Picture posts

V-day approaching

This weekend I followed in the footsteps of many a great poet and went to the countryside. Not just any place in the countryside, but to a site so unique and beautiful that I better keep it a secret. The place was a favourite of Arthur Conan Doyle and W. B. Yeats, and the movie adaption of Pride and Prejudice was shot here.

Where else would you find a quote like this one, inscribed into the floor of a mausoleum:

The poets who loved penns

W. B. Yeats
Walter de La Mare
W. I. Turner
Ruth Ritter
V. Sackville West
Dorothy Wellesley

They learn in suffering
what they teach in song

As a foreigner, I plead guilty to complaining a lot about the standard of living and quality of life on this island, especially in London. BUT, there is no use in denying that English gardens and manor houses are made of the same stuff as dreams. Unfortunately, pictures cannot convey that message.

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You talkin’ to me?


A walk in the countryside – the day spring came to the shire.

Copycat? Check the itinerary here (pdf).

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Tunnel of snow

Paddington Station

It is normally quite a delight to step out of the train at Paddington and enjoy the kind of splendour that can only be afforded by a grand railway station. This morning, however, there was something eerie about the light; it appeared more like a tunnel than the usual cathedral of old-style grandeur and mobility.

Hyde Park

Hyde Park, on the other hand, presented itself as an all-encompassing source of white, interrupted only by the occasional fellow human being or companion species. A nice but demanding bike ride indeed.

Trafalgar Square

On Trafalgar Square, the Admiral stood in his usual place, silently watching the crowds passing by. When I finally reached the office, I was one of the few people actually turning up. My otherwise reliable colleagues P. honeline and Int Ernet even decided to take the day off so I embarked on the return leg right away.

Sometimes the journey is the destination.

Update: Stuart Jeffries has a nice piece on the ‘day of innocence‘ in the Guardian:

In London, this doesn’t happen often. We trust our dour reflexive, self-poisoning moaning as a lifestyle philosophy instead. We like it that way: strangers are strange and Britain, damn everything about it, doesn’t work. Why don’t the buses run on time? Why are we so hopeless? Why can’t something be done (usually by someone else who we can blame for their shortcomings)? And this chorus of self-immolation is taken up countrywide: why, non-Londoners ask, is the capital brought to a standstill by a little snow? Why can’t you southern ponces get your act together? And the cry is international too: as I walk through the St Pancras Eurostar terminal, a French couple consulting the warnings about the tube, roll their eyes as one. He said: “Typiquement anglais. Rien ne va plus!” They both laugh, as if to say their Gallic expectations had been confirmed.

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Work buddies

Office mates
PS. What a privilege it is to be able to faff about on a Saturday morning.

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Baby DPhil arrives

The delivery

After four years and three months in labour, I am happy to announce the arrival of D. Phil Thesis at 3.45pm on Friday 16th of January. Green in colour, he weighed some three pounds at birth and covers a staggering 350 pages. As it happens, he was passed on to his temporary parents right away, with whom I shall meet and discuss his future in March. The birth itself was relatively uncomplicated, but it took me a good 16 hours of sleep to get up and running again.

Drinks. Tonight (9pm). The Gardener’s Arms. All Welcome.

Check out the magnificent cover work by Rune ‘Get a Friggin’ Website‘ Brink from the Bottega.

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How London copes with the crunch

credito.jpg
New Row, Covent Garden.

PS. My Neapolitan colleague tells me that ‘Credito Crunchio’ is not proper Italian.

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The long way home


[Thanks]

I feel a bit like Renton in Trainspotting who stocked up on baked beans (I think) and pills before barricading the door to overcome his drug addiction.

My door may not be barricaded, but Christmas is cancelled and I am home alone for the next three weeks. My fridge is full of Coke (yes, with a capital ‘C’) and my cupboards are close to bursting with food.

I submit in mid-January and until then I have taken the liberty to put the world on hold. My world, not yours, that is.

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Sloe gin

Sloe gin
I used a pint of gin (Tanqueray, export strength), half a litre of sloes, and 150 grammes of sugar. Now, it is time to sit back and wait (impatiently) for at least three months, interrupted only by the weekly shake of the bottle. Once properly infused, it will take on the colour of port.

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Norwegian Wood

IMG_5110.jpg
A central perk of joining the corporate tribe is that you get to go places. I am currently finding my way back from the most impressive wooden building I have come across for a long time. Beautifully situated between mountains, lakes and fjords, the all new Preikestolen Fjellstue is one of the tangible outcomes of the sustainable architecture project, Norwegian Wood, and Stavanger’s status as the 2008 European Capital of Culture.

Impressive as it is, the lodge is made entirely without nails, and boasts so many innovative features that it would be impossible to list all of them here. The place is well worth a visit, not least because of the superb food. Both the cod and the reindeer were to die for.

In addition to this, there is of course Preikestolen itself – the Pulpit Rock – which is Norway’s best known natural site, and for good reasons (do click here to get a sense of the beauty of the place). Unfortunately I did not make it there due the first serious snowfall of the season – that did not prevent me from going up the mountain with the other partners, though.

Pictures and further descriptions available here as soon as I reach home, sweet home.

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I know it’s ridiculous…

…but I still get excited when I strike a good deal on eBay.
ebay

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