We were lucky enough to catch Ancrene Wiseass between bouts of illness; under the circumstances, she was doing remarkably well on Thursday. It was a lovely visit, a leisurely evening over Ethiopian food in a restaurant we keep meaning to go back to more frequently.
Miles of woodland carpet this large park in northeast London, edging northwards on the M25. Epping Forest is splintered into a half-a-dozen or so segments by through-roads. The parks cross them regularly as they chain together its parts and pieces, ponds and hills, meadows and prehistoric forts. The marked paths are wide and well-maintained. A handful of horses and their riders were making use of them on the glorious Saturday past. Walkers and picnickers were remarkably rare given the quality of the weather and how convenient the park is to London. Minor paths meandered through the woodland, but we could trust them not to lead us blindly for too long - the roar of road and the signposts of parking lots kept us oriented.
First impressions of Gordon Ramsay's first gastropub: lovely sunbasking location, southfacing on the Thames. The colors within are maritime and soothing, turqoise below, offwhite above. Historic prints and maps of the neighborhood hang framed and spotlit on the wall. We don't have more than an hour for lunch, so we order from the bar snacks menu. (An overheard conversation reveals that there's only a bit of a wait for service in the restaurant, however.) I'm pleased to find a reasonably interesting selection of non-alcoholic drinks. The ploughman's is properly done, the only gourmet bits in the vine to which the tomatoes are still attached, and in the quality of the ingredients. The pickled onions and Branston pickle tasted made in house - not too sweet, as they often are. We'll go back again for a cooked meal somewhen sooner than not, I suspect.
I'm going there tomorrow!