First things first, a bit of housekeeping.
For what it's worth I'm not going to be cross-posting to Livejournal from here. I may import one day if I have the inclination but to be completely honest, I'm inclined to leave things as they are.
If you're coming from LJ and you have a different username here can you drop me a comment and let me know who or what you are? I'm trying to be relatively free and easy with the old reading list here, but if we've not really met before or have fallen out of touch then now would be the perfect time to stick your head over the parapet.
Bothersomely, I think I might have gone on holiday without having set up my Out of Office. I've had two PRs attempt to contact me through Twitter today, which doesn't usually irritate me but indicates a couple of things, firstly that people are trying to contact me and are not being fobbed off through the usual channels, and secondly that Lovely-Yet-Slapdash!Editor is shirking his responsibilities again (this is, dear friends, one of the reasons why I want to leave).
I am officially AFK, if you haven't gathered that much yet. It's the first time I've had a chance to stop and wind down since Christmas, and it feels great.
I had an easy weekend; we went to an old colleague's birthday do on Saturday night up in Shoreditch at a succession of achingly trendy hipster bars (one of which did do mojitos). Shoreditch is full of people who are much cooler than me, but the bars were good and the booze was free-flowing. I was a little put off by the boys in black sequinned 'meggings' paired with denim jackets and teddy-boy hairdos, but TheLondonPaper tells me British street style is the envy of the world* and so, if the world wants me to wear lycra in a non-bicycling situation then I probably shouldn't argue with it.
Yesterday to an old haunt, the pub where long-time readers will recall I worked a long, hot summer in 2002. But now dusted off, repainted and renamed the Albany, it's still pulling in the punters, but instead of luring them with beer-slicked tables, badly cooked burgers, Carling Black Label and 'Now That's What I Call 1948' it's luring them with sludge green walls, balsamic aioli, Birra Moretti and uptempo Brazilian lounge. Yes, it's become a Gastropub.
I couldn't complain too much, as in its previous incarnation as The Fox on the River, a senior-citizens concept chain pub (an ill-fated Whitbread idea called Vintage Inns) it had truly been the pits, staffed by clueless students and with two cash-in-hand off-the-books Portuguese guys in the kitchen.
Come 2009, whoever they had in the kitchen could cook a mean ribeye and it was a relief to be rid of Angry George the old Jag-driving Gene Hunt parody of a landlord. The wait staff were still cheerfully incompetent, but this is par for the course in a pub. Also the parents were paying.
Today has been very lazy. Thanks to the Boy I am now the proud owner of a teal Le Creuset baking dish and thanks to my parents, a gorgeous heavy pestle and mortar for grinding things in - the corpses of my enemies, Moroccan spices, you gets the picture - as well as various chocolates and a big bag of Jelly Belly. I've been watching series one of Ab Fab on DVD and had Parma ham, olives, blue cheese and half a bottle of rose, and I sense Japanese food in my near future. That has to be dangerously close to perfection.
As for the rest of the week, I might play some Warcraft, I might go out on the bike (in situationally appropriate attire), I might even rewrite my CV.