Thursday, December 10, 2015


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.)


alphabet soup said...

I was curious about the blue light cast over the violinist and look at the red elephant. Its feet are just like Juanita's.

Ms Soup

e said...

I have a couple of fond memories of that looks good all lit up!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Oak biscuits are delicious! That woodland acorn taste is quite delightful. Pam's husband is clearly a man with taste... or dyslexia? As for the blue police light - what a super photo opportunity. You should phone 999 more often Steve!

Ms. Moon said...

I think of Harrods as being sort of magical. Is it? It looks that way.

ellen abbott said...

my husband and I stopped giving each other gifts long ago. well, I finally stopped since he hardly ever did anyway. now, I just buy my own winter holiday gift. usually a piece of art. nowadays the only people I do gifts for are my sister and my kids (but only sometimes if it is something I know they will like and I can afford it and same with them). the grandkids just want money these days and so I oblige them. makes it easy.

Sharon said...

I love all these photos today. I always go to Harrod's every time I visit but, I rarely buy anything other than maybe lunch or like the last time a glass of champagne and something sweet. I just enjoy looking around and when it's near the holidays, it's so crazy busy I just love watching all the shoppers. I also always go to Fortnum and Mason's where I usually do buy something to take home. I don't remember what it was last time but, I'm sure it was something delicious. When I brought my dad to London back in 2000, he turned into quite the shopper at Harrod's. I remember being so surprised that someone who had always hated shopping went at it will such gusto.

Linda Sue said...

Sounds like a wonderful way to spend the afternoon, or evening, your photos , as usual, are fabulous. We are not doing gifts this year either, money for the boy, and maybe some cookies for neighbors but that is it. We do not need more stuff at this point in our lives- trying to unload.Have a safe and uneventful journey home, flying during the holidays can be an adventure! Wishing the BEST!

37paddington said...

When we lived in London, my mother loved Harrods but I remember Marks and Sparks more clearly. This brings back memories.

jenny_o said...

Sounds like a fun way to spend a few hours. So different from Wal-Mart ... haha!

Is that busker extraordinarily tall or is it the angle?

Love that elephant!

Elizabeth said...

I love the festiveness of this post!

Steve Reed said...

Soup: You're absolutely right! Juanita elephant!

E: It's a fun place to visit, no question.

York: My secret's out!

Ms Moon: It is, and I think I would love it if I didn't have such an aversion to luxury products in general.

Elle: I remember you telling me that last year. It sounds so liberating!

Sharon: How funny! Maybe he figured, "Well, I'm here, so it's now or never!"

Linda Sue: Yeah, you never know what to expect from the friendly skies at this time of year!

37P: Just a hunch, but I bet you went to Marks & Spencer more often, for the utilitarian things you needed. That's pretty much what everyone goes to M&S for. It's a socks-and-underwear store.

Jenny-O: Good eye! It's the angle. I took the picture from a low position to get more of the building in.

Elizabeth: It's about as festive as I'm likely to get. :)