Songs in Ordinary Wine

Today marks my first sober day since last Wednesday. Small steps towards sanity, small steps. Now that’s not to say I’ve had days of endless booze, amateur dramatics worthy of a Real Housewife, followed by passing out in a doorway, but in a world where I have been cutting back to lean myself up for summer and running purposes, it was dramatic.

Indeed in falling off the wagon terms, it’s akin to that chap from Wolverhampton on Obese: A Year To Save My Life who ate 60 odd Diet Chef meal replacement bars in one afternoon.

In my everyday life I don’t tend to drink white wine. For no other reason than I have found myself at my worst on white wine. Red wine makes me all floppy so I sit on any furniture like it’s a chaise longue, fizz makes me effervescent and want to dance to even the most sedate of music, spirits can be sustained but white wine? I become oddly leery like Sid James or Bernard Bresslaw eyeing up some busty birds in a Carry On film, then get a tendency to take everything as an insult, then I cry and then I have to be taken home as I become wide eyed and legless like a sitcom character playing drunk. But London was all about the white wine. No real dramatics to talk about. One night I became a bit dramatic, but alas that was 12 hours into a day of wine, so that could be chalked up to saturation and fatigue. It certainly wasn’t that I was drunk as arseholes. No way. Nope. Not me. (I was drunk as arseholes).

We began by seeing The Bodyguard. OMG it was everything I wanted it to be. After hours on a train, a long walk with Daph, a quick change and dinner at Ask (never been before but it was decent), I became slightly weary around the edges and was back in Sheffield mode. In everyday Adam mode, I am one for making this typical statement- “dinner in a restaurant is one night out, theatre or dancing is another, why combine the two?” I agree with myself on that whole heartedly, but here we had an exceptional situation, and to be honest it all timed itself well. We arrived at the theatre, collected tickets, Anne and Mel went to the ladies, I bought prosecco, we sat down, the play began. Huzzah, well timed. The Adelphi was hotter than Athens in August, any longer in there and I would have passed out. Any more wine and ended up in said Chaise Longue red wine pose through dehydration, which may have upset the cheesy lovers sat before Anne and I who grated on me from the moment they sat down to the moment they appeared to have began feeding the tiny tub of Haagan Dazs to one another. I sound like a bitter, loveless queen I know, but it just pissed me off. Their heads had to rest against one another’s at all times, so we always had this two person continuum presence before us when their heads were in the way. Well, good luck to them, now the show is over I’m a beacon of love.

Faux American accents aside, the show is strong. The child actor who plays Rachel’s son Fletcher is good, and I hate children singing. So this is praise indeed people. The sister is amazing, she has crazy vocal skills. Beverley Knight was insane. It was just brilliant. And I’m telling you if crazy stalkers look like the guy in the show, there would be less injunctions out there. Hot. Obviously the whole I want you dead and will but a dead dog in your sons bed is not hot. But he was. You know what I mean. I don’t want a stalker. It would break my heart when they stopped stalking me because all I do is walk Daphne, cuddle Daphne, go to work, go to Waitrose, come home and watch Secret Eaters. I’d feel less Rachel Marron and more Keith Barron.

The rest of the weekend went by in a whirlwind. Sunny walks in the park with the lady were a highlight. Regents Park is a thing of beauty, it truly is.

I love a nice park. And a nice park first thing in the morning is like the biggest secret that place has. A space just off some major flyovers or main roads, containing London Zoo and at any other time hundreds of tourists waiting for a boat ride just a few hours before are serene, sunlit and soundless. Until a grumpy westie turns up barking at ducks and trying to kill every squirrel. And also oddly until one guy runs through there in a pair of knee high socks and rubber flip flops. You hear him a considerable time before you see him.

Although Daphne did make me have a brush with the law. The last photo was taken in Avenue Gardens. No dogs allowed. A Met Policeman pulled up in a squad car and very politely told me off. I didn’t see the signs, they are very discreet. Either way I simply apologised, put her on her lead, left and enjoyed the rest of the park. The gardens are lovely but fussy when you have a dog anyway. A bit like taking a playful toddler anywhere with too much stuff, and immediately wishing you had gone anywhere but. But I do enjoy referring to it as my brush with the law. Makes me sound dangerous.

