Saturday began with a new haircut and restyle for me in my local, cheap hairdressers where the Greek stylists save all conversation for each other, leaving me free to ruminate on my own thoughts, while they listen to Greek pop music, smoke cigarettes and watch the passing traffic. M was also having his hair trimmed at the nearby barbers. Then it was home for two fried eggs, sunny side up, on toasted sesame bagels plus steaming hot mugs of smooth, though to the point of bland, freshly ground Kenyan coffee. Over breakfast, we read an evocative piece in the weekend FT about a columnist's dusky jaunt across the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge and remembered our own morning walk across the brooding East River, along tens of thousands of tons of masonry, just a few weeks ago. I read a piece about coloured diamonds, where I learned that just one stone in 10,000 are fancy coloureds, a mere 50-60 carats of pink are mined in a year and that whereas in 1982 a carat of pink cost £1,000, today that carat is worth at least £200,000.
The article inspired me to trek off, sans M, to Somerset House, on the northern bank of the Thames, to the Tiffany exhibition, where I greedily peered at glittering dragonfly hair ornaments made from gold, silver, diamond and sapphire (above), fringe necklaces spun out of gold, amethyst and nephrite, a gleaming sterling silver mesh halter top (below) and a 128+ carat diamond Bird on a Rock brooch.
I'd had a lot on my mind, but the jewels had thoroughly replaced low emotions with sparkle and beauty and I felt wonderfully refreshed as I left the gallery. I walked into the equally dazzling golden autumnal light and strolled a little along the Thames thinking how good it is to be alone sometimes, breathing in and out to my own rhythm, moving at my own pace, truly free to drift here and there on my own whim. Since I've become part of a couple, because we both enjoy very similar things, and because we love each other's company, days apart like this (work days excepted) are rare. As an only child who's spent most of her life pleasurably alone, days like today are so necessary in order that I retain a sense of who I am as an individual and that I give myself space to dream.
I ate a sushi lunch of salmon, tuna and cucumber rolls at the no-frills Kintaro Sushi cafe in Soho where a group of Indian and Japanese students hotly debated various economic theories of consumerism behind me. I popped into the National Portrait Gallery on my way home and saw the very lacklustre Photographic Portrait Prize, then I hopped onto a bus for a long ride home, forgoing the busier, speedier tube. M prepared tabbouleh dense with pomegranates, walnuts and parsley with pan fried chicken and freshly made harissa as he talked about his day perusing DVDs in HMV and Virgin and books in Borders and Waterstones. As we drank Rioja, he drooled with excitement telling me about his discovery of Thomas Pynchon's new novel Against the Day - a behemouth at 1000+ pages. Its release had caught him by surprise as he'd not seen it reviewed anywhere.
He'd also bought an old-fashioned chocolate Swiss log - the kind both our mothers had served us as kids during the 70s and 80s. We ate the dessert watching the very excellent psycho-chiller The Eye by the Thai directors the Pang Brothers. The movie is about a blind girl in Hong Kong who gets cornea implants from a Thai girl who'd committed suicide, and begins to see ghosts and the Black "Wu Chang" or Black Reapers who escort the newly dead to the "afterlife". Fantastically scripted and shot, I could watch this (and the sequel) over and over again.