We were back at the canal yesterday, where Olga checked out the swans -- from a safe distance. If she got any closer those swans would kick her butt.
We also saw yellow irises growing along the canal banks and blue dragonflies buzzing through the grass. While you're enjoying photos of those, I'll tell you about Dave's birthday.
I took him to Heston Blumenthal's restaurant Dinner, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge. If you're like me before I moved to London, you probably haven't heard of Heston Blumenthal. But here in England he's quite the celebrity chef, known especially for molecular gastronomy. Dinner features dishes drawn from historic English recipes that are hundreds of years old.
I went the adventurous route and had an appetizer of nettle porridge with frogs' legs -- I felt a little guilty when I thought of all the slick little green tree frogs that clamber all over my family's house in Florida -- and an entree of spiced pigeon. Dave had an appetizer called Meat Fruit, a paté made to look almost exactly like a shiny tangerine, and a main dish of veal sweetbreads with asparagus. (More power to him. I am not a sweetbreads fan.)
We both had a dessert called a Tipsy Cake, which was basically booze-infused brioche served with baked pineapple. Fab!
Anyway, we liked the restaurant a lot. We'd definitely go back.
Yesterday we looked into ordering a bed -- we've been sleeping on our mattress on the floor, which I like, with my minimalist tendencies, but Dave finds a little too collegiate and unsettled. We also used Dave's Le Creuset gift certificate to buy a couple of pieces of birthday cookware.
I looked into buying tickets for Barcelona in August, and I swear, I have never had such a struggle with travel web sites. I must be coming down with Alzheimer's. I'm usually fairly computer-savvy, but I could not set the parameters of my search to exclude certain airports and ridiculously early-morning flights, and allow it to let me choose an outbound flight separate from an inbound one. We could only choose both at once, in pairs. Anyway, it's a boring story, but it drove me crazy and we still haven't bought tickets. Today, hopefully.
(Photos: The aforementioned swans, iris and dragonfly, along with some kind of toy ball floating in the canal, disturbingly colonized by houseflies -- mainly on the eyebrow. Weird!)