This weekend was a long one for those of us who live in Britain as Monday was a public holiday. On Saturday, we walked from Farringdon over Blackfriar's Bridge, along the South Bank in the glorious sunshine, and to the National Theatre complex, where Little Planet enjoyed clambering over the giant-sized AstroTurf three-piece suite.
We stopped for blueberry muffins and coffee in Benugo in the BFI, where Little Planet enjoyed clambering over the sofas. She is climbing over everything nowadays and is constantly on the move. We crossed the Thames at Embankment and walked through Trafalgar Square. By this time it was 11.30am and Little Planet had fallen asleep.
From Arigato in Soho we bought pickled umeboshi plums, fresh shiso leaves and yuzu concentrate. We picked up wine from Oddbins on Wardour Street, passionfruit cheesecake and strawberry flan from Princi, Kiehl's products from Liberty whose facade we noticed had been covered with floral Liberty print wallpaper. We then went to The Photographers' Gallery to see André Kertész's utterly absorbing photos of people reading (photo top). And then home.
At Princi we had also picked up some ham and cheese quiche and some green olive bread sticks, so back at home we ate these for lunch along with a spinach and rocket salad. Then we read in the garden and played with Little Planet in her Wendy house and tunnel. M did some DIY in our bathroom. After Little Planet went to bed, M grilled some mackerel and served it with wilted fresh spinach with a black sesame seed dressing.
On Sunday, M went to my mum's house to collect boxes of my books. I stayed at home with Little Planet. We played in the garden - in her tunnel and Wendy house. I also took her shopping to our local butchers (pork belly ribs) and greengrocers (five big bunches of spinach). My mum came back with M and then spent the rest of the day with us - playing with Little Planet and chatting with me while M worked upstairs in the study.
After Little Planet's bedtime, we dined on roasted pork belly ribs with macaroni cheese and wilted spinach with loads of garlic. Dessert was Cornish vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries. We then ended the night watching episodes from the first season of The Office (original UK version), which they were showing on TV. So funny, so droll. Brilliant!
Monday began with a hoover and clean of the house then out to the shops with Little Planet. I left M and Little Planet and took the bus into central London. I usually take the Tube as it's faster, but this morning I relished the chance to sit down at leisure and relax into a longer journey, free to think about anything or nothing, with no interruptions or distractions.
I ate lunch at Abeno near the British Museum. I had pork om-soba (fried soba noodles wrapped in a light omelette and decorated with Japaneses mayo, ketchup and okonomiyaki sauce). I also had agedashi tofu with bonito fish flakes and grated ginger. All this eating to a fantastic 1970s soundtrack of Talking Heads and David Bowie. Abeno has very good taste in music!
I walked through Soho and picked up some organic soya sauce, black and white roasted sesame seeds, firm tofu and a bag of kimchi from Arigato - all ingredients needed for a variety of dinners we will make this week for ourselves. I picked up a US parenting magazine (Parents) from Borders. And then I watched the movie Moon at the cinema on Panton Street. The movie is directed by David Bowie's son Duncan Jones and stars Sam Rockwell and the voice of Kevin Spacey. It was superlative: visually arresting and emotionally taut. An existential tour de force that I would love to see again.
I came home to Little Planet and M playing in the garden. M had managed to have a client conference call during her afternoon nap (he had arranged the call to coincide with her usual nap time; otherwise I would have stayed at home to look after her). He'd also done some cleaning (the bathroom) and baked some bread (wholemeal rye bread plus pizza bases). After Little Planet's bedtime, M made pizzas for our dinner - anchovies, mozzarella, freshly made tomato sauce and basil from our garden.
As much as I enjoy my work, I am sad that the long weekend is over.