Monday, June 1, 2009

A Wonderful Weekend...and my first 'Oi!'

This entry marks my 100th post...a milestone in some right, I believe. Or not. There are some bloggers out there who have been doing this for *years.* A little milestone for me, at least. :)

What a wonderful weekend to be in London! The weather could not have been any better, and I for one was happy to feel sweat trickle down my back when out and about. Saturday morning started off with my typical, Borough Market food shopping run. Simon joined me, and we had brunch-well, breakfast really at Roast- it was only 9a when we got there! Can I just say, Roast has the *best* porridge ever? And, I've become a huge fan of their bubble and squeak. B&S, comes from years ago when moms/cooks would simply take the week's leftover veg, chop up, combine and add some meat sauce (also leftover...), and fry up in little patties...Kinda reminds me of my moms day-old mashed potato patties (somewhat resembling a latke, I think...) from when I was a kid, but bubble & squeak is simply delicious! Potatoes, a green of some sorts-kale, spinach, leeks, onions/shallots, and meat sauce to add a little gooey to. yum.

Anyhoo, after the requisite Saturday morning shopping at Borough, we headed back home, dropped off the groceries and then decided to go over to Hyde Park to laze in the sun a bit-thought it was barely 11.30a, it was already warm enough outside to put on shorts (scary, scary glow in the dark white legs) and a cami top and still feel perfectly comfortable. Loves it. After an hour of laying on the grass and reading, we were both starting to pink up, and decided to play it safe and head home-plus, it really was starting to get downright hot outside, and we were both ready to cool off.

That evening, I got a wild hair and suggested we go do the London Walks walking tour, The Hampstead Pub Walk. We couldn't have had a better time! The weather was still amazing, the tour guide was a hoot, and the scenery was incredible! I'd been up to Hampstead several times for dinner, but this tour took us into nooks and crannies that I had no idea were there. I knew from reading that Hampstead is home to some of the poshest houses and well known residents in London (think Ridley Scott, George Michael, Jeremy Irons...), but getting off the High Street and ducking back into side alleys and roads was incredible. Fell in love with the area-as I do every time I'm there-and the scenery....simply perfect.

To top it all off, after the tour, we backtracked a bit and found a Portuguese restaurant, Stella, and on a whim decided to pop in there for dinner-it was pushing 10p and we were starving! What awesome food! Best calamari I've had in ages, and my chicken was amazing. Simon's steak was delish as well-and actually cooked rare as he ordered! Two, huge thumbs up! By now, it's pushing 11p, so we waddle out, head back to the tube, and go home. We're so full and tired, I don't think I managed to stay awake for more than an hour after we got home.

Sunday was just as lazy, warm, and amazing-view filled...

I had previously heard about Columbia Road Flower Market from my friend, Jamie, and decided to finally get my butt out of the flat early on Sunday and go-it's only open from 8a-2p on Sunday, and as it's in the NE corner of London, it takes a solid hour door to door to get there. So, I scurried out of the house at 10.30a, and by 11.30a realized I wasn't in Kansas any longer. I've never been to 'proper East London' until Sunday, and all I can say and yikes!

The few blocks that the flower market were located on (aside from the insanity and beauty of the flower market) were really great-cool, hip, trendy food, clothing, antiques shops, and overall a really great vibe. Wow. The walk from Old Street tube to this area?...yikes! I walked on a section of what can only be described as London's greasiest stretch of sidewalk (it's immediately in front of the door to a kebab shop, so it's not a a total surprise), and while on the stretch of Columbia Road that leads to the two blocks of the flower market, I passed by a group of flats that were truly gorgeous. Not only did they look like they didn't fit in this part of London, they really didn't look like they fit in London! Paris, Italy, parts of Spain, perhaps. But not London. In fact, one flat in particular was really well done up with all sorts of green leafy bushes and plants (I assume acquired from the market nearby...), and on my way back, decided to stop and take a photo of the flat. I wasn't on private property-in fact, I'd stepped out in the road in between two parked cars. I wasn't doing physical harm to anything. I wasn't making a nuisance of myself. I had barely stopped for 10 seconds to take one photo, and was actually in the process of putting my camera up and walking away, when I hear a door open and a disembodied voice yell at me, "Oi. Just because it's Sunday don't mean you can take pictures of my flat!" And then the door slammed shut.

WTF?!? Uh, sorry?...I think.

Interestingly, apparently said resident doesn't want to be found or seen-at all. The shrubbery all but conceals the entire porch (part of why I thought it was so cool...), and while digging around on Google Maps to pinpoint the jackass so I could properly call them out on my blog-Google Streetmap and all, I come to find that any view immediately in front of the flat has been 'blocked.' hm...Curiouser and curiouser...There's also a 'Beware of Dog' sign on the gate to the porch...this is beginning to seem so suspicious...

But, the best part of all of this?...When I zoom viewed the one photo I took when I was on the tube ride back home & reviewing my pictures, I realized that I could see his face peeking out of the window at me. Gotcha!

Oh, and here's a picture of the flat from Google's the bottom flat seen above the 2nd car parked from the right -you can see a few bushes and greenerie peeking out. Corner of Columbia Road and Waterston St, London E2 if you're ever in the neighborhood.

Yeah. Consider this my petty shout out...

Oh, and 'Oi' for anyone that doesn't know... is like the equivalent of 'hey, in the UK. OK, well, maybe not 'hey, asshole', but close...and is usually met with a 'shut the fuck up' retort...which, hindsight 20/20 is what I should have said back! :)

A banner day, for sure. Anyhoo, I digress again.

I returned home around 1p, and at 3p, after Simon & I deemed it not too Skin-cancer-inducing hot to go outside, we popped back over to Hyde Park for another hour-long laze in the sun on the grass. It was a rough day. Capping this off was a yummy grilled chicken and asparagus dinner, and an evening relaxing.

I couldn't have planned a more perfect weekend if I would have tried.