For the past three weeks I have been receiving French lessons from Macsen's mother, Jackie. I took three years of French in school which helped me learn the basics, but it is very different being taught by a native French speaker. It's been fun and feels more relevant now that I have French family. Jackie says my pronunciation is perfect which is a relief since it was what I was the most nervous and shy about. When I feel my vocabulary has expanded well enough Macsen and I will only speak French in the house (he's fluent) and we receive the French tv channel TV5 which should help me along.
Last weekend was spent at our long-time friend's house near Oxford. Jocke and Caz have had a rough year. They're both avid motorcyclists and Caz took a bad spill which put a massive dent in her helmut and landed her in hospital for several weeks. Jocke said she was walking around the house speaking like Ozzy Osbourne for months after. She's only 22 and tremendously lucky that she hasn't ended up dead or as a vegetable for the rest of her life. She seemed well-recovered when we saw her last weekend, but she still has hearing loss in one ear. As if that weren't enough a few months ago Jocke was walking to the pub and accidentally bumped into a 18-year-old kid and his mates in a narrow alleyway. They proceeded to kick the living daylights out of him so severely that Jocke could tell what kind of trainers one of the guys wore by the imprint on his face. Caz followed the gang from a distance in her car to find out where they lived and reported them to the police. They only received an 18 month supervision order.
On Sunday we test drove a Citroën C4 coupé VTS with a 2.0 litre diesel engine (the one with the Transformer commercial, but that's not what swayed us, honest). That is one awesome ride and we both liked it much better than others we've tested. We're pretty certain it's everything that we want so we'll probably put in an order for one this month. We intend to do some road trips across Europe either this year or the next so the new car has me full of anticipation.
For Macsen's 30th birthday on tuesday we went to The Connaught for lunch. That kicked some serious ass, my taste buds are still in bliss. We started the meal off with vintage Veuve Clicquot and then moved on to wine. They had some that went up to £2,000 a bottle, but we happily stuck with a sancerre. They started us with an amuse-bouche of silky smooth and rich cauliflower cream and red wine reduction and then moved on to starters of pan-roasted scallops with pancetta and chestnut butter and jerusalem artichoke soup with herb butter and fois gras. My main was dover sole with celeriac canneloni filled with succulent lobster, asparagus, and a parsley butter sauce and M's was the sea bream with celeriac mash, capers and olives. Dessert was roast pears with salted caramel millefeuille and blueberry marmalade with olive oil cremeux, lemon sorbet and apple. Another complimentry bite was a small cup of tiramisu and chocolate cardamon and apricot petit-fours. We left the dark restaurant after over two hours and wandered down New Bond Street, Savile Row, etc. until we came upon Alphabet in Soho where we stopped for cocktails. I sipped down a Lotus and then we caught the tube and train home before the rush hour crowds.
original old maps of europe and america
A few weeks ago we stopped by the RHS to pick up some herb plants, the only section in bloom were the orchid glasshouses.. beautiful green orchids and rare breeds under lock and key.
I started learning French at age 8 and it wasn't until I began learning again that I realized how much starting at a young age has helped my overall comprehension of the language.
I wish you well! I'm glad that the French alphabet is the same, it makes it a whole lot easier. The Thai alphabet is quite beautiful, I will envy your ability to decipher it. :)
so glad macsen had a nice birthday, and that you guys are still living the gourmand lifestyle. ;) that cocktail looks especially nice, and somewhat hearty!
and i think this will have to go down in the "best naomi photos of all time" hall of fame. it reminds me of a scene from a merchant and ivory film, especially with the wee chap out on a walk. :)
ps ~ like your new icon, too. it's so neat how the various cloud layers and earth blend into one pastel mesh in the view from a plane.
Macsen wanted the celebration to be low-key and it was, except the food. It was actually better than I expected, the photos don't do it justice.. everything was cooked so perfectly.
They always do a pretty decent cocktail at Alphabet.. I prefer it to it's sister bar, Amber, because it has a more laid back atmosphere.
re: the photo: thanks! The light that evening was incredible and I love photographing misty scenes, it gives such good depth and layers.
That aerial photo is my desktop right now, it seems to suit my mood this month.
On March 31st, 2005 06:16 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Bravo pour les leçons de français.
Don't be shy about your accent, nobody cares : it is so beautiful when a foreigner makes the effort to speak to you in your own language. Everytime, somewhere, someone learns french makes me happy (and should I say proud?). As you noticed my english is a perfect mess and I don't care (my italian and german are worse and my arabic is so... well, let's say I try :) Bon courage.