We took Friday off and our extended anniversary weekend unfurled at a wonderfully active pace. We began the day with runny poached eggs on granary toast and slathered with tomato ketchup. We took a bus to the Thames, caught the Juan Muñoz and Duchamp, Man Ray & Picabia shows at the Tate Modern (who knew that Duchamp had been an accomplished competitive chess champion!), then walked along the South Bank - as we used to do often when we were dating - to a packed Canteen in the bowels of the Royal Festival Hall. Canteen is well known for its fresh British cooking and for the ethically sourced produce they use. There, M ate fried pollock and chips and I ate chicken and mushroom pie with greens, mash and gravy. We followed our mains with hearty desserts of treacle tart and Jersey cream (M) and apple crumble with vanilla custard.
In between bites, we were captivated by a huggable, cuddable three week old baby who had a full head of thick black hair and was very, very sleepy in her mother's arms. Now that I am pregnant, I am broody like never before (which I suppose is a good thing) and I couldn't take my eyes off her. By dessert, though, we had become distracted by a mixed Anglo-Indian couple dining with their three young children. We looked at the little girl with her dark eyes and long, light brown hair and rosy pink cheeks and wondered - as we do often now - how Anglo-Indian Little Planet will look like when she arrives in this world. My manager is English and married to an Indian woman and he admitted that when his wife was pregnant with their son they too could not help looking at other half-Indian babies and wonder. So glad we're not the only ones!
We took a cab to Soho and I bought M a vintage bottle of Suntory Hibiki whiskey from Gerry's on Old Compton Street for his anniversary gift. We bought pancetta from Camisa & Son then walked to the Odeon Covent Garden. The film we wanted to see was an hour later than we had thought, so we bought tickets anyway then strolled over to the Aveda Institute on High Holborn for tea.
It's disappointing that the Aveda Cafe is now a Le Pain Quotidien because they no longer serve the delicious and frightfully healthy range of herb teas, freshly squeezed juices and sprouted salads they were famed for. But the atmosphere is still as good as it used to be, with the high ceilings, wooden tables, kilim rugs, constant whir of hairdryers, the all-pervading aroma of herbal hair products and beautiful stylists and beauticians dressed all in black. This is where I always get my hair done and I took the opportunity to make an appointment for tonight.
The film we saw was Wong Kar-Wai's My Blueberry Nights. One of the reasons M and I fell in love was over a mutual fondness for Wong Kar-Wai films and we were intrigued to see the Hong Kong director's first movie in English and with English-speaking actors. The reviews for this film have been lacklustre at best and I wasn't sure I would enjoy a film featuring Jude Law, Norah Jones and Natalie Portman. But we were both entranced by this beautifully shot, sweet and sentimental tale of love and loss.
Back home, we were too full to eat a dinner, so we snacked on toasted peanut butter sandwiches and some delicate yuzu and cherry sweets from Minamoto Kitchoan on Piccadilly instead.
Saturday began with a stroll across the park to pick up bagels and buttery croissants then back towards home to drop off and pick up laundry, buy meat from our local butcher and the FT and International Herald Tribute from our local newsagent. After a leisurely breakfast at home with the papers, we headed into town to watch the heartwarming and heartwrenching (and extremely funny) movie Juno at the Curzon Soho. The music (and perhaps also the sugar from the pack of jelly babies I was devouring!) sent Little Planet into a kicking frenzy throughout.
At the Annely Juda Gallery on Dering Street, we were blinded by the retina-burning canvasses of Sigrid Holmwood, who paints luminous Swedish pastoral landscapes in a combination of traditional pigments and bright contemporary fluorescents. Her work reminded me of Karen Kilimnik, only a touch more gimmicky and a shade less complex, but enjoyable and absorbing nonetheless.
We stocked up on provisions at the John Lewis Food Hall and then bought an anodized skillet from the kitchenwares section. I also bought M the second part of my anniversary gift to him - a pair of heavy crystal whiskey tumblers.
We took another cab back home and dined on fillet steaks, pomme frites, sweet fresh tomatoes and peppery watercress, followed by cherries for dessert. Then spent the rest of the evening listening to Bach's cello suites (Pablo Casals), which again had the baby kicking away, and reading.
Sunday - our actual wedding anniversary day - was a much quieter affair. I needed to rest after so much activity, so while M dropped in on his cousin who was celebrating his 9th birthday, I spent the morning snuggled into the sofa with Indian Vogue, Monocle and Ian McEwan's graceful and immersive Chesil Beach. Then I dozed in bed for a few hours. M returned home with his mum, who stayed for an hour's chat. For our proper anniversary dinner, M roasted a chicken and served it with a pomegranate and parsley tabbouleh and homemade red chilli harissa sauce. Then we settled into a quiet evening together, reading (M read the whole of the new J.G. Ballard autobiography in just a few hours - he was so rivetted), listening to music and simply being.
What a wonderful weekend; what a wonderful year; what a wonderful man I married.