My favourite restaurant used to be the Café Daquise in South Kensington. No longer. It evaporated into thin air. Whoof. Bang. Gone. And no one – absolutely no one bothered to ask me or considered my feelings before they took it away.
A family run eatery, that’s what it used to be since 1947. It had wax table clothes, home made Polish food reminiscent of my East Prussian grandmother’s cooking and twelve different Vodkas on the menu. The restaurant has now changed hands and been turned into a sleek chain-owned chicymicky place. Still Polish, mind. But more a la Jamie and Gordon than my grandmother.
I nevertheless gave it a try the other day. It was a complete disaster. In order to vent my disappointment that the restaurant has changed beyond recognition, I insisted on swopping the table three times – the first was too drafty, the second too hot, the third too noisy. Then the waiter brought the wrong water – yes, indeed, the WRONG water – and thirdly – and that was the worst – there were only three different vodkas on the menu. I nearly had a heart attack. Luckily by the time the food came I had tried all three vodkas and didn’t care about the food any longer. Otherwise, I guess, I would have found fault with that too and then sent it straight back to the kitchen.
Sense of humour failure. Totally and utterly. Like a bitter, tied lipped, twisted old woman, that’s how I behaved. And, don’t be fooled, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. After all, once I had started throwing fits, I didn’t need to think of alternative ways of behaving.
It was then that I realized that I could actually do with a holiday. So far I have not yet lost my cool with Peirene – but as you know, the nymph is absolutely capable of testing my patience.
And I long to exchange my beloved high heels for a couple of weeks in walking boots.
For the upcoming family holiday, we’ve planned to go trekking again in the Himalayas. Yes, I suffered from altitude sickness last time. But it was only above 4900 m and trekking in this austere terrain is just such incredible way of clearing the mind. You have no choice but to live in the moment. I loved it. So did my husband. Our ten-year old is excited too. After all he still adores his Mum and Dad. Our fifteen year old darling daughter, however, had to be coaxed into it with some bribery. She thinks, as parents go, we are pretty uncool.
Anyway, she might be in luck after all. The news from Ladakh at the moment, following the recent flash floods, is quite sad and bad. So perhaps we will have to change plan. Scotland might be calling instead.
I’m not sure that the Highlands feature in my daughter’s top five coolest places either. But at least she will have mobile connection and can chat to her friends. As for me, the prospect of sleeping on a bed in a warm cottage rather than a tent in freezing temperatures, has a certain appeal.
In any case, I will see you back here – in high heels – in the beginning of September.