I don't often go to Harrods, London's most famous luxury department store, but yesterday my friend Pam was in town on business so we agreed to meet for dinner in the food halls. She wanted to pick up some things for her family for Christmas.
(I say I don't often go, but I have gone at least three times in the past -- once with Pam before, once with Dave's parents and once to buy running shoes, of all things. I couldn't find my size anywhere else!)
I know Pam from the Peace Corps and it's always great to see her. We went to the seafood counter for dinner, where we had insanely expensive but delicious fare. I ordered the "Cornish mussel pot," even though I'm usually a bit wary of mussels -- I correctly assumed that if there was ever a place to be ensured of fresh mussels, Harrods is it. Pam got sea bass, and we talked and caught up on the news of our families.
Then Pam got her shopping done. She had a specific list of requested items from her husband, such as a particular brand of oat biscuits (but he'd mistyped "oak biscuits," so we didn't know what the heck we were looking for). With the help of the sales staff we got everything figured out, and I picked up a few goodies for my own family.
Dave and I aren't planning to do much gift-giving this year, since we're spending so much on flying home and throwing our party -- but you gotta have something, right?
In other holiday news, we put up our Christmas tree at work. I strung the lights on Tuesday afternoon, and yesterday morning a gaggle of middle-schoolers did the rest. (Which meant that afterwards, the ground around the tree was strewn with pine needles, tinsel and shrapnel from a broken ornament, so I had to request a vacuum cleaner.) We did not reprise the dog penis chain -- this year we went with more conventional decor.
(Top photo: A busker outside Harrods, playing an electric violin. He was really good, and just as I took some pictures a police car passed with its blue lights flashing, giving everything a surreal glow. Middle photo: A tiny portion of a colorful window display.)