It was their finest hour…

The highlight of this week was the celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. There was a huge crowd packed around the Cabinet War Rooms to hear a reading of Churchill’s famous speech to Parliament with its unforgettable passages. It’s always moving to hear his words: ‘never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few’. They were read by Robert Hardy who has played Churchill in a TV series a while back. There was a very fast fly past of a Spitfire and Hurricane – very speedy in deed and tricky for photos but I guess that was the point back then! A few veterans were there for a photo call with Vera Lynn alongside a Spitfire replica. The veterans looked amazing for their age and one in particular, Geoffrey Wellum, did a walk about with the crowd, shaking hands (including mine!) and you could just imagine him as a dashing young pilot as he was still all smiles and charm, he’s the one at the front of the group photo in case you hadn’t guessed…


August has not brought us the wonderful weather that June and July were so generous with , but that has not stopped Londoners putting on their summer events. The good folk of Norfolk Square near Paddington station were not to be put off by a few dark clouds so they set up their summer fete for the children and had a good time. They had all the traditional stalls such as Punch and Judy and some unusual and wonderful ones such as a tall helter skelter and continuing the height theme, there was a group of singers who felt the need to make themselve at least 7 feet tall!



The restaurant report this week covers Marco Pierre White’s Kings Road Steakhouse. As usual we were on a special deal thanks to Toptable so there was a reasonably priced set menu with plenty of steak on it, tho my starter of beetroot with goats cheese with walnuts with a wonderful dessert of light cheesecake were worth a mention too. I took up my prize of a free dinner at Fire and Stone during this week and we went to their Covent Garden branch to eat as much as we could in their buzzing jolly room and cheery staff. We managed a shared starter, a large and tasty pizza and a shared brownie which sounds less than it felt at the time.


One final bit of London fun was a trip to Speakers Corner on Sunday morning. There were a
couple of guys drawing considerable crowds with their religious tracts. One was particularly good at engaging with the crowd which was not easy for him as one of the front row was quite a joker and got the crowd laughing. There was some very robust debate about the merits of christianity versus islam and the next crowd were being enlightened about judaism. The speakers just turn up with a set of steps or a chair and set off – a loud voice is definitely needed tho’. It’s a great institution and you have to love the freedom to rant!


Bye for now,

Laughs, tears and being very full up!

Read on to see what was happening in my London week: Carnaval del Pueblo fizzing, bike scheme starting, pizza opening, Spurs losing, comedy giggling, restaurant visiting and Toy Story!


Carnaval del Pueblo is a huge Latin American festival held in Burgess Park, south London and was indeed huge with 3 large sound stages, endless, endless food stalls, over 100,000 people dancing and picnicing and stalls selling all things Latin American and of course face painting! The festival is in its 10th year and is great fun – I even got to park nearby which was amazingly lucky. I should of course have cycled as London’s new cycle scheme started this weekend. We have new shining bike stands everywhere and once you’ve registered you can use a bike for your journey, taking it from one bike stand and returning it to another. I’ll have a go v soon but in the meantime loved this photo of the bikes all parked and ready to go the night before it all started.


The very friendly people at Fire and Stone pizzas kindly invited me to their pre-opening session for London bloggers at the new Shoreditch branch. They gave us a demo of how they make their pizzas and bases and enthused about their emphasis on fresh ingredients from good suppliers. The kitchen had been fired up with it’s pizza oven and pizza kept appearing so we tasted a slice – well several actually, then we were given the chance to make a pizza ourselves! Not as foolish as it sounds as we chose a one off their menu and assembled the ingredients on the base with the help of one of the chefs, so no too much room for making a mess of it. There was a competition for the one that looked most like it should have and somehow I won so here is a photo of me with my fabulous ‘Marrakech’ (all their pizzas are named after towns and use typical ingredients from that place). The bases are different from normal dough as they have to carry quite a weight of toppings and are very tasty I must say. A fun morning and felt immensely full afterwards as we also had to taste the puddings – ‘had to’, yes, would have been rude not too so for those who like to drool over food photos, here’s a pudding one – yummy brownie. Got a doggey bag – had to eat it – still feeling full – all my own fault…..


We’ve all moved on from the World Cup (as quickly as possible!) and it’s pre-season friendly time so I went to see Spurs play Villa Real courtesy of some complementary tickets which was just as well because a 4-1 loss didn’t feel very friendly. Spurs’s ground is not the best looking or easy to get to and there is talk of them trying to take on the Olympic stadium after 2012 which would be good except that the team is Tottenham Hotspurs not Straford Spurs! One photo of Spurs almost scoring a 2nd goal….

Kings Place is a new-ish arts venue near Kings Cross and was the venue for pre-Edinburgh comedy at the weekend – the wonderful Chris Addison from The Thick of It. He did a great set and is up there with my other favourites now. I’m off to the Edinburgh Fringe in a couple of weeks so I’m looking forward to getting a few new comedy names on that list. Kings Place has a canal side setting with bar and restaurant and hosts a great range of events and exhibitions throughout the year. It’s easy to get to except at the moment when the tube lines I use seem to be closed for renovation just when I want to use them – thank goodness for buses.

Restaurants this week included Camino near Kings Place – really good tapas and the bar was absolutely rammed with people who’d clearly been there for some time but no trouble at all.


And finally, Toy Story 3 – absolutely loved it and just held back a tear as they headed into the fire….. Genius story, scripting, technical brilliance and witty too. We went to the Electric Cinema to see it so we had the added loveliness of super comfy spacious seats and a bottle of wine.

Next week is shaping up – a trip to the Proms and a Kenwood picnic concert if the weather holds up.

Bye for now,