Sunday, December 31, 2006

Here and there

We began our New Year break this morning with a trip to the sales where everything was half price at Harvey Nichols and Harrods. M bought a grey Jil Sander suit and several shirts and I bought an armful of Nicole Farhi sweaters. We were thankful we had gone early; as we left around lunchtime, the stores were thick with people jostling one another for bargains or just to ogle.

We stopped off for lunch at the British Library, feeling like students and academics again, and then wandered around the fascinating and comprehensive London: A Life in Maps exhibition at the British Library. The map above shows the havoc wreaked by the great 1666 fire that wiped out much of London's core. Among others, we saw the earliest view of London, from a Roman medal dated 296 AD and a history of the A-Z from 1652 onwards.

Back home and walking down Green Lanes, the rain poured and the skies darkened and the street glistened cheerfully despite the wind. The bright, multi-coloured shop lights were welcoming and warm, headlights bounced off the slick road surface so that it looked like PVC, water dripped down from plastic store canopies, and two little Turkish boys struggled with their black umbrellas in the wind like two old men. Everything seemed alive with illumination.

Regardless, we were thankful to arrive home. We switched on the heating and snuggled up on the couch with steaming mugs of green tea, slices of moist stollen cake, and the weekend FT. Later we cooked a Korean-influenced soup with soba noodles, leeks, red chillies and beef fillet strips and watched the interminable Junebug. I watched this first at the cinema and don't remember it being this tedious. I guess you have to be in the mood.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy New Year

I've had such a wonderful 2006 - I've been so blessed. I got engaged, I moved house, I got a new and better job, I travelled to some amazing places... I can only pray 2007 will be as wonderful. Happy New Year!

Too many cooks...

... do not spoil the broth in fact. After the overeating during Christmas, M and I are craving very simple and light foods, facilitated by the gifts of Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Italian cookbooks we received. Aldo Zilli's The Zilli Cookbook and Claudia Roden's Arabesque - A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon I have already mentioned below. But we also received Harumi Kurihara's Harumi's Japanese Home Cooking (from M to me) and Fuchsia Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook - Recipes from the Hunan Province (from me to M).

Kurihara's book features mouthwatering dishes such as Aubergine Gratin with Tofu and Miso Sauce, Ginger Pork Salad, and Japanese Style Sardines with Pickled Plums. Dunlop's book features Junshan Chicken with Silver-Needle Tea, Slow-Braised Beef with Potatoes, and Stir-Fried Broad Beans with Minced Pork.

Tonight after work, we stocked up on Chinese ingredients - Sichuan peppers, cassia bark, soy sauce, Shaoxing wine and groundnut oil - for our store cupboard at Chinatown's Loon Fung and on Japanese store cupboard ingredients - mirin, dashi base, firm tofu and cooking saki - from Arigato on Brewer Street in Soho. At home, we stir-fried rice noodles, pak choi, and tofu chunks with slivers of red chilli, garlic and spring onions in soy sauce and red chilli oil and ate it drinking loose-leaf green tea that kept hot in the lidded mugs we'd also bought from Loon Fung.

We felt very healthy.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Old and new

I am so very sad leaving my parents' house today. The next time I most probably will see them will be the eve of my wedding. After all these years, my identity is expanding to intrinsically accomodate another's through marriage. I'm no longer mum and dad's little (and only) girl. My future is about to be irrevocably entwined with another's. I am so very excited to be marrying M, but a part is me is experiencing a loss too.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Zilli and Roden

Mum and Dad bought M and me two cookbooks for Christmas: The Zilli Cookbook - with recipes such as Field Mushrooms with Goats Cheese Gratin, Grilled Smoked Buffalo Mozzarella Wrapped in Parma Ham, Pasta and Bean Soup, Fried Taleggio Tomato and Basil Salad, Spaghetti with Olive Oil, Garlic and Chilli, Pappardelle with Tuna Meatballs, Wild Mushroom Risotto, Potato Gratin with Fontina Cheese, and Turkey Escalopes with Lemon Sauce.

Zilli is proprietor of London's Zilli Café, Zilli Fish Too, Zilli Fish and Signor Zilli Restaurant & Bar, none of which I have visited, but my parents bought the book because I had told them the chef is renowned for his robust and hearty Italian food.

