30 May 2009

Everything in its Place

Book Shop, Charing Cross Rd
Bookshop, Charing Cross Road

I love that London has lots of neat little areas where you can find things. For example, if you were looking for bookshops, Charing Cross Road is the place to go. There is also a little side street that sells guitars. When Lauch and I went shopping for my engagement ring, we went to Hatton Gardens - because that's the diamond area. And it's not just one block of shops either - Hatton Gardens is several blocks solid of glittering diamond paradise. Brick Lane for curry - although Ealing and Wembley are big areas for curry too. The West End for theatre. West London for Australians.

The Hari Krishnas China Town, London
Cash Jackpot, Charing Cross Rd Priscilla, Charing Cross Rd

When you get to know the areas, you get to know certain things that happen there, like there is Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park - where anyone can get up on a soapbox (literally they stand on a box) and make speeches about whatever they're passionate about to the passers-by. And there are the Hari Krishnas - I'm always seeing them at about 6pm, dancing along Oxford St and then down Charing Cross Road singing "Hari hari hari..." They sound so cheery. (They're in the photo above left).

China Town, London
Chinatown at night - right near Soho

Lots of big cities have little areas of things, but London does it specially well because it's just had such a long time for things to evolve.

29 May 2009

Dim Sum Daily

Dim Sum Daily
Chinatown, London

I took this photo tonight on the way home from a little restaurant called the Cork and Bottle, it is inside a cellar near Leicester Square and it is in fact a wine bar run by some kiwis.

That is why you can get pavlova for dessert.

We met my uncle there and discussed the future without books and how people these days have more of everything: possessions, books, access to information, television channels...

I love way Soho feels at night: all busy and exciting full of rushing black cabs and those silly rickshaws. I have other photos to show you exactly what I mean, because I have been thinking about London and the bits and pieces that I love and about maybe recording and sharing my ideas about it.

Chetna says that maybe twitter and facebook give depth to people's conversations because you already know all about how people have been lately so when you see them in person you talk to them immediately at a different level, you don't ask "so how have you been" you skip that and begin with the interesting questions.

Maybe that's why I continue writing this blog: so when I see you I don't have to answer "so how was London and what have you been doing for the past two years" you already kind of know... and we can pick up the conversation at a different point.

I will show you some more photos of Soho tomorrow.

25 May 2009


Barbecue Preparations Lauch Cooking

It is the English way. The second the weather is convincingly sunny, the sky is clear, bright blue, the SUN IS OUT we strip down to shorts and tshirts and run outside. The parks are full. Everywhere there's a patch of grass, there we are, soaking it up because tomorrow it will rain. (And probably the day after that too.)

These SUN IS OUT days, they bring out the Australian in Lauch and me. We yearn to scorch food on a grill above hot coals. We bring out the vegie kebabs, the burgers, the great bread, potato salad, maybe a bottle of Corona.

There is nothing like a piece of grilled haloumi and the feel of a breeze on skin that hasn't felt breeze on it for at least six months.

23 May 2009

How to Coddle an Egg

A few months ago in the depths of winter, I was sitting in a cafe with Ken and Karina talking about how being in London had changed us. We noticed England had made us feel drawn to history, old things, rituals and tradition. So, months later, Ken and Karina presented me with a perfect UK souvenir as a birthday gift.

Egg Coddler

It is an egg coddler. The basic concept is, a boiled egg without any shell.

Egg Inside Egg Coddler

You crack the egg into the coddler, screw on the lid and put it in boiling water for about 10 minutes.

Coddled Egg on Toast

Voila! Eggs on toast. Perfect to go with a pot of tea.

20 May 2009

White Cliffs (Crumbly)

White Cliffs, Dover

This is Dover. The white cliffs, seen from the clifftop near the town of Dover to be precise. It's the narrowest point of the English channel and is therefore the place where you can catch a ferry to France. You can see France off in the distance.

Lex on Cliff Edge, Dover

This is me, sitting on the cliff edge thinking of that lady who swam the English channel inside a shark-proof cage covered in some kind of lard to keep her warm. I wasn't thinking about how crumbly the cliffs are and about how we are supposed to keep five metres from the edge at all times.

Crumbly like fetta.
Sometimes what you aren't thinking about is as important as what you are thinking.

18 May 2009


Trip Planning, Late May 09

What does the future hold? All things going according to plan, a trip around Europe in summer for Lauch & me. A very budget trip by the looks of things. We spent most of Saturday drinking tea and flicking through guidebooks and websites figuring stuff out. I'll tell you the gory details when it's fully booked. We have the beginnings of something beautiful.

13 May 2009

School, Home, Making Notes

School Bag

This bag came from Portobello Market, the end where all the vintage stuff is. I got it from an Italian stall holder and managed to knock £5 off because of the writing inside the flap. But actually the writing is cool.

Walked home from work today with this bag slung across my shoulder. It was a perfect spring day. Bought an icecream with a scoop of nocciola and chocolate and walked past the op shops, the fishmonger, the fish and chip shop. A girl from work caught me window shopping and we walked up the street past the plant nursery to the station. Across the wide zebra crossing where the cars always stop for you.

One of the parents told me today that it was a shame I won't be working at the school next year. It is a shame.

I'm making notes, gathering momentum, wishing to stay and make this ending last a little longer.

8 May 2009

I Always Miss The Ocean

Beach, Brighton
From the Pier at Brighton

It surprises me, the things I miss about home. For example, I don't miss vegemite. In fact, I never liked the stuff. Or barbeques, or any other food particularly. I miss my stuff - kitchen things, bowls, my blender. A certain arty cafe. There are a few people I miss.

And then there is the ocean. Kathryn did a painting once and it says on it "I always miss the ocean." The phrase has stuck in the back of my mind because whenever I find myself with sand under my feet, my heart jumps a little and a strange contentment fills me.

I do always miss it.

Beach, Wales View From Plymouth
Pier, Brighton Loch Lomond, <br />Scotland
Clockwise, left to right: Beaches in Wales, Plymouth, Loch Lomond and Brighton

6 May 2009

A Wee Postcard from Ben Lomond

Lex on Ben Lomond

Dear Mum, Dad and Everybody,

Hello from Ben Lomond, Scotland. I know what you're thinking. So where's the Loch Ness Monster? It's hiding um, under a rock.
Seriously - and I have to keep this short since there's not much room on this postcard - the shortbread here really is good, there aren't that many red-haired Scottish people, I didn't see ANY Scottie dogs and yes, the Scots really do talk like that. They're friendly too.
I loved the view from this mountaintop - Loch Lomond (to the left of this photo) was misted over with rain and there were lumpy islands gathered towards the end of the Loch. A perfect place for a monster to come into existence inside people's imaginations.

I hope you're well,

P.S. They really do say things like "a wee postcard." It's lovely.