Nott in Grove

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Neighbours, everybody needs good…

It’s the age of uncertainty, overuse of the word ‘Terrorism’ and common sense gone digital. If what the astronomers tell us is true, we’ve moved light years away from the cosmic location we were at just four years ago and you can kinda tell. Yet Mario’s key cutters, Poundland, and Tesco’s all seem to have remained in the same location as I look through the eyes of a child.

The said amount of time has passed since we shared, right here on Urban Dandy, how the natural falling of a tree on our block inspired the locals to spill out onto the streets and finally make themselves known.

I don’t know if it’s time, frustration or just karma for me, but it seems that the neighbourly thing is at an all time low. The same eleven-year-olds that used to humbly greet me on my way out the door are now fifteen and just about neighbourly enough to replace those kind words with a nod and an ice grill and if I’m really lucky it may also be the waft of urban incense of the green variety. I can’t tell you how many times my doorstep has been littered with rolling papers, Subway sandwich wrappers, rappers and pitiful young girls, a few months into puberty and possibly a couple of years from single motherhood. They would exchange a type of loud poetry of the sailor type among themselves and upon any young ears that are unfortunate enough to be near their fruitless performance.

I remember the gradual build up to this and the times when my suspicions of drug activity were vague and unsubstantiated, but I never expected to be welcomed home with an offer to buy drugs on my own doorstep.

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It’s a challenge not to compare the rubbish on the balcony with the scene on the street

Yep, it’s certainly a different time and place in space and you’d easily be forgiven if you don’t remember the tree that considerately descended on the very same block, even though, at the time, it was the most activity we had seen and the main focus of conversation for months. Now two years on, teams of mopeds turn the streets into Silverstone as they wheelie up the track block dropping off their illegal supplies under the diffident noses of the police, the housing association, the moon and even the mid-day sun, for that matter.  Rumours spread of the neighbours’ children having knife tussles in the street and of warning shots being fired in a place that celebrities could never imagine while they strut with all their pretense, trying to ignore the echoes of their own name.  It’s hard to believe that one area could support such opposing lifestyles. But Notting Hill is such a place.

The local news is sometimes national news, depending. It could be about the actress Eve strolling through her new manor, a sixteen-year-old laying in a pool of blood, Rita Ora doing a photo shoot, or a mob of eleven police restraining a wannabe thug kid. Considering the later;  this not yet man will no doubt only use this encounter as a badge to show the peer group that he has achieved a Netflix version of manhood.  Meanwhile, the Beckhams will do the school drop off oblivious to this. But all of this in one stretch of concrete.

These are not incidents but everyday life. It’s like a kind of trash bag made of diamonds. It’s odd knowing that Princes William and Harry went to the school up the street and just feet away from that ambitious parent attending a school viewing, hoping to give their child the same Prince Harry experience they may experience the polar opposite. It’s also a Big Issue magnet, a haven for the more ambitious of the homeless. I know this because it took me two years and some strong language to be rid of one such aggressive Big Issue seller and to have him accept that I was a regular guy. He eventually dissolved our tacit contract and moved on to more supportive folk to maintain his structure.

Home and Away

Elsewhere in the world there are at least a few miles between these classes. I find the choice to park in the centre of a spot that could hold two vehicles snooty and sub-civilised, but no less churlish than maneuvering a 60 lb leather sofa into a parking space in front of your own home, but who cares…Damn right it’s an environmental crime but not to be declared in Orwellian style with the hope of profit, but just to dispense a call for the raising of one’s personal standards, empathy and maybe a little shame. Yeah, the mice come out knowing that the neighbourhood ugly gives them hope that there will be a serving for at least four when they carelessly drop pizza and other food items on their own doorstep, but who gives a..?

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The bigger picture

Truth is, beneath all of this is a fight between two demogra-folks, both too smart to actually realise they’re in a war over a silly name. I’m not sure who named Ladbroke Grove Notting Hill but the two gangs have both been co-living on the same turf for some time now. As Notting Hill gets written into the history books, Ladbroke Grove makes its own history reminding us of the area’s past like an immortal storyteller. Immortal because, much to the disappointment of some locals, it just won’t go away. This neverending story is what opened the doors to make it Notting Hill, (Ladbroke Grove or whatever you choose to call it) Marvin Gaye, The Sex Pistols, Malcolm X, Muhammed Ali, The Rolling Stones and all.