The other cookbook they bought us was one that M has been wanting for a long time now but which neither of us have gotten round to buying: Arabesque - A Taste of Morocco, Turkey and Lebanon by Claudia Roden. We already own her The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand and Vilna to the Present Day, which is filled with lovely recipes such as Meatballs and Apricots in Tomato Sauce, Spinach Risotto, Lamb with Prunes, Lentil Soup, Risotto with Artichokes, Potatoes with Black Olives, and Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts. Half of M's family are Jewish so this cookbook is a staple.

But closely related to this cooking is Arabic cooking and this book is filled with delicious-sounding recipes I can't wait to try: Tuna with Red Bell Pepper Sauce, Tagine Of Knuckle of Veal with Aubergine, Courgette Fritters, Creamy Filo Spinach Pie, Turkish Yoghurt Cake, Roast Chicken with Pine Nut and Raisin Pilaf, and Chicken with Fresh Figs and Walnuts.

M does alot of the cooking in our household, simply because he enjoys cooking more and trying out new recipes. He's very adventurous and maybe it's the chemist in him (he has a PhD in it, though he's now a lawyer) but he loves thinking about how different ingredients interact with each other. Despite rarely making new year resolutions, I may vow in 2007 to cook more. These two books may serve as a good starting point.

Meanwhile, my mum has been cooking some delicious Indian food for Christmas: king prawns with sweet potatoes and spinach, minced beef with mixed vegetables, and cauliflower with peas and potatoes. I'm stuffed!

Monday, December 25, 2006


I'm taking some of my writing offline for a little while. I truly believe, as Natalie Goldberg says, that handwriting is more connected to the movement of the heart. Good old-fashioned pen and paper is where my writing needs to be right now, so I can be more honest and open and rambling. The last time I kept a paper journal was in 2000 and back then I deliberately stopped because I thought I was becoming too introspective for my own good (it's easy to be so when no one's reading). I enjoy writing in Planethalder because I am forced to focus outwards more. I shall still record my activities here, but I need to write more emotionally and openly for a little while, and here is not the place.

Season's greetings! Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize For Literature - yee-haw!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The best of oneself

To state the obvious, my parents have known me all my years and though they do not know many aspects of my life and the personalities that accompany those lives, they know my temperament better than anybody. So sometimes I find myself thinking, "I can relax, I can be 100% myself with them without fear that they will leave me". And then I pause: "To be yourself" is often not the best thing to be. Surely it is better to be the best of yourself - what I try and be (though sometimes fail) with M and others? And then I think, surely I should be the best of myself around my parents too.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


My life in London is filled with activity, with talk, with motion. For sure, at my parents' house for Christmas, I've been busy filling up my gift registry online, filling out visa forms, helping my father with his wedding speech, buying travel insurance online, emailing my Indian family with our itinerary, watching old 70s sitcoms Terry & June and Love Thy Neighbour on the DVD player we bought my parents for Christmas, shopping, and cooking and eating yummy curries such as cauliflower, beef with mixed vegetables, and king prawns with spinach and sweet potatoes.

But going home to my parents' house is like returning to the womb. They live in suburbia and there is little to do except eat, chat, think and dream. A kind of hibernation takes place when I visit them alone - my chance to operate at my own pace, to be still, to reflect.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Changing for the better

How has life changed since I started dating him?
  • I was out and about when I was single, but it was often easier to be a couch potato. It's less easy with him because he loves being active.
  • I pay much more attention to my grooming habits and the way I look in general.
  • I eat better: He loves good quality food and loves cooking; I'm inclined to eat junk. Living with him makes me eat better!
  • I don't succumb as often to lazy thinking: He has a curious mind and is always reading The Economist, Wallpaper, the Financial Times, or Wired. I enjoy reading these much more now we're together and can chat about what we have read.
  • I don't overthink things or sweat the small stuff: Perhaps he's a classic man, but with him I have fewer opportunities to dwell on things I can't change, and endeavour to change the things I can.
  • I've watched a lot more Asian movies and listened to a lot more Latin and North African music since I've been going out with him. Whole new cultural worlds have opened up to me.
There are many more...

Sunday, December 17, 2006


We spent yesterday morning in a travel agent's office off Oxford Circus booking our trip to India next year. The rest of the day was filled with shopping and cooking. We bought Christmas presents from Liberty and Muji. For ourselves we bought kitchen utensils from Pages Catering shop on Shaftesbury Avenue and French kirsch and Polish bison vodka from Gerry's Wines & Spirits on Old Compton Street in Soho. We also treated ourselves to a couple of cookbooks from Borders: Nigel Slater's The Kitchen Diaries: A Year In The Kitchen and Silvena Rowe's Feasts: Food For Sharing From Central and Eastern Europe.

