Our weekend (and welcome to it)

I usually don’t blog about what HWMBO and I are doing unless something odd or interesting happens. Well, perhaps what happens on a normal Hansen/HWMBO weekend might be interesting to somebody.

Friday night we had dinner at The Well, but I didn’t bother to take pictures of the food, I fear. As usual, it was very good. Other than that, we didn’t do anything at all except start to get used to our new TV set.

Saturday was shopping day: I needed new shoes. The old ones, besides being elderly, were also acquiring paper-thin soles. So after a bit of bickering (as only a married couple can bicker) we went to lunch at Belgo’s on Kingsway, whose website has far too much Flash but whose beer and food is very good: they should stick to the culinary and brewing arts. I had a Swissburger with a Hoegaarten and HWMBO had roast chicken with an apple beer (they don’t carry cider, oddly enough). I tried it and was pleasantly surprised. I’m sure my diabetes didn’t appreciate it, as it was quite sweet, but my palate did. Then to the Natural Shoe Company at Covent Garden for shoes. I ended up with a pair of Rockports and black hi-top trainers, while HWMBO ended up with a pair of natural or greenish coloured lo-top trainers. We walked to Trafalgar Square, where some sort of food festival was going on. On the way we stopped in the Photographer’s Gallery, where an exhibition consisting entirely of pictures found by the artist on the streets and suchlike. Crumpled, torn, scratched out, they were all there. Very odd, but strangely compelling. I was hoping against hope that no pictures of me were in it, and luckily there weren’t. We would have investigated the Trafalgar Square Food Festival except that (1) we were still full, and (2) the place was absolutely mobbed. You couldn’t have swung a cat in there. Lots of eye-candy, but we decided to skip it. A bit further, in St. James Park, we lay on the grass (on a sheet which HWMBO had thoughtfully brought) and listened to our iPods for a couple of hours, then home.

We thought that would be all for Saturday and had our putative dinner in mind: roasted duck legs. However, our friend Ethel (she who was one of our witnesses at our Civil Partnership) called and said, “Would you and HWMBO and “Steven” [another friend of ours who is recovering from an operation and whose name isn’t “Steven”, exactly] like to come over for dinner? It’s just family and friends.” We agreed, and duly all three turned up at Ethel’s flat at 7 pm. She said, “Don’t come up; I’m coming down.”

It turns out that she’d actually invited us to a birthday party of a nephew of hers. It was difficult for “Steven” as the surgeons had to leave a stent inside him to keep his ureter from sticking to his bladder. They’ll take it out in a few weeks, but sitting on a hard chair is uncomfortable for him. We hadn’t realised that it was a birthday party, of course, and “Steven” was looking forward to a nice dinner sitting on a soft sofa. So he had to leave.

It was a true Souf Lunnon party, in the community room of the housing estate where Ethel lives. A DJ spun records that the birfday boy (who was 50) would remember and cherish, however they were played at a decibel level more suitable to the hearing of an 80 year old without his hearing aid. The cuisine was interesting: salads, sangwiches, pohk pies (I’m being phonetic here), sossidge rolls, cheese and pineapple stuck on toothpicks which were themselves stuck into a foil-covered ball of florist’s foam, two birthday cakes, a chocolate fountain, fried rice, and pizza. There were plates of Twiglets (‘s favourite!) and crisps on each table, and as much liquor or beer as you liked. The amount of love, friendship, and hospitality was endless, however, as it can only be endless in Souf Lunnon.

I had two weak G&Ts, and then one glass of T only (as much as I was being urged to drink away). At 10:15 pm, the cake not yet having been cut, we had to take our leave, as I had a washer-full of altar linens, some of whom I had to iron.

Sunday was interesting. We had the Rector’s Report in lieu of a sermon, which was fortunate as he’d preached for 25 minutes the week before and delivered what was probably one of the 3 or 4 worst sermons I’d ever heard. The parish is in rosy health, according to Neil, and we just need to try a bit harder. After Mass was that excruciatingly painful yearly event: the Annual General Meeting. We failed to elect any Churchwardens as the current pair are not speaking to one another and do not wish to stand again, and no one else wished to stand. We haggled for about 20 minutes on who could be “forced” to stand for the PCC, and got a Treasurer’s report that was quite alarming: not only do we not have audited accounts again this year, but we spent most of the year in overdraft. I believe that it is against the canons of the C of E for a parish to be in overdraft. No concrete proposals to increase income were proposed. The treasurer accepted re-election to the PCC and the treasurer’s post for one final year, but we’ll need to find another next year, I fear. As usual, the Rector tried to re-elect me and my colleague on the Deanery Synod, except that our term doesn’t end until the AGM of 2008. I had to get a ruling from the Deputy Diocesan Secretary on that before I averted the election.