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Rough Trade Records started out in Ladbroke Grove and without moving an inch has become Notting Hill’s musical pride and, somewhat organic, record shop. Yet who remembers when they sold NY W.B.L.S. radio mix-tapes and when people sprayed the bricks with Sham 69? How about, graffiti artist Futura 2000 knocking around with the Clash or Queen Latifa searching the crates for her little-known single?

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Synonymously the neighbouring food equivalent would be The Grain Shop that still lives opposite Tavistock Square on Portobello Road, Notting Hill, or is it Portobello Road, Ladbroke Grove? Even regular healthy food got caught in this name politics and was changed to organic without its consent. Even though The Grain Shop still services the area for their food needs, the name of the food they offer, although it’s mostly organic, refuses to boast, because unlike most other things their attitudes have not changed. But you would have to remember Ladbroke Grove to know that. To know that the owners care more about the nutrition that they provide for their community than giving it a fancy name.

Keeping Tabs

Then there’s The Tabernacle: it still sits in Powis Square but seems to be wanting to slide up the hill rather than down the grove. Thankfully it is regulated by culture. Every time a hundred pound designer Champagne creeps onto the drinks menu a Jerk Chicken wrestles it down to the ground, sometimes it’s a saltfish fritter fighting a salad or even an unexpected Chicken Saint Lucia being drowned by the soup of the day.

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*The Tabernacle 80’s. Grafitti artist: Brim (left) with The Krew

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Yep, most of us are just casualties of a war of status and as soon as Notting Hill recognises that it’s Ladbroke Grove is the moment that Ladbroke Grove will see that it is Notting Hill. Gentrification will then become an organic process with the participation of locals. The area’s potential will then be clear and we can concentrate on bigger things like what the fuxit our exit from the EU actually means and how we need each other more than ever, NOW.

Whether it’s your micro neighbour or your macro neighbour we need constructive communication and not snobbery. Coming to accept that there is not, and has never been, a middle class may be a little hard to swallow for some but for God’s sake get over it quick because at this time if you’re not excelling to new financial altitudes whereby work is but a choice, then your choice of neighbours is not a choice at all. It’s Russian roulette, only now there are three slugs in the chamber of the proverbial gun to your head. It’s easier, far easier for somebody to complain about their co-inhabitants rather than to seek resolve with each other. Whether you dropped down from Knightsbridge with high expectations or you have never left the area and cannot quite grasp the gentrific change, it’s time to talk; otherwise, the government (or foreign corporate interests to be precise) will be only too happy to play your friendly mediator.

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If you’re like me and have lived in any of the other communities that are globally accepted as parallels, you’ll know that there is not another area on earth like this one. New York, Paris, and Los Angeles all boast of multiculturalism but even as diverse as they are, the local cultures have enough distance between them to never meet. Not so with us, just look at the size of our streets, somebody sneezes, you feel it across the road. We live in a very claustrophobic space of scraping buses and folding wing mirrors but with that comes the unique advantage of having to interact and survive within each other’s world, without each other in this little village. It makes sense for us to finally define it ourselves with the help of those who bring their foreign experiences if they are only willing to introduce themselves and share rather than seize real land, by any other corporate term.

I believe that on this third rock, in this western hemisphere, in this Royal Borough, while the world divides itself in the hope of the government submitting a plan for re-uniting it we have the potential to become a beacon to the world but we have to stop the selfishness and start participating, preserving, embracing and becoming curious about our homies, and each other’s welfare not farewell.

Angel Lewis

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The subtle language of conflict

   

Dedicated to: *The Krew: Shaban, Drew, Kevin Wez, Nicky and Jeff (RIP).  Song: The Escapades of Futura 2000  – Futura 2000 and The Clash

Lad Broke Groove

By Tom Charles

“In the heart of the Urban Dandy is the fate and the conflict of the bohemian, to become preoccupied with the things he/she shuns – materialism and money” (About Us)

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Art by Angel Lewis

Descriptions like this can be traced back nearly two centuries when the word ‘Bohemian’ was first used to define those who didn’t fit the mainstream, bourgeois view of respectable living.