Before I met M, I had little exposure to Central and Eastern European or even Jewish cooking - surprisingly, since I had always loved Mediterrean and Middle Eastern food, and since my father, who had spent time in Germany as a young man, used to cook sauerkraut for me as a child. But M's grandfather's family was Jewish and from the Ukraine region and his Jewish grandmother's side was Polish, and M has an acute love of Jewish and Central/Eastern European food.

Sour cherries, smoked fish, wild mushrooms, sweet quince, figs, pomegranates, poppy seeds, pearl barley, lentils, beetroot, gherkins, walnuts, coriander seeds, caraway, cumin; beef goulash, chicken Kiev, braised lamb, stuffed dolmeh, moreish pierogi... The ingredients can all be found on our doorstep on Green Lanes in Harringay. Shops specialising in Iranian, Greek, Turkish and Polish food abound here. We're very lucky.

When we returned home, M made Rowe's classic beef Stoganoff and served it with peas and grilled balls of mashed potatoes. He seared a pound of beef fillet strips in a little butter for a couple of minutes, then added a diced medium onion, salt and pepper and fried for a few more minutes before setting aside. Then he added more butter to the heavy Le Creuset saucepan and sauted 400g diced brown mushrooms for 5 minutes. He returned the beef and onion mixture to the pan, sprinkled it with a tablespoon of cornflower and a teaspoon of English mustard and stirred well. He continued to stir whilst he added 200ml of beef stock (made with 2 Oxo beef cubes). He popped the lid on and let it simmer. After 20 minutes, he stirred in 125ml of sour cream and let the mixture cook on a low heat for another 10 minutes. Before serving, he sprinkled in 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley.

It's not been all eating chez Planethalder. I've been feasting on books too. I finished the brilliant Chinese novel The Uninvited and have since been engrossed in Hanif Kureishi's portrayal of a man's infidelity and the breakdown of his marriage.
"It is the saddest night," Kureishi's protagonist begins in Intimacy, "For I am leaving and not coming back. Tomorrow morning, when the woman I have lived with for six years has gone to work on her bicycle, and our children have been taken to the park with their ball, I will pack some things into a suitcase, slip out of my house hoping that no one will see me, and take the tube to Victor's place."
Clear eyed and unsentimental stuff.

It's Sunday now, and the sun is streaming in through the kitchen window. Our windows are steamed up - a sure sign it is chilly outside. We've eaten toasted bagels with cream cheese and raspberry jam and drunk several mugs of coffee. M is now at the gym, but I don't feel guilty because I went to the gym all of last week at work. So I've moved the laptop onto the kitchen table and am writing and surfing in between flicking through magazines and Nigel Slater's cooking diary.

M will call me when he's on his way home and I will meet him at our local Polish grocery store to pick up pickled herrings with red and green peppercorns, beetroot caviar, gherkins in brine and black rye bread for our lunch. We'll also pick up a chicken from Baldwin's as we plan on cooking roast chicken for dinner tonight, stuffed with chunky bulgur wheat mixed with lemon zest, raisins, pine nuts and parsley. But before dinner we will go to Hampstead and re-visit our wedding venue to check it out once more to get a better idea on the lighting and decorations we'll need for next February and where the musicians will perform.

Though we are out and about, and though we are both busy at work and planning our wedding, we're generally visiting less museums, art galleries and theatres than usual. Winter is a time for hibernating, for cosying up inside in the warmth, for turning in early and sleeping in late. Winter is for cooking and eating, for curling up on the sofa and chatting, for reading snuggled up inside a duvet, for watching trashy American dramas or Asian horror films on DVD, for shopping and treating ourselves, for dreaming and reflecting and appreciating what we have right now rather than what we don't have. I haven't made new year resolutions for years. I never resolve to do new things until the first shoots of Spring appear around March. Only then am I ready for the new. Until then, and a February wedding notwithstanding, these are the days for standing still and wintering.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Last night's trip to Umu was an exclusive affair. From the moment we walked down the quiet little Mayfair sidestreet and slipped through the gently swishing, filmy rust curtains and sliding wooden door into the darkened, wood-panelled dining room, we knew we were in for a very special experience. At the counter, Japanese and Western chefs were slicing blocks of raw tuna into fine slivers and shaping grated daikon into perfect cylinders, waiters swished around entirely clad in black, and the buzz of contented diners filled the air.

