A sunny Saturday

I’ve just had the most wonderful Saturday. I’m working on Sundays now (editing, not couriering), so suddenly my Saturdays have become this big stressful crisis of ‘oh my god – it’s my only day off of the week and I don’t know what to do with myself!’, and I usually spend them wasting time and feeling guilty. But today I had my first Urdu lesson (at lovely lovely SOAS), and spent a gratifying couple of hours in a nice sunny classroom, realizing that I haven’t forgotten as much as I thought I had since last year, and reacquainting myself with Abida, the very sweet lady who put up with my bad pronunciation and overenthusiastic homework habits last year.

It was a lovely sunny morning (makes a change, after the rain I put up with last week), and after the lesson I wandered over to the Brunswick Centre – a pleasant but fairly run-of-the-mill shopping centre which on Saturdays is suddenly full of really enticing food stalls – and spent a happy hour browsing through them all, before deciding on Pantaniscas de Chorizo (apparently a Portuguese delicacy, made of chorizo, onions, tomatoes and green beans, all fried up together in some kind of concoction that reminded me of pakoras.

It was tasty and filling (though I think it could have been improved with heating), and I’m looking forward to sampling food from every other stall over the next few weeks. What a wonderful Saturday routine! A lie-in, two hours of gentle intellectual exertion, and then something exciting for lunch. And, no doubt, a happy afternoon, having reassured myself by spending the morning doing something worthy and worthwhile.

Pudding was a slice of lemon, rosemary, olive oil and almond cake. I tried to persuade the woman behind the stall to give me the recipe, but she’d only tell me the ingredients. Apparently it involves breadcrumbs. I’m wondering how many attempts it might take me to recreate it through trial and error, and how fed up I’d be of the idea by the time I’d succeeded. It’s a wonderful cake. The olive oil gives it a rather unusual texture, but means it’s not as cloyingly sweet as it might be, and the topping is lovely and sticky and tangy, in the best tradition of lemon drizzle cakes. Oh, I really want the recipe!

And then I rode over to Earl’s Court for the Cycle Show – having managed to blag a free ticket. It was a lovely way to spend an afternoon (though it seemed to be disappointingly smaller than the last one I went to, back in the ExCel days). I got moderately excited about all the flashy lycra and the new bikes, and very excited after several handfuls of jelly beans and free samples of energy bars (ahem), but what I found really interesting was all the innovative little businesses that are just starting up, with products like environmentally friendly bike oil, and this rather fabulous reflective clothing.

It’s not really meant for lycra louts like me – it’s normal clothes, like cardigans and scarves and socks and braces (braces!), made with some sort of yarn that has special reflective powers. I was very taken with it. In fact, I think it was the best thing I saw all day. The company that makes it is called Lost Values, and apparently they haven’t been going that long. I predict (and hope) they’ll do well though – their stuff is fabulous, and also rather beautiful. It makes me want to embellish a pair of bloomers with reflective lace, and bring my inner steampunk out to play.


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