#britishweathersucks

Oh boy, we should have stayed away from the park today, I felt truly miserable in Regent’s Park yesterday lunchtime. It was raining, cold and windy. Apart from keen lunchtime runners, there was hardly anyone in the park.

Even normally an outdoorsy sort of girl Bella was not too crazy about being in this rather dismal surrounding…

Oh no, I am not going in there!

We did play with a Chuckit but every time the ball landed on the ground which was saturated with the precipitation of the recent weeks, she refused to retrieve it.

I sighed and waded into the puddles so I could pick up the ball which used to be neon orange but now resembled a giant dark chocolate truffle.

Hey Bay-Bay, why can’t you stop pining?

She appeared to be distracted by the wind and as a result, she was much less responsive to my recall command. What if she catches a whiff of a squirrel and decides to give a chase?, the thought concerned me because she could go beyond the fencing surrounding St John’s Lodge.

I found myself screaming at her, ‘stop!!’ as she broke into a trot, making a beeline to the nearby hedge. I sprinted as fast as my Timberland boots clad feet could carry me. Thankfully, she froze on the spot, sensing the seriousness in a tone of my voice. I did not like shouting at her but the thought of losing her really panicked me.

Sorry Bella, but I will have to keep you away from the park until the ground becomes firm and dry. Or I will have to buy a pair of football boots with studs so I can run after you even if the ground is greasy…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Typeface junkie

‘London is choking on its excess traffic!’, I silently grumbled as I threw an weary glance towards a row of stationary tail lamps which stretched out as far as my eyes could follow. I was on the upper deck of a No.38 bus, heading down Shaftesbury Avenue.

The midday traffic was excruciatingly slow…

Like everyone else, I hated being stuck in the traffic. But this temporary imprisonment gave me ample time to stick my nose into a daily feed from The New York Times which I took out the subscription recently.

Before the paper decided to stop free downloading of its contents, I was their avid reader. I used to love the quality of their articles even though the topics were more focused on news and issues about New York City and the American politics.

My habit of reading the paper carried on even during I visited my mum in Japan. Then, her place didn’t have WiFi and I had to visit a local Starbucks everyday and downloaded a precious copy so I could read it at home.

I was very disappointed when the paper announced that they would start charging for their daily download from the spring of 2011. Of course, no one stopped me from becoming a paid reader, but I thought at the time that paying £10 per a month for a foreign newspaper was a bit silly.

Now, I have a renewed interest in the American politics, thanks to that Emperor Small Hands. ‘What has he done now?’, gleefully checking the app while still being buried under a warm duvet has become my favourite morning ritual.

Oh dear, that man-baby wants a “very huge” military parade this time?, Hubbie and I looked at each other and shook our heads when we learnt his latest antics from Channel 4 news this evening. Well, I can hardly wait to read about it in detail tomorrow morning…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Phantom Thread

Last night, I started to read The Glass of Fashion, a book by Cecil Beaton which was published in 1954. And the book conveyed me to a bygone time in which high fashion was art, not industry.

Why did I have a strong urge to pick up this book was because I wanted to linger in a particular era which was portrayed in a film, Phantom Tread. The life portrayed in the film was a small slice of the 50’s post-war Britain. And it was indeed, a very privileged one. …

 

The film, which Hubbie and I saw at the Barbican Cinema, was simply exquisite. It was beautifully shot, the storyline was original and the acting was superb. I loved everything, absolutely everything in it. And of course, Daniel Day-Lewis, he was divine. The fact that he has left his acting career behind after the film makes my heart bleed! Does it mean I will never see his inimitable smile, which is elegant yet impish, ever again? I am still heartbroken.

Another thing I pined for throughout the film was how I desired to time-travel to the era in which the film was set. Even though my mum, who experienced the reality of the post-WWll, may not agree with me, I did find the time very desirable.

The reason why I liked it so much was because everything appeared to be real and tactile. The life then was conducted more elaborately and properly. General things, even trivial things such as drinking tea or putting on clothing, appearred to be done with more care and joy. And respect and appreciation towards labour and service seemed to be more just and courteous.

What is luxury? I wonder. Nowadays, we are surrounded by objects which claim themselves to be “deluxe”. From fast food to fast cars, the notion is widespread and abundant. Despite it, I just can’t help feeling that we are decidedly poorer. I ponder why.

If I could, I would love to bring back Cecil Beaton and hear what he would comment about the state of luxury in the present time. He may have a fit or worse a heart attack but also he would give damn accurate (& savaging) digs at it too…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Yeezy Peazy?

I am very sorry to be so square but I can’t stand it!

What is this? A joke? A very sick joke?

Will this absurd denim jacket be the next “it” jacket because it is coming out from the house of Balenciaga? I don’t even want to call this rubbish as “hybrid”. Why the modem fashion nowadays churns out such craps every season? What has gone wrong with fashion, especially high-fashion?

Bloody hell…

Could you please leave this kind of eyesores in your closet…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Alpino Cafe @ Chapel Market, N1

Alpino Cafe, which is situated at the west end of Chapel Market, is a much loved local eatery. The establishment is a stone’s throw from our office and Hubbie and I often eat our lunch there.

Today’s special was chicken pie with vegetables and mashed potato…

Their portion was generous as usual. Nothing can beat a piping hot chicken pie with gravy when the weather outside is chilly and blustery, we wholeheartedly agreed as we ferried the piping hot mashed potato to our mouths.

The family-run eatery has a particular charm…

And their charm is derived from their individuality. The place has the air of history in a quirky way.

One of their walls are adorned with photos of football stars from mainly the 90’s and another one is a shrine for sports cars, notably mainly Italian’s and professional boxers. Their tables and chairs are recently updated and they are arranged rather tightly so the diners are almost elbow-to-elbow during lunchtime. Their extensive menu offers vast choices – from standard English breakfast to American pancake, sandwiches, pasta, risotto, gnocchi, lasagne, omelette, jacket potato, meat dishes such as chicken escalope and salad, etc. Plus they have special dishes which change daily. During the peak time, the service can be a bit slow but no one, especially the regulars, seems to mind. A team of waitresses, who I guess they are sisters, come in and out of the kitchen at a brisk pace, delivering the plates of food or clearing away the tables. Behind the chilled cabinets by the front door with cured meats and cheese for take-away sandwiches, an old lady, who I assume an owner of the cafe, manages the till. She calculates the bill without the help of a pocket computer no matter how long the addition may be and it sounds a treat every time I hear her doing the math with her native Italian. It is like a chirpy cheerful bird singing!

Sometimes, Hubbie and I buy our lunch from chains like Itus and Pret A Manger. It is because we are particularly busy on certain days and we rather scoff sandwich at the desk. However, the recent environmental issues such as plastic pollution make us contemplate if our habit of buying lunch at chain stores is damaging the environment. Of course, we do our best to recycle those plastic containers responsively. But would it be better if we don’t rely on disposable plastics such as lids and bottles altogether?

‘It’s win-win for both! Don’t you agree?’ While I munched on my chicken pie, I confided to Hubbie.

I meant was by having lunch at local restaurants such as Alpino’s, we weren’t producing any plastic waste. And we were also supporting local businesses which had to swallow a huge hike of the annual business rate by the Islington Council. What not to like!

Beside all the aforementioned benefits, we would enjoy our lunchtime together more because there would be no interruption by e-mails or phones. Let’s step back to the time when we had a proper lunch break, Hubbie and I agreed…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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