Thursday, February 23, 2012

Letters from London #7 (Part 2)

Continuing on from the previous (these are actually #6-10 on my original list, but the numbering has gone weird and I can't be arsed to sort it out)...

  1. I love St Paul's Cathedral, The Tower, The Eye, Westminster Abbey, Camden Town market, the Imperial War Museum, Trafalgar Square, Madame Tussaud's, Hampton Court Palace, Hyde Park, St Bartholomew-the-Greater, the Golden Hinde, the Globe, Somerset House, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, Leicester Square, the Tate, the Tate Modern, St Bride's, Soho, Harrods, Harvey Nicks, the London Dungeon, the V&A, Borough Market, the Houses of Parliament, the Portobello Road market, Southwark Cathedral, Oxford Street, Lavender Hill, want more? I've got more....plenty more....don’t even get me started on pubs.

2.     I love the fact that you have to hail buses.  You might think that standing at a bus STOP would be enough of an indicator that the bus should perhaps do something other than keep right on going, but you would be wrong about that.  No, you actually have to wave them down to make them stop.  The first time I did it I felt like an absolute idiot, but I have since seen the error of my ways and realized that this is a stellar opportunity for me to strike a pose.  I now hail my bus with all the flair and élan of Audrey Hepburn hailing taxicabs in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" - admittedly, I'm not dressed in Givenchy and I'm not a European aristocrat, but I do my best. 

  1. Speaking of European aristocrats, I recently applied for a job working for Prince Charles. Okay, not actually for Prince Charles himself, but for someone who works for someone who works for someone who works for himI didn't get it, of course, but I love the fact that these opportunities exist here.

  1. I love the situations I find myself in.  I was in a Japanese restaurant in Soho last weekend where they sit several groups at one large table and this is what was going on around me: a couple of Asian students with approximately 600 books on astrophysics, a middle-aged French couple who ate their body weight in sushi and never spoke except for grunting with pleasure and ordering more food, and my personal favourites:  an earnest lesbian vegan couple sitting beside me (sample of conversation: "If you left me, I'd have nothing but my dog."  Hee!).  As we left the restaurant, we were almost run over by a huge group of Hare Krishnas in robes and woolly hats (well, it was cold out), out for a night on the town with their bells and gongs.  Interesting.

  1. I love the people you meet.  Due to circumstances which would take too long to explain, I was at a big charity party last night.  I had just gone to get my 470th glass of champagne when I suddenly realized that I was standing next to Elle Macpherson.  (Yes, someone who grew up next to a swamp in the deep dark wilderness of rural Ontario is now hanging out with international supermodels – that's right, check out the coolness of me.)
Q - Is she really that tall? 
A - Yes. I looked waaaaay up at her from my pathetic 5'8" (cursing my the genes inherited from my tiny mother) and she's about 6' tall.  Hate her.
Q - Is she really that gorgeous?
A – Annoyingly, yes.  I comfort myself with the fact that she's obviously a member of an alien species trying to conquer Earth and not actually a woman at all.  Hate her.
Q - Does she deserve her nickname of "The Body"?
A - Yes.  Really hate her.
Q - Is she sweet and charming and gracious?
A - Yes.  Hate her, hate her, hate her.
Q - Is it incredibly vexing to discover this?

So there you are: "10 Things I Love About London".  I leave you with a final image: as I was leaving the Tate Modern a few weeks ago, the setting sun turned the sky behind St Paul's into a wash of gold and lavender, the river smelled like a fresh spring day, people were smiling and happy and I was suddenly exhilarated beyond my powers of description to tell you about it.  I was broke, I was unemployed and I was more celibate than the Pope, but all I wanted to do was sing and dance my way along the South Bank.  If I had been wearing a hat, I probably would have twirled around and thrown it up into the air (even though you can only really get away with that sort of thing when you're Mary Tyler Moore and it’s the 60s and you have your own TV series).  That particular moment has passed, but they do happen pretty often.  Frightening, isn't it?  Hey, if the thought of the ol' kid acting like a frisky kitten hopped up on speed is disconcerting to you, imagine how alarming it is for me

