Once upon a time, there was a young boy who imagined that as he would grow, he would gradually get to see all the place in the world, and meet all of its people, who would become his friends.
And so, in the year 2023, that boy (now arguably ‘man’), made his way to a small island, and found indeed that the island already contained both friends and family.
Or something like that.
In the year 2023, on one not completely unsunny day in April, Fabio came to visit us on The Island.
He met me at about midday near my work, and we set off on an Epic Stroll (although these two words are incredibly incompatible).
For those of you playing at home, this was our planned walk:
More or less.
Which completed, more or less, with just a slight deviation at the end (we went up to Green Park station to meet Sameer and walked from there to Chinatown) and into Soho.
Of course, no journey can begin on an empty stomach, so our first stop was Rotiking, where we scoffed some Roti with Rendang (a bit spicy), kway teow, and some teh tarik.
I get that Malaysian food isn’t really the most London-ish thing to show someone, but it is something that’s very close to my little Aussie heart. And something that Berlin was sorely lacking.
Post meal, we wandered up Camden High Street until we hit the market, and stopped to have a look at some pigeons from a container roof top (Fabio’s choice), and some Punks (arguably their choice, as they charge for photos?).
Then we kept on heading north until we hit the canal, so that I could regale Fabio with my tales of how pretty much everyone I know has responded to London housing prices by at some point imagining their life on a riverboat.
My conclusion is that I would struggle with the space (I hoard), the damp (I hoard), and the lack of lights (some of the things I hoard like to photosynthesise).
But I do like the fact that this life seems to regularly come with cats.
We curved with the canals, and found ourselves in Reagent’s Park.
It was the kind of day that was surprisingly springlike and sunny..
…but also, perhaps less surprisingly, completely freezing cold and windy.
There was lots of layering and unlayering, and we considered the benefits of one of those old scuba head things as a way to keep the neck warm (needs workshopping).
We stopped to smell the roses in Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, only to find that we’d come a couple of months too early…
So we kept on walking (once again in the sun), in the direction of some snacks.
(Queue also a brief moment of helping a elderly woman on the street get into her apartment- but not all the way in, a discussion about safety and how to help, and (for me at least), mild concern about how ageing will come for me).
When workshopping the plans for his trip, Fabio mentioned a desire to try High Tea, or something similar.
As a good and humble host, I mostly ignored these plans, and instead steered us into Gails, for scones and jam and cream. Because to be honest, the little cucumber sandwich part seems largely overpriced unless you’re really in the mood to TEA DAAHHHLING.
We were provided with our scones, jam and cream, as well as a solution for the ‘how to get a photo of both of us’:
^Thank you shiny decore.
Fabio was observed while he tried the scones with different orders of toppings (some people say cream first, some say jam):
And, to my memory, landed firmly on the ‘cream on top’ version…. before firmly criticising the whole experience’s lack of scientific vigour.
Point 1. Can the subject really make free choice when observed
Point 2. Note the difference in thicknesses of the scone layer
We schooched our way into Hyde park, where we met (and annoyed) some animals:
Including the Queen*’s Own Swan.
Which we feared too much to mock.
The ‘Serpentine lake’ that crosses the park didn’t get off so lightly (Leech lake more like), nor did London’s answer to the Brandenburger Tor:
But we were sufficiently respectful in front of
her his (ugh) majesty’s home.
Although the Italian looks like he’s plotting something if you ask me.
We got a bit lost (a combination of me confidently walking in the wrong direction and Fabs confidently supporting me), and then made it just close enough to where we were supposed to meet Sameer to hide from him a bit.
I think he enjoyed the game.
As it started to evening up proper, we entered China Town, ready for a bit more feasting.
^It’s nice to see that the thing where it looks like I am holding men down and forcing them to be photographed with me is not Sameer specific.
We ate some soup dumplings and garlic kailan at Dim Sum Legends:
And I took this Amazing Shot of Sameer and Fabio exiting after we saw a very similar photo taken of
Prince King Charles and Camilla inside the restaurant:
And then we darted off to Good Friends, a Taiwanese chicken place which I had enthusiastically been describing to Fabio the whole day (they BEAT THE CHICKEN INTO A SHEET).
It’s basically chicken schnitzel y’all, just in case Fabio was feeling homesick.
Fabio was perhaps at first skeptical (although this might have been a response to my enthusiastic chicken meat beating talk)…
but I think he came around…
We didn’t manage to hit up quite as many different food places as I wanted (I would have loved to get some Mamasons icecream- next time!), but had to dash because we all had plans for Poshness.
So we raced into Soho, and headed on into Nightjar to have some fancy cocktails.
And that was Day One of the Adventure.
13th April, 2023