Sunday 24 May 2009

Marie's Sunday Six in London

Welcome to my Sunday Six post of May 24th, 2009. I just love being able to tell you about all the wonderful things that make up my week, counting my blessings! I could tell you about all the nice things my boss said to me the other night when we were working together, or I could tell you about all the lovely e-mails I received this week, the pretty birds I got to listen to, the beautiful flowers I got to see, or even a host of other wonderful things that made me smile this past week, but, for today, I am going to dwell on the lovely time that Todd and I had in the city yesterday. The sun was shining and it was wonderfully warm. We really could not have asked for a better day out!

We left Oak Cottage, bright and early yesterday morning to catch an early train in to London. We wanted to get there nice and early so that we would have enough time to get ourselves a good priced ticket for the Saturday afternoon matinee of Les Miserables at the Queen's Theatre. We were really lucky and got a fast train that only stopped twice, once at Waterloo Station and then at our destination and we were really pleased once we arrive in London to discover that Leicester Square was only one stop away from Charing Cross station, so that was easy peasy lemon squeasy!

I love London, especially on a sunny day. It is so full of life and excitement. If I was a young person I would probably want to live there, but since I am a lady of maturity now . . . ahem . . . it's a nice place to visit , but . . . well, you know the rest! It had been a really long time since we had been in London together. I think the last time we had been was the day we took our lovely missionary couple the MacDonalds in, and that was about a year and a half ago, or maybe even longer!

The first thing we wanted to do was to procure our tickets. We had been hoping to get some half price ones, but alas . . . we were told that because Les Miserables sells out every Saturday there was no chance for a good deal . . . we'd have to pay the full price. We hummed and hawed over that, coz it was a LOT of money, but finally we decided it was a once in a lifetime thing, and so we said what the heck, damn the torpedos, and went for it. All I can say is it's a good thing we don't do this all the time!

Once we had our tickets bought we had about 3 hours to kill and so we wandered about London here and there. We spent a lot of time in London's Chinatown, which is chock full of charm, Chinese grocery stores and restaurants. (Not to mention acupuncture and massage parlours!) I managed to find some Panko bread crumbs, which, as any real foodie knows, are the absolute best and lightest crumb to use for breading anything that you are going to fry. The streets hummed with excitement and energy and the pavements were full of oriental fruits and veg just ripe for buying from the various vendors. The air was full of the smell of stinky Durian fruits and melons. It was all very wonderfully exotic!

We enjoyed a picnic lunch sitting on a bench together in the park at Leicester Square. Just Todd, myself, a host of other people and umpteen bazillion pigeons. It was lovely. We wandered about up to Piccadilly Circus and had a cold drink in a pub there and chatted and just enjoyed the time to be away from work and together. It was lovely, it truly was.

Before we knew it the time had flown past, and we started wandering our way back to Leicester Square, and on up to the theatre, but were delighted to find a bunch of young ladies and men doing a May pole dance in the square green! How wonderfully colourful and delightful it was! We stood and watched them for about 15 minutes. It was really lovely, an added bonus to what had been a lovely day thus far!

All of the costumes were fun and very pretty, and beautifully colourful.

I was so excited to see the theatre with the HUGE Les Mis sign outside! Ever since I moved over here to England I have wanted to see a musical in the West End and all my dreams were coming true!

We didn't have long to wait before we were seated inside the theatre and enjoying one of the best musicals I have ever seen. What a talented cast and what an amazing experience it was for us. . . . even though the ice creams at the intermission were incredibly expensive, (£3 for a very tiny Hagen das) and Todd spent the whole time trying to peer around a very big head of hair!! We were both swept away into another time and another world. It was fantastic, and so very well done. I am so glad we went, and so glad that we didn't change our minds when we found out how much it was going to cost us! This truly was a once in a lifetime experience and I enjoyed every moment of it.

Afterwards we spilled out onto the streets amidst the happy crowd of what seemed to be thousands and thousands of merry holiday makers making their way through Chinatown and back to Leicester Square. There was a lovely Mexican restaurant there and so we decided to treat ourselves to a Mexican meal for our supper. We gorged ourselves on nachos and chicken wings and then Todd had some Mexican chicken dish and I had . . . oh heck . . . fish and chips. It was in a Mexican beer batter! I know, I know, what am I like! An eating out treat for me, ever since I was a child, has always been fish and chips. You just can't teach an old dog new tricks! While we were eating we thought perhaps we could go for an evening walk along the embankment, but alas . . . we were so zonked from all the sunshine and excitement by the time we were finished that we decided it was time to catch the train home and home we went. (even the train ride home was pretty exciting as it was full of footie fans either on their way to or from a footie match. I couldn't figure out which!)