Mid-nineteenth century bohemians were those associated with alternative lifestyles and world views, engaged in the arts, writing and philosophy. They were united in their rejection of bourgeois materialism, trivia and sentimentality. What was respectable to the bourgeois was, to the bohemians, banal.

The thinker Alain de Botton describes the “martyr figures” of the bohemian value system as those who “sacrificed the security of a regular job and the esteem of their society in order to write, paint or make music, or devote themselves to travel or to their friends and families”[i]

By favouring sensitivity over worldly attachment, bohemians found themselves destitute, unable to reconcile themselves to spending their time and energy in service of a job they loathed to secure comfortable material lives. They looked elsewhere, forming their own subcultures and alternative movements.

But while mainstream society has its status symbols (peerages, job titles, awards, bling etc.) the bohemians’ status is attained through social skills, poetry, choice of reading material and company kept.

In the 1800s, society reported only bourgeois achievements and alternative heroes were seldom seen. The bohemian response to this freezing out was to try to shock respectable society out of its complacency. The Dadaists and Surrealists provided alternative voices to the prevailing narratives of social conservatism and fear of difference. Similarly, the Beat poets challenged a culture dominated by those who believed society offered a just reward system.

Bohemians tend to gather in ghettos, a survival instinct and economic necessity. Inner city areas with low end rent have been the focal point, potential havens of freedom, liberation and creativity.

All well and good, but any Bohemian must operate within the laws of the land. And so, the fate of the bohemian is still to become preoccupied with what is ostensibly shunned: money and material comfort.

In North Kensington, a wind chill factor of poverty blows in. Over half of the Borough’s children attend private schools, while 41% of their peers live in poverty. Boho? Many of those who had enjoyed a degree of material comfort and predictable security can no longer rely on this. And the society is more atomised and less community-based than ever. The future is uncertain.

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Screen-grab from the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation

Under an entirely unnecessary sham economic policy called ‘Austerity’, brutal class war is being waged. For those leaving university with five figures of debt, fulfilling their life’s purpose and building a community that enables people to realise their own individuality is not an option. Neither is debt slavery an economic benefit to the country; it is a deliberate, class-based political decision.

The result is best articulated by Oscar Wilde: “There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else. That is the misery of being poor”[ii].

The confusion of the value of a human with the monetary value of what they possess has led the majority into tedious, demoralising work in a bid for respectability. Wilde said that our society has been constructed on such a basis “that man has been forced into a groove in which he cannot fully develop what is wonderful, and fascinating, and delightful in him – in which, in fact, he misses the true pleasure and joy of living”[iii].

And this is the dilemma of the Urban Dandy; it is what is inside them that enriches life. But they must live outwardly. And that is why, in our hundredth post we declared our intention:

“Identifying with the downtrodden, the poor and the dandies, the human, those who won’t back down and those that capitulate under pressure”.

A final warning: Beware of the word Bohemian now. It has been bastardised, called Boho…Tory Bohemia

 

Vacuous

Been the king of Notting Hill, Lord of Ladbroke Grove

Seen new money flooding in, pretentiousness exposed!

All about the bag you hold, label inside your clothes

Even though it’s daddies cash you wanna be boho!

Without a picture painted, book or verse

A modern day hippy – but in reverse!

The queen of hearts has marked your card

Like me seen through the looking glass

Oh! Alice dear you’re lost in space

What’s really happening to this place

But Alice dear -don’t you understand

For most of us it’s not wonderland!

