Sunday 13 July 2008

Like the (Persian) cat that got the (ice) cream

No idea; 10.0 units of alcohol yesterday; 1,302 days to go; Holland Park.

I’ve experienced some bizarre interruptions to my sleep over the years (many of them catalogued in these pages) but I thought that this morning’s took the biscuit. My companion suddenly announced that Big Ben must be broken as she had distinctly heard it striking 5 o’clock, but not the subsequent quarters, and was lying awake waiting for them like a never dropped second shoe. At precisely that moment the distinctive Westminster chimes echoed loudly around the room, which at least provided a welcome excuse for warming up for the day with a bit of heavy sarcasm. Starting, as usual, exactly how I meant to go on.

Today had been officially designated as “Bloke Makeover Day”, when a visit to a mainstream chain store or two in Kensington High Street would transform my appearance for the better. This would mean that I stopped being mistaken in the street for Foggy from Last of the Summer Wine (“Eeeh! I thought you were supposed to be dead!”), and emerged as the sort of dapper man about town that a smart and fashion conscious young lady would not be ashamed to be seen with. Unfortunately the Less Tall Cheshire Brunette had made one fateful miscalculation; the shops in Kensington do not open at 11 a.m. on Sundays, as they do in Chester, but at noon. So we ended up strolling around Holland Park instead. A nostalgic experience for me since I used to do precisely this on Sunday afternoons 25 years ago, when I lived in a flat nearby. I tried not to think about what said flat would now be worth, if I hadn’t sold it in 1986 and moved to Northumberland to write a book. It seemed like a good idea at the time – though admittedly only to me, and not to anyone else I asked for advice.

Still, we were at least able to implement Part 2 of Plan A, namely introducing Bloke to authentic Iranian cuisine. Which is pretty good, I must say, though they do give you a very peculiar look when you ask to see the wine list. I can’t conscientiously recommend the stuff they served instead, which was a yogurt drink spelt, but not pronounced, dough. But I can tell you hand on heart that Persian pistachio ice cream is the most delicious ice cream I have ever tasted in my life. Even if they do sneak insidious little bits of clear plastic into the portions served to infidels.

After lunch I took the LTCB to Euston in a taxi and escorted her onto a train back to Crewe. She was groaning about how full she was and I agreed that I would definitely not need to eat again for the rest of the day. Though curiously enough, after a brisk 45 minute walk back across town to St James’s, I somehow found room this evening for a traditional roast beef dinner with all the trimmings, just to complement the red wine I had missed so badly at lunchtime.

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