I discovered Notting Hill is a bit disappointing. Portobello Road market is poor. I can’t imagine who wants over priced mismatched side plates and toy soldiers. And anywhere that allows street vendors on roads still open to traffic needs to rethink their strategy. I visited the Recipease store Jamie Oliver has opened. I don’t really get what it wants to be. It’s half trying to be Dean and Deluca, half trying to be boutique cafe. It sort of doesn’t achieve either. Downstairs they have an open bakery with produce and products for sale around it all, but with a lot going on it also achieves the oddity of appearing sparse amongst so many competing distractions. I felt that a big space didn’t really seem to offer me much as there was so much to look at I ended up gazing, wondering around and coveting nothing. One thing I also think places miss is that a tea towel is something anyone should be able to buy and take away as a momento from a holiday or break. A tea towel price should be one number-£6 or £7, say. £9 if it’s colourful kitsch and fabulous. It should not cost £10-£15. You do yourself out of sales.

Rant over. Now on to dog friendly pubs. How I love you, dog friendly venues. You make my heart sing. In particular when you are as lovely as the staff in the Prince Bonaparte in Notting Hill, who bought Daphne a bowl of water and biscuits and actively welcomed her. The payback for them was lunch went on for 3 hours and involved at least 3 bottles of Sicilian White wine. And was 2 courses each. It pays to court the pink pooch pound, after all. 

Dinner that evening was meat at my request. I went all Ron Swanson and desired pig protein and cow protein and ribs were my cut of choice. Mel knew a place just off Edgeware Road called the Wargrave Arms which won an award for best ribs so we ventured. OMG. And I repeat- OMG. Amazing. Now I don’t photograph my food as photos of peoples plates of food just look like plates of food to me. I never rush somewhere as they red mullet looked great on a plate under subtle lights captured by iPhone and then viewed on some Lenovo computer screen in an office. What made that meal a meal is lost the moment you take the photo. Plus I think a whole generation is letting their food go cold photographing them in restaurants. Just bloody eat it and do a one liner.

Here’s mine- Wargrave Arms in Marylebone? Bloody amazing ribs. Cost bugger all, tasted amazing. And loads of it. God I could eat those ribs right now. Plus they come with a tub of wet wipes which led to much hilarity for Pete and Anne. 

Mel needed a bib. White is not a wise choice for foods coated in barbecue sauce.

Martin needed a moment with his ribs. I completely get it. It was somewhat evangelical.

The following day was somewhat harder to get through as the wine went on. Browsing and boozing were Saturdays acts of choice. Went to Divertimenti to look at cookware. Nice store, no Kitchens in Bath tho. And no Williams Sonoma. On to Oxfam bookstore and Skandium. I live in regret I didn’t buy a Moomin mug, but there are other months, other visits. And I did get Wolfgang Puck’s Modern French Kitchen for £3. I love a vintage purchase.

More wine on the High Street.

 Wine with a view of the BT Tower. Delightful. We popped into Waitrose, where staff appeared to be selling off the entire store inventory. Fridges stuffed full of red stickered items. Charlie Brighams meals for £1:40. Meat for £1 or £2 when it was previously just shy of £10. Quiche and dips and salads for pennies. Remarkable. We bought a dinner that was never meant to exist on one plate but which was marvellous anyway. We sat contented until I fell asleep and was sent to bed as I was ruining Tootsie with my snoring.

Sunday was lovely. The plan was for a London landmark run from Tower Bridge back to Marylebone. And we did it. Here are the snaps to prove it.

And so it begins.

And so we headed down the South Bank towards Westminster

(It’s starting to drizzle)

Then back to Marylebone via Buckingham Palace and the West End.

With added rain.

If you are a runner can I heartily recommend seeing a city this way. It’s fantastic fun and opens your eyes to how it all connects. I loved our London route, it was cheesier than La Fromagerie in Marylebone, the cheesiest smelling cheese place ever, but I don’t care. If you don’t get excited spying the Shard and the Oxo tower, you aren’t alive.

And at that note I will pause. Sunday took a turn for the unfortunate really and I will blog exclusively on the subject in due course. But I will leave you with me with a daphne beard. As I love this pooch. Best behaved dog ever as well. A dream. 

Love this hound .

Oh look at me banging on. Are you well? Nice Easter? You look like you’ve lost weight. And that top is lovely. 

Blog later folks x

– Fuelled by Waitrose, inspired by Ina, Team Nigella since she deep fried a Bounty

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