This had been a very long week indeed. Granted that I hadn’t taken a break during the holiday season but just the very thought of seeing the office full and buzzing was enough to lower me into a state of blues on monday morning. And then the week itself – oh so hectic. By Friday, everyone was so snappy, irritable and frustrated, it was obvious that pretty much everyone felt the same way. After work, some of us decided to go look at ice sculpting in progress while sipping on hot glu wine. This was at Wood Wharf, connected to Canary Wharf via a small bridge. It was all lit up and as we approached it, I could see lights dancing on the water’s surface and it felt, if only for a nanosecond, like the festivities weren’t over just yet. The sculptors were busy at work, sawing away at their frozen blocks of raw material, lit with pink lights, while people huddled about watching them. For me the mulled wine was the best part – nice and hot, to hold and to drink. To cherish and to savour, until well until the last drop do you apart.
Once the wine was over, I just wanted to get out of there. There’s only so much you want to see of the people you work with after a point on friday (not applicable to all colleagues, and especially not applicable to my lovely group at my previous job whom I was always happy to hang out with). I headed home, the evening standard, my usual companion with me. I finally managed to convince my west-London inhabiting friend to come visit Hackney. He thought the whole place had an air of council housing but then the bastard hasn’t seen the charming Victorian houses all around Stokey.
I dragged my pal to Punjab 58 for some good old North Indian cooking. I love having Indian food with other Indians. Unfortunately a lot of my colleagues here tell me that to them all Indian food tastes the same. Obviously they are talking about “curry” and this dosh isn’t always Indian food. Anyway, we had the most awesome meal – chickpea and potato salad for starters, palak paneer, yellow daal, chapatis and rice. There was no place for dessert after that! I have to say that I love Punjabi cooking, and Indian cooking in general. The form, the colours, the unique flavours and how you can construct a different taste with each bite, the presence of sweet and tangy and spicy all on the same plate. I was quite pleased with the place and the fact that it is so close to home. Definitely worth another visit.
Today the sleep deficit of the past couple of weeks finally caught up and I woke up around mid-day. Breakfast was the last remaining slice of a pizza I’d ordered on Tuesday. It’s been a lazy day and the most I exerted myself was to get some groceries to stock up for the week. I watched a chick flick – Two weeks notice – and I sobbed a bit. I have to say it wasn’t the best and Sandra Bullock (though I love her) and Hugh Grant don’t have much chemistry together.
Tomorrow is ‘no trousers on the tube’ day. Which means there will be loads of people on the London Underground without pants. This I gotta see!
Took ye ole trusted Duchess out this morning to bike to work. A cloudy day but warm. We took to the road but the elevator at the foot tunnel was closed. In no mood to take the steps holding 16.2 kgs, I cycled to the ferry. The Thames Clipper was there in a minute and I bought my ticket onboard. The boat drifted along in a sweet, rhythmic motion and I even half wished that the journey was slightly longer to allow me to drift to sleep. Behind me a girl was in full slumber mode. It was lovely to be on the river after a weekend of riding next to and photographing it. I was at Canary Wharf soon enough, got off the ferry and cycled along. I circled Westferry Circus and then took West India Avenue – the trees lining it already autumnal. It was lovely. Getting into Canary Wharf and stopping at almost every light wasn’t!
Cycling back at night and the escalator was still shut. I carried the Duchess up a couple of steps before one of the works-men offered to pick her up. I was only to happy to let him.
My bike parking finally expired today now that the Games are over and I locked the Duchess at a rail under my office building. I took a peek at her once during the day from the other side of my floor and once when I went down to buy lunch. It’s nice to spot her handlebar and basket from a distance.
Here’s something that always amuses me about London. At stations, in office buildings, or wherever there are doors that need to be pushed open, if there is a door held open for even a moment, everyone will try and squeeze through it rather than open one on their own. So if you have several glass doors lined together, such as the ones in the picture below, if someone pushes through one, people will immediately follow endlessly until someone comes along, decides to be different and pushes through an unopened door. And then the river of people has a new channel to flow through.
Are people that lazy? Well the truth to some extent is that maybe they are. But also, these doors tend to be fairly heavy and to push through one “from scratch” requires a bit of an effort (at least for me) followed by a loss of momentum. And a loss of momentum is absolutely unacceptable in London, especially during peak times when everyone is running about, severely caffeinated with expressions like zombies. An outsider may well argue that with the lack of adequate sunshine and their pasty complexions, and this tendency to mechanically flow through open doors actually does make Londoners seem like zombies.
If a Londoner sees an open door, he will run or scamper or at the very least quicken his steps to make the most of it! But this whole affair actually affords a chance to be sociable, even if for the very briefest of moments. If you hold a door open for the person coming through behind you, and they happen to be at a slight distance, you will be thanked. Verbally. Or you may even get a smile! This is perhaps the ultimate or maybe even amongst the only ways of acknowledging a stranger’s existence here – except when you are dodging them of course. What about the act of holding a door open for someone for a moment longer than you need to pass through it yourself earns so much gratitude? I did this for someone today and got such a big smile it actually made me cheer up a bit. This may sound like a load of rubbish but this is a huge deal in a city that studiously avoids eye contact in public transport!