Friday, 14 February 2014

Friday Five: The food of love...

The Two Brewers, in happier times
I don't think I've ever been to a restaurant on Valentine's Day. I hate all the palaver of people trying to make you buy roses and playing violins anywhere in the vicinity. And I hate the general pressure to conform to capitalism that surrounds the date. But, for the purposes of this post, I did think about my favourite restaurants, most of them because they are connected with special memories...

Five Great Restaurants:
  1. Cesare's, King Street, Manchester - now apparently called something else; one of the first 'grown up Italian' restaurants I ever went to, around Christmas time while Him Outdoors and I were courting.
  2. Yang Sing, Princess Street, Manchester - I still dream about their crispy duck pancakes.
  3. Botswana Butchery, Marine Parade, Queenstown - fantastic setting, amazing food, excellent wine list and superb wallpaper!
  4. Le Sergent Recruteur, Rue St-Louis en l'île, Paris - When I lived in Paris, my dad came to visit (he was on a work trip) and I was able to suggest, 'a fabulous little place on the île St-Louis'. Pretentious, moi? It was very, very good, though.
  5. The Two Brewers, St Peter Street, Marlow - I used to drink here; it is my favourite pub in my home town. It became a gastropub after I left England, and I finally ate there in 2012 with my parents in the cellar restaurant, an authentic eighteenth century beer cellar. It burnt down in 2013, and was due to re-open sometime in 2014, although it is probably now flooded and I wish the team every success in getting it back up and running.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Travelling on buses...

David Tennant (Doctor Who) and some chocolate on a bus - any tenuous link will do.
"Any man who rides a bus to work after the age of 30 can count himself a failure in life." - Margaret Thatcher
Despite what Her Ironess  thought, there are many reasons for choosing public transport. From ecological concerns to responsible drinking, you get all types on the bus. My favourite are the borderline nutters, who like to have conversations with total strangers, even if they are trying desperately to read a book. Here's one from today.

Her: I really like your top. It's such a beautiful colour [Liverpool red] but it doesn't go with your shoes. Such a shame. You should always match your shoes. 

Me: Oh.

Her: What are you reading?

Me: Gone with the Wind

Her: Oh, I loved that book. You must keep it forever.

Me: OK.

Her: Is it yours?

Me: Yes.

Her: Well, that's even better. I read it twice - once when I was younger and I thought I was Scarlett O'Hara, then when I was older and I realised I was more like Melanie, which is a shame because she's so dull. It would be nice to be a mixture of both... Melanie always reminded me of those assistant lecturers, so grey and boring. Do you know what I mean?

Me: Um...

Her: Of course you do, you live in Canberra. Did you go to university?

Me: Yes.

Her: I thought so. What did you do?

Me: English.

Her: Ah, is there anything else?

Me: Well...

Her: Do you read feminist literature?

Me: Some.

Her: Fay Weldon is wonderful, and Marilyn French - The Women's Room had a huge effect on me when I was younger. It changed my life. But that book (points), oh it's wonderful. And I love the ending, because life's like that sometimes, isn't it?

Me: Well I haven't got there yet.

Her: No, but you've seen the film?

Me: No.

Her: Well, it's not the same. They did a fairly good job, but then there was the Civil War, you see... It was 1860 something, wasn't it?

Me: Yes - 1865 it finished.

Her: Yes. She got hit by a car. Stepped out into the street and hit by a speeding car. She only wrote one book. Such a shame. 

Me: Um...

Her: You should never grow up. 

Me: Right

Her: I've just been to the National Library but I'm so cross because there are no guides to take you round the cartography exhibit. They're booked up to the end of the season. 

Me: Oh.

Her: Have you been to it?

Me: Yes - it was very good.

Her: Did you do the guided tour?

Me: No, I just walked around by myself.

Her: Hmm, It's not the same.

Me: Oh.

Her: I must sit down. Keep that book forever. And stay young.