Everyone is invited for fish pie

Kirk Douglas died today, aged 103. His lesser known son, a stand up comic, once responded to hecklers by saying they couldn’t treat him like that because he was the son of Kirk Douglas. One person stood up and said “NO! I am the son of Kirk Douglas!” Then another. Then another. And so on and so forth.

That has to be one of the best famous person memories of all time.

As for me, I was off to London to have a late lunch/early dinner with Denise, Tracey, Michael and Ellis. Actually, we weren’t sure if Ellis was going to be there because she’s not been well but she managed to drag herself from her sick bed and made the gathering that little bit brighter.

Of course, going to London means overheard conversations. Well, for me, anyway.

There was the young man telling his female companion about his friend who was exhibiting at the RSA. They had been at a reception and ran into Frank Gill.

The chap telling the story said how his artist friend immediately switched into full artist mode with Frank Gill and the two were immediately simpatico. (He actually used the word ‘simpatico‘.) He said it was an artist to artist conversation and Frank Gill was really lovely.

I assume he meant Frank Gill the cartoonist rather than the American ornithologist.

Actually there was quite a bit of art on show today. From the gates to Petticoat Lane to the Hound and Hare enjoying a cup of tea in their swimmers, at Spitalfields.

Such fun

In fact, it was a lovely day weatherwise and perfect for a stroll down Petticoat Lane. I’d suggested it to Denise and Trace when Michael booked for us to we eat at The Grocer at Spitalfields.

I visited Spitalfields seven years ago during the annual archaeology conference held by the Museum of London. We were given a tour of the charnel house beneath the square. I haven’t been back since.

But, before Spitalfields, we walked down Petticoat Lane in order to absorb the sights and sounds of a market that has been in existence since at least 1609. The market may be the same but the fashions have changed and features a lot of bright African patterns as well as the inevitable t-shirts.

Back when Mirinda worked near the Gherkin, we would meet up for lunch and wander the back streets around the immediate vicinity. Petticoat Lane was one such back street. Though, again, I’ve not been back since.

As we left the lane, directly across the road, I spotted the Culpepper and wondered if we’d like to partake of a beverage there. It didn’t take a lot of convincing and we settled in for a pint, a half pint and a vodka for Denise.

And, what a delightful surprise. Not only was the pub lovely (and not crowded) but it also had Harvey’s on tap. What a wonderful pint I had. Actually I can’t remember the last time I had a Harvey’s. Probably the last time I was in Lewes…which was a few years ago.

Eventually we headed up the road to Spitalfields where we wandered through the rather upmarket market before spotting The Grocer and Michael and Ellis waiting for us.

It’s the first time I’ve met Michael’s partner Ellis. She is a lovely lass from Leeds with but the merest hint of a northern accent. I don’t know where I got the impression that she was Schumanian because she is clearly not.

Lunch (or early dinner) was delicious. I was a bit disappointed at the lack of ham, egg and chips but the sausage and buttermilk mash was lovely. I must say that the bowl of lemon marinated olives which Ellis and I devoured, were an especial taste-bud treat.

And so we settled back and chatted and ate and drank and chatted for a lovely couple of hours before all going our separate ways. I guess we could have stayed out longer except for the fact that Denise and Trace are heading off to Edinburgh in the early morning and wanted to get some sleep before hand.

When I looked up where they were staying in Edinburgh, I suggested they pop along Rose Street. I also suggested lunch at the Ensign Ewart. Hopefully the weather won’t be too bad.

We all walked to Liverpool Street Station where Michael and Ellis went home, Denise and Trace caught the Circle Line to Edgeware Road and I hopped on the number 26 bus to Waterloo.

Rather than the usual just missed a train home by two minutes, I had to wait around for the delayed 18:25 with many other disgruntled commuters. Mind you, this was more than made for by the older woman who was eventually sat across the aisle from me.

She had been at lunch in town with some women she knew and was trying to call her husband on her flip phone. She was having a lot of difficulty which was not made easier when she realised she was in a quiet carriage.

However, with very little noise, she managed to call him and tell him to take the fish pie out of the fridge ready to go into the oven. Her husband seemed to be a bit dense because she had to tell him a few times.

She then abruptly and without any small talk, hung up on him. She apologised to the people sitting around her because she hadn’t realised she was in a quiet carriage. It’s interesting to note that she was being considerably noisier than she had been on the phone.

She then went on to tell her travelling companions how delicious her fish pie was and that they were all welcome to come round and have some. “It’s the white wine and parsley that makes it perfect,” she told them.

She was like a lovely grandma returning on a crowded train from the WI having spent an afternoon discussing various ways to prepare seafood in a pastry base. She was a delightful diversion from the usual horrid trip home during peak hour.

Or rather, peak hours, given they seem to run from 16:00 to 19:00 these days.

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