In the last two weeks I have revived two lines of enjoyment that have been very constrained since the start of the pandemic two years ago: going to a gig and meeting up with groups of old friends on London.
It was on the 13 March 2020 that Long-Suffering Wife (LSW) and I went to Bath to see a concert by Faeland. It was a similar length of time ago when I last met up with a bunch of old, London-based friends as part of an ongoing set of get-togethers to visit restaurants representing each, in turn, a letter of the alphabet. We had been stuck on ‘S’ (for Spain as it turned out) for around two years.
It’s always good to visit London and always great to catch up with old friends there. Not only did I get to meet with my alphabetically-sequenced restaurant group of mates (at Donostia) but I also separately caught up with a few other long-standing ex-workmates and friends over lunch at Ombra. Both restaurants were small-dish-based (Basque and Italian respectively). Neither was inexpensive but the food was tasty, the wine flowed and the company was very welcome after such a long break from group conviviality.
Views From Our Barbican Flat – Now For Sale (Sadly)
LSW and I also caught up with some old friends before going on to a concert by Hope Tala at Village Underground. This is a great, medium-sized venue that I have been to many times before, but not since retirement getting on for 5 years ago. We met up beforehand at the bar at Tavla with a couple of female friends from our time living in Kew. At this moment in the Covid pandemic recovery, it’s a very relaxed and convenient bar for these purposes – buzzy but not too crowded with good value drinks and friendly service – and it has become our go-to bar in East London.
Hope Tala is a good friend of the daughter of one of these Kew friends – hence the choice of concert. The daughter is now doing many of Hope’s music videos. This is a line of work that has become more interesting to me since Youngest Son (YS) dabbled in music video as part his mainstream video business (at Wilson Archer Films). Hope played an energetic and vibrant gig that was full of poppy riffs with a Latin tinge. I’ve surprised myself with the extent the songs have stayed in my head for the days since. Based on what I heard, Hope Tala will go far and I hope that creates a platform for more video creation for our friend’s daughter.
While in London, I fitted in a three exhibitions but I’ll take a breath and post separately on those. Following the recent meetings of groups of London-based friends, a gig (at last!), and a few exhibition visits, life seems to be returning to normal. Next week we are off to Edinburgh to see First Grandchild (FG) again. This time we are planning to take my Dad up in our new electric car so he can meet his great grandchild for the first time. We saw FG just a couple of weeks ago when he and his parents flew down to see us for FG’s first trip out of Edinburgh. Now I can’t wait to see his further development since (which seems to include the discovery of his ability to squeal loudly!)
In the midst of the dreadfulness of what is going on in Ukraine it seems incongruous to be having a good time and moving back fully to what I would probably call normality. All we can do is hope that some semblance of normality returns quickly in Eastern Europe too. It seems that maybe only one man can make that happen!