Just now the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square has this enormous thumb by David Shrigley – the sign for Everything Is Good. Unveiled on September 29th 2016 the ten-meter high hand gives a thumbs up to London, Londoners and our Visitors.
I hadn’t noticed the hand until I saw this T shirt, mug, tote bag and badge in the Royal Academy shop. There hasn’t been an exhibition at the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery for a while and I don’t normally walk or look that way.
Luckily both Josh and I enjoy shopping though living in London with John Lewis, Selfridges and Harrods a bus ride away it’s hard to find things in Europe we haven’t seen before. We always enjoy long weekends in large cities.
After my Heart Attack, now a year ago, I need to stick to countries in the European union where an EHIC card gives me free emergency NHS treatment. Although not in the EU, Norway is covered though fortunately I had no need of medical care.
Opposite our hotel in the centre of Oslo was quite a drab-looking mall from the outside –Ocean City – but huge and futuristic on the inside.
They didn’t have the kind of little notebooks I was looking for but we managed to buy the children some gifts from the large kitchenware stores.
Keen knitters like our daughter, Louise, would have loved this knitters’ paradise in the shopping mall in the next street.
One of my favourite dishes is Green Thai Chicken Curry which requires coconut milk. I much prefer making it up from the powder rather than buying the tins. The only shop I know which stocks the Maggi coconut powder is the Spice Shop in Drummond Street.
They stock so many kinds of rice and curry pastes and powders and pickles and chutneys – it’s hard to choose.
Though you can now get many of these exotic vegetables in your local supermarket, they are fresher and cheaper here.
Why are sales so irresistible, especially if there’s a ‘twofer’ – two for the price of one. I really have more than enough shirts – those I made years ago when I was doing lots of dressmaking are still going strong but I wanted a pink shirt and a white one.
My favorite shop for them is Hawes and Gieves . The branch in Victoria has now closed but it is no hardship to go to their flagship store in Mayfair’s Jermyn Street and walk through Waterstone’s bookstore to get there.
It’s not fair – the men’s department had just the colour pink I was looking for – one without a touch of apricot – but they didn’t have a women’s shirt in that pink in my size. Even the smallest men’s shirt was too long and with too long sleeves. But I did find just the plain white shirt I wanted and, since it was almost a twofer, I also bought a white shirt with a leafy design.
The show held in the Mary Ward House in Bloomsbury is the most convenient for us though we traipsed out to Canada Water for their excellent show in March. Perhaps one year we’ll go to Brighton for their show there and we look forward to their fair in Marylebone this October.
Now that Josh and I are 87 and 85 respectively, over the years we’ve accumulated so many ‘things’ that it’s hard to find something to buy. Our four children are near to their fifties too so they’re in a similar position.
I find the Little Waitrose shops unsatisfactory as they seem to specialise in sandwiches and ready meals – none of which I ever buy. And they always seem to be out of stock of the specialities I’m after.
The nearest big Waitrose for us is at Brunswick Square but it’s often difficult to find a parking space and the underground car park is cold and miserable. Traffic is often very difficult driving to the Kings Cross store.
We were therefore delighted to find the new 18,000 sq ft Waitrose at Nine Elms which opened last November. It has a large easily accessible car park, a coffee bar – as well as free drinks if you have a My Waitrose card.
Situated in the rapidly developing new embassy district to which the US and Netherlands Embassies will be moving, once the rumoured 2000 homes are completed the store will no doubt be a mecca for foodies.
That’s what it’s like after you’ve had a heart attack, had stents inserted in two of your coronary arteries, needed an intra-aortic balloon pump and artificial ventilation – some sunshine, some showers and the occasional double rainbow. Good days and bad days and then the sun comes out and there’s a double rainbow.
Out of hospital a month now and trying hard to get back to a semblance of normality. Had to cancel my classes but still enjoy cooking even if I have to sit down during the preparation. Had a couple of trips to the supermarket with Josh but still get tired easily.
Most of our favourite cookshops in London have vanished. John Lewis and Peter Jones still have respectable cooking departments, while those in most of the other big stores have shrunk.
In contrast, not only were there large cookshops in the big stores within walking distance of our hotel in the centre of Gothenburg , but there were at least five independent cookshops full of ‘don’t need but must haves’!!
And even with the unfavourable rate of exchange the prices were quite reasonable . Perhaps in Sweden they don’t only sit glued to cookery programs on the TV but they actually cook!! Judging by the amount of space given to cake baking and decorating, the Swedes are into cakes and pastries in a big way.
Everyone seemed to have run out of my favourite mango pickle, so last Sunday we went to the wonderful Indian emporium in Drummond Street to get some. Didn’t have exactly the make I wanted but bought some Patak’s Hot Mango Pickle. I’ve tasted it and it seems fine, but I haven’t yet tried it with my own curry.
We don’t usually have a cooked lunch, preferring to have our main meal at night, but, since we would be in a street packed with Indian restaurants, we decided to have a curry lunch.
Unfortunately none of our favourite curry houses had any clients – always a bad sign – so we went for a buffet lunch instead.
The salads were good, the hot food so-so but the fresh fruit not only looked great but each variety was special.
Now that so many street markets which had stalls which sold only produce bought that day have gone, we’re reduced to buying fruit from supermarkets and it’s just not the same.
An enjoyable meal, and very reasonably priced, but I would have liked a hot curry! Time to make my own curry and try the Hot Mango Pickle with it!!