Party weekend

October 23rd, 2017

As it was a rather large Birthday this year H corralled the usual suspects and arranged a weekend at a ramshackle house near Frome.

Off we went on Friday afternoon to encounter the horrors of the M4…. should have been there in time for a late linch, but nooooo! M4 was at a standstill just before the Marlborough Junction so we decided to exit left and follow the A4. All was ok for a while, but then…. the A4 was closed in Marlborough… the diversion signs sent us around in circles so we gave up and headed back to the M4, a couple of junctions further down.

Not much drama after that but it cost us a huge amount of time….

Nice, August 2016

August 5th, 2016

After the horror of Bastille day in Nice, the start of August saw Nice slowly returning to normal. A new influx of tourists have improved the mood and filled the restaurants and bars again, and there is a renewed energy around town.

There is a fantastic exhibition currently on at MAMAC (Musée d’art moderne et d’art contemporain) of Ernest Pignon.Ernest. See below for some delightful pics.

We are only in Nice for a few more days, so H has started the depressing job of getting everything ship shape so that we are not in a panic the day before we leave! Today, H has also started painting the mirror from the WC, which she has been trying to do for ages (but work and life keep blocking her…).

Amusingly it has been very windy this afternoon. We are smug because our windows and shutters are properly secured, unlike out AirBnB neighbour opposite, whose shutters are trying to noisily escape their confines…

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Pimlico 2016-03-23

March 26th, 2016

  
Lovely day for a visit to the gym at Dolphin Square.

Pimlico, 1 March 2016

March 2nd, 2016

So today it is raining rather a lot. I’m off to get a very resonably priced haircut at Luli’s in Tachbrook Street. Pimlico seems rather quiet today.

St Georges Drive

A rather damp St Georges Drive

 

Day 1 – Jo’burg to Hazyview

October 2nd, 2014

02 October, Thursday
Johannesburg to Hazyview
Km:
Going though immigration, the official looked at my passport and asked me what I was here for this year, as last time I had been going to a wedding. Even if I hadn’t have been sleep deprived I would have been surprised! The same guy had stamped my passport the last time we came through Jo’burg, and seemed to remember me…!
Waited a rather long time for the luggage and went off to find Dollar/Thrifty. Found it easily enough but there was no one waiting for us… Presently a Kea man came in, but he was there for someone else :s Anyway, he went off and found our guy, Solomon who came and collected us. It was only a short ride in his Jeep Cherokee to the Kea office where Daniel was waiting with reams of time consuming paperwork… Luckily he didn’t insist on showing us everything after we told him we were familiar with the vehicle and tent. He did, however, fail spectacularly at demonstrating the compressor… He managed to cross-thread it onto the tyre valve and wondered why air was hissing out. Eventually he got out of the way and I fixed it.
Soon we were on our way East. We managed not to take the wrong road out of Jo’burg, which made a nice change.

Day 0 – Flying to Jo’burg

October 1st, 2014

01 October, Wednesday
London to Johannesburg

Finished work sharpish at 16:30 and gathered our things together. Mad rush to get the flat clean and tidy, as our French friend, Grégoire would be staying while we were away.

Taxi to Paddington and then the Heathrow Express to Terminal 1. South African ground staff were really good. Had to pay for an extra bag at checkin which was all dealt with very easily.

Decided to eat in the Terminal and snooze on the flight. Stopped of at a restaurant just below the lounge. My fish and chips (washed down with a Rob Roy) was ok but H’s chicken was a bit uninspired. Didn’t have enough time to sneak a cheeky glass of wine in at the lounge, so headed off to the gate. Boarding was really quick, even though the flight was quite full and we were on our way early! A worrying few minutes ensued when I noticed that the recline button was missing for my seat, but I managed to fish around inside the arm rest to get it working.

We both watched the Grand Budapest Hotel, which I enjoyed a lot and ate H’s gluten free meal of salmon. My peri peri chicken was more than a little below par…

We both got some sleep.

Dans le Sud, May 2014

May 12th, 2014

After a chilly, damp week in Borås, what could be a better antidote than a trip to Nice? Exactly, not a lot!

So off to Gatwick we went! For once we were not rushing. Which was just as well, as the taxi driver managed to take to route to Victoria with the most traffic… I ask you, Oxford St and Marble Arch on a Saturday lunchtime? Tsk. Still, was in the enormous bag drop queue the requisite 2 hours before take off.

Flight was ok, helped along with large quantities of Haribo… Nice seemed very quiet… The bus was almost empty, which was nice! Decided to just grab a few bits from the supermarket and have a quiet night, which was rather pleasant.

Lazy lie in on Sunday, then went for a walk along the prom in the glorious sunshine. Was intending to go to Monoprix on the way home, but got a message from Allyson “will be in the Negresco bar in an hour”. So that was the shopping kicked into touch! Went home and glammed up a bit and headed to meet Allyson and Ana. Had a very pleasant time chatting and catching up, over a glass of Chablis.

Sunday evening brought the Yahtzee! challenge. Everything to play for…. Once we had the rules sussed, J streaked ahead with an early win. H redeemed herself by trouncing J in game 2, by quite some margin…! So we decided to leave it there for the night!

A few days in Borås

May 9th, 2014

I couldn’t avoid it any longer – it was time to go back, back to the island. I mean, Borås.
Met up with B-man at T5 and had another uneventful (just the way I like it) flight to Gotham City.

