Gael is back in Italy after her all too brief visit. I know I have a few new people reading this journal so if you don't know who Gael is and what she means to me read this: Tui Bijoux. The time passed far too quickly, but it was wonderful seeing her again. Took her to Spitalfields for S&M (Sausages & Mash of course, what were you thinking?) Sadly Spitalfields Market, one of London's oldest and largest markets, was closed for "refurbishment" which actually means gentrification; not that gentrification is always a bad thing, but in this case it also means homogenizing with chain stores that are willing to pay higher rent and encroachment of office buildings. It's still better than the alternative which was ASDA (owned by Wal-Mart) attempting to buy the land and raze it for one of their supermarkets. We moved on to Borough Market (which has already been gentrified, but at least the chains have stayed out) and drank hot spiced New Forest cider and stocked up on comté, caerphilly, cantillon kriek, and salted butter (getting harder to find in stores these days). Took a long walk down the river to the Tate Modern where we never made it past the bookshop and ended up spending 2 hours browsing there. The next day we wandered around Shoreditch to go hipster spotting and took her for Vietnamese food (got her hooked on chili salt and peppered squid and lotus and pork salad). The rest of the time was pretty relaxed, just catching up as we hadn't seen each other in person for nearly 2 years. We share a similar sense of humour so we watched as many episodes of Peep Show, Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, 15 Storeys High, and Mighty Boosh as we could. It was picnic weather - intermittently - so on her last day here we enjoyed a picnic in Richmond Park, the first of the year. She commented, "It looks like the illustrations in fairytale books." which made me laugh because it was the first thing I said when I saw the forests here, you get the strange feeling that you've seen these trees before. After indulging ourselves we fell asleep in the shade, me under my big floppy hat which I seem to never get to wear (I think I wore the same dress on the last picnic I wrote about here, I guess it is now my official picnic dress). As always it was difficult to say goodbye to each other, but I will most likely visit her in Naples next.
I love Cantillon Kriek as it is tart like pie cherries, not sweet at all unlike most krieks.
I only had it once before at the brewery in Brussels, but the beer stall in Borough Market have
begun stocking it.
this ginger beer is so good -- very fiery.
A little-known fact about south west London where I live is that we have a flock of about 30,000 wild green ring-neck parakeets. I often see them in our backyard or hanging out in the trees at the beer garden of our local pub. There are various theories as to how they came to live and flourish in this area of the city: As The African Queen was being filmed at Shepperton Studios in the 50s they released hundreds into the air (indigenous species awareness not being what it is today), Jimi Hendrix released his breeding pair on Carnaby Street in the 60s, they're castaways from a capsized cargo ship, airport quarantine escapees, or liberated pets.
I have always found the story of your life with Gael so fascinating, I had to go back and read it again. I came from such a boring family....
I love the story of the parakeets. In such situations, it's best to pick the myth you like most: I prefer The African Queen theory!
I spoke to my mom yesterday and asked her to get photos of herself from the 70s-80s together as I have yet to write a post about her, she was pretty awesome with her punked out bright red hair -- she looked like a cross between Siouxsie and Cyndi Lauper. There's a fantastic photo of her gothed up at a picnic, I hope I can get a copy of that one.
The African Queen theory is my favourite too! It seems more likely than the rest to me, especially as the parakeets first started to appear then. Although there's reports of a large flock in the Netherlands and they've been found as far North as Scotland so who knows. Soon they will be all across Europe!
'The Mighty Boosh'! yes, i particularly like the series two ep where they are searching for the 'new sound' with their big teeth, big hair with a front door, Razorlight, great guitar playing and Spider's eight... er...
anyway, the Mighty Boosh!
you've got some very nicely composed photos here. the one of the strawberry in the glass with the legs is... oddly erotic*.
*i'm sure i'm not the only one who thought that... ;)
Florida is somewhere that I'd expect them to be, but apparently they can live this far North because this variety is originally from the Himalayas. I agree they're loud, although that's never bothered me as it seems to bother a lot of people here.. but I also like the sound of crows and seagulls which seems to make me the odd one out. :)
I don't suppose Gael works with the Seattle Underground Tour, does she? I took the tour two weeks ago and I saw a wall full of tour guide pictures. I remember seeing the name "Gael," which is the 2nd time I've seen the name. (The first being in your journal, of course.)
She never worked there, at least not that I know of! She actually changed her name after her and my father divorced, but I grew up knowing her as Gael or Mom so it's still difficult for me to get used to calling her by her new name -- I think she's accepted that most family will forget to use it.
I went on the Seattle Underground tour many years ago on a date with my ex-boyfriend; not exactly an ideal date setting, but it was interesting to see the subterranean buildings. I wish I could see the old disused platforms and tube tunnels under London; there's a surprising amount that have been completely abandoned, sadly access is no longer allowed!