What could we do after this? We went to lunch at the Well with , who will be returning for a while as our flatmate until he gets his Italian citizenship, at which point he’ll go back to the US and then return here as an EU citizen. This whole weekend seemed to be one long restaurant sojourn. Back home again to endure the excruciatingly awful singing from Christ Apostolic Church, who meet at St. Matthew’s. Dinner was (finally) those duck legs. Remember the duck legs?? I roasted them and had them with runner beans; HWMBO had some rice as well. We then watched Zhang Yimou’s Curse of the Golden Flower (official website here) on DVD. DVDs show up the best features of the new TV set: sharp, clear pictures with reasonable subtitles that don’t intrude at the bottom of the picture. However, the movie itself was only fair. There were a lot of crowd scenes that were painfully obviously done with whatever the movies do that is analogous to Photoshopping a still photo. There were hordes of soldiers, fields of flowers, and the like. all of which were pretty much identical. Swooping over the square in front of the palace looked a bit like movement in a video game. The plot was a bit lame and HWMBO delighted in telling me exactly what the plot twist was before I detected it. The costumes were lavish (but according to the Wikipedia entry, a bit un-historical) and the best part of it was Gong Li’s acting.

And before bed I called my brother. In addition to high blood pressure, he also (like me) has discovered that he is diabetic. As a child, I was always the fat one, and he was always painfully skinny. So now the only difference between us is that my diabetes was discovered long before his was. I expect that his case is not as bad as mine, nor as long-standing, but it demonstrates (at least to me) that our family’s health difficulties are mostly genetic. He had so many visitors in hospital that they gave him a private room so that the visitors wouldn’t disturb the other patients. He hasn’t gotten the bill yet: I’ll be interested to see what it might be at the end of the day. As he’s covered by medical insurance he won’t have to pay much, if at all. But they will tell him how much he would have had to pay had he not been insured. I’ll bet it’s in the mid-5-figures US$.

He’s going to take up cycling as, along with everything else, his knee’s shot. He says that when he walks too fast it feels like someone’s hit him in the knee with a hammer. He needs to get that looked at too, I think. In common with many Americans my age, he drives everywhere (although he could walk to work if he had a car available at work and one available at home). But he’s changed his diet (much more than I have; he was heating up low fat low salt meatloaf and struggling with carrots when I called) and since his marital separation he’s lost 50 pounds. An unintended benefit, I suppose.

And so to bed. Now I endure another long week at work.

8 Responses to “Our weekend (and welcome to it)”

  1. trawnapanda says:

    There were plates of Twiglets (trawnapanda’s favourite!)


    I haven’t had any Twiglets since the supply ran out that I brought back in early 2005. sigh

    they’re a good diabetic snack — salt not sugary, and all those vitamins in the Marmite.

    now I’m peckish for Twiglets, and no way to assauge the hunger. Woe!

  2. chrishansenhome says:

    I don’t think that the salt does much for blood pressure, although I do agree that they taste good and are very moreish, as they say here.

    Have you tried to find an outlet there that sells them? I find it difficult to believe that in such an Anglophile country (in parts) as Canada there are no reasonable outlets that sell Twiglets.

    I suppose you could make a dip out of Marmite or Vegemite and sour cream or something like that and use it for crisps. Not the same, I know.

    If I visit Canada I will be sure to bring you some.

  3. vasilatos says:

    I’m simply floored, and unable to decide at which point or post of yours I should write “Good Heavens!”


  4. rsc says:

    after a bit of bickering (as only a married couple can bicker)

    Wow, does that resonate.

    Remember the duck legs??

    I presume that this is to be read in an Anna Russell voice.

  5. chrishansenhome says:

    Of course. I was listening to “Anna Russell Sings….Again?” while sitting on the sheet in St. James’s Park so it came naturally.

    As for bickering, it’s all good natured, but we nearly didn’t go out, except that I was sorely in need of new shoes, so I insisted. I’m glad we did–it turned out to be an exceptionally good weekend.

  6. momshapedbox says:

    It’s funny you chose Rockports.. From Hartford I drive to the Rockport Outlet In Wrentham, MA to get mine. Most of my shoes are Rockports. They just fit my feet better than any brand and for work on my feet all day they are so comfortable. I guess we’re Rockport friends!!!

  7. chrishansenhome says:

    Rockports are hard to get here. was looking for some and couldn’t find any in his size. The place I went to had lots, and it’s a really good selection. You can also get vegan shoes (no leather) as well as some nice trainers made from hemp (heh heh heh!). They sell Crocs too.

  8. chrishansenhome says:

    Well, start somewhere, insert your “Good Heavens!”, and tell us why?

    Enquiring minds want to know!!!