05 April 2010

This Lovely Springtime Glow

London in April is highly Yankified. The Tube yesterday was teeming with Americans on spring break (the most amusing were a group who sounded like they came from Louisville or somewhere and who were having problems with the Tube map ("we don't have a Tube (pronounced toob) back home. We have cars"); to be fair, as there were only about three and a half Tube lines working yesterday, the crises de navigation were understandable.

There were no Americans in Regent's Park when I went running this morning and nor were there any in Hix Soho at lunchtime. Actually, there wasn't anyone else in Hix until we had been there for about half an hour, but when your restaurant is filled with Damien Hirst works and friendly if somewhat too ubiquitous wait staff, you don't really need many fellow diners. After a couple of oysters, I opted for the posh fish fingers with chips and the Hix version of mushy peas (beautiful, bright green, crushed garden peas--a far cry from anything you might find in a chippie but far tastier). I couldn't manage a pudding but I sampled Papa's chocolate mousse, which was rich and tasty.

We swung quickly through the Tudors section of the National Portrait Gallery, where I saw lots of paintings I've seen many times before and lots of historical facts I already knew. I did, however, discover that John Donne is really hot, especially for someone from the 16th century. We then walked up to Covent Garden for some Stanfords, Paul Smith and Banana Republic purchases for Maman, Papa and me respectively. Thankfully, Easter is a bank holiday that the London shops pretty much ignore so we were able to get to Selfridges, long before it closed at eight. I fondled some Mulberry bags longingly but my wallet remained in my bag. To make me feel better, I played spot the Mulberry bag; yes, when I am in a bag lust phase, this is how sad I can become.

And so concluded a highly satisfactory and surprisingly American-free Easter Monday. Not that the presence of Americans is enough to spoil an Easter Monday, by any means; it's just that when there are lots of them around, it makes me wish I was in their country instead of my own. Yes, even when they are loud groups of drunk teenagers, who are by no means the best advocates for their country!

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