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So, Simon wanted to meet up in London and the place Eric suggested was Federation Café in Brixton Village. I've not seen Brixton Village before. It's astounding. The bright colours of home decor and clothes punctuate the busy ribbons of every form of café and small restaurant possible. It's impossibly crowded and incredibly friendly, especially if you're used to the idea that Londoners are stand-offish.

Federation Café itself actually hides in this background, with plain wooden tables outside, stencilled in black. They do fresh cakes, baked often enough that we ended up viewing two different selections while we were there. There's a limited, tasty selection of savouries. And they roast beans once a day, throwing out what's unused, and they grind beans every half an hour. The coffee is the best I've ever tasted, anywhere. I saved my morning caffeine dose for their coffee and had a little cup of miracles, and then the decaf turned out to also be amazingly tasty, which is a new and lovely experience for a decaf drinker.

The actual social experience was the same as these things always are - nice people chatting about general subjects and a very pleasant way to spend the afternoon. A bloke who was trying to read his paper ended up part of our circle, brought in I know not how or why, but kept there by being passed food. We were sharing our cakes - salted caramel millionaire's shortbread, rosewater and raspberry sponge, blackberry and almond cake and goodness knows what else.

On another subject entirely, we watched Horizon last night, me and ccooke and ruthi. The subject was domestic cats, which have been tracked and had cameras put on for a week-long survey. It was great. The talk about how cats are evolving was less so, but honestly just seeing cats' home ranges, and how they cover different shifts, and how cats in a multi-cat household genuinely are social, that was brilliant. I hope this becomes a regular thing, like Springwatch.

Solstice

Dec. 22nd, 2009 10:02 am
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The solstice was yesterday. I woke up feeling very bleh and not remotely celebratory. I had a duck to roast (actually, two) but not much to go with it and I wasn't sure I could be bothered to go out into the cold and snow to get more.

So Pol took me and Radnom to Bolton Market, where we all picked delicious noms for the next three days or so. Then Pol asked if he should/could invite people over, and I said yes, as long as he was prepared to do the host thing.

After that, I got cooking the duck, pausing now and then to attend to my bonfire-in-a-pot outside. Pol led the solstice service, despite being irreligious, because he'd just been to a celebration and could remember how the toasts worked. I toasted the sun, and Pol toasted the sun, and Random toasted the sun. The pot looked pretty good - a black iron cauldron on a white snowy wall, carrying warm yellow flames into the cold blue dusk, spreading wood smoke and sweet fumes of burnt mead and rosemary.

So I had a big roast duck dinner, with Random, then a buffet with Simon and ChrisC, Random, Pol and ppx. I hadn't met ppx before. She turned out to be lovely, although I think slightly overwhelmed.

I went with Pol to drop ppx off after the evening and defrosted in a hot bath before going to sleep at about 2am. I have woken up hungover but happy.

Thank you, Pol, Random, Simon, ChrisC and ppx for making winter solstice 2009 a special day.

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