Merry Christmas

‘So we have done our duty!’ We patted our backs and buckled up our seat belts. Yes, we did go to a family lunch at Guildford in the end. Hubbie received a text from his dad, David, and we decided to attend a lunch which was organised by my sister-in-law. I didn’t care much about his brother but we should be there if our presence would make David happy.

The lunch was cordial even though I wouldn’t have enjoyed my brother-in-law’s sense of humour, which was always on the verge of being plain unpleasantness, more than two hours.

Anyway, we did what it was required from us. Now, let’s enjoy the rest of our quiet and peaceful Christmas Eve with mince pies, cups of tea and lazying on a sofa…

Have a lovely holiday, everyone!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Bellanger @ Islington Green N1

My father-in-law, David, was a Germanophile, therefore, I recommended Bellanger on Islington Green when Hubbie asked where we should take him for lunch. The restaurant was specialised in the Alsatian cuisine and I thought he would enjoy French/German menu.

It must have been the effect of Storm Caroline, the green was a bit breezy…

Hubbie and I frequente this bistro because we like their food but also there is another definite plus point…

Because they are dog-friendly!

Bella earned a big brownie point by being well-behaved while we dined.

Hubbie and David shared Choucroute à l’Alsacienne…

The serving was huge and it even satisfied two very tall men – they were both over 6’4″!

I fancied duck, hence I ordered confit of duck…

I ordered a bowl of mashed potato as a side to go with the duck. However, the tray with the bowl upended by accident while the waiters were serving our plates, and the potato splattered across the floor. Oh dear.

For pudding, Hubbie and I shared blackberry & apple crumble…

We were very very full by the end of the lunch.

Christmas is fast approaching…

For Hubbie’s family, Christmas is a bit tricky time. Hubbie has a brother and they haven’t seen each other in the past two years. It was not that they had a bust-up or anything. But they have never been even close enough to have a quarrel in their life, and as a result, they have drifted apart and had no urge to rekindle a brotherly relationship.

David confessed to me while Hubbie was absent that he wished if they were closer. ‘I think they should meet up for a chat soon.’ I told him that I would pass the message to Hubbie.

And I did tell Hubbie what David confided to me later on. ‘But he never liked me and he doesn’t care.’, Hubbie sighed.

Unfortunately, that is the truth. His brother is a cold man. In the past, he threw cruel personal jokes to Hubbie’s face even I was in front of them – I stood up to him and told him that was not nice while Hubbie tried to make it like it was not a big deal. He made his first wife and their children very unhappy by being totally selfish. And his second wife isn’t treated any better. Why do we want to see someone like that even once a year, especially at Christmas? Even David, his own father, confesses that he is not very happy to spend time with him. Anyway, I have invited David to spend Boxing Day with us so we can have some fun together.

Peace-making must come from both ends if it is to last, I thought as Bella and I visited the park after lunch.

In December, the dusk comes too soon…

Ohhh, I’m so not into Christmas yet…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

My & his escapades

Isn’t it wonderful that the boy has been found, safe and sound!!

Hubbie and I were sitting at one of the outside tables at Look Mum No Hands on Old Street…

While we waited for our lunch, we discussed about the news of the 7 years old Japanese boy who went missing for the past 6 days. ‘It is pretty remarkable that a 7 years old child can be so resilient and resourceful in such a sticky situation!’ We both marvelled at the turn of the event. Obviously, the boy was fortunate to come across in his path a shelter with a working tap which protected him from the elements and kept him hydrated – two most important factors for his survival. And also, a team of soldiers who were happened to be on site for training that day. The outcome could have easily been a tragic one if he was found too late. 

‘Did I ever tell you that I also ran away from home when I was three?’

Yes, I did run away from home when I was three years old. Even though, it lasted only for five hours, not six days, my escapade caused more than consternation to my poor parents and the people who joined a search for me. 

‘How did it happened? Why did you do it?’ Hubbie asked me as our plates of Frittata and salad were brought to the table…

Ok, I was a very independent minded girl (or very wilful) and one day, I took off when I found my mum’s behaviour unreasonable. 

One afternoon, I forgot to put away my toys after I finished playing with them and mum reprimanded me for it. She threatened me that she would throw them out if I didn’t tidy up as I was told. I remember thinking ‘Oh, that’s a bit extreme!’ So, I stuffed my little case with favourite toys and left home without telling her that I was moving in with my gramma in Tokyo!

Soon, my mum noticed my absence and realised that I ran away. She called my dad at work and also alerted our neighbours. My dad went straight to a local police station to report about me missing, and the rest of the search party spread to all directions to look for me. Apparently, my panic-stricken mum stumbled while she was trotting in her mules and grazed her shin badly, and she is still left with a scar to this day – Sorry, mum! 

While all the grown-ups got lost amid the pandemonium, I was standing at the gate of my local zoo. I knew then, as any three years old child, that a train would take me to Tokyo, where my gramma resided. There was a mini monorail at the zoo and I believed it would take me there. However, the zoo was closed at 5pm and the gate was shut. ‘Oh no, what do I do now?’ I remember me being aghast while looking at the immovable monorail through the iron gate. Then, someone called my name, ‘Kaori? Is that you?’ I turned around and saw a police officer and his push bike. ‘What are you doing in here? Your mum and dad are very worried about you’. The way the long shadow of him and his bike being casted over the Tarmac, I can still visualise vividly. The sun was setting and all the things around me were in different tones of amber. As we walked back to the police station in where my dad awaited anxiously, I explained to the officer why I ran away and went to the zoo. I heard from dad years later that the officer found my reasoning pretty impressive for a three years old (!) The last thing I remember was how euphoric the people were when I got home. I was very worried about being told off about the incident, but no one chastised me. Instead, I found myself in the middle of  the mini party to celebrate my safe return.

I am so happy to see his cheeky smile…

I am sure he missed his parents a lot during his sojourn in the forest…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Homing instinct

After taking a gulp of cider at my local pub, the Eagle, I uttered with a sigh, ‘This was what I needed the most!’ The time was around 9pm and I had just arrived back home from a very long weekend. 

My past two days were spent in Sheffield, a city in South Yorkshire, participating in a sporting event. Driving between two cities with a distance of over 320 miles (515km) did not go so smoothly as this particular weekend being a bank holiday weekend. The journey was riddled with long bottle necks and sections of much slower speed-limit which did wear me out a little, especially on my way back to London. Even though the landscape spread in front of me on M11 during I was passing through Cambridgeshire was idyllic and even picturesque, I was overjoyed when I spotted the Shard in the distance with another high-rises of Docklands. Yipee! I am coming home!!

The tournament was exciting and we came home with medals…

Despite our fridge being well stocked up by Hubbie during my absence, I fancied a glass of cider and a burger so asked Hubbie if we could eat out at a local pub.

My chicken burger and chips…

My homing instinct becomes intensified when I think of these two very important men of my life…

I missed you two very much even though I was away only for a night…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

P.S. This was taken after the match!

Valentine’s Day

Last Friday, a bouquet arrived at my doorstep.

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My lovely Hubbie, thank you for being my darling…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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