I was pleased to leave work last night at quarter to 7, rather than 11, and even more pleased that I was rushing out to meet the Irishman and my friend Matt for an Indian curry. Matt has been here since Friday; he is employed by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, and is here until Wednesday installing several pieces of art at the Tate Modern. While the Irishman headed north to Edinburgh for a stag weekend, on Saturday Matt and I headed down to Borough Market and stuffed our faces. We had both the raclette and the chorizo sandwich from Brindisa, which kept us happy as we then went over to Notting Hill. We finished up the day at my new local pub, The Drapers Arms, staying there until last call. I had such a relaxing day, and it was really refreshing to go back and revisit the touristy "must-sees" of Borough and Portobello Road. When you live someplace exciting like New York or London, you actually relish visits from out-of-towners so that you can go see things that the longer you live there the more you take for granted.
Two weekends ago my parents and grandmother were here; Mom-Mom is going to 82 next week and this was her first international trip! She was quite a trooper, keeping up with my parents who are professional tourists and take their touring very seriously. This visit the highlight was a trip to the Tower of London. I've always gone past the queues and crowds and scoffed at all of the Americans with their cameras waiting to go inside to see the Crown Jewels, but it is actually really cool and if any of you (Brit, Londoner, or otherwise) have never been I highly recommend it. Did you know that the Yeoman Warders (the Beefeaters) actually LIVE INSIDE? And the ravens are HUGE. And the Crown Jewels... holy crap, BLING. Worth it for £15 or however much each ticket cost.
I think the nicest part of my family's visit, though, was when the Irishman cooked Sunday roast for all of us. He takes a roast very seriously, and planned the menu for days and days in advance. The outcome was amazing, of course, and my parents added a bottle of organic red wine that they discovered when they were in Napa last fall. It was such a nice family gathering - too bad my brother couldn't been there - and the Irishman was extremely pleased with his efforts. The parents really loved his food, and I'm starting to suspect that they like him a lot more than me.