Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy 2007! Feliz Ano Novo! Joyeux..yea yea...

First: The dinner party

Yes, another year and getting closer to the dreade... erm... much-anticipated dinnerpartytime. I have cloth, I have dishes, I'm working on the crystal and I'm coercing my friends into bringing their own a tithe. Ha ha ha. Ha. No, really. I have those covered too.

I'm sure this is all a huge surprise to you gentle reader, as I have not posted for many a fourtenight (ME for those of you anal-retentives who are thinking of inundating my inbox with spelling suggestions and mean-spirited cackles of orthographic superiority). Anyhoos (really, just control yourselves) I have indeed not been neglecting my hostess planning duties and my brain has been busily working on those details that make or break a truly elegant function, such as the crucial (and oh so oft neglected!) issue of chargers vs. placemats. The truly discerning amongst ye (ME ibid) of course already know the answer. In a most felicitous example of serendipity gone wild, the Spode store downtown is selling nice gold chargers for $1.99 ea. instead of the regular usurary 8 buckz or some such. Unfortunately, in a blatant example of stupidity gone even wilder, I neglected to buy some the last time I was there. What can I say, I had been to the cinnabon store and was suffering major sugar-rush neuron shutdown.

I'll keep you updated on my second excursion to aforementioned china store.

Second: Our trip to England

YEESS!!!!! What a GREAT TIME we had!!! We walked, we shopped, we dined, we visited St. Paul's Cathedral (the unfortunate setting of my cowardly behaviour but more on that later), we travelled up North and took in a soccer game, oops football match, we ate full English breakfasts, some delicious fish & chips, we visited the Space Centre in Leicester and then we shopped some more.

Oh, and let's not forget one of the best epicurean experiences EVER! In Leicester, we happened upon a most amazing Chinese restaurant, The Peking. What can I say: the sweet and sour soup was the BEST I ever had (and Cat concurs with me here), the fried rice was simply sublime, and the beef era de comer e chorar por mais. (For you non-lusophones, I just wrote something about eating and crying with ineffable happiness.) Cat was equally impressed with his tofu dishes. We chose the special pre-set meal and it was so much cheaper than their regular fare that we thought we would be getting smallish portions, but nothing was further from the truth. We were well well served!

And speaking of SERVICE.... what a pleasant surprise!!!! Ladies & Gents, we were treated with the utmost courtesy, given free seconds, assiduously helped and smiled at... WOW! We even got a cool 2007 calendar when we left! I will make a point of going back next time I travel to the UK. Lest ye suspicious minds think I'm getting some sort of bonus for advertising the place, or that I'm related in some way to those good people... I'm not, and I wish! Yummmm...

Why Leicester you ask? The UK National Space Centre! Yep, we went and had a terrific time. They happened to be in the midst of a busy Dr. Who weekend, so the place was full of kids (including the big kids :) and rather suspicious, odd-looking (possibly even non-carbon-based) life forms.

One of us (the tall one with the stripy scarf) was mistaken for a certain Dr. and threatened within an inch of his life, as you can see by the rather plungy object perilously near his carotid.

Well, the place is amazing! I learned quite a bit about the early space program and the current UK and European Mars projects (no, they haven't heard from Beagle II yet... sneef). We also learned about underwear-hungry bacteria (click on pic of Cat pointing) and the evolution of space suits.

If you ever go, be sure to check out their spaceship landing simulation! We waited in line for almost an hour and I have to tell you, IT WAS SO WORTH IT!! I just about screamed as we "crash landed" on an inhospitable world (ok, ok, I did scream) zooming through the atmosphere and crashing through ice mountains. WOW!! What an experience!! We LOVED it!!!

Ok, so I still have a lot to say about the delectable shopping (hint: it's true that the regular stuff is way more expensive in the UK, but the designer duds are CHEAPER!) Yes ladies, hold on tight to your YSL and Dolce & Gabbana, I fool you not! My wonderful husband did buy me my heart's desire, TWO pairs of really funky (and yet oh-SO-classy!) Docs but I must confess that a part of my left ventricle is still stubbornly attached to a pair of pumps in Covent Garden.... sneef. Sneef. I think I have lost those heart cells forever. And by forever, I mean next season.

More on St. Paul's, the gallery of whispers and my abject cowardice next week, aka acrophobia ruins my fun.... gnnkkkxxxx...

Anyways, feast your eyes on some oddly hungry bugs...:) No, don't get your knickers in a knot, they won't be invited to the dinner party.... :))

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