Sunday, 27 March 2011

Day #5 - The One with the Batteries

Please note:  All entries not specified by {Shayne's post} or [Jake's post] are written by both Shayne and Jake.  My lovely wife wanted me to mention that :)

Friday March 25th started like any other in the Singleton household.  And by household, we mean temporary corporate flat accommodations in a completely different country.  The alarm blares at the chipper hour of 07:45.  For those of you that have been following along, that's not quite our usual wake up time these days.  In the efforts to secure our flat in Angel/Islington area we had to wire a holding deposit to our good friends at the estate agency as soon as possible, which in this case was bank opening at 08:30.  In the states, we would have stayed in our pajamas, hopped in the car, and deposited the money in a drive thru ATM.  Might have even stopped at a 24 hour mexican place, for a delicious breakfast burrito (let's be honest); still without leaving our car.  In this case, we needed to take the 'extraordinary' measures of bathing and brushing our teeth, as the bank is located in the highly concentrated business district, which is about a mile and half from our flat.  With the deposit safely wired, we headed home for the usual morning routine.  That's right ladies and gentlemen, cheese, bread, and you guessed it...jam.  But hey, here's a wrinkle for you.  Be actually toasted the bread without setting off the smoke alarms.  Win!  OK, not a huge wrinkle, but we did expand our cheese repertoire to both soft delicious french heaven, as well as a delightful camembert wedge.  Yes, KJoy we know camembert is your personal favorite :)

We were still a little tired, so we decided to have some more coffee and catch up on a little light TV.  What we thought was going to be a interesting documentary on a English footballer (that's soccer player), ended up to be an hour long special on the first german WWII P.O.W to win the English footballer of the year award.  So after an hour of Hitler youth, war camps, and the unending struggle between post war germany and the rest of the European community we got into a discussion about how much of their TV here is dominated by historical reflection.  Only then did we realize we were watching a channel called "Yesterday: Where the past is always present".  Maybe it's time to change the channel, put the box of cleanex away, and head out into the city for a little touristy fun.

To the Tate Museum of Modern Art we went.  Not exactly a puppy dogs & candy canes type venue, but at least we got to work on our shapes and colors (any fans of Mondrian's work out there?).  As many of you have requested that we add pictures to the blog, we decided to bust out the trusty Canon camera to document our trip.  We noted the batteries were getting low during our last week in San Diego, so we added a few additional sets of AA batteries into the carrying case as a backup.  Sure enough, we were able to take about 3 pictures before our first set of batteries kicked the bucket.  "Good think we have 12 more" Jake says.  We proceed to change out the batteries and begin our next photo shoot, only to realize there is already a 'low battery' indicator light flashing on the camera.  We are able to take about 2 pictures  before it died.  Except this time, Jake is standing on the opposite side of a massive instillation piece called 'Sunflowers' by Ai Weiwei (which is made up of 100 million porcelain hand crafted sunflower seed replicas - see link below).  So as Shayne is attempting to take the shot, and requesting a pose (1,2,3...go), each time, as she goes to snap the image, the camera dies again.  So we rendezvous for a quick battery change, and take up our respective positions across the instillation.  And so the dance begins.  We spent the next 2 hours changing out batteries, sometimes all, sometimes just 1 or 2...with only 2 or 3 pictures to show for it each time.  We are really hoping that it's the cheap dollar store batteries as opposed to our expensive camera that is causing the problem.  More high quality AA batteries needed.  Shayne would like to add here her favorite quote of the day:
At one point Jake decides to replace all 4 batteries and diligently searches through our stash to match a complete set of all the same brand AA's.  When he saw the inquisitive look I was giving him he says, "I think they might work better as a team!"  Perfect!

We finish our time at the Tate with the purchase of a souvenir refrigerator magnet, and head back out towards the Thames.  We cross the millennium bridge, towards St Paul's Cathedral and figure it's probably a good time to rest the feet.  What better to place to rest, than in a local pub we think.  So we start the trek back to Southwark and stumble across the Mad Hatter pub.  We, of course, select this as our establishment of choice.  While it wasn't exactly an 'Alice in Wonderland' theme, it was enough to spark some Disneyland Paris commentary, and some reflection on our Vin de Syrah adventures in San Diego.  I was just happy not to be in a head to toe Cheshire Cat costume this time around.  We had a couple rounds and took in the local culture, and then decided it was time to get some dinner.  Before vacating the facility we knew photos would be needed to document the find.  So here we go again - 'one, two, thr....dead camera!' It basically became a game of how quickly one could power one, point and shoot!  Not sure we actually captured the sign we were going for (with the dead batteries we didn't want to turn on the camera to see what we shot), but we will make sure to post whatever images we can salvage.

We made our way back to 'The Cut' in Southwark, and settled on an italian restaurant called Paradiso Olivelli.  Jake had the 'Americana Picante' pizza with pepperoni & jalepenos (that one's for you Mike Braund), and Shayne had the pasta carbonara with pancetta and a great cream sauce.  We were seated in the very center of the restaurant, about 12 inches from our neighbors, but it was great to be right in the middle of a true cafe type environment.  The people watching was great, and we enjoyed the conversation over a bottle of house vino.

We headed home to catch up on the blog, and plan the next days adventures.  More to come I'm sure.  Hopefully with a more operational camera.  Pictures coming soon.

Lesson(s) learned: There's a rousing special on Victorian English farm living on the Yesterday channel tomorrow.  Comes on at 10:00am though, not sure we will be up.  Might have to set the alarm again.

Day light savings time begins here on Sunday March 27th.  We will spring forward +1:00 hour.  This makes us between 5 and 8 hours ahead of the US (depending on which coast you are on).  

Ai Weiwei - Sunflower Seeds


  1. Oh the adventure continues! As I am writing my comment, ENews is doing a piece on items that will be available around the time of the royal wedding. (My personal favorites-"Kiss Me Kate" beer that will be on tap in England during the royal celebration and the in flight "sick" bags with their faces on them...Hilarious!) Love that the cheese deliciousness continues-despite the stinky feet cheese. Keep the posts coming! Love you to pieces.

  2. I knew you should have packed the cat costume!!! Now all you need is a dweedle dee and a tweedle dum...any ideas where you could get some of those?

    PS- Thank you for the shower gift! Kristyn needed your help to bring it all in! Once you get an address, send it my way!