This week is always one of the busiest of our year, as it contains both of our birthdays, but I think this year was still exceptionally packed.
Wednesday was my birthday, which I celebrated by finishing an assignment and then going on a long-ish run. I discovered for the first time that there are sheep and alpacas pasturing in Vauxhall City Farm. There truly is everything in London.
My birthday night was a bit nervy. I had made several ticket requests for Nassim Taleb’s (author of Black Swan, Fooled by Randomness and most recently Antifragile) lecture at the LSE. Only one ticket request, made through Faith’s email address had been successful in the ticket lottery. I was prepared to arrive early and wait in the returns queue, but at the last minute, one of my classmates came through in a big way by catching cold and having to take a miss on the lecture, passing his ticket on to me.
I must say, NNT is a better writer than speaker, although in fairness, he had just arrived that day from New York, so that might have been a factor. Neverthelss, he was just as amusing and provocative as one would hope, and if it weren’t for the British custom of having first term assignments due after Christmas, I would commit to reading Antifragile over the break.
For my birthday dinner, we went to Simurgh, a lively Persian restaurant between Covent Garden and Leicester Square. I had neck of lamb, which I can only surmise is the best part of the lamb based on this small sample size, while Faith had duck in pomegranate sauce, a purportedly ancient Persian specialty.
Not to be outdone, Faith’s birthday was Thursday. The celebration of her birthday was commingled with Advent, as I was a reader in the otherwise beautiful Advent Carol Service at King’s. I would post a picture to show you how beautiful it was, but since it was a candlelight service, you wouldn’t be able to see much!
After a quick mince pie and mulled wine, we went for sushi at Hazuki near Covent Garden. Having been scarred by seeing a whole eel curled up on a fishmonger’s cart on East Street some weeks ago, Faith was unwilling to order one of our normal standbys — unagi — but we nevertheless had many a tasty sea-dweller.
Faith took the day off work on Friday, partly because one of my birthday presents to her was to go skating at the Eyeskate (Get it? Brits just love puns!). Sitting in the shadow of the London Eye, it is quite a magnificent setting for outdoor skating, although I must say, this rink was most certainly bearing evidence of the difficulty of maintaining an outdoor rink in above-freezing temperatures.
And to finish off the day, we had birthday drinks with friends at The Horse bar in Lambeth North.
And then on Saturday night we celebrated Sinterklaas with a number of Dutch friends. Sinterklaas, in case you were wondering, isn’t just the Dutch equivalent of St. Nicholas Day; it’s Sinterklaas, the most beloved holiday in Holland. We engaged in a gift-swapping game that was rather more complex than our own ‘Yankee Swap’ and I really got into the Sinterklaas spirit by writing caustic poems about friends, which they then had to read aloud. Oh those wacky Dutch.
On to next one…