Tag: Fun

Girls Night (At the Savoy. No Biggie)

“Well I really am not going to be imprisoned in the suburbs for dining in the west-end!”
– Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

Jeff is working in Peterborough again this month which means after a long day of typing away at my desk, I’m responsible for keeping myself entertained. Luckily I have the internet…to make friends.

I’m part of several groups that have personal, practical, journalistic, and academic interests in feminist movements and initiatives in religious cultures and communities. Through these groups I’ve met a whole host of fascinating, hilarious, scarily smart ladies whom I’ve been lucky enough to become friends with over the years. Two such ladies currently live in London, so naturally we decided to have a hang out. One is an academic and author who works for the Princes School for Traditional Arts the other is a graduate student from my alma mater currently the resident TA for a study abroad program, and working on her thesis. And then there’s me. Professional scribbler.

I procured theatre tickets, another made a reservation, one thing led to another and the next thing you know we were sitting down to dinner at the Savoy like a proper bunch of 1920s and 30s celebrated smart types.

 photo 2014-03-03191613_zpsedc4fb3c.jpg

The Savoy was the first high luxury hotel in Britain in the 19th century, featuring such innovations as running heated water and electricity, and remained the dernier cri of good living. It’s still a byword for class (and a bit of snobbery) and a luxurious time. Frequented by film stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood, royals and their various entourages of coutiers and mistresses, sports stars, and artists, not a few favorites of mine have bedded down here. Alas it has had some challenges. A few years ago the hotel closed for a major refit and redecoration, one of the restaurants lost one of its Michelin stars, and business has been tricky in times of austerity. Nevertheless, it was the Savoy – of course we were going to go if we got the chance!

 photo 2014-03-03173806_zps714eb5a1.jpg

We were served by a marvelously sardonic and sly witted waiter. We weren’t drinking (which surprised him, since the wine and cocktail list is legendary) but he seemed delighted when we ordered mocktails instead because they presented a challenge. Lisa  in particular won him by asking for a non-alcoholic surprise from the bartender. He returned with a gorgeous drink whipped up especially for her smelling of fruits and rosewater and named, on the spot when we asked for one, “an Unexpected Pleasure.”

 photo 2014-03-03174750_zps4741d212.jpg

Don’t mind the turtle face, I’m just having a taste of Lisa’s drink. And it was delicious (we were promiscuous with our beverages, sharing sips and straws and probably horrifying the waiters). Clearly we had a great time!

 photo 2014-03-03185341_zpsc55d51e3.jpg

Soups and sauces were poured out onto delicious dishes, crumbs were scraped away with solid silver utensils built just for that purpose, and the bread basket was kept filled with piping hot offerings. We shared foods and deserts without any thought of propriety, swapped deserts and petit fours with one another, compared work and life stories, and debated deeply for two hours before hustling to the theatre.

 photo 2014-03-03223852_zpsbc373864.jpg

I walked home across the Thames absolutely cocooned in contentedness.

(Rose had the good sense to bring a proper camera so better photos can be seen on her blog here if you want better close ups of the food. Which you do, trust me.)

Bonnie (and Margot) and Clyde. Guns and a Roadtrip. Unrelated.

“Do we need to stop at a grocery store and pick up anything for the weekend?”
“I’ll ask Margot.”
“And dinner tonight?  Have we any plans or are we just going to stop somewhere on the way.”
“J…look.  We’re going to have an adventure, ok?  Just got with it!
“I was going to ask you these questions yesterday but you weren’t feeling well and then you were sleepy.  Food is very important!”
“I promise I will feed you, ‘k?”
– J. and C. email chain

Yesterday some of the officers took Hennessy, Susie, Wise and I to the shooting range just for fun.  I got to shoot an AK47, an M4, and an Uzi.  Also, there were flash grenades!  We were out in the desert sun for nearly 4 hours and I got heatstroke afterward, but it was worth it.  Pictures forthcoming.

And today we are going to head to Cedar City, Utah for the weekend for their annual Shakespeare Festival!  Margot’s grandparents have a home in the area where we are crashing for the night, meeting up with her non-boyfriend-significant-other-gentleman-caller Wrench and frolicking for the weekend.  J. loves Southern Utah, his family are all hikers, rock climbers, and campers and have spent many a holiday in the area.

I for one am glad to be doing something.  I’ve turned into a housecat recently, and like spending weekends at home doing the mundane things I never seem to manage during the week.  And yet…I’ve had a hankering to go and do!  Explosions and Shakespeare rose nicely to the occasion.  What are your weekend plans, kittens?  Staying home with family or friends?  Summer fests?  Water parks?  Barbeques?  Sound off!

Tea. Party. (No, not that kind!)

“There is no Latin word for tea?  Upon my soul, if I had known that I would have let the vulgar stuff alone.”
– Hilaire Belloc

Remember when Marie got engaged the Great Bridesmaid Dress Affair that followed?  Well the dresses have been chosen and they are to die for (check them out here).  And then think of that metallic green monstrosity with the horrid bow on the bum that your sister/university roommate/friend/sister-in-law made you don and weep.  Having friends with excellent taste is a great comfort.

Now, with dates set, gown ordered, and food presumably taken care of, it falls on us, the bridesmaids, to throw the most fabulous fête ever conceived by man.  This is going to be so grand and event that it’s taking three of us, coordinating from three separate states to get it going.

And what else would it be, than a traditional English Tea Party, dragged into the 21st century?  I’m in charge of food and sundry other tasks (as I’m currently the only one in the same state as the bride).

