Epping Forest

Over the past few days, I binge-watched three Christmas Carols on TV. I know it was a clithé but without them, it would never feel like Christmas, don’t you agree?

After watching George C. Scott version of Mr.Scrooge, I suggested Hubbie that we could have a little walk in Epping Forest in the afternoon. ‘What a splendid idea!’

He grabbed his beloved Leica and I grabbed our beloved Bella, and off we went to the forest by car.

The roads were far from empty but the traffic was flowing smoothly, and in less than an hour, we were parking at a car park by the visitor centre.

Let’s have a little stroll, Bay Bay…

Bella acted funny throughout the journey as usual. She was not a big fan of travelling in a car and she whimpered and panted restlessly as Hubbie sat with her in the rear seat and did his best to comfort her. It is so weird that she loves buses and even she falls asleep on them. Then, why she hates cars so much? I just want to know what is in her mind so I can help her!

Do you feel better now?

While Hubbie wandered around with his camera, Bella and I walked on a thick carpet made up from oak leaves and acorns.

Anyone home?…

Bella asking for Mr.Squirrel so she could deliver a seasonal greeting. Unfortunately, no one was around.

Part of the ground was very muddy thanks to the overnight rain…

I am cold and my paws are stuck!

Well, we must come back to the forest again when the ground is a bit firmer and drier, Princess.

Once we were home, Hubbie made fine cups of tea and we shared a box of mince pies. Bella also enjoyed small crumbs of the pie crust.

Now, she is fast asleep on her bed and I am watching Miracle on 34th Street on telly. It may be a cliché but I feel quietly content and mellow.

Everything is winding down and Shoreditch is ready for the Christmas Day…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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

They’ve done it!!

Ahhhh, well done, England!! Hubbie and I were truly euphoric when the final whistle was blown and England was through to the semi-final.

We watched the game at our local pub, the Eagle.

A brief period of calmness before our tension and excitement rose in a crescendo…

 

Then, came the second goal…

 

The place simply erupted!

We were going to leave Bella at home but she insisted to accompany us by sitting between the front door and us.

Well, you didn’t know what you were letting yourself into, did you?

She was a bit scared by all the shouting and clapping.

Ahhhh, they did it! They are through to the semi-final!!

 

It was utterly exhausting to watch the game but it was all worth it in the end.

I can hardly wait for the Wednesday’s game!!!

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

Unhappy Bella

Apparently, Hubbie and Bella are not very happy in London. He complained about Bella’s excessive barking when I phone him from Toulouse to find how they were getting on.

‘She doesn’t stop barking!’

Oh Bay-Bay!

I imagine she is very bored and also confused about my absence. I wish if I were there to entertain her so both Hubbie and Bella would be happy. However, I am in France and doing my best to make mum happy. Oh I don’t know what to do…

BTW, wi-fi at most of the hotels we stayed so far are terrible! The signals are so weak and mum and I are very frustrated!!

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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