That it has been 18 months since I've updated this site! Excuses, excuses...they include lots of work, lots of play, too much heyday (addictive farming game)... But none very convincing. I promise, mostly to myself, to do better. I think I may start by gathering here they very few decent bits I've published elsewhere in the past. Watch this space, as they say.
I've finally taken the plunge and done something I've been thinking of for a long time. Before we moved to Wimbledon, I used to belong to a lovely little book club. I loved our intimate discussions, sharing reading experiences and seeing novels through the eyes of others. It forced me to read more and to read more wider, often selecting titles that I might not have chosen for myself. But when we moved it became more difficult and eventually, as members moved on with their lives, changing jobs, moving house, having children, it became harder and harder to get the group together. Wimbledon town has a thriving and lively book club, which I look on with envy at times, but somehow I find the sheer number of members - several hundred I think - intimidating, hankering after the friendships fostered in previous experiences. So I'm trying to establish a fledging reading club in Wimbledon Village, to complement rather than compete with the existing clubs. I have big plans (when don't I?) but it's early days and the first task is to find some other like minded people who would also like to meet up occasionally, over food or drinks, to share their perspectives on the books they read. If you think this sounds like you, hop over to the club's pages on meetup.com and sign up: Wimbledon Village Reading and Book Group. Whether you just want to come and enjoy the chat, or whether you'd like to be part of the planning of the group, you'll be equally welcome.
Today is day one of Wimbledon Village Stables' annual sponsored ride (day two is on Tuesday) which raises funds for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. A very worthy caused, and WVS are fantastic fund raisers - as well as adding colour and vibrancy to the already wonderful Wimbledon Village. This year there was a fancy dress competition as well, with entries ranging from mashed up super heroes through lily pads to wombles (always love to see a womble in Wimbledon. Day one raised over £12,000.
We rarely stray beyond the temptations of the fantastic range of restaurants and cafes in the Village for dinner at a the weekends but last night was special, for two reasons. First, I'd eaten in my local favourite, Light Cafe, three times in the previous 24 hours anyway and, although they are well used to seeing and feeding us on a regular basis, even I would have been embarrassed to turn up for a fourth time; and it was dinner for 15 to celebrate two birthdays, so something different was warranted. So all dressed up and quick journey to Kew found us in the the delight Strand on Strand on the Green. A smart cafe during the daytime with seating inside and out, the place transforms into an comfortable and intimate Thai Restaurant in the evenings. We were warmly welcomed by owner Housain, who knew many of our party from his days managing Maison St Cassien in Wimbledon Village, who treated us old friends. Nothing was too much trouble - not even turning up with five more people than we'd booked for. Neither the restaurant or cafe are licensed for alcohol sales but, forewarned, we arrived with bottles of champagne and a rivers-worth of red wine which the restaurant staff deftly chilled, opened and served as required.
The menus promised a range of Thai food that edges a little beyond the standard, but all the old favourites were there as well. Almost everyone choose something different and the veggies in our group were just as satisfied as the meat eaters. Not a single dish disappointed, although I think our numbers, all eating at once, stretched the tiny kitchen in terms of delivering everyone's main course at once and two or three people had to wait a little - five minutes maybe - longer, but it was worth the wait. I'd chosen satay chicken followed a traditional red curry of duck. Both courses were mouth-wateringly presented and, for the satay, the sauce, with its powerful and exotic flavours, was served on the side. The curry was aromatic and had deep and complex flavours although its 'two chilli' marking on the menu had led me to expect a little more punch. Such was the generousity of portions that desserts were not an option but in an instant the lights were dimmed and two sparkly cup cakes atopped with candles were presented by the restaurant to the birthday girls. A round of happy birthday inevitably followed, orchestrated by Housain, in which all the other patrons joined in. Never before have I seen cup cakes large enough to share with a those who wanted a piece.
We will definitely be going back - especially as discovered that it is just a stone's throw from the Thames River Path so suitable for an outing by bike. The only downside to the evening was that I forgot to take my camera so have no pictures to share.
Yesterday, over lunch, I found myself saying - close to lecturing - to a colleague that the secret of driving traffic to website was content, content, content. Fresh content, interesting content, well-worked content, relevant content - call it what you like, it's all content. Half way through though I found my words catching in my throat as I thought about how little content I've placed on this site in the last couple of years. It would be a bit of an exaggeration to say I felt stabs of guilt, but the irony was not lost. So, in an attempt to make it a little easier and smoother to add little interesting bit to this site, I thought I would start a blog. And here it is. A first post. And hopefully there will be second fairly soon.