 

Poem by MC.Bolton, 2015

 

Endnotes:

[i] Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety, Penguin (2005), p. 280

[ii] Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism, in The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde, p.1180

[iii] Ibid p.1178

Breaking Water : MSF Exclusive

The Sea section

Within just a few short months, the world’s concerns have gone from refugee to presidential. Makes me question who’s doing the choosing inside the old noggin? I, in defiance of the directive, am watching a documentary on the plights of Medicines Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) and I’m so moved by it that I feel as though I’m actually in the Mediterranean on board the rescue boat – Bourbon Argos
 
So enlightened by the whole ordeal, I find myself wanting to join the team.  For me, the safe delivery of the worn out refugees is better appreciated by comparing it with the area of obstetrics. The uncertainty, the anticipation and danger of the breaking water creates a contradicting consternation followed by the sheer satisfaction of delivering those people who had already decided to let their outright need overcome their utmost fear for the potential of entering into a new, unfamiliar, safer world. Or not.
 
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The Bourbon Argos (the delivery room) intended as a medical supply ship. Photo: Lindis Hurum
 
Inspired by this, I contacted Lindis Hurum, one of the humanitarian workers featured in the documentary, directly, who told me she wasn’t actually a recruiter and advised me accordingly. As luck would have it, or maybe fate, this lead to an incredibly beautiful conversation, ending with the following communication of rare insight. Rare because there aren’t really many words that can explain the emotions exchanged between the deliverer and the delivered but if we must seek out words to elucidate this fervour, let us not try guessing and experience them first hand.    
 
Lindis  Hurum is the field coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres, an organisation founded four decades ago by a group of doctors. The emergency medical aid organisation was set up to provide care for people facing natural and man-made disasters, epidemics and war, regardless of race religion or ideology. In the last forty years, an unfathomable amount of lives have been delivered through the safe hands of the organisation. 

Continue reading

Joe Marshalla Exclusive Pt 2

 “This is why I’m alive, so bring it on…”

Part one of our wonderful, wide-ranging conversation with the renowned spiritual teacher Dr Joe Marshalla is here.

Part two covers political and social change, death experiences, parenting, science, holotropic thinking and ‘insanity’. Without further ado, here’s part two of your exclusive introduction to Joe Marshalla, our man in Hawaii…

Politics, Society and Maintaining Energy

UDL: Can you give an example of involvement in political or social campaigns that you’ve managed to navigate without it depleting your vital energy?

JM: In the last three years I’ve lived in Hawaii, and it’s the largest open-air biological and chemical test site in the world. The Hawaiian Islands have been declared a sacrifice zone, so if one of the experiments goes wrong, it’s in the middle of the ocean away from population centres. So new GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are being developed by Dow, Monsanto, BASF, Pioneer…everybody’s here.

I wrote a law, and in the US citizens can get enough signatures to force a vote on a petition. It had never happened in the state of Hawaii before. We wanted a temporary moratorium until it was proved that the experiments weren’t damaging the environment. Pretty simple. But for every $10,000 we spent, they spent $2 million.

They spent $15-$20 million to try to defeat us, but we won. I went up against the beast and beat him. We’re one step before the supreme court now, if we have to go there to win.

I wrote the law and directed the campaign against all the propaganda. Everything it was built on was to be for something not against something. We were for children, for protection of the land. We weren’t against GMOs and Monsatan (sic). The basic communication style was: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. The truth isn’t any truer if you yell it.

We came from the heart and from Aloha.

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Anyway, they didn’t know how to deal with love. Violence, anger and rage, they can use that to marginalise the cause. We also proved the contamination of the islands, we had the facts too.

The key element is transmutation, being for something. Stop calling people up and start calling them in.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care

The Human Function

UDL: That sounds like a very Yin approach, helping, sustaining and growing. Could you say more?

JM: I’ve had several death experiences, one of 12 hours when I had a stroke. I was laying there with all these tubes in me and I thought ‘OK I’m back’ but it got me asking myself: ‘What for?’

Every being has a purpose, every microbe, insect, plant serves a function. What’s the function of a human life in the biosphere? The only thing I could come up with that for myself seemed halfway reasonable was that my function is to uplift and nurture all life. I believe that is the function of all of us. From there, whether you write a law or start a social movement or whatever, that is your function, not to rip somebody else off or gather more and more or beat some competition. Continue reading

Exclusive Interview with Joe Marshalla Pt.1

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Doctor Joe Marshalla is a Wholosopher an Introspectionist, the author of the book Repeatlessness and the producer of audio materials such as Healing Garden and Affirmations for life. His concept of Wholosophy and his introducing the law of Repeatlessness to the world has helped many people on the way to self-discovery.

