Back in work today and I would do anything not to be here. Even at home watching Henman cough and splutter
his way into the 2nd round! You could have got 9/2 on him winning at 2 sets down. Damn.
I had a most enjoyable week back home, in fact it was probably the hardest time I have had leaving yesterday morning.
The week started with afternoon tea in the Berkeley Hotel
. We drunk a lot of champagne, and not much tea and I think my American colleague, who is working in our London office at present, loved it, my boss won't be too impressed when he sees the bill though! This was followed by some tennis, the Hastings Direct Championships
. The sun was out but it was pretty freezing.
On Tuesday I was lucky enough to have lunch at the Fat Duck
in Bray. The chef is not widely known, does not write books, nor do TV shows or appear on the pages of Hello. Heston Blumenthal however conjures up the most amazing creations from his kitchen in this tiny little restaurant in the village of Bray. He is one of only three chefs in the UK to own 3 michelin stars (Gordon Ramsey and Michael Roux are the others) and the fascinating menu contains such concoctions as snail porridge and smoked bacon and egg ice cream.
It was an incredible, if expensive, experience and despite the arrogance of the unneccesary French waiters - Blumenthal after all was named after the service station near Heathrow and grew up in Shepherds Bush - it was a mind opening afternoon.
More on Blumenthal's non-conventional approach to cooking here
There was no end to my smoozing on Wednesday when I attended the Boodle & Dunthorpe Challenge
in Stoke Poges. This is a pre-Wimbledon tennis tournament set in the beautiful gardens of Stoke Park
. The weather wasn't ideal for a summer garden party, but it didn't rain as anticipated. My friend was rather taken with Thomas Enqvist
but the 37-year old and mother of three compere Annabel Croft caught my eye!
On Thursday I met some mates in the city for lunch and 6 pints and some peanuts wasn't the best preparation for the opera at Holland Park
. Like many a Charlton match the first half did seem to drag but a half-time break did me the power of good and I really enjoyed the 2nd half of La Sonnambula by Vincenzo Bellini.
I am no opera buff but La Sonnambula
, like others, is a simple tale surrounded by dramatic music. The story tells of a beautiful young woman who on the verge of getting married, finds a sleep-walking affliction after she enters another man's bedroom. Yep, yep, yep.
By the way, those looking for an alternative summers evening out would do no worse than visit the lovely Holland Park or my personal favourite, the Open Air Theatre
in Regents Park. Here this year apart from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night
, you can see Harry Hill
(unfortunately already gone), The Wind in the Willows
, or listen to Robert Maxwell's side of the story on July 2nd. You can keep that twat Jimmy Carr
Friday night was a bit of good old fashioned culture - the traditional beers and curry. As always it was good to see the boys and hear their tongue in cheek stories of how the Hammers are going to take the Premiership by storm. Shaun Newton, Bobby Zamora, Thomas Repka.... bubbles indeed.
The weekend I was in Eastbourne with my folks and my son. The weather was gorgeous and the old ladies were out in force on the promenade. Eastbourne is one of England's best perserved coastal towns and it is a very pleasant place to now call home when I'm back. My parents, after living all of their lives in London, have settled very well into their new environment and very proud of them I am too. For them their move was as much of a change as mine and I will come back to the town which nestles at the foot of the South Downs in another post sometime.
Fathers Day with my son and my Dad was nice but is it me or do the men get a raw deal compared to the Mums? No flowers, no fanfare and no over the top ad campaigns, just a Sunday to call your own.
And that was that, the Chicago Addick week of Culture 2005 was over and here are some photos: From left to right: Jo Durie, not looking as fit as she did; 16-year old Nicole Vaidisova from the Czech Republic (where do they get all these tall leggy blondes from?); Thomas Enqvist at Boodles; Enqvist & Nikolay Davydenko; Argentina's David Nalbandian; My (very) outside bet for Wimbledon Sweden's Joachim Johansson; Annabel Croft; Stoke Park; Annabel with Todd Woodbridge; Holland Park opera stage; Afterwards at the opera; Beachy Head; On the pier at Eastbourne.