Saturday, July 28, 2007

Two weekends in one

Two weekends ago had one of those packed weekends that makes it worthwhile being in London for, and also curse the cardinal rule of London social life that all your friends book things for the same night. Still, as it coincided with Ana visiting, I at least got to show her what London is like when it gets down to business. We started on Thursday for Andy's birthday at Freud's. Andy was a bit worried beforehand that the smoking ban was going to affect this old (21 years!) London nightspot. Unduly as it turns out, this place was still jam-packed, with all the staff doing their "Cocktail" routine and the continental feel as big as ever. I remember Freud was one of the bars I went to the first time I lived in London (1999) and loved it then. Piece of home from home as it has the grimy, intelectual feel of some of Porto's nightspots.Ana tried a Mojito for the first time, after downing a Caipirinha in one gulp but still managed to stay upright. Where does she put it all?!

Friday both of us had things to do during the day but convened in the evening to go to the V&A Surreal Things exhibition. This was fantastic, but difficult to take in a couple of hours, not only because of the size but also because of the emotional intensity of some of the pieces. After the exhibition we went to Kulu Kulu, my favourite conveyor-belt Japanese restaurant, where we stuffed ourselves beyond capacity. Back home as on Saturday we had an early start.

Saturday got up at 7 to go to Cambridge for a volunteering day at the Zoology Museum Forest Day. 6 hours of great fun with kids of all ages making butterflies, frogs and birds-of-paradise. Then meeting with a friend for a catch-up on Jesus Green. Managed to catch the planned train down to London, and took delivery of two chests of drawers and three chairs that friends are lending me while they go travelling around the world (gratitude seriously conflicting with insane jealousy here). As I was already dressed to go out to the party we were late for, this had the result of my carrying the furniture from the van to the door in a floaty and plunging (afterwards I put in a safety-pin) party dress and unbuckled high-heeled shoes. Needless to say one of my shoes came off in front of the boozy lads who were watching the show. One of them, before I could stop him, promptly went down on one knee to buckle my shoe. Without of course letting go of his beer, which put a bit of a damper on the romance of it all. Plus his very considerable beer belly of course. Then rushed to Roy and Tom's barbecue in Oval, only managing to get there for the after-party which was a lovely chilled conversation in their fabulous garden, sipping Calvados.

Sunday (you thought it was over?!) went to see the Insider Art exhibition at the ICA, definitely worth it with my favourite piece being Maddona and Child:
Then for a quiet chat on the NFT Cafe benches and home where Ana lent me some of her energy to bring the rest of the furniture upstairs and rearrange my room.
Monday went to see the Royal Academy Summer Show , apparently it's the best one for a long time and I definitely thought it was worth it and was even considering whether I would invest in a limited-edition print (you could get some for just over a £100). Then back to Shepherd's Bush for a lovely, again past-stuffing lunch at Abu Zaad, which I have read is the only Syrian restaurant in London. I must be truly a local now as the maitre (in the picture) greeted me with obvious signs of recoginizing me.
Finally over! Lovely as it was, I am only now recovering and ready for another all-things-happen-at-once weekend!


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