Monday, June 25, 2007

A rather pleasent weekend

Once a year LL and I attempt to have a night away to ourselves. We don’t always succeed, but I think there’s only been one year we haven’t. A couple of times her parents have oblidged with the child care. Once our previous Nanny took the kids off to Norway for a long weekend to see her mum, other she or our current nanny stay a night.

That’s what happened last weekend. The kids generally have a blast as said Nanny’s treat them royally. This time they got to go to a BBQ social at Pirate Pete’s school, then got taken off to the sea side on Sunday to meet up with SN’s parents (who’ve bizarrely but utterly pleasantly have become third grandparents to the kids). The kids had a whale of a time.

So did we. It was a fine, romantic even bacchanalian weekend. We handed over the kids a bit after lunch and drove up into London. Probably should have taken the train. LL wanted to drive, but London traffic definitely put her nerves on edge. However, that eased away quickly as we drove up to the Savoy and handed over the keys to a nice man.

Once of the bizarre things about being nicely well off it when you hit the tipping point. I imagine I could mathematically calculate it, but there’s a point when your access to “stuff” just becomes easier. Things become available that you kind of thought existed, but didn’t really have a clue about. Take our hotel for the night, the Savoy. I have these nice people on the end of a phone who sort things, they sorted the hotel.

We pull up, hand over the keys and get lead up to our room after mentioning our name. It really is that simple. We freshen up, then head down to tea. If you haven’t had tea in one of the grand old hotels, it really is something you should do. Yes it’s a bit on the pretentious side, but that’s what makes it fun. You camp it up. We had a table by the river, and on sitting got handed glasses of champers (rather nice too, a ’02 Perrier-Laurent). You choose you tea (yes, there is a tea menu), then the tower arrives. This Edwardian folly is a thing to behold. A plate at the bottom is filled with sandwhiches (crusts trimmed, lots of variety but always includes a smoked salmon and a cucumber set). The middle plate has the pastries, the top plate has fresh warm scones. There will be large bowls of strawberry jam and clotted cream brought along as well. Then you sit and people watch and gossip as you stuff your gobs. The plates get refilled if you’re keen (which we were).

After that we went upstairs, and uhmmm had some fun before getting dressed. We went out to see Mozart’s “La clemenza di Tito” at the Colliseam. LL is the opera fan, I’m more into modern dance and symphonic music, but I greatly enjoy it. This was a first rate production. Opera in our age is a funny thing. You can’t really mess with the music, so all the artistic director can play with is the staging and the costumes. The music was superb, really sublime. We hit it lucky, it was the night they were taping to play on Radio 3, so everyone was on top form. The staging too was magnificent, real genius that enhanced the play perfect. Costumes though, those I didn’t get, a bit of a mismatch of things. Still, given it was over two hours of opera, it felt like little time had past. Mozart can do that to you, it just flows along, perfectly serene. This isn’t one of his better known opera’s, and as LL said afterwards there wasn’t as much of the music that’s distinctive, yet there were perfect moments of brilliance. Music that made me close my eyes and float.

With that behind us we walked out, turned right and went into Asia de Cuba. This place has been on the list for a while, thought not at the top. I chose it because it was convenient. I have to say, I’d go back. It’s a bit on the noisy side, we had to lean close across the table to talk, but the food was excellent. Asia de Cuba is officially a “Fusion” restaurant. A place that takes elements of different cuisine and mixes them together. In this case its Caribbean and Asian.

With good results. Be warned if you go, portions are huge. We had two starters and shared a main and a desert. Memorable was a Carpaccio with rocket salad and Thai dressing. The beef literally melted in your mouth, fantastic. The grilled rock prawns and pineapple in a butter pesto dressing went down well nicely too. The pudding was a spiced chocolate ice (ie no cream) with a coconut jelly. Trust me when I say it sent us both into raptures. Alcohol wise the place is known for its Mohitos, rightfully so, and we finished off a bottle of ’02 Stags Leap (which if you like your yank Merlots is one of my favourites, goes well with spicy food too).

We staggered back to the hotel way past our normal bedtime, amused our way to slumber, and actually slept in without the kids waking us up! A bit more amusement, then a truly bang up cooked breakfast served at our bedside and we had a lazy morning to remember. A couple of hours at the National Gallery and we finally drifted home to be re-united with a trio of happy kids, romanced up, with stuffed bellies and with a big dose of culture to keep us going.

Shame you can’t do that every weekend…

No, not really. It would get boring to do that every weekend, and we’d miss the kids. As a one off though, sensational!


<< Home