And, as Marie reads this blog, the following information will be have to be somewhat censored.  The menu will include (nothing to see here) and (move along) and of course (nuh-uh).  The decorations will be done all in (bleep) and (sound effect from Deadliest Catch), isn’t that gorgeous?  The girls and I have come up with a fantastic (lalalalala!) so we can (ahem) and Marie can enjoy the (sshhnnkk!  Message for you, sir!).

Aren't we informative?

Doesn’t it sound fabulous?

Top. Hat.

“Wearing a hat is like having a baby or a puppy; everyone stops to coo and talk about it.”
– Louise Green

And if I could, I'd be there right now, wearing this. Eliza Doolittle in the 21st century! A bit tame, but oh so pretty!

Not that anyone cares this side of the Atlantic, but the Royal Ascot is a big deal and it’s going on now en Angleterre.  And the hats are as weird, fabulous, odd, chic, and grotesque as ever.

No one wears hats over here.  And don’t try to sell me on the Kentucky Derby, it’s peanuts compared to the towering plumes, wires, and (apparently this year) legos of Ascot.  When Mum and I were talking about my then-pending nuptials, I briefly entertained the idea of getting married in England, so that we could have our reception at The Swan in Lavenham, and so that the ladies could all wear hats!  Luckily common sense prevailed, J.’s family, which is several times larger than mine, are all here.  And the mass exodus to Suffolk would have cost a fortune.  Almost as much as a hat for Ascot!

Go here or here to check out Tom and Lorenzo’s breakdown of the headgear.  And here’s one to whet your appetite for the goodies to come:

Yes. That is Edward Michael "Bear" Grylls in a pink hat. You may retrieve your collective jaws from the floor.

For more horsey fun, check out the Australians going nuts for racing fashion, T&L may think the Brits are wacky, but they have nothing on the Aussies!

Photo from wireimage.com, care of Tom and Lorenzo.
My dream hat photo from Louise Green Millinery.

Coming and Going

“Oh dear.  Hennessy and Vodka?  What sort of operation are we running here?”
“Clearly a P.A.R.T.Y.”
– C. and Sav

Vodka
From "The Capital L" - see Read Me for more details. She's cute, nyet?

The ever fabulous Savvy alerted me to the fact that I too have neglected to mention Daae’s replacement!  (Click link to meet our new friend)  Sav christened her Vodka, which is perfectly appropriate.  Although how so many liquor nicknames are sneaking into our lives is a bit beyond me…ahem…

In happier news, it would seem my Lord and Lady Stompington may have moved out!  Building gossip suggests it, and the unnatural quiet we’ve been enjoying seconds the idea, but it has not been positively confirmed yet.  Fingers crossed, all.  Good fortune and goodbye!

Also, Sav and her husband CK may be moving into our building.  Which would be lovely!  When Venice basely abandons me, it would be nice to have someone I know and like in easy cup-of-sugar borrowing distance.

How to Look Creepy in Front of Strangers

“When all of a sudden, people say, ‘Wow, you look nice,’ and carry on, it’s shocking.  Really awkward.”
– Nikki Cox
 

Hey kids! Let's learn about history from your bizarre Aunt C.!

If ever you are participating in a group game night with a bunch of people you have only met once before and with whom you share absolutely no history, conversation, or shared interest (because they are part of your brother-in-law’s set and that one time you met them before was over a year ago), and you a playing a game in which you have to describe a person from history…who might not have been a palatable choice for a conservative crowd… 

…do not, under any circumstances, try to get your teammates to guess the name on the card you chose.  Skip it and go to the next card.  Trust me on this. 

Dear, dear. Now we're all uncomfortable, aren't we?

Example:
“Ok!  He’s an 18th century French writer who was extremely controversial.  Got locked up for years because of what he wrote, both in the Bastille and an insane asylum.  To be fair he was basically a filthy, vile pornographer who wrote about horrible things.  Word “sadism” comes from his name.” 

Example Response:
“Um, wow, C., you know a lot about this weirdo…”  

Blast.  I look a pervert.

Come Together

“Video games are bad for you?  That’s what they said about Rock’n’Roll.”
– Shigeru Miyamoto

Last Friday, J. and I headed north to the city to play with Angel and her husband Hotty.  Both of the men lived/worked in Korea at some point and converted their respective wives to the cuisine so we went to Angel’s favorite restaurant, got ice cream, and retired to their basement flat to play Rock Band.

In retrospect, I think I liked him because he was (also) touchy about his height.

Growing up we didn’t have gaming systems and to this day they remain verboten at Chez Parents, so I have never developed the necessary finger-eye coordination and thumb dexterity required by video games.  My gaming experience was limited to watching Peregrine playing Final Fantasy back in the day, and trying Spyro The Dragon (exactly two times) while babysitting.  And since I didn’t know what the point of the game was or how to achieve it, I mostly just scampered around whatever level I was on blowing fire and falling off things into oblivion while evil signs flashed “GAME OVER,” or something of the sort.

Pictured: Angel, Hotty, C. (with mustache), and J.

So, Beatles Rock Band went about as I expected.  They started me on the drums which was manageable on the easiest level, but still confusing as I couldn’t get the timing of my whacks on the drum set vs. the scrolling instructions right until J. told me to ignore it and go along with the beat instead (oOOOoohhhh.  Rhythm.  Right). 

At some point I graduated to guitar and luckily we set it to “impossible to fail” because I proceeded to slaughter the music.  Then I got really ambitious and went from “Easy” to “Medium” and discovered my lack of hand-eye coordination is not just limited to sports.  And I must be mildly dyslexic because for the life of me I couldn’t manage to match my fingers with their assigned keys, much less with the dots of color that wouldn’t stop rolling towards me.  And chords!  Impossible!

I think I’ll be settling back into video game retirement now, thanks.