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We had a quick lunch on Wall St, then caught the ferry out to Jersey yesterday afternoon and had dinner with a woman who supplies the shop with various oil blends (Kzin - thanks for passing the message on and my apologies for inadvertently troubling you with that! I think Gwen used ring-back). Great fun, and G very kindly drove us to the airport after this.

The flight back was on time and uneventful - rather like the flight over, although thankfully this time without last week's disconcerting announcement that the cabin doors had just been closed (this when we were already several thousand feet over Wales. Since passengers were not sucked out and distributed over Tiger Bay, we assumed this was a computer glitch rather than an actual public service announcement).

A friend very kindly collected us at the airport and we got home to discover that the house was still standing, and we were locked out of it. T demonstrated his burgling prowess with a branch and managed to unlock the bottom half of the tack room door.

I went to sleep for 5 hours and woke to a phone call from my father informing me that they have a suspected carbon monoxide leak. They're waiting for the gas board now, and I am on standby to go and pick them up if need be. They found out via a change in the flame of the gas stove, thank God, rather than symptoms.
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We got back into town on Monday morning and went into the city late in the afternoon to catch up with my agent Shawna, and someone from the publishing biz for drinks in Greenwich Village, then sushi with Shawna and her husband. We've had some fantastic meals this trip - I'd give the name of the sushi place but it didn't seem to have one. I'll check with S.

Yesterday saw us back in town with Esther Friesner and family, which was as always a pleasure but which was, as I say, somewhat disrupted by David H's sad death.

We did, however, have lunch in the rather spectacular Carnegie Deli. After lunch, E and W headed for the hospital and we went on as planned to the Nicholas Roerich museum on 107th Street. Roerich is a great favourite of mine - explorer, artist, and mystic, he painted a huge series of luminous paintings of the Himalayas, Central Asia and Tibet. I first came across his work in a gallery in Novosibirsk and have since followed some of his steps through Siberia, the Altai, and western China. His use of colour is extraordinary, and his paintings of these remote, harsh landscapes is like a glimpse into a transcendent world.

After this, we hung out in a bar for a while (during which I was banished to the 'bullshit corner' - we know this because it was marked by a small brass plaque) then walked the length of Central Park to a nice Mexican place, to meet up with E and W once more. Rosa Mexicano, I believe. We also, at an earlier lunch, located a pleasant Guyanese place in Brooklyn - very cheap, with enormous portions. The El Dorado on Nostrand Ave, unless I am mistaken.

Another visit has been to a local botanica - I now have some floorwash. We have been looking into selling this kind of thing, with some reservations, as it is not our tradition. Had an interesting trade-related chat with the proprietor, who seemed unfazed at being descended upon by British witches.

NYC

Mar. 28th, 2007 10:21 am
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We're still in Brooklyn, online before it's time to go into town and catch the ferry for Jersey. We're spending some time with friends before heading for the airport tonight.

Except for the news of the sudden death of David Honigsberg - which is a pretty big 'except' - this has been a lovely trip. We got in last week and caught the bus into Grand Central, then found a bar and waited for the arrival of our hostess [livejournal.com profile] greeneyedkzin. Inexplicably, the bar was playing a rerun of the latest Tottenham-Watford match, occasioning some cultural dissonance.

T would like to thank our hostess once again for the Spring Equinox candle, which was a very kind thought, as well as for all her other kindnesses.

On Thursday, we met up with my old friend R, who came down from Massachusetts - we had a stroll round the southern half of Central Park and then went for lunch at Zen Palate. I was pleased to see that this is still going - it was a regular destination on previous trips and I love their food. R had to catch a train, so we parted company from her in the late afternoon, had a wander round Chinatown and a drink in a bar in the East Village, then went back up to Grand Central to meet up with various folk for drinks at the Campbell apartment - a baronial dining hall in the middle of the station. Bizarre! But wonderful. We were slightly plagued by ex-pat British bankers (the kind that you spell with a 'w') but our hostess dealt with them. I apologise on behalf of the rest of the country.

We then went to dinner at Keen's. What a great place! This was supposed to be a celebration of carniverousness, and boy, was it. I had some excellent lamb and T had the steak. But it's a fascinating place, very atmospheric, with a huge collection of clay pipes.

