Sunday, August 4, 2013

An English Sunday

We slept late as it was Sunday - a day of rest!  Loren went out to his gym and Don cooked up a delicious breakfast of English bacon (sort of like our Canadian bacon only better).

Here's another "Don Story"... 
Don insists on warming the plates for every meal in the micro wave.  He hasn't quite figured out how to time this warming process, and often he overdoes them and then we have to bring them out and cool them.  Well this morning, he's cooking the bacon, he's getting the eggs ready to put on and all of a sudden he's saying, "Bugger Me!"  because he has realized that he has left the plates in the microwave for too long.  He reaches for the pot holder and says, "I have to take the plates for a walk around the yard!"  Well, he had so much going on on the hob (that means stove top) that I volunteered to "take the plates for a walk!  That's something that I will remember for a while: taking the plates for a walk around a London yard on a Sunday morning!!

We had a 2:00 reservation at the Anglesey Arms Pub for the traditional roast beef and Yorkshire pudding feast.  The Anglesey had been recommended by the people we are exchanging houses with saying that it was voted one of the top gastronomic pubs in England.  It's sort of in our neighborhood so we walked there passing some charming houses in very pleasant neighborhoods.

We really liked the pub even though we were disappointed to discover that they had roast beef but no Yorkshire pudding!  But the meal was fantastic and we really enjoyed our waiter.

He was from South Africa but had been in London for eight years.  He is very interested in food - especially breads and cheeses and wants to open up a bakery.  When we told him we were from San Francisco he said, "Oh you are so far ahead of us.  Europe has wonderful cheeses, and America has terrific breads  England is way behind.  Then he mentioned Tartine and said he gets some of his supplies from them and they are so highly respected for their pastries and breads.

The meal was delicious and we ordered a very smooth Merlot to accompany.  Don was pleased that we finally took a picture of us with wine glasses instead of just pints in our hands!!

We wanted to try their ice cream for dessert.  Loren had one scoop of Elderberry flower;  I had one scoop of apricot, and Don had three scoops of chocolate, apricot and strawberry cream. And he even got a cookie with his!   They were all delicious, but the Elderberry flower and chocolate were out of this world.

We left the restaurant and decided to take a walk around to see what we could discover.  Just down the block was the Ravenscourt Park - a lovely park with picnic areas, lawn bowling, a swimming pool, playgrounds, a nursery and a little carnival.

We were actually in pursuit of a theater festival we had heard about called Tete-o-Tete Opera.  It is reminiscent of the Fringe festival we have had in San Francisco:  Experimental theater for a low cost ticket.  The web has a video of a man telling about the festival.  "We have many wonderful experimental shows.  We have one with all puppets, we have an opera about a man no voice, we have one called Indigestion where we serve a three-course meal to our guests, and many more."

So we found this theater called Riverside Studios.  It's a large space with a movie theater, a couple of stages, a restaurant and a bar and a cafe.  It was bustling with people and we discovered that Mme. Butterfly - a one man opera was playing in a half hour.  That kind of thing appeals to Loren and me and we really wanted to go.  We didn't know what it was all about, but it sounded interesting.  Don, on the other hand, was not at all interested.  He envisioned one man trying to sing all the music to Puccini's opera.  Would it be a farce? A comedy? A travesty?  Don was not going to take the chance of having Mme. Butterfly besmirched, so he want home and we stayed.

It turned out to be quite fascinating.  Fast forward thirty years from the end of Puccini’s opera, Butterfly’s son has travelled to America to meet his father for the first time. However, Pinkerton has become a politician and is campaigning for election as Senator. In addition, he still has his wife. It ends tragically with the son ending his life just like his mother did because his father refuses to see him.

The one actor was Ignacio Jarquin who was really quite remarkable.  With just a raised eyebrow or the movement of his body he was able to take on the roles of his mother, his grandfather, his American landlord and his nursemaid. He spoke perfect Japanese at times and sang arias throughout with a very lovely tenor voice.  It was just over an hour long, and he kept our attention throughout the whole time. 

On our way back, Loren wanted to go in to a large church to see if they were having vespers.  St. Pauls is just across from the Hammersmith Tube Station and is a very grand looking structure. Originally built in 1629, it looks like a very old established place.  The inside is quite modern and open.  When we went inside the 6:00 worship service was just beginning.  There were a lot of young people in the congregation, and there were people playing guitars and singing gospel/folk type hymns.  The words to these hymn were projected on big screens spread across the chancel.  I think I counted 8 in all.  It seemed like a high-tech place with a lot of energy.  We couldn't see anything that told us what denomination it was and even when I checked the web site it simply said, "Welcome to St. Paul's Hammersmith.  We live to glorify God by becoming a transforming community for London and beyond. Our strategy is the formation of dynamic, urban, missional disciples or cityshapers. We give ourselves to be shaped by God to shape the city."

We returned home and I realized that this is the very first day that we didn't share a pint together!!  However we didn't let the English down completely.  After all, we had had roast beef for lunch, and for dinner we shared a  Malton Mowbray Pork Pie.  Don assured us that this Malton Mowbray Pork Pie is the finest;  he also insisted we eat it cold which I thought a bit odd until I tasted it.  Accompanied by a lovely green salad it was yet again, a perfect ending to another wonderful day in London.

As a little PS, there was something notable going on in the city yesterday and today that we avoided.  It was called LONDONRIDE and was a cycling race.  Apparently cycling is a big thing in Britain and they made a good name for themselves during the 2012 Olympics. 

We had seen many signs saying that bus routes were being disrupted and roads were being closed.  It was going to be huge.

The following is an account I took from The Independent newspaper:

The race started with a surreal procession as cyclists from across Britain converged on the Olympic Park in zombie-like silence before sunrise.

It ended anywhere from four to nine hours later as a 2012-inspired triumph of logistics and sporting endeavour - a London Marathon on wheels.

Up to 17,000 riders followed a 100-mile route based on last year’s Olympic road race, on day two of an unprecedented national celebration of cycling. From Stratford they zipped west through central London along car-free roads to Surrey before looping back to the capital.

This is the infamous London mayor, Boris Johnson

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have been checking out the blogs every few days. You make us feel as if we were there!