Barbican panto 2009

We’ve returned very bouncy from the Barbican’s 2009 “panto” offering: Pied Piper – A Hip-Hop Dance Revolution. No speech, all the narrative was provided via dance, music and mime. The programme revealed the inspired and inspiring development and casting behind the performance.

“Build your own tortillas” proved a popular decision on the pre panto food front with TJBR and Sue, and we just about had room for seven around the dining table.

Divertimenti knife skills

Courtesy of TJBR, Phil and I did a morning’s knife skills class at Divertimenti Cookery School over on Marylebone High Street. An excellent exercise of deboning a chicken (I supervised!) and slicing and dicing, batonning and julienning mountains of fruit and veg. All of which was cooked for us to consume as a delicious lunch, accompanied by a couple of bottles of rather nice wine.

And I got to mooch around Daunt Books afterwards.

Returning home via pre Christmas Oxford Street was less of a pleasure, but we *had* to experience the new Oxford Circus X-ing.

Barney & Milo’s canoe party

Take 12 kids and one no nonsense instructor. Combine in a London canal basin with the Islington Boat Club‘s sharktooth speedboat, kayak catamaran and colourful canoes. Result: one great 11th Birthday Party – as Jo’s photos show….

Brilliant! I was rather tempted to join in, especially with the grande finale – the boat roof chute.

Pizza, crisps and chocolate cake completed the celebrations in style.

Urban garden update

The roof terrace is looking particularly garden-like at the moment. Three large tomato /triffid plants in full growth, plus the two clematis plants seem to have shrugged off last year’s slug onslaught and are fast taking over the trellis – and flowering!

Plus there are a couple of pots of geraniums, the fuschia Jean gave me for my birthday last year and a funny-flowered bushy pot plant that Jo gave me this year.
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And on the lounge balcony I’ve seven surviving tomato plants courtesy of Cam in Bristol.

We’re going to have a lot of tomatoes – I just hope they survive the week we’re away in August….

Back from Bhutan

Tired, but a great trip – although I wouldn’t rate it as highly as the Hindu Kush Adventure or Iran trips – Bhutan doesn’t quite have the same edge. Plus there was a lot of driving in India at the end, and the Tolly Gunge Club didn’t really provide the ‘high note’ finale. It felt altogether too worldly and self important after a fortnight up in the mountains and high pastures.

Days 4 and 5 were the highlights for me, featuring the Paro festival and the hike up to the Tiger’s Nest. We were there during the country’s first democratic elections, which was fascinating, and I returned with a commemorative calendar, prepared in advance of the Fifth King’s coronation (due to happen this year – no one knows when!) and lots of woven baskets. Oh, and a taste for cheese and chilli dishes, plus a developing daily G+T habit…..!

Returning home to BJH via the ‘new’ St Pancras International has added somewhat to the out of body experience resulting from our 90 minute nap prior to driving across Kolkata to check in (early) for our 4.45am flight, which kept ahead of the dawn all the way back west to London Heathrow. I was a bit of disgruntled ‘customer’ even before we got to the airport. Still, the glamour of St Pancras and a mezze lunch Au Pain Quotidien with Phil, Paul and Jahraj sorted me out!

Work tomorrow. I’m taking my Kings of Bhutan commemorative calendar in for moral support.

(06 July 2008: photos fully Flickred: Bhutan – Land of the Thunder Dragon)