Battered or Breaded

Sometimes, life can be a bit cruel, and as a result, events unfolding before your eyes may not match your expectations. And you lament, ‘Oh noooo! Whhhhhyyyyyy!?’

Those disappointing outcomes are not normally caused by other’s malicious intent but more like by a simple misunderstanding or by a freak accident. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that those tiny knocks and jabs which everyday life throws at you in a seemingly random manner definitely chip away your sense of happiness.

Don’t get me wrong because I am not a perpetual moaner, like Albert in the sitcom Steptoe and Son (I hope!) and I can take it most of the time.

However, it happened again.

Last Thursday, we decided to order fish & chips for supper through Deliveroo. I really fancied scampi then, therefore, I could hardly wait for the arrival.

Mmmm…, they are finally here…

Bella asking me, ‘What the heck are they?’

Their witty packaging made me smile…

Hello Your Majesty!

Then, I was devastated…

‘Oh bu**er! I didn’t know their scampi was battered, not breaded!!’

I asked Hubbie if he knew which way was the right way to cook scampi. ‘I never have scampi so I don’t know.’, he replied absentmindedly as he was busy with squeezing a wedge of lemon over his cod.

Oh shit! It was not supposed to be like this!, I pecked on the battered scampi and I was quietly pi**ed off. I was furious.

At least, Bella had some fun…


Next time, I will call up a chippy and ask them how they cook their scampi before placing an order…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura


I grabbed my iPhone and pleaded to Hubbie if we could have fish & chips tonight.

The craving kicked off when I was replying to my fellow blogger Agnes Ashe‘s comment in which she shared her memories of fish & chips in Aldeburgh.

Once Hubbie was home, I frogmarched him to his Mac and he duly ordered fish & chips to our local chippies through Deliveroo.


We both rubbed hands with glee.

They were massive.

I was munching on enthusiastically at first but soon, I hit the wall. The serving was too large. 

Hubbie glanced at me and sighed, ‘You barely made a dent on them’. Often, he accuses me of being a pelican – a mouth too large for its stomach. 

In the end, I managed to eat up to the extent of half and threw in the towel.

By the way, Agnes makes beautiful hand-painted silk scarves. Please take a look because they are divine!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Evening at the tower

After inspecting our living quarters and making our first cup of tea, we decided to check out the rooftop of the tower…

There were two staircases which connected the lobby and the rooftop and as we clambered up one of them, we noticed how the rendered internal walls were stained in a various shades of brown – telltale signs of water permeation. The tower was sandwiched between the North Sea and River Alde, a position it stood was at the mercy of the weather which was often not so gentle or calm. Luckily, it did not rain during our stay but we did experience blustery winds which were whipping up the tower almost ceaselessly. Once the season changed and the North Sea became rougher, the weather over the tower would undoubtedly become more unforgiving and it would pelt the brick wall with sea water and pebbles.

Views over River Alde from the parapet…

Today, the tower stands alone, isolated and forlone. Yet, there was a community around the fort once upon a time. A fishing village of Slaughden surrounded the quatrefoil tower and a community of labourers who were catering a garrison of one officer and 15 – 25 men. It is difficult to imagine now how this windswept stretch of singled beach was once a hive of activity. Not only fishermen who were attending to their catches but also there were wash-women, grocers, bakers or possibly prostitutes who milled around the fort, making their living. Sadly, they all disappeared into oblivion by 1936.

Terreplain of the Martello Tower…

On the terreplain, there were four pivots on which cannons were mounted. Each cannon was manoeuvrable up to 360 degrees in order to defend the fort from seaward attacks as well as landward assaults. The cylinder in the middle was a roof light which to introduce daylight into the interior below. Around the parapets there were two fireplaces which allowed soldiers on watch to keep themselves warm and cook provisions.

Diagrams which explains how the tower’s  battery worked…

A flag pole facing River Alde…

The flag pole had an important role to play during the Napoleonic Wars. As the threat of the invasion loomed during the beginning of the 19th century, altogether 103 Martello towers were constructed to form a chain of defensive line along the coast between Seaford, Sussex and Aldeburgh, Suffolk. The towers were positioned at regular intervals and their flag poles were used to relay informations, such as sighting of enemy vessels or orders from the Admiralty, back and fro.

After inspecting the rooftop, we decided to drive to the town for fish & chips.

A view over River Alde…

A balmy summer evening…

Aldeburgh Fish & Chips Shop was extremely busy…

We saw one customer buying a £300 worth of fish & chips! He had to be helped by a staff to carry two large cardboard boxes to a waiting car.

We brought back our piping hot food to the tower and mom tried her very first mushy peas. Her reaction was…’Why do they have to be mashed?’ Oh well, for the experience, Don’t think too hard and enjoy it, mom.

After dinner, I opened a door to admire the late sunset…

The view was breathtakingly serene and sublime…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Henri Matisse: The Cut Outs @ Tate Modern

“Never repeat the David Hockney at RA” is Hubbie’s & my mantra we recite to each other when a major art exhibition hits the town. As you have probably guessed it from our mantra, we missed the Hockney’s retrospective show at the Royal Academy in 2012. Every time I expressed my desire for the show, Hubbie kept on putting it off by saying ‘Let’s wait until the show becomes less popular’. A few months passed as such and when we finally agreed to visit, it was already a final week and no ticket was available. Gah!! We learnt our lesson and vowed never to miss another show willy-nilly.

So when Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate galleries, announced that the next major exhibition following their immensely successful Paul Klee retrospective would be featuring Henri Matisse, we were determined not to miss the boat!

