Dedicated to the work of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and all the other people, both actors and technicians who helped them make those wonderful films.
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London with Natacha
30 October 2010
A lovely day out with the lovely Natacha. She had been over here for a few days, visiting friends in Oxford, and she decided to have a day out in London with yours truly on her way back to Paris.
I met Natacha at Paddington station and we took the tube to Charing Cross. A saunter down The Strand took us to Rules at Covent Garden for lunch.
Steve & Natacha enjoying lunch at Rules
Rules is the oldest restaurant in London, established in 1798. It's on the edge of the theatre district in the West End and so was always popular with actors and actresses, and the rich & titled young men chasing those same actresses. There's a fine gallery of images of famous patrons around the oak panelled walls.
With a history and opulence like that you'd think that they've got every right to be snooty & snobbish, but they aren't. They're wonderful giving great service in a very nice and friendly manner. Attentive without being intrusive.
And the food is equally wonderful. They have their own grouse moor and their own beef herd. It's not a place to take vegetarians, although I believe that they can be catered for as well, but they do specialise in game cookery. People are gradually becoming more interested in knowing where their food comes from. Rules have been telling people that for centuries. Their style is British with a hint of French. Good ingredients, well prepared and well presented. They follow the seasons with the menu varying every month or so as things come into or go out of season. But it's always a great selection.
And the puddings, oh those wonderful puddings. All the old traditional British puddings, in season, again with good ingredients, well prepared and well presented. Light and delicate in the summer, warming & filling as winter draws on.
After a long lingering lunch and a look around the restaurant we wanted to go and see St. Paul's church - The Actor's Church. It was designed and built by Inigo Jones in 1633. The interior is full of plaques to the memory of many famous actors who had memorial services there after they died. But they were closed :(
We tried the London Film Museum, but they were closed as well. We had apparently spent too long over that slow lingering lunch. But it was worth it. So we had a wander around Covent Garden, looking at all the stalls and shops in the old flower market (as seen in The Red Shoes). By then it was getting dark and, with an eye on the clock to make sure that Natacha got back to St Pancras and her train back to Paris on time, we strolled out to Waterloo Bridge and one of the best views of London at night.
Steve looks out at London by night
With views up and down the river, from Westminster and the Houses of Parliament via the London Eye and the South Bank where we had spent many happy hours at the NFT, down past St. Paul's Cathedral and on to Canary Wharf and Docklands in the distance. It's a lovely place to stop and stare.
But time was getting on and it was time to get my charming companion onto her train back to Paris. Another short tube ride took us to St. Pancras and the Eurostar terminal. A bit more shopping and a quick cup of coffee, then it was time for fond farewells, until the next time.
Then on Thursday (1st November) I was back in the centre of London again, but this time it was for work. A morning in the office in Kentish Town for a bit of planning, training and designing some new systems & services. Then to the Fitzrovia area north of Oxford Street and west of Tottenham Court Road (Peeping Tom country) to meet some clients with Mark, one of our account managers. It was Mark's birthday recently and he's also become a father for the 2nd time so we took some of our favourite clients out to dinner at Roka in Charlotte Street. Lovely contemporary Japanese cuisine.
A visit to a nearby hostelry where we met up with some colleagues and other clients and then we retired to the Shochu Lounge in the basement under Roka for an evening of good refreshment, more good food and good company.
It's a tough life, but someone's got to do it :)
Other P&P trips