There are things known to those who have chosen the path of spirit that innately makes sense within, but not necessarily to the logic of the critical, analytical left brain.

In my late teens, I had a keen interest in psychology and became fascinated in how well things turned out for me when I expressed my intentions at the start of my day. This was a short-lived experience as it seemed like spirit and science were fighting each other. ‘Is it me or is it a supreme energy outside of me making this all happen?’ I wondered. 21-12-2012 unbeknown to some, ushered in a series of unique planetary positions and energies for the first time in around 25,000 earth solar cycles. Even those who do recognise those subtle signs of the time still struggle with the emotional and very physical experiences of shedding the ego. A difficult period that made some forget that it is a gradual and not an instant dimensional shift happening within.

Today, Doctors are merging the two beliefs into one with reason and clarity, aiding those who are tickled by science and facts alone. Joe Marshalla is one such Doctor who has an incredible gift of speaking through these dimensions. I suggest you study Repeatlessness and see the range of tools available to cause your cells to also understand as well as your soul or vice versa depending on your angle. 

 In the meantime, we give you the first part of an incredible interview that we recently conducted in Hawaii with Dr. Joe Marshalla. (Via skype, we weren’t really there 🙂 

Enjoy.   

Part one:

It’s 11:34 am in London and  apparently 12:34 in the morning in Hawaii. We are given a poetic answer to the question of our guest’s geography. Joe explains his location as “I’m in Hawaii, sitting under a completely darkened sky with no moonlight, surrounded by millions of stars and looking directly into the milky way.” Joe has a way of creating bliss from…well, unfounded bliss. 

imgres UDL: The name Marshalla is strangely similar to an Arabic word ‘Marshallah’ meaning ‘Gods will’. Does it have anything to do with this?

 JM: Yes, I have been told that before, and spelled backwards it really messes with some people because backwards it’s Allah’s Ram, (laughs). So no, that name as far as I know was given to us by the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service.)  I’m Czechoslovakian and Polish and when my grandparents came over here I guess an Italian guy was checking them in and the name went from something like Marshalchov to him saying “Ah, in America we say Marshalla”, so they Americanized it by Italianizing the name and I now know every Marshalla that exists because they all extend from my Grandma and Grandpa.

UDL: A lot of time when I hear someone’s name and I find out what it means I realize that they are just that. Do you find this with your name at all?

JM: Oh gosh yeah! I have been saying this for so many years. I mean, the Bobs and the Johns and Marys and the Cindys and the Kathys and the Lindas, there’s something about one’s name being repeated over and over that seems to possibly set some type of psychic DNA predisposition for the sound. And all the people I meet with the same names all seem very similar.

There was a period at which I actually changed my name. It was for my own healing purposes. There was so much trauma and things that were associated with the name Joe, Joey or Joseph that I wanted to eliminate those traumas being activated. I mean, someone could just say my name a certain way and for no reason at all I would feel this trauma coming over my body, like hearing a siren or something. I’d get that little shock like experience. And so I changed my name for about four or five years. There’s a whole bunch of people that know me by the name Sudeha (Soo-day-uh) and actually Swami Bodhi Sudeha that was given to me by a teacher named Osho. It was my name for a long time to many people and it really made quite a difference in my ability to heal many things.

I can relate.  I have many other names for similar reasons. I mention getting through our questions (around ten in total) without taking up too much of Joe’s time. He explains that we are not inconveniencing him at all and he appreciates the formality but this is why he’s alive so bring it on. (We all laugh)

Repeatlessness

UDL: Repeatlessness. Do you find the word brings you back to the moment? For me hearing the word, what I understand of it, is that no moment is the same and each one is unique in its own way. Recognising this opens up a whole bunch of potential for me at that moment, that’s what I get from it. Could you explain in a little more detail?