The Sunday during Easter Bank Holiday was a wet one…


Turbine Hall was filled with a ripple of excited chats by visitors who were free from umbrellas and macs…


Matisse’s The Cut Outs was our primary objective, however, we had an even more urgent desire to fulfil… LUNCH!
A queue in front of the ground floor cafe was too long for my empty stomach which was nearly keeling over. Therefore we made a beeline for the lift and climbed up to a top floor restaurant.

A view of St.Paul’s from the window of the restaurant heaving with lunchtime diners…


We were literally the last people to have lunch there for the day! A couple queuing right behind us was told by a receptionist that the kitchen was closed for lunch and therefore they could offer afternoon tea menu only. I hope we weren’t looking too smug then.

Yayoi Kusama’s art graced the wall of the dining room…


Yippee, my fish & chips!!


I highly recommend the fish & chips at the Tate. Either at their ground floor cafe or top floor restaurant, it is seriously good. The batter is crispy outside and fluffy inside but non-greasy while the fish was moist and succulent.
Since knowing this fish & chips was the last one out of the kitchen, it tasted even better.

With our stomachs comfortably lined, we headed to the gallery on the second floor…


The exhibition was not as packed as we feared. Most of the works on display were large and therefore they were even better to be viewed from the distance. We hired audio guides and sauntered around the galleries, feasting our eyes on Matisse’s colourful creations.

After Matisse, we also viewed Richard Hamilton’s retrospective show too…


I could see how a certain YBA artist inspired by his work. However, it was a little too similar and I found it rather disturbing.

We also admired works by Dan Flavin…


I saw his collection when I visited Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. One of his installations was displayed in the town, utilising an unoccupied shop space. It was a strangely alluring sight that coloured fluorescent tubes in pink, blue, green and yellow were shimmering and the light was bleeding out from the window and onto ordinary everyday surroundings of the American suburb.

We were a little tired so moved on to the members room for tea & cake….


I had a raspberry macaroon and a pot of Darjeeling….


Tate Modern’s new extension under construction…


Hubbie and I speculated how this Herzog de Meuron’s addition would turn out to be in 2016. Hubbie was a little concerned about the slanted walls, reasoning it wouldn’t be great for hanging arts. I am sure there must be a plenty more of vertical walls in this massive extension.

Broken lines on their concrete structure…


Are they for hanging wall claddings?
I love ogling buildings especially the one under construction. How each element is put together three-dimensionally, it is so clever and fascinating. Oh, I can hardly wait to see the result…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Saturday Night @ Tate Modern, Bankside

Last Saturday, we visited Tate Modern for dinner and the Paul Klee‘s exhibition. I was nearly shaking off my cold and itching to go out. Therefore, Hubbie booked the tickets on internet and off we went.

Tate Modern has been my most favourite art gallery ever since it opened its door to the public in 2000. I especially love the architecture. The old Bankside power station was remodelled and refitted by a talented architectural duo, Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron in order to accommodate a vast collection of modern art which was stored in the Tate’s warehouse because of the lack of suitable space…


A mass of brickwork with an equally imposing chimney looms above the Thames. A volume of its brickwork and colossal weight is unarguable. It appears impregnable and impervious to any external assault. Yet, its footing, where the building meets the ground, is punctuated with narrow glazed slits here and there. These juxtapositions of heavy vs light, density vs weightlessness and opaque vs transparent, fuel my fascination and imagination every time I visit the gallery. For me, the charm of Tate Modern is all about this thought-provoking paradox which is dotted around all over the complex, including their art collection.
Another famous architectural face of Bankside is the Millennium Bridge by Sir Norman Foster, which connects the foreground of the galley with City of London. Approaching Tate Modern via the footbridge must be the most spectacular and rewarding way for many visitors. However, the bridge itself doesn’t excite me as much as the gallery does. Do you know why? Yes, the bridge looks great. However, it doesn’t inspire nor intrigue me. It’s a marvel of British engineering but not a piece of art which initiates any philosophical debate. The bridge could have won my praise if the design of the bridge, especially the Bankside end, was integrated to Tate Modern’s forecourt seamlessly. Instead of a cumbersome footing with zigzagging lamps, why the bridge could not morph into a part of the landscape? The effect would have been so much more elegant and magical. Well, the landscaping between the bridge and the gallery was somehow awkward from the beginning anyway. Maybe there was some artistic disagreement between three great architects?

Our entry to the Paul Klee exhibition was from 19:30, therefore, we decided to have dinner first…


Tate Cafe on the ground floor was fairly busy but their service was brisk and efficient.
I pondered between a burger or fish & chips, but in the end, fish & chips won me over…


The battering encasing the fish was so crisp and moreish. And the potato was fried to its perfection. Their mushy peas was minty and refreshing.

For dessert, we shared a slice of coconut meringue Swiss roll with red berry compote…


Our first two choices, trifle and cheese cake, were sold out, therefore, we didn’t expect much from our third choice. But oh my! We were betrayed in a good way. The cake was moist, fluffy and divine. And the berry compote added perfect zinginess to otherwise delicate texture of the cake.

After dinner, we browsed around a bookshop on the lower ground floor…


There were more than a few coffee table books I want to add to my Christmas wish list…


Then, we headed to the exhibition on the second floor via escalator…


For me, the escalator ride from the lower ground level to the second floor gallery level is one of the best Tate Modern experiences.

Paul Klee, here we come…


The exhibition was wonderful.
And I shall definitely review it properly in a few days time.

We left the gallery, thoroughly satisfied and excited…


The new extension of the gallery will be completed by 2015. I can hardly contain a huge expectation I have towards this exciting project…


Will it be as awe-inspiring as the existing Turbine Hall? We will have to wait and see for another 2 years. I shall keep on reporting any progress at the site in future…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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