Marja-Leena Rathje
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more blog friends


Thoughts about meeting blog friends are still on my mind. I recently wrote about one meeting among several such meetings on our trip.

We had one more meeting on our last day in London. Barrett Bonden of Works Well and his wife kindly offered to come into London, suggesting lunch in a modest Indian restaurant on the Strand. BB made the place sound rather intriguing and an adventure, the site of an earlier get together he'd had with other bloggers. Shabby chic, reasonably priced good Indian food and excellent company it was! Just like on his blog, BB is a man of dry wit, humour and erudition who teasingly challenges me with tough questions, often on his blog or mine. The four of us had a delightful time, like old friends do, thanks to blogging. Sadly we forgot to take photos in all the excitement.

Coming back to the present, on Monday this week I also met Hattie of Hattie's Web. A resident of Hawaii, Hattie was making her annual visit to the Vancouver FolkFest, staying with her cousin here. She and cousin Bettie came over for a quick visit. Again, how easily we got into conversation, quickly filling in the blanks as if we'd known each other a long time even though usually I'm shy. After a bit of a tour of our home and some of my art on the walls, Bettie showed me a few of her beautiful quilted and stitched textile pieces using recycled mens' silk ties. Hattie has already mentioned our meeting and posted a photo (my bad hair day!). Of course, I forgot to take any. Wonderful to meet them both. Next year again?

Meanwhile chaos reigns on the home front this week and next. Our house is being reroofed so it's noisy, dusty, messy and distracts me no end. Memories of years of renovations revisit me. However it will be a relief to not have leaks when the monsoons return in November.

Marja-Leena | 23/07/2009 | 12 comments
themes: Blogging, Travel


Really wonderful. And next time we will have a longer visit!

I'd question erudition.

Must be a happy feeling to connect with someone one got to know over blogs, 'tough questions' notwithstanding :-)

Was curious about the food available in the Indian restaurant.

it is fun to meet fellow bloggers...Lucy and I will meet Dick next week! And when will you make it to Brittany?!

My mother is re-roofing, too (is that even a verb?) with red metal this time. I wonder how that's going to turn out, hmm. It certainly is chaotic, and her dogs are very unhappy at present.

Hattie, look forward to that!

Barrett, what word would you prefer, polymath? Don't be modest.

Anil, yes, meeting blog friends in person is quite an amazing experience. As for the Indian food, I'm ashamed to say I don't remember the names of the dishes. I keep meaning to write these down when we've had it, also here in Vancouver and in Birmingham. We're new to it and just love it!

Rosie, did you read that I met Dick too? You will enjoy it! I'd love to see more of France outside Paris including Brittany and meet you and Lucy (and Mouse if she returns there) but don't know when that will be. We really don't travel afar often but if our daughter's family stay in England longer, we might be up for it. We tend to usually go to Germany and Finland to visit relatives.

Rouchswalwe, hope your mom's roof turns out well. We seriously looked into the metal option but decided on an 'enviro-shake'. No more wood shakes in this climate! I have no pets to worry about but the grandkids are coming next week so they'll have to wear shoes outside in case of hidden nails or staples in the grass.

In answer to Anil's question: M-L prawn bhuna, Fred chicken and mushroom bhuna, BB lamb curry, Mrs BB lamb kurma. Plus one veg curry, four poppadums, two naans, mango chutney. To drink: four Grolsches, one Stella, jug o' water for M-L. Bill £48.

Someone who left school and started work at age 15 doesn't qualify as erudite. Nor as a polymath since I know nothing at all about macramé, Harry Potter or ice hockey. The greatest compliment I ever received, though the person involved has lived to regret it, was to be called an auto-didact.

BB, auto-didact, yes, that's it! Though I didn't think that formal education is the only qualification for erudition. You've had a wide variety of life and work experience, you write very well, even doing poetry now, and you speak well... something the English are frequently noted for. Who cares about macramé, Harry Potter or ice hockey, heh?

Oh, and the food we all remembered all that? or did you write it down, or save the bill? Now I must write it in my little notebook for the next time we go out for Indian, and keep taking notes until I remember all the names of the dishes.

Oh, but I frequently pass the time making macrame owls while watching Harry Potter movies!

I think the Indian food at the Bloggers' Retreat is of that kind developed largely for British palates by the first wave of Indian restaurants in Britain after the War and into the 6os and 70s, wherein lies much of its appeal. It is probably rather different from either Indian food found in India, or that found in classier, modern restaurants in London, but it's the kind of thing we long for! You don't know how much... sorry, got to go, my mouth is watering.

Look forward to seeing you as and when, ML!

Lucy, too long ago I made a few macrame plant hangers, and I've watched two or three Harry Potter movies and even read some of the books! What does that make us? The Indian restaurant in Birmingham was one of those 'classier' ones, but more expensive too. Even here, ethnic restaurants often modify their dishes for North American tastes, think pizza and Chinese... Thanks, I hope one day we'll meet!

The thing about the food in Indian restaurants in England if you have been brought up with it is that it is completely addictive. It is also now very much part of English food culture. Some years ago a survey found that the most popular "English" restaurant dish was something called Chicken Masala. Forget roast beef. Forget fish and chips.

Joe, I'd heard that! I suppose it's because the Indian presence in England has been there far longer than here in BC. I suspect Chinese food had similar status here before so many other ethnic restaurants appeared. We love Japanese and Thai here. Oh, we also had proper English fish and chips a couple of times over there, something I'd not eaten here in many many years. One must try the local foods when traveling, right?