We fell into bed last night tired and happy, and so very glad to have each other in our lives. I do love my Todd so very much, and getting to spend a whole day like that with each other doing something special was just the best day ever . . . I can't think of a better way to spend a day off than with the one that you love, can you?

Todd always balks at the idea of me taking pictures of our food in restaurants, so I never do (although I really would like to). This is the chili I made for our tea the other night. It's not quite fish and chips, or even nachos . . . but it is kinda Mexican-ee, right?

*Marie's Chili Con Carne*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This is tasty, economical and uses things that I always have in my store cupboard. It's also a real family pleaser. Sometimes we eat this in bowls with crushed cornchips and cheese on top, and sometimes we eat it spooned over rice with a garnish of chopped raw onion and grated cheddar cheese. Either way it's delicious!

1 TBS oil
1 pound extra lean ground beef
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 small green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 green chili, seeded and chopped (optional)
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups tomato sauce (in the UK tomato passata)
3 ounces tomato paste
2 cups tinned chopped tomatoes, undrained
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp mild chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 cups tinned chili beans, undrained

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the ground beef and brown, cooking and stirring, until no longer pink. Add the onion, peppers and garlic. Cook and stir until the onion and garlic are softened.

Add all of the seasonings and cook for a few minutes longer until quite fragrant. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes, worsestershire sauce and the beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and simmer over low heat for several hours. Serve hot over rice if desired, or ladled into hot soup bowls.


  1. Sounds like a a great day, Marie.

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed Les Mis and your day in the capital. I swear your Todd looks younger every time you snap him.

    It's funny how you can live almost on the doorstep but hardly ever go there! Mimuther's family live outide Birmingham but only ever go there for Christmas shopping. Even people who work in Brum live further away than Auntie et al.

    Fish and chips - lol I don't know! I like to have whatever I think will have made the most washing up (for somebody else to do).

    Enjoy the rest f your weekend. Are you off tomorrow (holiday)?

    love, Angie, xx

  3. Ah... how wonderful! I'm excited to have days like this with my hubby when the kids are out of the house... 18 years from now!

  4. awwww.....those girls in their frilly pink! Adorable!

    I'm so glad you had such a good time!

  5. What a wonderful day you both had. It was so lovely reading about it. Your love for Tod just shines through whenever you write about him.
    Thanks for sharing.
    God Bless,
    Love Sybil xx

  6. Hi Marie! I love your pictures of London. But there is one thing on my mind. How does Todd stay so slim with all your yummy cooking? ;)

  7. love your day in London and I love..... Todd picture!!!(Did you say him I love so???)Im so naughthy I know!! Dear have a lot of fun time I send you kisses and hugs!!xoxoxoxGloria

    Maryann (about Todd) IS GENETIC!! Im sure because HE EATS !!! Sometimes I hate this genetic!! you know!!He is blessings!

  8. your day in london just sounds and looks like it was absolutely perfect!!

  9. I am just thrilled that you loved Les Miserables and all the rest of your day in London. Isn't the music so amazingly beautiful? It does just sweep you away. I could see it again and again and never tire of it.

    Jim and I are exactly at the place where you and Todd are and enjoy so much just a day together away from it all. I think our appreciation for everything grows a great deal as we mature.

  10. Sounds like you had a wonderful day, and what a blessing to have a very special someone to share it with.

  11. What a wonderful day. I am so glad that you went to London and had such a wonderful time. I was thinking of you all day. I knew you would love Les Miserables. I am so glad that you bit the bullet and went in spite of the cost. You will always have that great experience to remember.

    Fish and chips at a Mexican cafe??? What are you like??? Just kidding... after all you did have chili for tea.

    John and I also had a lovely day yesterday. I wish that you could have seen our Claire sing last night. She was amazing. She sang above the orchestra with a beautiful clear voice which seemed far beyond her 7 years. I could not get a good recording to share with you but you would have loved hearing her.

    I am so happy you had such a good week. Your smiles bring me smiles too. I think it was just about this time last year (John's birthday) that I read your blog for the first time. I will always be grateful to my Lynell that she brought us together. You have brought so much joy into my life. You are a blessing to me and I love you sweet friend.

    Have a good time tomorrow on your holiday. Love, Lura

  12. Love the pictures of the May Day celebration. The little girls are so cute!


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