This being London's first, true Kyoto restaurant, we decided to choose one of the classic kaiseki tasting menus: deep-fried tofu in a fish broth; salmon, tuna and rock eel sashimi with one of those daikon cylinders; a kind of egg custard with mushrooms and fish; deep fried lobster wrapped in a yuba roll; grilled sea bass with a tademisa vinaigrette; steamed shiso rice with flakes of sardines and capers; red miso soup; vegetable pickles; and green tea ice cream.

Everything was feather light and velvety soft in our mouths, and yet curiously substantial at the same time. We were certainly eating earthy food with ingredients that tasted like they'd been transported that day from the mountains around Kyoto, and yet it was all so refined.

There are around 100 varieties of sake on Umu's menu. The French sommelier was as passionate about sake as he was about wine and after a glass of champagne, each course was matched with a different variety of sake. I have never drunk such pure sake before: except for the sake served with our dessert which was cloudy and sweet, the liquid each time was crystal clear, subtle and filtered.

An eye-wateringly expensive but stunning experience. This now rates as my favourite Japanese restaurant along with Roka in Fitzrovia.

Friday, December 15, 2006

An off day...

... well, not quite.

M awoke at 7 and brought me a steaming mug of coffee in bed. As he got ready for work, I switched on the radio and groaned as it was still set to Radio 2 from my last listen (to Jonathan Ross on Saturday, two weeks ago). I listened long enough to be surprised by Terry Wogan playing U2 and Razorlight. His irritating drivel, though, eventually forced me to feed my digital Walkman through the stereo speakers. I sipped coffee, read InStyle, Heat and Glamour magazines, and dozed off until 10.30am as The Killers, Gwen Stefani, Interpol and The Rolling Stones played in the background.

The last few weeks at work have been hellishly busy and stressful, with multiple big projects careening into the holiday season without so much as a pause for breath. Each and every one of my clients is rushing to achieve deliverables before the Christmas and New Year slump, which means no let up for me either. Each day I dream of the luxury of even an hour just to focus on a single project and have time to think clearly, deeply and strategically. I'm immersed so much in micro-management, that I'm becoming frustrated at not having the time to step back and view a project as part of the client's bigger picture. I also want to be able to think more about getting new business.

Christmas week is fast approaching, and it's my choice to work through most of it. Between Christmas and New Year, I expect the office will be quiet, the phone will rarely ring, and deadlines won't be looming. This will be my chance to pull back and calmly assess my clients' objectives and expectations; my chance for some strategic thinking; and, of course, the chance to reflect upon my own career goals.

So yesterday, when the office manager said I still had holiday to take, I took it gladly today and hoped no one would ring me from work. When I finally arose from my slumber, I washed, showered and went to my desk and saw the detailed To Do list I had scribbled out last night:
  • Buy presents online
  • Arrange Indian internal flights and hotels
  • Clean the house
  • Do two loads of laundry
  • Confirm our dinner reservation tonight
  • Order repeat prescriptions
  • Put photos in albums
  • Check credit card balance
  • Investigate conversion of Super 8 to DVD
  • Block unsolicited marketing calls by registering at TPS
  • Go grocery shopping for meals this weekend and next week
When I compiled the list last night, I did so enthusiastically, thinking Yippee, a day free to catch up on personal stuff. This morning I was thinking This reminds me of my To Do lists at work, and All I want to do is veg out.

In the same way that I yearn for uninterrupted time during the week to do some deep and clear thinking about my work, so I yearn for an uninterrupted stretch of time in my personal life to not think at all - to empty my mind of white noise and simply to be in the moment with a clear head and a rested body.

So I compromised with myself. I set out to tick off as many things on my To Do list as possible by 2pm and then give it all up to do absolutely nothing. And the compromise actually made me tick off most of it! The rest can wait until the weekend (grocery shopping) and next week (Super 8 to DVD, photos in albums).

So what have I been doing since 2pm? Eating eggs on toast, drinking coffee and green tea, surfing the blogosphere, reading, dreaming, sitting around alot. Quite simply, being blissfully slothful.