JM: Sitting within the concept of Repeatlessness, within one’s mind, one gets to experience what I call the truth. The T.R.U.T.H… which would be The Repeatless, Unknowable, Timeless, Happening. Because we know it’s fresh and new… it’s Repeatless and if it’s repeatless then it’s never happened before and it’s Unknowable. It’s Timeless because time doesn’t exist… it’s only the now emerging, more now emerging now, emerging now, emerging continuously the now emerging fresh and new… and lastly,  it certainly seems to be Happening, right?  So, T.R.U.T.H. – The Repeatless, Unknowable, Timeless, Happening.

And in experiencing the T.R.U.T.H…  when you have two or more people in that state of awareness… and every moment is fresh and new… then they get to experience P.E.A.C.E… which is People Experiencing A Conscious Existence. Continue reading

Centurions – Urban Dandy’s 100th Post

Our Hundredth Post – About Urban Dandy

Urban Dandy Truth

In the heart of the Urban Dandy is the fate and the conflict of the bohemian, to become preoccupied with the things he/she shuns – materialism and money. They must survive, after all. They mustn’t be a burden, they must contribute, they must identify and add to the chorus when injustice is uncovered.

Identifying with the downtrodden, the poor and the dandies, the human, those who won’t back down and those that capitulate under pressure. The Urban Dandy embraces the contrasts and colours that create a fully vibrant city-scape of peoples.

The eyes of the Urban Dandy look deep into the spectre of failure. The integrity of the work takes our energy, likes and hits, fame and fortune do not. It’s a slow-rise, an awakening, a connecting of voices: I hear you, you hear me…

The scope of the Urban Dandy is local and global. Big Ideas. Not anti-capitalist, or pro-socialist; not dogmatic, pro-truth. Art of word, authenticity, not glorifying poverty, glory in human beings, looking at context, our area. Not vacuous superficiality…Wholesome. You too, our ears, your thoughts. The truth you can say. Word is bond. Life in motion – Truth again.

The style of the Urban Dandy is irreverent, light, heavy…

The conversation of the Urban Dandy is theatre, art, food, spiritual practices, addiction, terrorism, refugees, interviews, spirited resistance, local businesses, local artists, local area, gentrification…

Urban Dandy is a safe refuge for words.

The Urban Dandy knows that today’s media adds as much pepper to a story as they can to gain a reaction, ultimately seeking readership. This is not us. We will go the long route and grow organically, rather than compromise our ethics. Words are important and the lips from which they departed deserve for those very words to be received exactly as they were intended.

If the Urban Dandy holds an opinion at all it will be clearly stated as our own and never merged with the words of a trusting interviewee/interlocutor. It’s possible to share an opinion but never a mouth. 

 

 The Truth of the Urban Dandy

My name is Truth

I have stood since times beginning

Outside the hearts of man

Waiting for the invitation

a few will let me in

I am searched for by the flawed, the weak, written about by the poor

For only in humility

Can I enter through your door

Yet I can free you from delusions, false hope and empty dreams

From the world’s chicanery

All its crazy schemes

I am the small voice in the wilderness

A whisper in the breeze

be still, quiet, listen

For with me comes liberty…

 

 

Poem by Mark Bolton

Electric Breakfast

Venue: Electric Diner, Portobello Road

Meal: Breakfast

Rating:

3.53.5/5

It’s 11.45am on a Tuesday in March and I’ve just come back to Portobello after moving some things into a Brentford storage unit.

Heavy work, so you’d think a full English carb fest was on my mind. Not so, here’s why…

…So, we get to the door of the Electric Diner on Portobello Road, only to be greeted by our regular (Antonio Banderas looking) waiter.  I may have appeared a bit rude as I zipped past him fully aware of the clock ticking away on our 50% local discount deal as it fast approached 12.00. I rushed past into the ready and waiting waitress. “Will you still honour the discount as it’s not yet 12 O’ clock”?  I said in a half couldn’t care less way, without revealing the fact that her answer was a remote control to push an invisible button to send me away or make me stay, just like a puppet”. ” If you order before 12.00 it’ll be fine”. She said. You’ve never seen a person sit down so quickly.

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It was about 11:52 when my guest: sweet Juliet ordered her poached eggs on toast with  avocado and a bit a lemon on the side, accompanied by a pot of mint tea to kill the chill. Note below, the avocado’s succulence. Continue reading