Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Remains of the Day

Left-over Birthday Cake
Indulgent though it is, the birthday this year, having been hooked to the wagon of Kyle's 50th, just seems to go on and on...I do not yet have any photos from the Concert After Party, since I elected to have others take them, so that I could mingle with all the fabulous guests who made the occasion so special. What I can tell you is that it was one great party.

The Press House Wine Bar (obviously before we got there!)
Stephanie and her team at The Press House wine bar behind St Bride's were brilliant - professionally serving what she called 'mini mains' - rissotto, fish and chips, rataouille, sheperd's pie, mini-burgers - to the hungry concert goers and relaxing artists. The wines that Kyle and I had had such fun tasting and selecting were the subject of many compliments. In the relaxed ambience of the historic wine bar people could sit, stand, dance, relax - it was such a great combination. And then the cheese came out - oh, yes! And I haven't even mentioned Gloria yet - the DJ from Colombia in her rakish hat, keeping the party jumping. 'I Come From The Land Down Under"....

Kir Royale

These festivities were interrupted only briefly when I took the microphone and made my Birthday Speech. I can't give you the text, because it was extempore...but I do recall proposing a toast to the artists, with Kyle, in our traditional after-opera cocktail, the Kir Royale. Silliness is no reason not to preserve a good tradition.

The last revellers made their way home at about 1 am. Petra (visiting from Zurich) walked me all the way to my front door, carrying the enormous bunch of flowers which had been conferred upon me by the gorgeous Madame Thomas. The unaccustomed stilettos were killing me, but I slept the sleep of a contented Birthday Girl.

Madame Thomas serves the French toast
And the next day...ahhh! Madame Thomas cooked us brunch at Kyle and Andrew's house. Escargots! French toast! A big American platefull of sausage, bacon and scrambled eggs! Quenelles! Chocolate mousse! Champagne! A party of eight or ten lingering friends, artists, guests from out of town, and dogs, sat around the big hospitable table, and talked and talked about the wonderful evening just past. I learnt much from Simone, Tamara and Barton about how tough it is to make a living in classical music. But also how much they love what they do, and how passionately they want to excel at what they do, not only for their audiences but for their own creative satisfaction. The weather was rainy. The two big dogs, Kaiser and Greta, were well behaved.

Barton and Tamara chill out...

Escargots. No, I didn't.

The happy throng at Sarastro
As the out-of-towners made their way to various airports, there was time for a last-night dinner with visiting Ottawans Ken and Paul, plus Catherine and David. Sarastro in Drury Lane was chosen and one of its tiny balcony tables reserved. They do a bit of rough and ready cabaret at Sarastro (which is, by the way, the name of a character from Mozart's opera 'The Magic Flute'), so our dinner was enlivened with some violins, and then a couple of opera singers being Mimi and Rudolfo amongst the waiters and diners...a fitting end to a crazy and splendid weekend.

You will be relieved to know that I spent Monday morning drawing up a study plan and catching up on my reading on Descartes. Yes, I did really.

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