Easter Schmeaster

Are you stuck doing the rellie shuffle this weekend? Lunch with her parents, dinner with his? Brunch at the ex-in-laws because of a shared kid? Easter-egg hunts with the nieces and nephews? Have you collapsed in exhaustion from all family schmamily time already? Bored? Need something to watch to make it all go away? Or something to plonk the ratbags in front of so they’ll leave you alone?

Well… don’t watch this.

Do watch this.

Watch this if your rellies are the arthouse type and nobody fought in WW2

If you come from an enormous family and it’s going to be a really really long weekend, there’s always this. But maybe not for the little-uns.

There. Don’t say I never do anything for you.

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Thinking is a lot more effective when you actually use a brain.

When I was thinking about how to get all our “stuff” from London to Edinburgh, I thought with my wallet, not my head. Or my arms or legs or my seriously neglected cardiovascular system. Moving company? Way too expensive. Man with a van? Well he might be a lot cheaper, but it’s not like he could magic his way back to London. He’d probably charge us for a night’s sleep and for his time schlepping all the way back too, wouldn’t he?

Fuck it, I’ll drive us, I proclaimed – me, the girl, the cat, the kitten and a van full of all the ‘stuff’ one seems doomed to amass by staying still for more than a few weeks, like dust on the top of the fridge that you never realise is there until the day you move, or a really tall (and rude) person comes to visit and points it out. I came to London with one large suitcase -albeit bursting at the seems – a few years later and I had to ask for the biggest rental van I could get to accommodate all the accumulated ‘stuff’. 

We took the west route, past Birmingham and Manchester and the Lake District, because I read on some crappy forum the east route merges into one lane after Newcastle, and I imagined all sorts of holdups as a consequence. The west route – so says Google Maps – is only about 10 miles longer, something like 414 miles or 7.5 hours’ drive. And not that it should matter, but much more scenic, according to the authoritative voice of  FatherFatFingers88 from the forum.

I’d arranged temporary accommodation for us and space in a storage facility for the portion of the stuff we wouldn’t need until we’d found a permanent place. I figured it would be best to go to the storage place the same day to unload the van so I could return it the next morning and only be charged one day’s rental.

Thinking with my wallet again.

The day of the move we were up with the birdies. We needed time to pick up the van (sure to take ages courtesy of London traffic and car rental rigmarole), pack it, do a last once over clean of the flat, plead with the passing policemen to let me keep the beast of a van parked on the footpath and bribe the builders next door with some beer to help us poor, weak females with the heavy stuff. This had to be done by 11am, when the inventory clerk was due. She was coming to make sure we hadn’t left holes in the walls or dead bodies under the floor boards. Continue reading

What I’ll miss about London – Argentina.

A few weeks ago, I realised there’s still so much of London I’ve yet to explore.I grabbed a London city guide to see how slack I’d been and saw that I still hadn’t done The National Gallery, Kew Gardens, Tower Bridge (been over and under it, but not in it), St Paul’s (be outside it, not in it),Wimbledon, the Notting Hill Festival (meh, I’d probably never do that actually), climbed the Monument at Monument…

So it’s a few weeks later and I now have only one week left in this city. So did I get off my bum to set the travesty right? No, of course not. But I did make sure I had one last visit to a London delight which l shall no longer be able to enjoy in Edinburgh.And anyone who knows me even slightly will be able to guess that this would involve food, and not very sophisticated food at that.

Last Friday night I took myself and the girl who, until meeting me, had never had a steak in her life (apparently it’s just not a dish you get in Hungary) to Gaucho, an Argentinian steak restaurant. In my opinion, or maybe I really mean my in my price range, it’s the best steak you’ll get in a chain restaurant in London. I would have just said ‘best steak in London’ but I’m acutely aware that there’s a whole other London out there which only those on a rather preposterous wage ever get a glimpse of. I’m sure in their London good steaks are easy to come by. But in my London, after budgeting well for a couple of months, if you can afford to splurge £25-ish for a slab of cow, Gaucho’s is the place you want to splurge it in.

Despite the fact that Gaucho’s interior design looks like someone has slaughtered a herd of black, brown and white cows, then dimmed the lights and put in chandeliers in an attempt to make us believe cow hide is couture, it’s no run of the mill chain.

gaucho

Arrrrgh my eyes! It’s not nearly as painful with the lights down, I promise. Maybe just don’t go during daylight.

In the girl’s world, anywhere with a table cloth is fancy, so I was wary that she might be feeling a bit out of place in this dark den of dead cow. But then came the chimichurri, and the only thing left for her to think about was the food and putting more of it into her mouth. Continue reading