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Holidays. A non-photo-based journal.

It’s been a little while, dear reader, since my last communication. And quite rightly so – there’s better things to do at this time of year than to spend one’s precious time typing words into the internet. Save it until you’re on work time, I say. Nevertheless, it’s nice to bring you up to speed, so a journal of my hols it is. Hurrah!

My break began at 4pm on Thursday 18th December 2008, an epic 18 days thence. From there I was off home and straight in the car for a trek up to Brum. Not as bad as it sounds, even through rush hour Hangar Lane, we made the schlep in about 3 hours (give or take a few minutes for a leg-stretch, and a few more driving in circles around junctions of the M42).

The following day was a trek around the Black Country Living Museum, as documented previously; a cold day, grey and bleak, but truly lovely all the same. I’ve been through this already, but the rest of the day was exploring the Black Country itself – at least, that part of it which has been swallowed up by the Birmingham conurbation. We ended up at Smethwick, specifically Cape Hill, birthplace of my companion for a tour around childhood haunts – most importantly, we visited not only the vast Asda, but also Samra supermarket (map), which seems like the kind of epic ethnic food supply which makes TFC (map) so much fun. This was in order to cook a monumental south Indian feast – it would make the 6-hour round trip worth it.

Next day, off to Winchester to explore my own roots. No ethnics here, it’s some sort of unwritten law. Lots or wandering around charity shops and ‘istoric sights though, then back to ma and pa for food and puppy.

Back in the Smoke, the Christmas season was for Christmas. Carol service on Sunday followed by church Christmas dinner (first of only three turkey dinners, this year). Monday heralded another mammoth charity shopping day – this time firstly in Elton John country, Pinner, then after some pootling around Metroland, Amersham, with its high up high street, and beautiful, Georgian Old Town. Fancy a look? I recommend diamondgeezer’s excellent take on the Betjeman documentary about the area.

Tuesday, breakfast in Marmalade, Tottenham, a filthy cooked affair with high class black pudding – as ever, highly recommended. The day was then spent tidying, rearranging books, etc., and Christmas dinner #2 was consumed in the evening courtesy of a joint house effort, followed by a general soiling of ones moral standards with a Frankie Boyle DVD.

Wednesday, and off early to drop my companion to Paddington, meet my brother and get off to the parental home for the beginning of Christmas. Christmas proceeded forthwith – food, sleep, reading books, watching telly, more food, some more food. 

Returning to London, I realise that I’ve already waffled about my break far too long, so, to summarise last week:


  • Windsor
  • Touring Surrey/Bucks borders
  • The Richmond run (of charity shops) without actually broaching Richmond
  • Cooking gammon in cranberry juice
  • Buying my new Moleskine diary (always a pleasure…)
  • Dinner with Alan and the posse
  • Epping & Loughton scouring for bargains
  • Sleeping late
  • More tidying up
  • Market shopping in Wood Green (with lunch at Caf)
  • Inventing budget planners via Google Docs
  • Watching more stand up (Dara O’Briain, e.g.)
  • Colouring in
  • And Much More!

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