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Letters from London #7 (Part 1)

Gentle readers, I am off to London tomorrow for a brief visit, and in honour of that fine city, I think we should delve back into the archives of my Letters from London...  (This is another long one, so I'll split it up and post the second half tomorrow. )

Written somewhere around May 2001

For those of you who have been wondering about my disappearance off the face of the earth for the last couple of months, allow me to explain.  No, I did not crawl into a cave to hibernate and live off my body fat (although anyone who has seen the size of my arse recently might suggest that this wouldn't be a bad idea),  I actually went through several weeks of a financial crisis so severe that it involved me staying home every night and existing on nothing but jam sandwiches.  But I'm now solvent again, which makes me as happy as a masturbating monkey, so I thought I'd do something a little different in this letter.  After my last effort, someone with a stunning lack of imagination accused me of not liking London, so this one is officially titled "10 Things I Love About London".

  1. I love the fact that I don't need a name here.  I have been addressed as dear, darling, ducky, love, lovey, mate, sweetheart, petal, poppet, and many more.  You might not think that I would enjoy this, but I'm actually quite charmed by it.  Hey, I'll take terms of endearment wherever I can get 'em.

  1. I love the fact that tax is hidden in the price of products.  If something is priced at £10, then £10 is what you pay for it, as opposed to having tax added on at the cash register.  Taxation is a bit like your parents having sex -- you know it goes on, but you really don't want to think about it. 

  1. I love the way that small things become absolutely essential.  I used to think a hot water bottle was a pleasant thing to have tucked next to my feet from time to time.  Since I moved to London, my hot water bottle has become the thing I love most in the world - I'm eventually going to have it bronzed and endow a scholarship in its name. 

  1. I love the fact that almost every office job gives you four weeks holiday a year to start with. How good is that???  I need to stop temping and get a real job just so that I can go on vacation for a month.

  1. I love the fact that the English pickle everything: pickled eggs, pickled walnuts, pickled peaches, pickled cabbage, pickled limes (does citrus really need to be pickled?  I ask you), and I swear I once saw pickled newt. It seems like the only things they don't pickle are cucumbers.  Okay, okay, they do sweet pickles and some tiny horrible things called gherkins, but try to find a decent dill pickle anywhere in the land?  Good luck.  Grail, schmail - if King Arthur had really wanted to send his knights off on an impossible quest, he would have forgotten about some overrated mystical goblet and sent them off to find a nice jar of kosher dills instead.  Hey, it might not be the stuff of legends, but they really improve a sandwich...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Things you might see on a menu

You know what I like?  I like it when a restaurant menu just says what's what.  I mean, come on - greedy pancakes?  Okay, so it's not perfect English usage (yeah, as if I should snark at anyone else about that - hee!), but boy, it sure is descriptive, right? Mmmmmm, greeeeeeeeeedy pancakes.  Love it.  And don't even get me started about the alcoholic pancakes - I actually had something else when I ate there (I know, right?  I'm an idiot), but rest assured I'll be going back to try those bad boys out...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Penis bread epiphany

You might think, from the title, that perhaps I have had some sort of epiphany about penis bread, but no.  Despite the fact that I post about it every so often, I don't actually spend much time thinking about penis bread at all, unless of course I am wandering through the Marais and find that the always-delightful Legay Choc bakery has done something new and exciting with it, which they did for the holiday of Epiphany.  This holiday is rather a big deal in France, and if I could be bothered to go into detail about it, I'm sure you'd find it very interesting.  But I'm lazy and there's a whole internet out there and I wouldn't want your mad Googling skillz to go to waste, so go ahead and look it up if you like.

But the point is that Epiphany in France involves a special cake called a galette, which you can buy anywhere here all throughout January.  Galettes come in all sorts of variations, but I've never seen this version before...