In a few hours I will get ready to meet M and treat him to a fancy birthday dinner in town. But for now, just chilling.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Friday began with the work Christmas party at Kensington Roof Gardens inside a cream and red ribbon marquee that felt like we were at a wedding dinner. The buffet menu was superb and served pork loin, roast turkey, salmon fillets, spinach and ricotta parcels and all the trimmings; an infinite variety of salads, from Caesar salad and Moroccan couscous to beetroot salad and tuna pasta; assorted deli meats and cheeses; and divine desserts from strawberry cheesecake to Christmas pudding and fancy custard.

The foodie celebrations continued on Saturday with a trip to Lowestoft's The Swan Inn with my parents and M to celebrate my mum's birthday. The restaurant is renowned for its excellent fish dishes and we stuffed ourselves with huge, crumbly cod fillets with chips, salad and coleslaw. M had a whole lemon sole, which was equally tender and melt-in-the-mouth delicious. Mum loved the glittering brooch we bought her to wear on her winter coats.

On Sunday, we celebrated M's birthday with home-cooked broad bean and cauliflower curry, chicken biryani and mushroom curry. Mum had bought M a birthday cake and we lit the candles and dimmed the lights. M was delighted: he hadn't had a birthday cake since he was a child. Come to think of it, I've not had a birthday kid since I was a child either! My parents bought him Heston Blumenthal's In Search Of Perfection cookbook for his present. Before we left my parents' house on Monday, my mum prepared a spicy chorizo and chickpea stew which we mopped up with focaccia bread.

We'd stuffed ourselves silly for four straight days and so when we returned to our house, all we craved for dinner was simple food. We ate chunks of feta in herbs and olive oil, flat Turkish bread warmed in the oven, green olives stuffed with pimento, quince jelly, slivers of manchega cheese, baby gerkhins and fresh pineapple chunks with freshly milled black pepper.

M finally got to open his presents. I'd bought him a year's subscription to The Economist, Tenchu: Time of the Assassins on PSP, In The Mood For Love soundtrack, and the Bechers' Typologies of Industrial Buildings.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Simply delicious

It's been a couple of nights of really simple yet delicious homecooked fare. On Sunday we bought a huge carrier bag of vine tomatoes. We gave half to his mother who was visiting, and on Tuesday night, M blanched then peeled the rest of them, then roasted them whole in the oven for half an hour with some garlic cloves and, towards the end of the cooking time, some fresh thyme. When they were roasted, he removed most of the thyme then mashed the garlic and tomatoes a little and served them with freshly ground black pepper, freshly grated parmesan, De Cecco spaghetti and gusty Rioja.

Tonight, he fried chopped bacon from Baldwins, with olive oil, garlic, freshly ground black pepper and cooked butter beans. He whizzed fistfuls of fresh parsley and Italian virgin olive oil in the blender to make pesto and served the lot with De Cecco spaghetti.

Don't worry, he loves cooking. Anyway, I'll make it up to him: I've booked a table for two at über expensive and über exclusive Japanese restaurant UMU in Mayfair next week.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hunting and gathering

As I barely get a lunch break during working hours, my only chance to shop during the week is after work. That's when all my Christmas, birthday and personal shopping gets done. Tonight, I stepped out into the windy, black night illuminated by Christmas lights, store neon and traffic headlights and braved the manic Oxford Street crowds as they jostled me into one shop after the other.

I was hunting for an outfit to wear at the office Christmas party this Friday night. I'm not a natural born shopper - easily irritated by the crowds and depressed by the sight of myself in tiny, overlit and unflattering fitting rooms - but it's getting easier as I get older to limit myself to the styles that I have learned through long and bitter experience actually suit my body type and personality. Usually this means alot of black and I wasn't straying far from my clothing norm tonight.

At Monsoon I tried on a thousand tops, skirts and dresses and finally struck gold with a long black skirt emblazoned with gold, silvery-grey and dusky pink embroidery along the hem and with a pretty black ribbon tied as a bow along the waist. I also bought a necklace cascading with tiny, glossy black beads and some silver and black drop earrings. Tomorrow I'll buy a simple black cashmere jumper to wear with it, and with the classic black pumps I already own I'll be set.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Four things

Four jobs you have had in your life:
Supermarket checkout clerk, high school teacher, university lecturer, interactive marketing manager.

Four films you would watch over and over:
2001: A Space Odyssey, American Beauty, In The Mood For Love, Out Of Africa.

Four places you have lived:
Hull in North England, Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota, Dehra Dun in the Indian Himalayas, Brixton in South London.

