London half filled

Last Monday, Hubbie and I went to a clinic on Fleet Street for flu jab. Since the jab reputed to reduce the risk of serious hospitalisation from corona virus, it was a no-brainer decision for us.

From a double decker’s window toward Aldrich…

It was still a few days shy of the second lockdown but the city looked like starting to wind down already. The traffic was light and the streets were empty.

‘Let’s have lunch at Shake Shack!’ We walked towards Covent Garden along Drury Lane.

Surprisingly, building works along the street were busy and somehow furious while theatres and restaurants were deathly still. We wondered what kind of landscape would emerge after this COVID-19 saga.

QR codes filled world is a pain!

At Shake Shack, we were told to scan a QR code in order to pay for our food and drink. However, the procedure didn’t work despite we each tried using our iPhones more than five times. In the end, Hubbie donned a face mask went to the inside of the restaurant and placed the order.

Yay, my burger & chips!

During the first lockdown, Shake Shack was shut down completely – even delivery service, and as a result, we were deprived of our small weekend joy (SS burgers & fries with Netflix) for nearly six months. I hope they will keep going with their takeaway service this time around.

Giant mistletoes over our heads…

We found it so ironic that no one would be allowed to kiss under those mistletoes this Christmas unless you were wearing a face mask. Why on earth did they choose mistletoes as this year’s display? Being ironic?…

The clinic was a stone’s throw from High Court of Justice…

A few tv crews were setting up cameras at a traffic island in front of the high court’s entrance and we wondered if it was anything to do with Johnny Depp’s lost libel case.

I must say that the clinic was the busiest place in London! People filed in every few minutes for the jab and a woman at the reception looked overwhelmed by the surge.

I felt relieved that we both managed to receive the jabs before the lockdown. Two weeks ago, when I booked our appointment, I had no idea that the second lockdown would start from the 5th November. The clinic may stay open for emergency but I can’t imagine they open for routine appointments such as vaccination.

After the clinic, we walked along Chancery Lane towards Grey’s Inn Road & Clerkenwell Road junction.

‘Wow, there are so many buildings and premises related to the legal professions here!’ I was excited to find a few men’s clothings shops, like Jermyn Street’s, but a barrister’s wig and a gown in their window display.

This is what I brought home. A Christmas card and a musical box for my mom…

I bought them from Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop in Covent Garden. They stock fabulous 3-D cards and also pretty gifts for all ages. The shop floor was reduced to half and most of the items were behind the counter but the display was dense and it was lovely to be surrounded by beautiful and cheerful objects! The owner remembered me because he was a big fan of Bella and we chatted about our experiences during the first lockdown. We both agreed that the past six months were just a blur, despite many local and global crises. It was like endurance swimming without a goal in sight, we mulled…

Consciously Resting…

Yes, we are. But not for the resumption of normal working days from tomorrow but because of the head cold we picked up from somewhere and somehow during our post-Christmas excursions. Oh dear…

During the holiday, we weren’t holed up in the comfort of our den all the time. Even though Hubbie was taking everything very easy because of the hellish working schedule he had to endure prior to the Christmas time-off, we started to get a bit bored with the Christmas TV and slobbing around in pyjamas. Plus, the post-Christmas weather, except the one on the Boxing Day, was exceptional.
Almost every single day up to the New Year’s Eve was blessed with the gorgeous winter sunshine and a pale-blue sky fanned out above us was without a shred of cloud of any sort. And my usual deal-breaker, gusty wind, was utterly absent. So what more one could want for a perfect day out, we asked.

Last Sunday, we went to see “Conflict Time Photography” at Tate Modern…

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In my opinion, the exhibition was ok but not great. I found some of the works were poignant and educational, however at the same time, also too clinical and monosyllabic.

We were hoping to have late lunch at the gallery but all the eateries within were overflowing with the people with the same idea. So we decided to have a quick look at the bookstore and to find somewhere nearby to eat.

Hmm, this title interests me…

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Ever since I saw the original shark at Mr.Saatchi’s gallery on Boundary Road, Swiss Cottage, a money making mechanism of contemporary art in general really intrigued me. Hopefully, this book will decipher it for me.

At Albion, we were led to a cozy table by the window.
A patten on my latte reminded me the piece from the Matisse’s Cut Outs Exhibition…

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And I had a plate of kedgeree with boiled eggs on top…

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The hue of the kedgeree was as bright and vibrant as a sunflower glowing in the summer sunshine and it made me very happy indeed.

Then came Monday, we were out again into the bright but also very chilly outside for lunch at Rules in Covent Garden.
The Christmas decoration at the restaurant was very pretty, red and green throughout. By the entrance, there was a portrait of Winston Churchill with rows of medallions of some sort…

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We took our coats by the fireplace and ushered to the first floor dining room.
In the upstairs, there was another fireplace and facing it was a fully loaded bar…

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And we sipped a tall glass of Campari orange and nibbled on curry flavoured nuts while waiting for our lunch.

Voilà, our roast beef!

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We skipped starters because we knew the serving of the roast beef would be enormous. And also the dish was accompanied by Gratin Dauphinois. Therefore, If we didn’t square up to it with an ample room in our stomach, the good beef would most likely to be wasted.

