This weekend was a triumph and not just because I had two free meals! Although mainly that, obviously. Kelly's friends Emma and Francess decamped from Belfast allowing her to up her game magnificently. We were due to go to the British Museum where Emma had once worked but, for reasons of Francess not wanting to go, we opted instead for a visit to London's fashionable cell of dissidents Stoke Newington. We hopped in a black cab that had four quid on the clock before we left the rank owing to the fact that the taxi rank is in the bus station and there were throngs of hobbling red and white twats failing to be kettled by the loitering be-tabarded police, as they made their way out of the Arsenal shop and off to the Emirates Stadium.
We took a slow loping route around Stoke Newington's one-way system, like a piece of tainted pork circumnavigating the lower instine: noisily, in fits and starts and at no little cost; the route negotiated by our driver also negoiating him out of a tip.
What is there to do in Stoke Newington? Well, it looks nice, there are lots of pokey little shops to poke around in. We trudged through the higgledy-piggledy cemetary speculating on the meaning of the veiled urns that adorn every Victorian coffins. (the urn it turns out is fairly self explanatory; it has ashes in it like modern urns. Except tea-urns. Which aren't true urns at all! The veil represents "the mortal veil"; a gateway through which you must pass from one state of existence to another. Like those coloured strips of plastic hanging from the door frame you used to get in old-school betting shops or pornography outlets).
We went to the "Three Crowns" for lunch and then off home, walking all the way to Finsbury Park! The longest distance that Kelly has been able to walk for a month. I thought she would be exhausted but no, she was up and at 'em for the next set of visitors on Sunday.
Mike and Row came up from East Dulwich laden with delicious treats from the unjustly not world famous Franklin's store. (Franklin's is the restaurant where Kelly an I had our first date and where I proposed and is therefore "our place" - they have a shop now selling poncey delicacies to the yummy mummies of the South and delicious Earl Grey with blue flowers to me!)
We took them on a walk up to Crouch End (the East Dulwich of the North: full of jobbing actors and women with prams the size of 4 by 4s; prams that are, in fact, 4 by 4s!)and ate at Banner's. Kelly had wanted to go there for years but it had always been packed ( and of course I was never keen as it is notoriously child friendly and I am, in temperament if not in practice, child hostile). Well the gods, damn them, were smiling on us and we got a table and sat down to a pleasant meal in a rather nice place. I asked for my lamb burger to be rare and when it arrived I was introduced to the concept of Lamb Tartar: it was practically raw. That said I ate it and it was delicious.
Actually that was a really nice weekend. At last. Hooray.