Sunday, March 18, 2012

Odds and bobs

First let me correct an earlier mistake. They drive on the left here, not the right. I'm going to attribute that to jet lag.

Yesterday we rode a double-decker bus--on the top and in the very front so we were looking down on the rainy London streets and cars and umbrellas.

We were met in Chiswick by Keith's friend Tracey, a former reporter for the BBC, now a freelance writer of radio news and feature articles. She walked us through the drizzle to her home, gleefully pointing out where Colin Firth lives. She has seen him on the street but is chagrined to not be at her goal weight at those times.

I can't find broth in the markets. I've been told it's only called stock here and that I should check at a butcher shop. They make extra money selling stock made from leftover meat bits.

I can't find dill pickles in the markets. All the pickles are sweet--blech! I've been told to look in a Polish food shop. There are a lot of Polish immigrants and corresponding groceries.

Jelly = jello
Jam = jelly
Ear buds = Q-tips
Garden = yard

Kate Middleton has adopted as her charity a group focused on substance abuse issues. Keith is preparing a presentation for this group. Will he meet the latest royal??

Tracey (who is half Irish) served us lunch on St. Patrick's Day which concluded with a green jelly in the shape of a rabbit surrounded by white marshmallows and served with orange sherbet to mimic the colors of the Irish flag--green, white, and gold. This was the first time the boys had marshmallows and they didn't like them. This surprised Tracey who thought all Americans eat marshmallows on a regular basis. I was happy to diabuse her of that belief. I told her that in America people were drinking green beer on St. Paddy's. "Well, that's a bit extreme, isn't it?" she said.

She was quite proud that she had purchased a Betty Crocker cookbook and was experimenting with 'American' cooking. She had a friend from Connecticut send her some lima beans. She had never heard of them and didn't even know how to pronounce the word. Not my favorite food, but maybe better than marshmallows.

After lunch we walked in the drizzle to Chiswick house. We didn't actually go in the house because we ended up spending our time at the water so the boys could feed the ducks. The house was built in 1729 for some baron to display his art. Then it became a lunatic asylum. Now it is a public space. There was a Camellia festival going on but the tickets were expensive and we could see the flowers through the windows of the greenhouse. Lovely grounds although I'm sure it would be nicer in better weather and in full bloom. While feeding the ducks we saw an incredible display by the coots. They seemed to get angry and fluffed up their back wings into a shell to look bigger. Their feet were these bizarre elongated green things that have to be the equivalent of clown shoes for birds.

So,I'm going to have lunch with Tracey on Friday. Not feeling so lonely....


  1. You're getting the hang of it now! I'm enjoying your posts. But good luck with the dill pickles. Your sources are right - you'll have to go to a specialty shop. Or check the kosher section (if there is one!) in a grocery store. A tough one to find.

    I can recommend Marigold boullion in lieu of the stock. There are a couple of different kinds, including vegetarian and vegan. Nigella Lawson mentions some kind of broth in her cookbooks - something like Joubère? Probably expensive. But the Marigold is really pretty good. I've even had it to drink....

  2. No pickles? I really must come visit.

    1. Ha! That could be their new slogan. "Visit England! Yes we have no pickles!"