Let’s tuck in…

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The roast beef was perfectly cooked and the Yorkshire pudding was buttery and light. However, in my god honest opinion, their side salad was sadly not. It was consisted of strangely limp Chinese cabbage and very little lettuce. Didn’t they receive any grocery delivery because of the Christmas holiday?! It didn’t meet the standard I expected from Rules.
After a cup of very well made cappuccino, we left the restaurant and walked to Charing Cross Road. A walk in a crisp winter air definitely helped our digestion.

Oh, I can’t believe our Christmas holiday is over! So sad that I will have to de-Christmas my windowsill…

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Bye bye 2014 & hello 2015…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Steak, Guy Bourdin & Christmas Tree…

I am very sorry for abandoning my blog again.
Nothing drastic had happened during the silence except my daily fight with muscle fatigue and aches caused by the all-out hockey action which has commenced since last September. When one’s body is much too tired, one’s will to do anything other than absolutely necessary wanes, and as the result, my thumb dancing had been on pause over my iPhone screen for quite a while. Now, a quick sit-rep of my household. My.B is doing very well by the help of medications. He is comfortable and still full of beans. And Hubbie is the same old himself, busy, busy & busy. So, it is all good & happy in my household!

Last Saturday, Hubbie and I went out for an early Christmas lunch at Hawksmoor, Covent Garden. We had dined at their Shoreditch branch on Curtain Road some years ago but this West End Restaurant was new for us.
We were both in the mood for serious meat eating, and therefore, we opted for 850g of Porterhouse steak to share. We also ordered tender stem broccoli, salad with vinaigrette and beef dripping chips.

Waiters cross the numbers out from the blackboard as the cuts were sold off…

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After about a half an hour of waiting, our foods were brought to the table….

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And they were great. The seasoning was exquisite and the way the steak was done was perfect.
Especially, their beef dripping chips, they were so wickedly tasty. Sorry my arteries and hello to my cholesterol…

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After settling our full stomach with cappuccino, we waded through The Piazza which was awash with Christmas shoppers as well as tourists.

A lone silver reindeer on the display…

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‘I am just a reindeer! Get me out of HERE!!’

It looked like as if the deer wanted to be free from the madness of Covent Garden in weekend.
Even there was a mass exodus of Santas on BMXs…

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Modern Christmas becomes more and more insane, don’t you agree?

Somerset House, here we come…

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We were there for the Guy Bourdin exhibition…

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It was great to see and understand his method of creating the works. Hubbie told me about his sad demise towards the end of his career. Guy Bourdin was a perfectionist who would have hated to work with someone like Anna Wintour for sure…

After the exhibition, we walked around an indoor Christmas market, expecting it to be the same as the last year’s. However, I was disappointed because there was no independent traders but all Fortnum & Mason. I had nothing against one of the most famous London stores but I just didn’t want those big names in my face everywhere I went. I would go to Piccadilly if I wanted to shop in F&M, thank you very much! So please leave some chance encounters with small retailers at Somerset House next Christmas.

An opulently decorated Christmas tree in the courtyard…

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Then, we grabbed a cab on Aldwych and sped home where our dear Mr.B awaited…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Mum & (old) Rolling Stocks…

Sorry for deserting the blog yet again for a long time. After mum had returned to Japan, I had a few knitting projects to go through as well as getting my fitness level back for the coming hockey season and, therefore, my plate had been laden rather heavily. However, I kept my journal during the absence and I would like to share it instead of writing a bland new blog post.

10th October
We were off to London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. Had known about this museum for ages but never had an opportunity or excuse to visit. So very glad that mum were willing to get onboard!
Saw a large sculpture at the Piazza. How it was held up, had no idea…

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At the entrance of the museum, we saw a large Tokyo subway map printed on the wall and mum was very excited. ‘Take a photo of me & the map!’, she begged…

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Loads of old rolling stocks were on display.
When I moved to London in the early 90s, smoking on the public transport was still permitted, the double-deckers were free to hop on & off from the rear, and the train doors were not automatic but self-service slamming doors which let passengers hang on in daring & nonchalant style while the train glided into the station. Hooray to all the relics of pre- health & safety madness! While in & out of the trains & buses, I reminisced about London which no longer existed…

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Then off to their gift shop as mum needed an inspiration for gift ideas for her friends in Japan. After much pacing back and fro between the aisles, she settled on 12 double-decker fridge magnets. Together with them, she also bought a tea towel and two trays.
For lunch, we decided upon tartine at one of the restaurants at the Piazza. The tartine was rather tough to cut but it tasted good…

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After lunch, we shopped at COS on Long Acre and mum bought a zipped knit blouson which suited her well…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Mum & Warplanes…

‘My god, they are HUGE!’ Mum gasped, her eyes widened as large as saucers.
We were at RAF Museum in Colindale, North London. As we sauntered around the displays, we noticed how the atmosphere was still and quiet. It felt like as if we were skirting around sleeping giants so we wouldn’t awaken them from their slumber…

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It was my mum’s very first encounter with real warplanes and she was astonished by the humongous sizes of them, especially, the US & British bombers.

Mum with a Vulcan Bomber…

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Mum, a Spitfire & Hurricane…

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After returning to Central London, we sauntered around Covent Garden. It was a chilly afternoon so we decided to have soup noodle at Wagamama.
Mum ordered a bowl of vegetable miso ramen but she wasn’t very impressed with the taste (or the lack of it) of the broth…

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As she gingerly picked up a strand of the noodle, she confessed that she would prefer a piece of buttered Hovis with a mug of PG Tips. Oh dear, I am sorry mum…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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