almonds-pMore foraging tales from W7: sweet almonds. Who would have thought that these grow in London?

The almonds are perfect, and if you never sampled fresh almonds, you should probably put it on your bucket list. Unlike the dried-out specimen from the supermarket shelf, the real thing has the aromatic oils still intact, thus exhibits the aroma of marzipan. Or rather, it reminds you that marzipan tastes of almonds (well, and a tiny little ton of sugar and a splash of rose water).

You might want to keep your eyes peeled for sweet almonds in your area, ‘coz I am not telling where “our” tree is, srsly not.


A Man Walks Into a Bar

DSC_0053So, a man walks into a bar and expertly orders a pint and a half of London Pride and two pints of Kronenbourg.

Bitte sehr! said the barmaid in flawless German.

Funny how my origins are still so easily detectable after more than 18 years in London.

To bad that she didn’t have time to explain herself, but I will be back…

It Happened Today

DSC_0565Today is the first day of this year which I even start out in shorts and T-shirt. Long pants are pants, at least as long as this warm weather lasts!

All fruit trees in bloom while the tulips are still going strong. I can almost see the newly sown peas emerging from my window. I can definitely see the radishes emerging, and those Swiss Chard plants which overwintered in the bed are already in full production by mid April.

Makes me think that summer can’t be too far away, no? Certainly feels like it.

My Painting Hero

DSC_0509.JPGFor once we managed to view the John Singer Sargent exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London before the last day, and I am very glad that we did. Even though, or maybe because we had to book a ticket for timed entry (we chose 14:00), there was no queuing and a very relaxed atmosphere.

And every one of his paintings well worth a good look, and another one.

I like his loose stroke for the out-of-focus parts, the background and the frilly bits of the sitters clothes, and I adore his confidence with tonal painting. Just superb.

Go and see the Singer Sargent exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery if you are in London.

Image Prohibited

img-prohibitedWe went to the Tate Britain’s current exhibition of British Folk Art.  I could have told you how we liked it, and that we thought it was, while quite a small exhibition, still well worth going. I could have told you how we generally like Tate Britain’s permanent and special exhibitions, and we could have accompanied these words with a nice little smartphone shot of one of the exhibits, just good enough to make you want to go and see for yourself.

It’s just too annoying that they don’t allow photography. No flash photography – fine. No professional photography – fine. No commercial use of photos taken, no tripods within the exhibition, no extra lighting – all fine. But a little handheld pocket digital camera or a smartphone snapping away for personal memories or sharing (and advertising) on social media?

No, no photography whatsoever.

As if they own the place, or the exhibits.

Boris’ Waterworks

DSC_0075Boris and his friends are snapping up an opportunity to purchase three second-hand water canons from the German police, beating their chest and priding themselves of £2.3 million saved in comparison to the purchase of new equipment. (

According to the BBC, a Home Office spokesman said: “We are keen to ensure that the police have the tools and powers they need to maintain order on our streets.”

This is exactly the problem, can’t they see? Why not, for a change, work on the reasons which make people protest, on the causes of unrest? Fighting back never works, oppression always backfires.

I do not endorse any form of violence, least of all violence by the state. I somehow hope this backfires, though. At least it shows what government thinks of the people it governs: riff-raff, needs to be disciplined, beaten down, locked away.


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The Next Train

DSC_0032I should point out that London Transport usually performs a lot better than this, and should further point at that, on this occasion, their performance was a lot better than the display.

Still a nice shot though.


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We Flew

DSC_0086We “flew” the Emirates Airline last Sunday. For those unfamiliar with one of the attractions more recently added to London, I’m talking about this Emirates Air Line: a cable car between North Greenwich on the south bank of the river Thames and the Royal Docks on the other side. It crosses the Thames where it is pretty wide, between the Isle of Dogs (the heart of London’s Docklands), offering spectacular views of the Docklands on one side and the Thames Barrier on the other.

The service is great, affordable for a one-off (£3.30 on an Oyster pay-as-you-go), the cabins feel very safe, and the views are fantastic. The only downside is that the ride is over all too quickly.

Oh, and maybe the fact that it really leads to nowhere. A lot of development potential remains on the Royal Docks. It isn’t all wasteland, but we ended up taking the tube to the next point of urban civilization (Canary Wharf).

For a nice day one on a nice weather day in London, highly recommended.

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Little Red Rooster

DSC_0985We went to Sadler’s Wells to see the Rambert Company’s latest, a few days ago. I admit not being enthusiastic about this production, but it made me listen to the Rolling StonesGRRR! during my workout today. And a fine choice that was!

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Urban Wildlife

20140112_124358It isn’t the greatest wildlife photo in the world; not wishing to loose the opportunity, I used my mobile phone rather than run and search for a proper camera.

We often see foxes at night.

This is our first full daylight fox. He (or she?) was quite relaxed and in apparently good condition, enjoying the cold wind and a good look around the alley way and back gardens.

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An Amazing Book to Watch

DSCF2763Today, I am recommending that you go watch this book if you can: The Book of Mormon. Funny and packed with energy, this is one of the best musicals I have ever seen.

No, I do not recommend that you read the book by the same name, but the musical, thou shalt go and watch.

(Picture taken in Utah, which is the closest I could come to Salt Lake City.)

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Slow News Attack

Thames BarrierThe BBC informs us that officials considered flooding parts of Kent and Essex in order to prevent the flooding of Central London, as has now emerged through documents released by the National Archives. (click for article)

I can only hope this piece of slow news remains in the dark corner of obscurity, but chances are that some bored and sensation-eager journalist will blow it up to a major news item, so here’s my preventive counter-argument:

The only news-worthy news item in that context would have been a report stating that several options were not being looked at and considered. To consider an option is fundamentally different from taking an option after all.

Looks like every paper has the story already.

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