Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A letter of thanks to Eyjafjallajökull

I know you’ve been getting a lot of bad press recently, but I for one would like to say a great, big thank you. When I went to London for three days I had a list of things I wanted to do, and not nearly enough time to do them all. Sure, I managed to go to Notting Hill and see the beautiful food at Ottolenghi; fruit tarts striped with green pistachios, and piles of cloudy, billowy meringues. I browsed in Books for Cooks and Rough Trade in Notting Hill, ate carrot cake and red velvet cupcakes from the Hummingbird bakery at the water’s edge in Hyde Park, and was surprised by the deliciousness of smoked herring tostadas and huitlacoche quesadillas in Wahaca. And all of that was great, and I really enjoyed it. But if it wasn’t for you, Eyjafjallajökull, and your spewing clouds of ash which blanketed Great Britain and shut down airspace, there are lots of things I would not have been able to do.
I would never have made the trip to Brixton market and drank tea from a cup and saucer, poured from a giant gold teapot in Rosie Lovell’s lovely deli and cafe. I wouldn’t have had time to explore Borough Market, to watch the skilled butchers at the Ginger Pig prepare meat, marvel at the beauty of the cheese in Neal’s Yard Dairy, and learn a little more about Montgomery cheddar from their hugely knowledgeable staff. I wouldn’t have sat on the kerb and eaten a chorizo, piquillo pepper, and rocket sandwich from the infamous Spanish deli Brindisa, whose deliciousness left me in silent awe for a full five minutes. I might never have seen the amazingly large but perfectly chosen selection at Foyle’s bookshop, or discovered their beautiful jazz cafe, with its huge windows and plain wooden tables, and I might never have found out that the humble Barry’s tea (my own brew of choice) is seen as a rather fancy cuppa in London. I would never have had such a brilliant catch up with my friend Gill, and we would not have eaten veal stew and pork chops in the original London gastropub, The Eagle, watching the chefs cook the most amazing Mediterranean food on a single stovetop right behind the bar. I may never have gone for a walk in Hampstead and quite accidentally come across the grave of Penelope Fitzgerald in a quiet little cemetery full of cherry blossoms. Or gotten lost looking for a Primrose Bakery in Primrose Hill, but found one behind Covent Garden.
Without you Eyjafjallajökull, it’s very unlikely that I would have ever taken a bus from London to Dublin. And while perhaps being crammed into a vehicle with fifty tired and irate fellow passengers, many of whom had spent days sleeping in airports, wasn’t exactly fun, seeing little sleeping Welsh towns in the middle of the night was. So here’s a big cheers from me. Yes, you may have caused hundreds of thousands of air passengers to be stranded abroad, and in many cases pay extortionate amounts of money to get home. Sure, you may have cost the air industry millions, stopped international mail for a couple of days, and disrupted the everyday workings of life all over the world for a little while. But there were some silver linings, and I would like to heartily thank you for mine.
Alison x

1 comment:

Gina A said...

I am so jealous. London is a pretty awesome city to be stranded in, and I sort of wish I was stranded there with you. All that deliciousness has my mouth watering - and I'm imagining the wonderful blossom filled walks!