Our warm and sunny Saturday began with apricot and oatmeal bread with thin slivers of hard hayflower cheese, big mugs of Colombian coffee, apricot sheeps milk yoghurt, the weekend FT and Monocle. We dropped off and picked up the weekly dry-cleaning, bought red snapper and king prawns from the fishmongers, beef and bacon from the butchers, baby aubergines, tindori, shim, paneer and a box of Alfonso mangoes from the Indian grocery store. Then we headed into town to meet an old Oxford friend visiting from Arizona.
The three of us had met in Oxford a few years ago. Like me, she was doing her PhD in anthropology, but a year ahead. Unlike me, she remained in the profession and is now an assistant professor, whereas I've moved completely out of academia after a brief spell as a lecturer and am now in advertising. We both specialised in Native American cultures. She lived on Zuni in New Mexico. I worked on two Lakota Sioux reservations in South Dakota. Now she is briefly back in the UK to finish off her book. Her partner is an artist, a photographer, based also in Arizona.
We wandered around the Medicine Man exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in Euston, featuring an eclectic collection including old Japanese sex aids, torture chairs, infant identification kits, snuff boxes and oil paintings of birthing scenes. We ate sublime quiches, a chicken and tarragon pie, a cupcake and some Black Forest gateau at the fantastic Peyton and Byrne cafe. Then we walked down Charlotte Street for beers and cocktails sitting outside the Charlotte Street Hotel, chatting about academia, photography and our personal lives. Our friend has that rare quality whereby she talks incessantly but her chatter is always interesting. Several hours rushed by immersed in talk.
M and I returned home, and he cooked me a meal of grilled red snapper, rocket salad and a pesto made from black olives, capers and basil leaves. The flavour of the snapper was delicate and fortunately there were few bones for me to contend with. This was followed by a big bowl of cherrries for dessert in front of the TV.
I awoke on Sunday still exhausted. My body refuses to completely recover from the stress of my week these days. I need a complete month off to do absolutely nothing. Alas, that's not going to happen any time soon. We lay in late then M went off to the gym and I settled in for a sunny morning with the papers and a novel. In the afternoon, we went into town to buy gym gear in Niketown and UniGlo. Then back home to meet M's sister and mum for a lovely vegetarian Keralan meal in the very cochineal-pink Rasa in Stoke Newington. Afterwards, we watched Maria Bello and William H. Macy in The Cooler on DVD.