Monday, July 30, 2012

News from London: London 2012 is brilliant!

TLOML and I have been getting fully involved. And as your eyes and ears on the ground in London, I can tell you with confidence that London 2012 is ace.

At first our involvement was limited to appreciation of the nice new signs...
 ...and the purchase of memorabilia. I like stuff that says London 2012 on it, because we moved back to London and began our married life in 2012. So when I see a lovely London 2012 tin of biscuits with the Union Jack on them, I buy it as a tribute to the year TLOML gave up his American lifestyle to live in dear old Blighty.
More recently we've stepped up our involvement.

On Friday we watched the Opening Ceremony from a friend's flat in Hackney Wick, which overlooks the Olympic Park. The buzz of Olympic fever was tangible throughout Hackney Wick: smiling stewards on the train platform, rooftop and balcony parties, and just a generally good, Olympian vibe. In fact, the view from my friend's telly was rather better than from her balcony, for all those close-ups of grinning nurses, dancing miners and text-crazed youngsters. Still, we could see those helicopters arrive 'live'. Which we loved.

On Sunday we got really locked in. We went to see the swimming, TLOML's own sport, in which I think he'd win many medals if he hadn't chosen the path of legal entrepreneurship. We cycled to the Olympic park, afraid of the volume of traffic on the train (apparently it wasn't actually too crowded). When we got to the park, we parked our bike in a massive bike park where some nice people gave us free safety checks and the police put security markings on them. The park was so underused they looked delighted to see us. I was delighted to get my tyres pumped and my brakes tweaked for free.

Then into the Park itself. Entrance was fast and painless: if only 'airport-style security' was like that at actual airports. And all the volunteers are so helpful. I wish London was always full of smiling people saying 'Do you know where you're going?' or 'Have a great evening.' They were almost Californian in the quality and quantity of their smiles.

The swimming itself was brilliant. We saw two world records being set, we watched our girl Becky Adlington win a bronze (the gold is yet to come we are assured), and the brilliantly exciting 4 x 100m relay. Shame that TLOML's team (and I was cheering for them too, like the good American wife I am) missed out, but sooooo exciting to watch. And what a treat to see the living legend that is Phelps, and the about-to-be-legendary Lochte powering through the water like great big dolphins. A special mention too to the Italian Fabio Scozzoli, for making it worth my while to bring my binoculars (for some reason the big screen wasn't showing close-ups based on looks...).

From now on I think our involvement will be curtailed to watching from the sofa at Fox Corner. Bring it on! We love the Games!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A honeymoon in pictures

1. Fripperies
I love getting all my jaunty, flimsy, striped and patterned clothes out and taking them for an outing in the sunshine.

2. Eating
For we did a lot of it. Mainly octopus, with the odd posh shrimp or peasant-chic claim dish thrown in for variety.

3. Beaches
Windy and beautiful.

Our ride for the trip. Nice attitude, but despite her broad hips, not very generous in the trunk area.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fourth of July, Fox Corner style

In my limited experience of July 4th parties, they mainly seem to involve drinking margaritas and eating burgers by a pool. People wear badges saying things like 'Kiss me, I'm American'. There are usually fireworks later. Simple, effective, fun.

Well, we're in Blighty this July 4th, and so are many of our close friends and family from the US. TLOML has invited the visiting Americans to celebrate Independence Day at Fox Corner with a message entitled 'Damn the English and their stupid taxes!'.

And I am welcoming them with open arms, strawberries, and a grey sky. This is how we celebrate the Fourth of July in NW3.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wedmin - the final furlong

I've been a bit quiet on the blog front lately, and for those of you who miss my regular babblings, I apologise. I've been kept a little busy at BigCorp, which is clearly untenable.

Rather more pressingly, there's the wedmin. These past few weeks it has reached fever pitch. Multiple trying on of many pairs of shoes, various bras and hair clips. And that's just the bridesmaids... Last minute disputes with the organist over the appropriateness of our musical choices. A Red Leicester production issue causing a panicked selection of an alternative hard cheese - and we're still not sure we made the right choice. Phew! It's a mountain of absolute trivia, and it's all so pressingly urgent!

And then there's the seating plan. I'll spare you the details of the debate, but in summary one of us said 'My friends just want to hang out with their friends', and one of us said, 'The English are so insular'. No prizes for guessing who said what...

Being, as we are, two halves of one soul, obviously we resolved that debate fairly quickly. Still, the whole plan took hours to create. It's like a house of cards: move one person and the whole thing collapses. Once it was perfected, we revised and re-perfected it about a dozen more times. Then a couple of guests changed their plans so we revised it again. Finally, I spent a rainy Sunday evening laboriously writing out the place names in my best, albeit still barely legible, handwriting.
I realise I didn't make any of that sound like fun. But actually, it really has been. Planning a great big party with me and The Love of My Life at the centre: what's not to like? Even the chores associated with it keep me smiling.

With just a few days to go till we walk down the aisle, I think I can safely say all the wedmin is fully taken care of. I'd miss it, only I'm about to be kept busy in other ways...  The US contingent are already beginning to arrive and the whirlwind is about to begin.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

When kiwis turn sour

Remember when I was so excited about the kiwi tree at Fox Corner? It was pretty high on my list of reasons to take the flat. Well, I don't love it quite so much anymore.

TLOML loves to chop things down in the garden. This usually works well. I like to buy things, plant them, and water them. He likes to chop, prune, and mow. But for a while I was urging him to go easy on the kiwi.

'It's so pretty', I said. 'I love those creamy yellow flowers'.

Sadly it turns out, living with a kiwi is not all it's cracked up to be. The kiwi is a devious plant. It is aggressive, multiplying in volume tenfold every week. It has completely obscured the windows of the noisy boys who live upstairs, and is making a bid - via a snaky tendril - for our neighbours across the alleyway. It blocks all the sunshine from TLOML's office and has completely mugged what we think would be a nice baytree, if only we could see it through the kiwi vines. And since we have been told the fruit is inedible, the payoff is poor.

So TLOML went nuclear on it.

And for 24 hours afterwards, I enjoyed those creamy yellow flowers in a tightly confined space. This is, it transpires, the best way to enjoy a kiwi vine.