Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Oenophile. It's the word of the day from my sidebar, and very timely because wine played a large part in my evening.

But first things first:

This week I found myself at an agency that fits me like none before it and has been in nearly constant contact - most assiduous in follow-ups. I've never seen this level of service before and it's mind-boggling.

As a result, I had an interview for a real job at an architectural firm that does historic restorations (at recognisable national levels, though low-key themselves). To obtain an invite here is very exciting and an accomplishment in itself. However, I got abominably lost and arrived 30 minutes late, while my agent attempted to walk me there on the phone. It was a mistake - we ended up confounding each other. Once I found the mews-within-the-mews address, I realised I could have corrected my mistake in mere minutes.

Despite the fiasco of my arrival, the interviewer told my agent that she found me charming and she liked much of what I said, so let's hope I get asked back for a second interview.

And what is more, I have a temp booking Friday at the National Gallery.


What would I do without the infamous Mr B? Once again he called me to ask, "Are you going to the Christie's do tomorrow night?" And once again I said, "What Christie's do?" while feeling very left out...they are usually alumni events...

So today after the interview, I went to me old school and got them to update all my info in the database, and bought my reservation at the reception. Then I went home to change and attempt to rid myself of the nasty migraine that I'd had all morning but was steadily worsening as the day wore on.


An hour before the reception, I met up with Mr B and we caught up with all the gossip we've missed since his major operation and long recovery. Bless him, all he wants is to see me happy in love and often expresses his disappointment at my lack of progress. He says these young fellas are fools for not snapping me up a hundred times! Hear hear.

Then we toodled off to the do. It was at La Fromagerie on Moxon Street, off Marylebone High Street.

Basically, it is shop by day, venue by night - so a very rustic space with big hewn wood tables and benches, sporting baskets of interesting produce such as glace flower petals, herb teas that looked like pot-pourri, cheese knives, and so on. There was also a little cool room with sliding glass doors off to the side for the various cheese wheels.

Mr B, Elizabeth and I were the only alumni from our year among the 30 attendees. All the tutors were there: Andrew (who says he had a good read here some time ago), Peter (my priceless masters tutor), Richard (my PG.Dip. tutor, who now has my blog address and might be reading this), Patsy, and the director Dr Michael whom Richard calls M-squared because his surname is the same as his first.

Christie-ites always manage to have the most energetic wine-fuelled conversations. We always promise each other we'll meet up again and almost never do, which is silly because we always have so much to talk about. I keep putting off inviting various bodies to the Arts Club. Andrew said a bunch of us ought to get together for dinner or something - though he's the one who suggested picnics along the river a couple of summers ago to ease the stress of writing our theses, but after the red wine wore off he probably forgot. I've an idea for a wine and chocolate tasting evening at Pierre Marcolini. Elizabeth invited some of us to cricket in Hampton - an excuse to get out of town and loll about in grass and sunshine.

I say we make it all happen this time. Hanging out with former classmates and tutors IS actually fun.

We started with Prosecco and the cheese and meat platters came around frequently. Oh to remember those names...but it was so hard to hear them. There was a stinky one, a washed rind, apparently. Richard took the last piece, but he let Elizabeth and me have a nibble, and it was worth it, perfect with the Prosecco.
There was a goat's cheese, various medium cow cheeses, one mild blue. Followed by finger nibbles like guacamole on black tortilla chips, shredded celeriac and rough mustard wrapped in prosciutto, and various smoked salmon/aubergine/hummus type dips spread on mini toasts.

Oh's word of the day: Oenophile: - a lover of wine.

The Greeks called it oenos and exported it all over the ancient world in amphorae. Just to show I haven't forgotten everything, the Greek wine vessel is called an oinochoe. It has a pinched lip for easy pouring.

And finally, Terry Jones of Monty Python fame stated something that I've known for a long time: The Romans didn't invent anything, they stole it all from the Greeks.

The Greeks were so cool, they set invading Roman ships on fire by directing the sun's energy onto them using giant, highly-burnished mirrors.


Steliano Ponticos said...

btw archimedes who burnt the ships was from syracuse (Italian!), but greek by culture and all...when a roman soldier came into his house he didn't pay attention to him and just said "do not disturb my circles"* , the soldier chopped his head off :D

*Famous motto of abscent minded nerds "Nulle turbabre circulos mios"

Steliano Ponticos said...

Isn't John Fenn so cute?

Steliano Ponticos said...

archeology job seems very go O

Olivia said...

Interesting about Archimedes, yes, that is who he (Terry Jones) mentioned.

He also challenged everyone to name just one Roman mathematician...


Steli - ooh, archeology would be nice. It's *architecture*, sillysteli.

Olivia said...

Thanks for the Latin quote. Might try it sometime :P
Just kidding - but at least no one would cut off my head as a result!

Olivia said...

See? If you didn't have a brain, you wouldn't know anything about Archimedes!

lunaliar said...

This is the reason I laud my Greek heritage. A culture of civic genius and endless innovation!

lunaliar said...

P.S. I am definately an Oenophile... so what's up with French vintages nowadays!? Most bordeaux make my palate pucker... Please, refer me to something succulent I can slurp!

Olivia said...

Luna - I didn't know you had Greek heritage! Steli and I both have a little bit. Tell me more!

(See this is why I like to mention the Greeks from time to time.)

Oh, don't rely on me for wine advice. I'm in a bit of a transitional wasteland with it at the moment...

Steliano Ponticos said...

roman mathematicians.....I can't think of any. Probably they were all in alexandria then..

Steliano Ponticos said...

yeah I just checked, the first century A.D an the last two B.C seem to be above all by the Alexandria school

Olivia said...

Oh yes, the Roman empire was educated by Greeks.

Olivia said...

Go Greeks!

Vanessa was born in Iran and I always like to tell her that Greeks *still* kick Persian butt, funny thing is she usually agrees very cheerfully.

Haider Droubi said...

just saying hi
nice image

Steliano Ponticos said...

yes its greek mania here...

I think Olive it is important to note these mathematicians were hellenic in the general sense, not greek.

euclide is egyptian (from alexandria) and zeno is phoenecian (from lattakia it seems, or tyre i can't remember) and archemedes is sicillian (from cyracuse)

this is what is so great about alexander the great

his influence, for a short period like 100 years, merged all the peoples of the medeterranian into one culture...imagine we still had that now

Olivia said...

Hi Droubi!

Steli - gottit, yes, Hellenic - like how Roman meant anyone in the Empire.
Watched an interesting program, Terry Jones again, talking about how the barbarians weren't really. The Vandal Giseric (?) who took over and ruled Roman North Africa was actually very enlightened, and that our idea of the Barbarians and Vandals was invented by the Romans.

Turns out that even though the Empire fell apart thanks to the imbalance caused by Giseric, the Romans won. I had an epiphany over this. Yes, the winner writes the history, agreed? The Roman Empire continued as the Roman Catholic church, ruling the west and the new world, editing the history of centuries, and still headed by a Pontifex Maximus.

tooners said...

sounds like a wonderful evening you had! the food sounds pretty good.

congrats on the job interview. here's to a 2nd! :) it sounds like a great place to work... i really hope you get it. i'm glad you found a company that treats you right.

Olivia said...

Tooners - LOL, except when I went to bed that night I realised I really hadn't eaten enough all day, my only real meal being breakfast.

I will hear on Monday, so fingers and toes crossed!

Steliano Ponticos said...

a bit like roman meant anyone, you are right. that's very interesting about the vandals. btw the name andalucia comes from the word vandal