Manchester, 1990: Unfortunately, this B&B doesn’t offer a Continental breakfast. When I try a cracker with jam, I almost spit it out because it tastes so foul. When I look up from my plate, I see everyone in the breakfast room is staring at me. An old man at the table beside me coughs. ‘You can’t eat it like that, you know,’ he whispers. ‘You need to …..
…..dissolve it in milk. It’s called Weetabix.’And so begins my introduction to my London trip….not that I got up to anything extraordinarily bizarre like that, save for bringing out my camera and brandishing it like a tourist.my Dutch Mustard soup from so long ago…and my Roast chestnut soup, which I’m planning on making for Thanksgiving this year, should I find chestnuts. (And before you ask what a Nigerian in the Netherlands is doing celebrating Thanksgiving, my kids go to the American school so – but this is a post about London.) Sorry for getting side-tracked. And thanks again, S for providing the perfect intro to the UK and its pecularities!the Greedy Gourmet. The reason being that I am Nigerian with a Schengen rescidence permit…which is not access all areas in Europe, notably for the UK and so I had to get a visa and that’s not a simple process. It involves the perfunctory online form filling and selecting a date of an interview in Amsterdam (a mere ½ hour from where I live). And then there is the gathering of all the required documentation – bank statements, payslips, address in the UK, letter from your employer etc.
Thing was the only available appointment was on the 2nd of September and my trip was on the 8th but that wasn’t an issue was it? And so I put off booking flights just in case I didn’t get it. The hotel was firm but I could cancel up to 24 hours before so that was fine. After all I was going to get the visa same day, like the last time I applied the previous year – we had our interview, the visa was granted, we waited and then we got our passports back.
This time, I expected it to be no different and so we went. And so we got interviewed and all the rest and then, when we were done…I said, so we’ll wait to pick the passports up then and the guy said no! I was a bit taken aback…but it turned out that they had a new processing centre in Germany and so we wouldn’t be getting our passports back same day. That was fine, till he told me when the passports would be back – on September the 8th! The day I was flying.
All said and done, I picked up my passports on the 8th, caught my flight in good time and arrived London safe and sound. Herein share I with you, the highlights of my trip, and not all the drivvle…of which there was little.Black cabs, Double decker buses?Paddington Bear? Red phone boxes? Well, I saw all those – which I’ve seen before, and more.
My main was a Shrimp Biriyani, which was very nice.
And to finish the dinner off – a palate-cleansing dessert of Mango Kulfi, which is like ice-cream in taste and all though unlike its cousin, it doesn’t melt as easily.
At John Lewis, I got a fish scaler, fish tweezers, some cheesecloth and spice bags but it was at TK Maxx, sibling to TJ Maxx in the US that I got the most. I bought cookbooks – 5 delightful ones for a total of under 25 pounds.DOK. Anyway, since I didn’t travel first or business class, there was NO way I was getting them. Instead I came back with mini stoneware versions, perfect for ‘From microwave to table’ as opposed to ‘From oven to table’. Sure they won’t be able to take more than salsas or dips or sauces but who cares, I have Le Creuset stuff. I’m growing my collection and someday when I’m old, I’ll be able to display them all!Part 2.So are you like me? On a constant hunt/quest for bargains. A collector of all things…almost thinking of reasons for buying them and where you’re going to store them or what you’ll say to your house partner be it husband, mother or friend??? My justifiable reason (not excuse!) is that I need it. I’ll find a place for it. I’ll use it..and I almost always do except when I’ve kept it in a corner and forgotten all about it though I always remember at a very appropriate time…like my skewers. So, tell me all about you and your habits! And if you’re looking forward to Part two on London, why don’t you sign up to receive all KB updates by email or by Feed?