Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Coffee and Tea

My P just surprised me with this Nespresso machine for my birthday! I have wanted one of these for ages and now I finally have one. The colour is delicious - it looks a bit more teal in real life than it does in this picture, which looks more baby blue - and it's just edible. He also got me the Nespresso Aeroccino milk frother for cappuccinos and lattes. Plus he also got me this amazing carrying case for the machine - to use if I want to take it anywhere (like to the chalet).

I love Nespresso. Their coffee is delicious, the process is so quick and convenient, and the machine itself is gorgeous. Plus the accessories that go along with it are just fabulous! Talk about creating a massive cornucopia of paraphernalia for something as simple as coffee, and boy am I buying into it. This really is the perfect coffee solution for the home or office. It takes ten seconds to make an espresso and there is minimal cleaning involved. The best part is that whenever I'm out of coffee (they have 12 different types of Premium Blends) I can simply call the Nespresso office here and have them delivered to my house.

I love kitchen and home appliances. This is the next item on my list:

It's a Goblin Teasmade. For those of you who don't know what a Teasmade is, it is an alarm clock with a built-in kettle that will have your cup of tea ready for you by the time the alarm goes off in the morning. How brilliant is that?! Check out some pictures of really old vintage ones here. Some were really elaborate, complete with bedside table lamps. There are a couple of brands like Swan and Micromark that still make and sell Teasmades, but I want to get my hands on a Goblin like you see in the photo above. I think this is one for James O'Brien's Treasure Hunt.

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

James on LBC

When I moved to London two years ago, quite early on I became a regular listener of James O'Brien's show on London's LBC 97.3 (talk radio), which I listened to on my white Tivoli Audio iPal radio (pictured above - it's one of my favourite possessions so had to throw it in). James is on LBC every weekday from 10am-1pm, which was around the time I would be starting my day - taking a shower, getting dressed, checking Email over coffee - before heading out of my flat either to my university or the library or to run errands. Being the perpetual student that I am I was never in a hurry to leave the flat except during my MA year during which I had an 11am class two days a week. But other than that, my mornings were my leisure hours. So I thoroughly enjoyed taking my time getting started with James on in the background. It's amazing how something/someone like that can become such a familiar part of your daily routine. I laughed out loud at least once almost every morning. I talked back to the radio regularly. I called out "Yes! Absolutely!" on many occasions. And of course I got my regular news, travel, and weather updates so by the time I left the house I felt generally up-to-date even before grabbing my Guardian from Sainsbury's around the corner. Anyway, point is, I just really enjoyed listening to James' show nearly every morning for two years. It was entertaining, interesting, informative, and fun - and he and I seem to have very similar opinions on most issues, both trivial and serious. I've been in Kuwait for a month now and suddenly today I realized that I really miss James. I miss his humour and his common sense take on controversial issues. I miss his callers - the cabbies and the old ladies, the men in echoey parking garages and the nutters with moldy jelly in the fridge.

So I've decided to subscribe to LBC Plus online so that I can download a podcast of the show everyday. I can either listen to the show live online (for free) or download the podcast to listen to on my iPod in my car throughout the rest of the day. The show is three hours long so I guess I can continue listening to it the following morning as I get ready to leave the house, as per my usual London routine. Anyway, the subscription costs £4 a month which is nothing, and I just listened to half of Friday's show and it already makes me feel so much closer to London again. Maybe this will serve as a panacea for my homesickness.

Here's a sample of the show with the now infamous Gary on James' "Quiz of the Week" for your entertainment.

Update: OK this might not have been the best idea. For the past two days now I've been listening to James in the car while stuck in inevitable Ramadan traffic going to work, while out running errands, with P when we go out at night, etc. It's been great because it's really made me feel closer to London, has kept me up-to-date on the insider Londoner news (trivial and otherwise) that I don't get in the online newspapers I read, and has made me laugh on several occasions in the car thereby distracting me from the normal frustrations of driving in Kuwait. However, the downside has been that once in a while when I'm stopped at a traffic light I'll happen to glance over at the car next to me distractedly while listening to one of James' callers and my eyes will fall on a sullen-looking cone-head with a thick layer of war paint on her face, and it's like someone has popped the balloon and I come hurtling back down to reality. Or James will mention the rain they've been getting and the fact that he has turned on the heater in his house for the first time since May, and then I'll park and open my car door and the hot, dry air will attack me and wake me up. Oh dear.

Friday, September 21, 2007

One month

I miss London. I miss every single thing about the city. I miss the constant chill and the incessant rain. I miss walking home in the dark early evening and picking up some dinner from Sainsbury's. I miss the Christmas decorations that will be going up on Oxford Street ridiculously early in about a month. I even miss the noxious smell of my little street as I walk home at night. I miss having coffee and a croissant at Maison Bearteaux in Soho in the morning. I miss the smell of spilled beer on old carpet. I miss cursing at tourists who stop dead in their tracks at busy intersections and who stand on the left on tube escalators. I even miss watching out for the inspector on the 73 bus. I miss laying on my couch watching mindless television. I miss my flat - oh boy do I miss my lovely flat. I miss looking up and seeing Anthony Gormley's figure staring down at me. I miss John standing outside the shop smoking a cigarette and saying "y'aright?" to me as I walk up to my front door. I miss having a toastie at the Fopp café (although that one is moot since Fopp tragically shut down). I miss the south of the river. I miss everything. I want to go back.

"Teenage Winter" - Saint Etienne (download)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Pass It On

"Pass the parcel.
That's sometimes all you can do.
Take it, feel it and pass it on.
Not for me, not for you,
but for someone, somewhere, one day."

-Hector in "The History Boys"