inspected the harbour…

She had never been to the seaside in her life, therefore, those limpets must have smelt very weird for her. She was absolutely obsessed with them.

And played with a newly found four-legged friend…

 

She was running around like a maniac!

If there were such a thing like a Yorkie brigade, she would most definitely volunteer.

I am a commando!!

As we walked towards one of the towering concrete blocks on the beach, she followed us and we came to a pool of the leftover sea water around the foot of the structure. She seemed to be very intrigued by the water and stared at it for a while. Then next moment, she dived into it! It was not particularly a warm day and the water must have been pretty cold. In the water, she looked rather sheepish and I had to drag her out by her harness.

How did she react after the plunge? She became totally jubilant and euphoric! While I hollered ‘Noooo, Beeeeelllaaaa!!’, she rolled on her back, rubbing her wet coat into the sand. On our way back, we came across another puddle and she stopped in front of it. And before I could stop her, she dived into it again. There was a group of French tourists and they were laughing their heads off, ‘Oh la la!’

Bella the Brave is definitely in favour of amphibious landing, I sighed and picked her up in my arms. By then, she was completely soaked and dripping with the smelly stale sea water and she resembled a rat, not a Yorkie…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Echobelly@Scala

Hubbie and I were at Scala, Kings Cross, last night, attending a gig given by Echobelly . The band’s lead guitarist, Glenn, kindly put us on their guest list because Hubbie helped them with their recent publicity photos.

Sonya & Glenn’s visit.

After having dinner at Mildred on Pentonville Road, we watched a supporting band, Salad, giving a great performance…

Then, this was what we were waiting for! Echobelly!

 

They played the numbers from their new album, Anarchy & Alchemy, as well as their well-known and well-loved tunes.

A lead singer, Soyna, was as mesmerising as usual. She had a great stage presence and her charisma was felt throughout the performance…

Thank you, Glenn! It was a wonderful treat…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Scorchio!!!

‘We long for it but also complain about it as soon as it arrives!’ We mused about the sudden arrival of heatwave as we licked ice lorries. Our atelier didn’t have air-conditioning but an electric fan, and the device didn’t help much other than it stirred up the hot air.

Early on yesterday, I met up with my old teammate from ice hockey and had lunch together. We hadn’t seen each other for almost a year, therefore, we had tons to catch up with. While we were busy chatting and eating, Bella was sitting on my lap quietly, no figeting nor begging for attention but looking around what was going on. A model behaviour. Well done, Bella!

Bella on my friends lap, looking at her pasta…

Oh my, it sounded like so many things, some of them were pretty drastic, had happened to a few of my teammates while I was in the thick of my own domestic affairs. All very happy and positive changes, yet, life changing decisions nonetheless! We both agreed that a summer social gathering would have to be organised before some of them disappear to the other side of the earth.

Let’s play with the bubble! I brought a secret weapon for Bella to play with at the studio…

Doggie Incredibubblles!

The bubble was absolutely harmless and peach flavoured. I could hardly want to see how Bella would chase the bubbles with excitement. Well, my good intention disappeared into thin air literally like “bubbles”…

She just ran away! She just hated it. Those bubbles were rather sticky and kept the shape for much longer than normal soap bubbles. She seemed to be freaked out by the bubbles sticking to her all over, especially around her furry face. Therefore, she rolled around the floor, trying to rub the residue off from herself, rather than chasing the bubbles for fun. Oh well, never mind. I will find another entertainment for you, Bella…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Blog at WordPress.com.