Really nice to see [livejournal.com profile] paleologa and [livejournal.com profile] kefiraahava again, and T enjoyed meeting you.

Next morning, someone who shall be nameless, if not shameless, took me to a boutique on Austin Street, and lo, I did buy a pair of sequined jeans, which are very Glastonbury if not quite my usual sort of gear. But I'm very pleased with them.

And thence to Long Island and I-Con.
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On Wednesday, the hotel arranged a free boat ride by water taxi to Murano, which is where they make the glass. It's a quick ride over, past the sombre walled island that is Vence's cemetery: we saw a flower-decked coffin being carried across on a little boat, towards the spires of the cypress. Read more... )
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On Tuesday evening, we went to a little family-run restaurant that I've visited a couple of times before, and we had, respectively, liver and seafood (Venice is, as one would expect, heavily into fish and seafood, but it does some quite hearty meat and game-based food as well). We ate in a small dining room, decorated with old black and white photos of the city, along with an English family (parents and a 20-something daughter), an Italian couple, and a mixed group of middle-aged Italians and one Brit. We'd just got to the coffee stage when someone behind me made an extraordinary sound, like someone imitating a creaking door.

Read more... )
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I'll be in conversation at the Bath Literary Festival, the Guildhall, tomorrow (Saturday) from 2.30 - 3.30 pm. Hope to see some of you there!

We're now back, having had a great time with only one near-death experience and no flight hitches. Easyjet are not, God knows, the world's greatest airline, but they got us to Marco Polo and back without any delays. We flew into MP on Monday night to see a huge Tupolev sitting on the runway (always a pleasure in that retro-futuristic way), courtesy of one of the post-Soviet airlines and quite out of place amongst all the airbuses. The bus ride into Venice is quick, and once in the Piazzale Roma we caught the ferry down the Grand Canal to Dorsoduro, which is where we were staying. At night, this is a sinister and atmospheric journey, with the palaces rising straight out of the water and the lamps reflecting darkly within.

Read more... )
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Thursday: took the ferry back to Skye this morning and found the guest house shut, so we wandered about in the rain for a bit and then went back into Portree for lunch at the nice pub. On the way back, discovered a horrendous accident involving 2 cars and a motorbike, plus police and fire engines etc – looked like a head-on collision.

Friday: drove down from Skye to Carlisle. On the way, we visited Eilean Donan, which rewarded closer inspection – it’s a most impressive castle on a small island in a loch. Featured in HIGHLANDER, and one can see why. J is a fan of the TV series and I am not, but only because I’ve never watched it – it was put on over here at weird times of the day and night, and never consistently, so I couldn’t get an idea of when it was on except by scouring the TV guide like some arcane tome. I may try to get it on DVD: J recommends it. The loch was beautiful and calm.

We also stopped off at a whisky distillery, in which I was forced to turn down free Scotch: this really hurt, but J does not drink and I was driving. We visited the folk museum in Glencoe, and had lunch at yet another nice pub, then hit the road for England. Takes a long time to get to Carlisle, which is, as T says, a solid, regal city, with a red brick castle and a big city gate. We had dinner in a somewhat haphazard Mexican restaurant: no, there was no bar, but we could have drinks in the hotel next door and they would fetch us. In the hotel, we were served by a customer, and 5 minutes later someone from the restaurants appeared and told us that we could take our drinks into dinner, from the hotel. It was good, but according to J bore no relation to actual Mexican food. T, when told, said “But – Carlisle is the Mexican restaurant capital of the North!!!” Yes, dear.

Saturday: drove to N Wales, passing a traffic jam from Lancaster to Preston as a result of a jackknifed lorry – happily, on the opposite side of the motorway. We were so impressed by the Manchester ringroad in pissing rain that we went round it twice, and I would again like to apologise to J for missing the little sign that replaced the normal huge blue one. By the time we hit Chester, the sun had come out, and then, thank God, we were heading through Snowdonia.
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I'm ensconced in Snowdonia at Milford at the moment, so posts will continue to be sporadic...however, here's Worldcon....

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