Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Black and White Weekend

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It is shaping into a Black and White Weekend with a steady drizzle continuing to drench the city. I broke from routine today, waking up quite unexpectedly at 3. 30 am and thinking it was 6 am. I tried futilely to return to sleep but when it eluded me, I said, what the heck, I might as well get up and do some writing. When I did feel sleepy again, it was 7am and I succumbed to the temptation to slide back in to bed, waking only at 9 am. This threw my routine out of balance completely. But then that's one of the joys of living on your own. I am mistress of my day and I choose to live exactly as the whim takes me.

Everything was subsequently delayed. I ate breakfast at about 10am, called my Dad and Mum in India to get another update on the situation in Bombay which, thankfully, is finally under control, though the death toll, at almost 200 people, is horrendous. The dullness of the day and the complete lack of sunshine did nothing to alleviate the gloom I felt all day. Rather despondently, I sat down to transcribe three of the interviews I carried out at Greenford the other day and went in for my shower only about noon. That, and a quick lunch later, I was finally ready to leave my flat for a bit of sight seeing.

I chose to return to the Tate Britain to finish seeing the rest of the permanent collection. This portion of it went rather quickly. But for a few Henry Moores and Barbara Hepworths and some Victor Pasmores, I was left quite untouched by British Modern Art. There was a special exhibit on Francis Bacon and I caught a glimpse of a few of his large canvasses as well as a video on his life and work. I don't believe that I found anything I saw today compelling.

Deciding not to spend any more time in the Tate, I caught the bus back to Covent Garden as I found the Christmas lights there rather enticing and believed that there might be a Christmas market on. Well, when I got there, I found that I was rather mistaken. It is the regular market that is on, but the place is festive as several holiday lights do festoon the area. I heard a busker provide a good rendition of Nessun Dorma before I peeked at the Arts and Crafts in the Jubilee Market. Those too did not engage me in any way and deciding not to waste any more time, I walked towards Tesco to buy a few groceries.

After a very long time, I bought a pizza which I popped into my oven and ate on my couch while watching TV. I also bought a bottle of cider which I found wonderfully sweet and refreshing and when I spied Mrs. Beeton's Rum and Raisin Ice-Cream, I could not resist picking up a tub for dessert.

Just when I finished eating my dinner, my doorbell rang and Tim Freeman, my next door neighbor, inquired about whether I had already eaten my supper. He had come in to invite me to join him and Barbara at a kedgeree dinner which I am sure I would have found scrumptious. I had to take a rain check, however, as I had finished my ice-cream too, by that stage, and felt quite stuffed indeed. I know it would have been a rare treat to taste kedgeree as the English make it as I have heard about this dish that combines rice and fish for years (but have never eaten it). It was an invention of the English in India during the British Raj and is based loosely on the Indian dish called Kichdee which contains rice and dal. Oh well, I hope there will be another time. On Thanksgiving evening, Tim had invited me over for Liver and Bacon, another traditional English dish of which I have heard so much (most recently in All Creatures Great and Small, the TV series, when Seigried feels miserable because he had plans to be away from home on the evening that his housekeeper intended to serve Liver and Bacon). Unfortunately, I could not accept that invitation either as I had plans for dinner that evening with Karen and Douglas.

I saw three really good programs on BBC TV before falling off to sleep. Steven Fry's Tour Across America took him to California, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii today and it was wonderful to relive the drama of watching the live volcanoes on the Big Island by which Llew and I had been bowled over a few summers ago. Chriselle called in the middle of my program and I spent a few pleasant moments speaking to her. This was followed by Boris Johnson talking about the clash of civilizations--Islam and Christianity. Yes, this is the same Boris Johnson that they call BoJo--today's Mayor of London. I had no idea that he was an expert in Medieval History and I realize that I should read his biography and get to know a little bit about this flamboyant blondie! And then there was a feature called France on a Plate--an attempt to understand why, for the French, food is not just something that sustains them physically but a cultural, political and ideological aspect of their lives.

And on that salivating note, I called it a day as I was exhausted,
for some reason, and ready to drop.

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