Friday, February 10, 2012

How Miss K got her Louvre back

Gentle readers, I have a confession: I have lived in Paris for two years and three months, and it's taken me that long to visit the Louvre.  And, what's worse, I spent most of that time living right next to it.  Seriously, when I first moved here I was living on rue St Honoré (see these posts: Saturday mornings, Street talk  for details on that rather lovely neighbourhood) and if not for the buildings across the street, I could have leaned out my living room window, thrown a rock at the Louvre and actually hit the damn thing.  It took me exactly one minute to walk to the Louvre from that apartment, but did I go?  Mais non!  Now, you are probably horrified and thinking that Miss K is some sort of heathen animal who doesn't appreciate art but you are wrong, my pretties, so wrong (okay, fine, I am a heathen animal, but I'm also an art-loving heathen animal, thank you very much).

What happened is this:  on my first visit to Paris, about eighty bajillion years ago (I believe dinosaurs might still have been roaming the planet at that point) I was madly in love with the city and I wanted to do everything, including the Louvre.  So I went there on a Wednesday when it opened at 9:00am and stayed there until it closed at 9:45pm, and aside from bathroom breaks and sneaking into a stairwell to eat an orange and drink a bottle of water, I never stopped (and if you've ever been to the Louvre, you'll know that three hours is about the maximum amount of time you can enjoyably spend there in one visit).  So of course, by the end of the day, I was exhausted, dehydrated, bug-eyed from art overload and my feet were so swollen it felt like I was walking on flippers.  I mean, the experience was totally amazing, but I was so traumatized by the whole thing that I couldn't bear the thought of going back.  I avoided the Louvre on several further visits to Paris, and I really avoided it once I moved here, but now the Louvre and I are friends again.  We're quite literally friends - I even have a card that says so, because last month, I bought a year-long pass for the Louvre and I've started using it and it's fabulous.  I flash my card to go through a special entrance and don't have to wait in line, but best of all, I can just stop by for an hour or two and really enjoy my visit.  The Louvre is best appreciated in little, bite-sized chunks (which is not all that helpful for tourists, but it's great for locals with passes - like meeeee!) and I really like being able to just nibble off a piece whenever I fancy it.  Yes, picture Miss K perched on the Louvre like a gargoyle, gnawing away at the walls of the building and you'll get the general idea; last week I chowed down on Etruscan sculptures, next week, I'll be digesting Italian Renaissance paintings.  Get in, enjoy great art for a couple of hours and then get the hell out.  Ahhhh, bliss...

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Monday, February 6, 2012

A few words about loincloths

Hello, my pretties, I'm back!  Yep, that's right, I am going to pretend that y'all noticed and cared about my absence from the blogosphere, so just let me live in my happy, delusional world, where there are also unicorns,  no-calorie chocolate, and hot men in loincloths (yes, I just watched Spartacus, don't judge me!).  In January I decided that I would try to be one of those bloggers who posts something every day, and I did try, gentle readers, for 23 days in a row, I really tried.  But here's the thing - I just suck at it and after those 23 days I needed a break.  Miss K is a fickle creature, as you should know by now, and when I have to do something, it just becomes a chore and a bore for me, and a major snore for you.  It also doesn't help that in January, I just don't really do anything (as you long-term readers are perfectly aware), I'm always broke, it's always cold, I'm always trying to detox and catch up on the eight thousand projects and emails that I'm always behind on.  God, BORING!!!

So it's a good thing I decided to share some of my Letters from London last month or I wouldn't actually have had anything at all to post about.  So here's the deal - it's my damn blog and I want to enjoy doing it so I'm only going to post when I have something to say or a story to tell or a pretty photo (or crappy outfit) to share.  Some weeks it might be every day, some weeks it might just be once, but I'd be happy with a nice, steady 3-4 times a week - I hope that sounds good to you too, my pretties.  So I'll be back soon with some stories about those hot men in loincloths - wait, what's that?  You don't want to hear about my vivid fantasy life?  Well, fine - how about some brand new penis bread photos instead?  Yep, I knew that would interest you, you cheeky monkeys - stay tuned, I'll post it soon...