Saturday, November 12, 2005

(saturday sneak) [ADDENDUM]

As I haven't blogged since Wednesday (is this a record?) I have decided to sneak in a Saturday post before I go out. How many of you will catch it, I wonder?

This morning I tripped over my own feet getting to the window when I heard jet fighters screaming overhead. Three in formation, so I thought, "There must be something going on in town..." I turned on the TV and sure enough, it was the start of the Lord Mayor's annual parade. That was a bit of a surprise, as yesterday was Armistice Day and tomorrow is Remembrance Sunday so I'd thought it was something related.

For you overseas readers, the Lord Mayor of the City of London has held a parade every year for the past 7 centuries, in order to show himself to the citizens. Bands, troops, floats, animals, and performers thread their way through the City financial district. When it is over, the Lord Mayor draws up at the steps of St Paul's Cathedral in his gilt and painted coach. He declares his allegiance to the Queen and all that, the Dean ends with a blessing and the choir gives three "hip hip hoorays".

I'd like to go further into how the City of London is an old corporation independent of London town which has its own (non-lordly) Mayor, but it's enough for now to say that it is so.


I signed up with some temping agencies this week. I specified no City jobs. Yet one of the first things they offer are two placements in the City, coincidentally at a certain Dutch banking firm beginning with A. One or two of you may find the irony in this.

Much cooler is the fact that I've signed up with BBC jobs too, and applied for a work placement in their Arts section. I've always wanted to know how to get in there!


...Am I forgetting something?
I'd better get rid of this headache so that I can be suitably cheerful this evening.



Awwww, dear Vanessa got a bit excited that I mentioned going out this evening, but it was only to the museum and dinner with my friend Miss S.

We went to see the Rubens exhibition at the National Gallery. It had been a while since we'd seen any of his work, and S kept commenting on how bright the colours looked. Some may have been cleaned, but for the most part, oil on copper is bound to look well. Bright blues and reds, but that's just Rubens, surely.

Then we walked from there all the way to Charlotte Street, off Percy Street, off Tottenham Court Rd. We went to Shochu, a lounge bar in the basement of Roka. All very rustic Japanese style. The bar and stools were practically slabs of varnished wood. The soft and comfy easy chairs were upholstered in red Japanese patchwork. Ambient lighting was provided by giant shoji paper lanterns beside the tables.

As you know, I had taken aspirins for my headache so I couldn't have a cocktail (it's been months now!!!) but all of them were based on the barley spirit called Shochu. I would have had the lavender and honey one if I could, but limited myself this time to a rosewater soda and lemon mix. Very puckeringly and refreshingly fragrant. S had the rhubarb shochu.

Now the funny thing about this bar is the way they name their fruity shochu drinks, much the way the Japanese would badly pronounce the English. So rhubarb was lulubarb, lemon was remon, raspberry was lasubelli and so on. It was quite cute and we had a laugh over it.

Five dishes divide very comfortably between two people:
1) Spinach salad with sesame dressing (7/10) - love the sesame dressing
2) Lobster and abalone grilled dumplings (3/10) - too pungent
3) Yellowtail tartare with some sort of roe (8/10) - deelish in a fishy way
4) A cinnamon roast duck breast with a persimmon chutney (8/10) - perfect combination, the persimmon softening the salty edge of the duck
5) sushi maki rolls of two kinds: softshell crab and eel (9/10) - yum and yum

We finished up with green tea and dessert. I chose a passionfruit and banana muchi with a very biscotti-like almond stick. The banana was diced into the tiniest pieces in a passionfruit puree, over a delicate custard.
S had - get this, it all came on one platter: a roasted honeyed banana on its own skin, a little dish of k---(?) bean ice cream, and in the centre a tiny bowl of baked green tea cream. All very delicate flavours, requiring you to take slow mouthfuls that you roll over your tongue and consider intently for a while.

Such lightly flavoured desserts are a perfect end to a strongly flavoured dinner.

It was a perfectly relaxing opportunity for S to tell me about her failed date a couple of weeks ago. We had a good old grumble together, as we had hoped to double date at places like this with our guys.

'Night night.


Anonymous said...

This evening? What is going on?
Hope you will feel better. Temp agencies are good ideas. I need to do the same thing.


Jia Li said...

Hey Liv, today..well just a few moment ago I was outside, packing wood...and my head was down and I felt a few drops, cold wet drops on my head, and thought misty rain...but when I looked up it looked like someone had shook up a snow globe, because the sky was milky gray and flakes of snow were coming down upon me.

So I decided to get one more wheel barrow load...and whent back inside..where I am looking at ur new post and typing this.

B. Z. Herzel said...

A seven-hundred-year-long tradition. Now, how can anyone argue with that?

I hope I'm not betraying the fact that I haven't read your blog in a while... But your new design is awfully pretty.

Olivia said...

Vanessa - oh bless you, nothing special. Just out with Shiho, will blog about it.

Jia Li - I like your description of the snow, and it's nice that you retreated into the warmth to read my blog!

BZ Herzel - Yep, it's been ages. I changed my template in early October, glad you like it!

Helmi Holzheuer said...


and I haven't blogged for a week either. A friend of mine complained to me the other day that I was writing sooo much, that she could not keep up with reading my stuff.

Now I am wondering whether anyone will take the opportunity to read my articles and drafts that are so neatly tucked away in their monthly boxes..

Olivia said...

Vanessa can never keep up but she doesn't want me to slow down either.

MattJ said...

Hi liv! I also blogged over the weekend, buty only briefly. I have now joined Canons gym and am embarking on mission to become a sculpted Man of Fitness. Or at least manage the stairs without getting out of breath.

Amyway, need some Yoga advice. They run classes at this place and I figured it would be a good way to get flexible again before I take up Karate or Kung Fu again. Last time I did that stuff, i started off unfit and it was a whole world of pain before I got good! So, anyway, yoga. Think it's gentle enough to start when out of shape or do you think I should get into a bit of a routine first before I take it on? I have no idea how strenuosu it is you see. Thanks.

Ok, now your blog. I have still to try Japanese food, i think your pallet is far more adventurous than mine, I think it's time for me to go on one of my 'try lots of new things' missions i indulge in every few years....

Rebecca said...

You know if you take ibu profen or excedrin you can still have a cocktail, fyi.
How proud I am of the knowledge I can contribute.

Silly of the temping agencies. Make sure you call them several times a week, even every day, to let them know when you are free. Good luck.

Olivia said...

Matt - well done you! Keep going.

As for the yoga... Actually it's not pure yoga. We don't use the eastern names for things, it's pure exercise and it's mixed with Pilates. Sometimes called Pi-Yo.

It's quite demanding, but if you start at the beginning of a course, it will advance progressively.

When I say demanding, I don't mean like kickboxing - it's not high impact or strenuous, it's low impact and challenging.

The demand is met from within - holding a pose when you think you can't any longer, or moving into another one when you would like to collapse. But it's SO fulfilling.

I hadn't done any serious exercise for a few years when I started yoga. So I say, yes. It is good to start with.


Rebecca - oh. I had taken Paracetamol and nowhere on the package does it specify no alcohol. :(
Thanks for the heads up.

Anonymous said...

dutch banks starting with "A". Hmmm. There are at least 5 offices in London...

Not sure it's ironic, unless in an alanis morrisette non-ironic ironic fashion...

Olivia said...

Anonanon - You know darn well which one I'm talking about - I thought there was only one - and we'll leave it at that :P