Friday, 30 January 2009
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Tuesday, 20 January 2009
- I went to Clissold Park (and associated café, pirates castle and so on) for the first time, with George. George loved it all. Continuing on my theme of 'I hate everywhere in London except my own area' (I call it reverse NIMBYism, or OIMBYism - Only in my back yard) I decided that Stoke Newington is far too nappy valley for me. Having said that, Clissold Park is lovely and there are even deer.
- I went on a secret mission to a Japanese restaurant. Details too top secret to disclose but it was seriously spy mission extraordinaire.
- I got assaulted by a crazy lady at the council offices who thought I worked for the council. She hit me over the head with her umbrella (first time this has ever happened, I have to say) but when she realised that I did not in fact work for the Council, she told me that I would be rewarded in heaven. I guess I'll have to wait and see.
- I read a Henning Mankell book for the first time. Thanks to my friends Alex and Sarah. I love Wallander and yes I am aware that reading crime novels is desperately sad, and that by reading books which are (a) European (Swedish) and (b) modern-day, I have wholly failed to expand my literary horizons. But I don't care. Last night I stayed up until 2.30am reading the end of The White Lioness because frankly I wouldn't have been able to sleep without knowing what happened.
- I heard the new Franz Ferdinand single and so far am distinctly underwhelmed.
- I went to see Slumdog Millionaire and was distinctly overwhelmed. [What? This isn't a movie and music review blog, you know].
But I've got to tell you about my best first time this week. Those of you who read this blog avidly (probably only my Mum) will remember that when I went to see Glasvegas a few months ago, I also saw a band called White Lies. They played a fabulous acoustic set and I thought they were brilliant. Anyway. They have just released their new album this week and already the hype is horrific and already part of my love for them has died on that basis alone. But for the first time since I was a teenager (and as this is my blog, this so counts) I have been desperately impressed by a set of lyrics. Remember those days when you used to copy lyrics off the back of Smash Hits magazine and wish you could have written them? Nope - only me then. Well, White Lies are obsessed with death. Properly obsessed. Their first EP was called Death and their first single is called To Lose My Life. Anyway, one of their songs on the Death EP is about fear of flying - a theme dear to my heart. Every time I get on a flight, not only am I terrified but the fear is also made worse by the fact that my lovely DH hates that I hate flying and gets terribly tense too. So the lyric:
"I'm frightened of dying; relax? yes I'm trying". A work of genius.
Monday, 12 January 2009
The judge in question was my favourite judge in the world, Jeremy Sullivan. Mr. Justice Sullivan has been a judge of the High Court for eleven years and was today being elevated to the Court of Appeal, so as of today he is Lord Justice Sullivan. It's hard to describe this man. If I had heroes, he would undoubtedly be my judge hero. Jarvis would be my music hero and Sullivan is my law hero. I must explain that this is not (unlike the case of Jarvis) because I have any kind of a crush on him. It's because he manages to be a rare combination of things: very clever (obviously goes without saying), courteous to all advocates who appear in front of him (some judges could really learn from him, I have to say, you know who you are) and brilliant at spotting the heart of the issue. Everyone agrees that you could tell within the first five minutes whether you had won with him.
Anyway, so the ceremony was brilliant. It was in court 4 at the Royal Courts of Justice, one of the biggest courts, so that it could fit all the judges and barristers who wanted to wish him well. He came in dressed in the world's fanciest outfit: all wig and gold embroidery and silk and you really had to be there to believe it. He swore allegiance to the Queen, and, rather touchingly, to 'do good for all manner of people'. Congrats, Lord Justice Sullivan. And every best wish for the future.
Sunday, 11 January 2009
Wednesday, 7 January 2009
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
Sunday, 4 January 2009
Saturday, 3 January 2009
- The hotel was commissioned by the Marques de Riscal winery, the oldest winery in the Rioja region of Spain. We went on a wine tour of the winery and discovered that it has a private collection of every vintage since 1860;
- For the first time ever I have been more impressed by the architecture of a hotel rather than anything else. It is amazing. Just being in the rooms (twisting and turning to fit in with the architecture rather than being rooms designed for the user in mind).
- The restaurant makes you want to live in the hotel forever. Any hotel restaurant which does a 'stew of the day' (which makes you want to cry, it's so good) each day clearly caters to the Scot in me.
Other first times from the holiday:
- I discovered that there is a Spanish city called Logrono (and visited it). It apparently has 150,000 inhabitants. Now, I absolutely defy you to have heard of it. Unless you're Spanish or have extensively toured there. Now, I expect most people have heard of most large Spanish cities. But Logrono? I had never heard of it and it has no tourists and as a result is amazing. We had a great tapas bar hopping experience there.
- I went to Pamplona for the first time. Yes, that bull running place. Lovely place - was most impressed by the tiled bathrooms in the cathedral (yes, I'm that sad. I only took about six photos all holiday and that was one of them).
- I went to a medieval village called Laguardia. Previously, this had only been known to me as NY's second airport, which just goes to show what I know. It was bitterly cold. I actually cried with cold (but had an excuse to wear all my new scarves at once - see previous posts). It's lovely - no need to make a special trip there, in my HO.
- I had lunch in Biarritz on the way back. Get this - it was the 30th December and I sat outside to have lunch, it was so warm. I had never been to Biarritz (south of France, but Atlantic side, not the Med) and now I am in love with it. Beach and a Galeries Lafayette. When can we move there?
- Went to San Sebastian. I can't claim this as a first time, but I can say that I ran along La Concha beach for the first time. Felt a bit sad as that was the first day without George.
So that's a potted summary of my last few first times. Which takes me to today. Went to see Arsenal play Plymouth in the Cup (we won 3-1 for those of you who have not fallen asleep at the mention of football). I decided that as it is new year, I'd say happy new year to the man next to me, and ask his name. Now I know. This doesn't sound like a big deal? It is. Men go years and years and years sitting next to another season ticket holder year after year without asking their name. It's how it works. It is not manly to seem too friendly. But I'm not a man, and I have a blog to write, so I did it. Now the man I usually call the "Behave, you f***ing muppet!" man (as that's all he ever says during a game - to the players, not me) has a name. He's called Derek. And he even smiled.