Optical Illusion Puzzle from www.thelagoongroup.com
It's not a very large puzzle, which is part of its charm -- even a jet-lagged oxygen-depleted middle-aged entity such as me was able to complete it in the course of one evening -- and that, of course, was VERY satisfying.
But anyway, I thought it was an appropriate image with which to kick off my WelcomeBaq message to myself at this blog -- it's been three and a half months since I went away. When I look back, I realize that I managed only a very meagre output of blog-posts, despite several fervent promises. Ah well. That's one of the (few) drawbacks of being a guest -- spending 24 hours mainlining the internet looks like anti-social behavior.
My final week was spent in London, where I had a whirl of a time -- I have three uncles and five cousins' homes to visit -- not counting the homes of cousins' children!! -- and this time I had a couple of friends to take in as well. So I was BIZZY. Yes. I had my little Oyster Card with me and it certainly smoothed the passage in and around the tubes. Laughter and good food flowed in all directions. One of my cousins tells me that he knows "all about me" because he reads this blog -- to which I say "HAH!" I am very discrete about what gets posted here! As he would know, if he's reading this ... For instance, I try to avoid mentioning names and addresses because One Never Knows who might be trawling these depths.
There was a minor pleasantness on my way in to London from Heathrow -- the man standing behind me in the taxi queue engaged in a moment's smalltalk and something about him inspired me to suggest that we share a cab into town -- which pretty much halved the fare for both of us. So THAT was fun -- he seemed charming and interesting and well-travelled all at once, so that the distance from the airport was telescoped into an amusing 20 minutes of conversation. No, we didn't exchange telephone numbers and/or addresses -- he knows my surname and I know his first name -- and there the story ends! What fun.
On Tuesday, I spent the WHOLE DAY making mutton biryani at my cousin's house and in the evening, a record crowd (for me! Since I am not famed for being a feeder of people) of 12 people were in for dinner (nine of us were expected but the remaining three came in as sudden dinner guests, brought in by my ever-generous uncle) -- and there was enough left over for THREE MORE HUGE PORTIONS! And this, in spite of at least a few second helpings. On Wednesday, I was over at my North Circular Road uncle's house for lunch and in the evening, at my other cousin's home, which was at that moment over-flowing with handsome young men, all home from (variously) university and school, so it was all rather heady -- and I haven't even mentioned the wine, here. Many wonderful photographs of Greece were shared and much ice-cream downed.
The next day was, if possible, EVEN MORE hectic. I ran home to base camp to have a shower and changed, then went out to a delightful lunch at a restaurant called E&O with A and T, and of course S, whose treat it was. The food appeared in several snack-sized nibbles but tasty and crisp (oo -- Fusion Asian, is what I'd call it) and immediately after that, I visited another uncle-cousin home -- and here the cousin who reads my blog should smile at my reference to his home, even though HE was not there -- where my Baltimore cousin and family were visiting ....
Ah. Well. I am running out of ways to avoid mentioning names, and so I shall stop trying. Let's just say, a hugely familial time was spent. On Friday, I had a charming outing with a friend (and one time English professor from college days) visiting London from Bombay, at the Victoria & Albert museum. First we shared a gigantic meringue -- no exaggeration, it was the size of cantaloupe, cut in half -- served with clotted cream, and a French-pressed coffee. Yum. Then we visited the show, SURREAL THINGS (Dali, Magritte, Max Ernst, Schiaparelli et al) -- good fun and a number of old favourites were on display. After which we wandered out, bought ourselves sandwiches from an Marks & Spencers and ate out in the open, buffeted by a wind that reminded me of a friendly, but over-active Great Dane puppy -- all around us, skirts were flying up and sandwich wrappers being boosted off the picnic table-tops, in the grounds of the Science Museum.
Goodbye visits on Saturday and on Sunday, after a final pig-out at a Chinese buffet in Chiswick, I left for the airport, six hours ahead of schedule. And I STILL had to wait two hours in queue. Be warned, O Traveller-of-Today! Remain within your permitted weight limits! I had to repack my backpack, which was 2 kilos over the 6 Kg limit, snarlgrowlhowl. But it could have been worse, and no harm done.
The flight was eventless, I watched a vaguely interesting movie called REIGN ON ME (Don Cheadle, Adam Sandler) and arrived without mishaps or sorrows, at 11 a.m. Virgin Atlantic was my steed on this trip and as always, I was quite satisfied with their service -- it's smooth and cool and the 50-movies-on-tap-in-Economy is a huge bonus, thanQ! I just LOVE being able to choose what I watch! Even when I'm too sleepy to catch more than one on the way ...
So! There we are. Only one mishap: I left my cellphone on the flight from Boston to London. It's the Nokia I use in the US, not my UK/India Nokia but the OTHER one, that looks like a cross between an armadillo and a TV remote -- so I doubt anyone's going to be trying to use it or run off with it. But ... yes, of course, I have been kicking myself regularly ever since. I blame it on the air-hostess who omitted to remind passengers to CHECK, PLEASE CHECK ALL YOUR BELONGINGS ...
My shins are sore.