Four TV programmes you love to watch:
Sex And The City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Six Feet Under, Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Four places you have been on holiday:
Goa, New York City, Thailand, Czechoslovakia.

Four sites you visit daily:
BBC Technology, New York Times Technology, Bloglines, Flickr.

Four of your favourite foods:
My mum's cauliflower curry, my dad's spring onion and potato curry, Wasabi's spicy sashimi salad, M's borlotti bean and parsley risotto.

Four places you would rather be right now:
I can hear M cooking in the kitchen, I'm on the computer, it's cold outside but warm inside - can't think where else I'd rather be right now. Okay, that's cheating: On a longtail boat cruising the back canals of Bangkok; walking along Brooklyn Bridge towards the shimmering Wall Street skyline; browsing the colourful wares on sale at Paltan Bazaar in Dehra Dun, India; eating delicate tuna tartare at Roka on London's Charlotte Street.

I tagged myself on this meme, but it's fun nonetheless and the first meme I've ever done.

Important to be

And when most of your waking hours are spent handling one crisis at work after another, it's so important to remember to step out of the office, and out of your worries, and simply lose yourself for a minute in nature's explosive abundance. Even in the city.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Important to say

When wedding planning gets on top of us and makes us anxious, it's so important to remember to say, "I can't wait to marry you!".

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Raw silk, sweet jelabis and fluttering butterflies

Halal mutton and lamb; colourful rolls of raw silk and viscose; plastic mannequins swathed in embroidered saris; yellow gold or costume jewellery; crates of baby aubergines and tiny red chillies; window displays piled high with sweet yellow ladoos and milky white rossogollas... A wander down the tiny stretch of Turnpike Lane North is as much an assault on the senses as a walk down the much longer and much exhalted Brick Lane.

As we live just down the road from Harringay's own Little Bangladesh or Little India, we thought it couldn't hurt to see what was on offer in terms of wedding gear before we headed out to Brick Lane, Tooting or Wembley. We didn't expect to find just what we wanted right on our doorstep: raw silk blouses for my sari and jewelled bindis for my face; then we walked back home along Green Lanes peering in at the dazzling yellow gold and white gold displays in the windows of Turkish and Greek jewellery stores and found the perfect necklace, earring and bracelet set.

Having found what we wanted, it seemed a waste of time to visit Brick Lane as we had planned, but I hadn't visited East End's Little Bangladesh for a while and was craving genuine, home cooked samosas. So we took the 141 to Finsbury Circus and cut across Spitalfields Market, buying chocolate truffles with lime, chilli and vodka, and with rose cream fillings from Montezuma's on the way. Brick Lane is half shut on a Saturday and is grossly over-rated in terms of "Indian" food, but there is one place that is worth a special trip - Sweet & Spicy: a cheap East Bengali cafeteria with steel utensils, formica tables and posters of short, stocky Bangladeshi wrestlers. We ate large spicy plates of delicious vegetable samosas, fish curry and chickpea curry, followed by bright orange, and very sweet jelabis.

Our bellies satisfied, we went to Kings Cross and took the train to St Albans where our friend J was sharing and celebrating her birthday with her 1 year old daughter S. We played and drank and ate and chatted away until everyone had gone home. J's partner D is my witness at the wedding and so the four of us chatted wedding logistics: how much alcohol we will need (lots), from where (most likely Calais) and what types (red, white and cava); the different types of music we are having (live Indian classical band plus a mixture of our favourite music from Wong Kar-Wai soundtracks to Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground); who would be making the speeches (my dad, M, and D) and when (during dinner, between courses); and lighting (white fairy lights outside, but we need to revisit the venue to see if the existing indoor lighting needs augmenting).

The closer we get to the big day, the greater my relief and anxiety. We've already checked many of the major things off our list (venue, dress, photographer, music, food, invitations...), but there are still so many minor but necessary things to do (hotels for the guests, table decorations and favours, shoes and makeup...), plus there's the possibility things may go wrong (the key thing today, for example, being our wedding cake)... so the butterflies keep fluttering away.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The biggest thing

Me: "Did you call the wedding venue about the music today?"
Him: "No, I didn't get time. Perhaps you could do it tomorrow."
Me: "But that's why I asked you - I'm struggling to find time."
Him: "Okay, I'll try and do it."
Me: "I've done practically everything..."
Him: "But I did the biggest thing."
Me: "Yeah, what?"
Him: "I asked you to marry me!"