In the multi chandeliered ballroom of intentions and resolutions the lights only burn with gem like brilliance when intentions and resolutions are actually realised. Thus my chandelier glows with the merest ghostly glimmer because I have crossed off ridiculously few items from the list of things, I drew up a few years ago, that I wished to do in the coming decade.
Category Archives: London
This week Ireland hit the meteorological jackpot, the weather has been glorious with: crystalline blue skies, the gently whir of soft coastal breezes and a warm vibrant sun casting a glittery glow over everything. I love these balmy days but my favourite time is not when the sun is high in the sky but when it begins to dip and day starts to dissolves into inky night.
Like a runaway horse heading in one direction only, the unstoppable temporal train gallops forward carrying us ever onwards towards our unforetold futures. There are no return trips and as we are not time travellers we cannot go back to yesteryear. Of course, our minds can wing us back to remembered and half remembered days gone by and besides if curiosity gets the better of us it is usually possible to revisit places where we have been at an earlier time in the arc of our lives.
If you are visiting London and have even a passing interest in art you might like to hop on a bus, leap onto a skateboard or jump on a magic carpet and whizz on down to picture sellers Abbott and Holder. You will find Abbott and Holder in a charming four storey period townhouse in Bloomsbury a stone’s throw away from the British Museum.
Ottolenghi is by now a bit of a culinary cliché. I don’t mean that in any bad way – just that it has been so talked and written about that it seems as familiar as soft falling rain. In case you haven’t heard of it, the phenomena that is Ottolenghi is a set of four food shops in central London run by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. The shops are in Islington, Belgravia, Notting Hill and Kensington; the Islington branch is also a full restaurant, the Belgravia and Notting Hill branches have small communal eating-in areas at the back of the shops and Kensington which is the smallest shop serves take-out food only.
I have no idea how many establishments there actually are in London where it is possible to buy a coffee. However I suspect if they were all slammed together into one linear-mile-long street that to fit them all in the buildings on the imaginary street would, like a miniature version of Manhattan, be sky-high. When I was in London recently, despite the plethora of choice for a caffeine fix, I ended up returning to the Orrery Epiciere on Marylebone High Street, partly because I was in the area but mainly because the last time I was there the coffee was a model of perfect velvet-y smoothness.
Aeons ago I lived in London. In the arc of my life thus far it was for a relatively short period – a mere seven years. I loved living there but paradoxically only truly appreciated all London has to offer after my return to Ireland when world-class major museums, great art collections, a slew of shops, and a plethora of theatres were no longer a short tube or bus ride away. Not of course that Dublin doesn’t have a humongous amount to offer but the relative sizes of the two cities (Greater London population nearly eight million: Greater Dublin population not yet two million) means that Dublin is never going to provide the same vast array of choices that London does.
Liberty is by far and away my favourite department store. Aeons ago when I lived in London, Liberty was a short bus ride from home and I took it so much for granted that I could pop in to browse when the mood took me. It was great deal larger back in the day when I lived close by but fortunately the essence of the store hasn’t suffered from its shrinking.
Whenever I am in Paris, for more than a few days, I try at some point to head to the Rose Bakery for lunch. The Rose Bakery at 46, Rue des Martyrs is a bakery/café/shop which sells and serves uncomplicated, flavoursome and mainly organic food at affordable prices. A throng of hungry and subsequently happy diners have beaten a path to its doors since Anglo-French couple Rose and Jean-Charles Carrarini opened it in 2002. A London outpost opened in 2007.
I think the decor at The Parlour at Sketch is best described as truly madly eclectic; it shouldn’t work but it does. There is an assortment of different styles of sofas and chairs, covered in a bewildering selection of clashing fabrics, dotted around the large high-ceilinged room. Tables are of different designs and heights. The interior is dim despite an array of unusual lights which include vast chandeliers dangling from the ceiling and a large light, made of fibreglass, in the shape of a moose’s head, mounted trophy style on the wall. There is more, much more but I feel The Parlour at Sketch is best seen rather than described.