B was heading up to Stockholm on Wednesday (more on that later) so it was imperative to get a couple of cold ones in on Tuesday evening. So we duly headed into to town, a little later than usual, to B’s favourite Spanish bar.

A few Cruz Campos and some wild boar later, and we were sated. All was good.

Except the weather, of course. What did you expect? This is Borås!

Wednesday brought more rain, and B’s trip to Stockholm. In a car. With Daniel. And Tomas. Hmmmm, who to feel most sorry for 😉
Not me – I had a nice quiet early evening, and then met K and N in the Vinbar. Nice easy catch up there. No sign of Niel, but Jonaton looked after us rather well.

Thursday came, and with it the promise of a quiet night in front of the TV. P & Co were flying off to Iceland on Friday so K was heading back to Stockholm and P was staying in with the family. So arranged for an early gym visit with P. En route P informed me that the Iceland beano was off! The damned pilots were going on strike. So, in K’s words “might as well stay in Borås and get hammered”. I could see my nice, quite, (relatively) healthy evening slipping into the mire…

While I got a sweat on, P was rounding up the posse and getting flights for that night sorted! Success! They could get to Stockhoml in time for a flight to Iceland! So they were happy, and I got my quiet night. Nice 🙂

So a bit of shopping, chat with H and some TV and PS3. All good.

Friday at work was uneventful, if busy. This cheered me up a bit:

 

And the flight back to Blighty was ok too. Not at all bad for a Friday evening.

* update *
Had a message from P on Sunday night: “stuck in Iceland”. The damned pilots were still on stike! Had to laugh…

 

 

Auds Birthday Party

March 21st, 2014

And so it came to pass that lo, it was Audrey’s 40th
Naturally this meant a party. Rather sensibly, the theme was “What I want to be when I grow up”
That obviously left me in a quandary as I never intend to. However, Audrey let slip that she would be going as a nurse but “she had no idea what Miles would be going as”. It was a race between H and I to see how fast we could say “Chicken”…
Predictably enough…
It was all good clean hilarious fun. Big Bird stole the show a bit, as did the shocking pink nurses outfit. Brave lad.

Firenze for the weekend

March 21st, 2014

My lovely wife bought me the gift of travel for Christmas and so, on a grey Thursday we headed for Heathrow where a flight to Florence was waiting for us.
No gastronomic weekend would be complete without starting at the airport, so we settled down at the Caviar house for pile of smoked salmon and a cheeky Chablis.

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The flight (with Vueling) was quite good. We seemed to have loads of room.

Arriving at Florence, we headed out into the arrivals hall where J was accosted by an Italian lady, who asked in easily understandable Italian “were you on the flight from London?” To which I naturally replied “Oui”…
Shaking my head with embarrassment I slunk out in search of the Taxi rank. There was a bit of a queue, which gave us time to appreciate just how much our Italian cousins smoke. Pretty soon our taxi arrived. A Subaru Imprezza WRX… Cool!
It was rather grey and raining and the driver was telling us how high the Arno was and how worried everyone was getting about flooding. As he power-slid around a roundabout. -_-
He was quite amusing, getting the interior lights to flash in time with the music.
A couple of unnecessarily powerful accelerations later we were pulling up at the hotel. I had already booked dinner for Friday night so we went up to the room and relaxed for a while, by listening to the toddler next door screaming.

Fri night: Ristorante Benedicta
Heading out of the hotel, and turning left, it took about a minute to get to the restaurant! I knew it was close, but what I didn’t know was that it was actually the hotel restaurant, and there was a back way in that was even closer! Still, we were very comfortable and Francesco the owner and his son were positively charming.

Amuse bouche:
H cod w olive oil
J rebilito (bread soup)
Antipasti:
H fried Artichoke w tripe
J house antipasti. Pecorino with onion marmalade, salami w fennel (delish), focaccia w ricotta sauce

First course:
Shared pasta w spicy wild boar sausage & tomato sauce

Second course:
H Octopus
J Bistecca

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Dessert:
H Solid chocolate (cake)
J Poached pear with vanilla sauce

Saturday
Up early, but missed breakfast due to wanting “10 more minutes”

Headed straight for the Accedamia. Got there just after opening which is unheard if in the Hollingsworth household… But it was worth it. Stunning pieces right from the off. All a bit of a theme but it was much fun comparing the quality of celestial “doves”. Some looked like doves…

David!

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What a magnificent chap he is. Apologies for the low qual pic… There were “no photography” signs all over the place!

Climbed 463 steps of Duomo

Lunch @ gobbi
H wild boar sausage & pecorino salad
J pear & pecorino
Main
H Baccala (cod) in pomodorro sauce & chick peas
J rabbit w pancetta, potato & carrot etc
Chianti Ruffino

Dinner
H risotto chiantigiane (delish); smoked swordfish carpaccio w celery cheese (gruyere / emmental?); creme caramel
J rebilito; lamb chops (4 large) w spinach & asparagus; tiramisu
Chianti Classico Marchese Antinori Reserva 2010

Sun
Made breakfast! H got a wheat free breakfast box.

To Uffizi

Sun eve
Restaurant Alle Murate
Slightly more upmarket that the guide book suggested! But we’re worth it 😉

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You can check out any time you like…

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I always prefer Ars, if I have the choice…