San Juan bonfire in Hounslow East

One of the perks of working in a multi-lingual translation company is definitely getting to know customs of many different cultures and countries – and making friends and learning swearwords in a lot of different languages! 😉

SJCollage.jpgAnd I learned recently that a Spanish tradition to celebrate midsummer is to light bonfires – preferably on the beach, but if you don’t have any, a terrace is perfectly fine – in the night of San Juan (Saint John).
Being a bit liberal with the tradition, Diego moved the celebration from the 23rd of June (which was a Thursday) to the 24th (a Friday, obvs. 😉 ) and invited us all to his house for a big barbecue.
After a massive dinner, the guys moved the grill aside and strategically started to build a little bonfire on the terrace.
I was explained that you have to prepare two little papers to throw into the fire: one with your wishes for the year to come and one with things you want to get rid of. After burning your papers you have to jump over the fire – to make the magic work.

I can only imagine, that it must be quite an enchanting sight to see a beach in Spain full of huge bonfires and people celebrating the beginning of summer – but in the meantime a small fire and a bunch of friends in Hounslow East are a very good substitute!

XX, Angie

 

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On Turner’s tracks

Every Saturday morning Gonzo gets up super early and takes the train to Maidenhead, a little town about one hour outside London, where he teaches TV & Film at the local drama school.
He warned me that it’s a rather unspectacular place, but curious as I am, I insisted to accompany him, at least once. So today we got up together, had a breakfast on the go (consisting of flat whites and almond croissants) at Paddington Station and went to Maidenhead.

We arrived at about 9:30, when the shops weren’t even open yet and the whole town seemed still asleep – it was a Saturday after all. I guess the greyish weather didn’t help much either to wake up the town. And while Gonzo was working from 10 to 13, I had three hours to kill.
After having a walk in the high street, watching sleepy people emerge slowly and tasting some fresh British strawberries at the market, I decided to head out of town to visit Maidenheads only true attraction: the railway bridge “The Sounding Arch” – designed by the engineer and architect Brunel and made famous by J. M. W. Turner who featured it in his painting Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway.

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I had a lovely walk through the outskirts of the little town, walking through a mesmerizing green park and along some very nice country houses (you know, the kind with wrought iron gates and bay windows) until i finally reached the bridge.
To be honest, it wasn’t quite as impressive as I imagined. The best thing was the echo right under it. 😉 I shouted my name a couple of times, took some pictures and waited until I saw a train passing. I guess the non-impressiveness is due to the perspective and if I was to see it from above (like Turner painted it) it would be much more spectacular!

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When Gonzo finished working, I met him in the town centre and we had a pub lunch in The Maiden’s Head; a nice finish to a nice morning – and yes, I completely chose the pub based on it’s name! 🙂

XX, Angie

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Here’s the Wikipedia link, if you want to read more about the famous railway bridge.

Austrian cliché

It might be a cliché: but I’m Austrian, and on Sundays we bake.

Well, I mean, it’s not like it’s compulsory or anything. But I daresay that we Austrians do appreciate having a nice cake with our coffee on Sundays – and basically every other day of the week as well 😉

After telling my non-Austrian friends about the Marmorgugelhupf I made last month, I got some requests to reproduce it here in London. First I thought it almost a blasphemy even considering making it in a square pan – but then I thought about cupcakes. Anything goes in cupcake-shape! So this week I made gorgeous, sumptuous and simply yummy marbled cupcakes – and a loaf. Keep your mind open cake-shape-wise! 😉

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Happy Sunday, and enjoy your cake! Hmmm 😊

XX, Angie

Happy Birthday, your Majesty!

As we all know, the queen has two birthdays – technically that makes her 180 year old this year! 😉

The actual 90th birthday of her majesty was on the 21st of April, but as the chances are higher in summer to have a nice and sunny (very un-british) day to celebrate, the tradition established to move the official celebration parade Trooping the Colours to a weekend in June. Well, this plan failed: today was cold, grey and rainy.

I honestly thought about going and watching the queen – after all, I haven’t met her yet, even after almost three years in London. But the weather, and actual “warnings” in the newspaper to avoid the crowded areas kinda put me off.
Instead I went to Trafalgar Square, to see the live broadcast on massive screens and celebrate with others of equally low rank. Games, animation and “commonwealth street food” (as in: Indian curry, Australian burger, Jamaican chicken etc) were enjoy by Londoners and true Britons despite the rain.

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Well, I didn’t stay very long eventually (did I mention the terrible weather?) and after I felt I had done my duty in celebrating, I went home and rewarded myself with a hot cuppa and biscuits. 😉

Happy Birthday, Liz!

XX, Angie

We’re fans of tea!

Today is the most beautiful and sunny Sunday in London! I’d love to say that on the spur of the moment, inspired by sunshine and summer feeling, Isa and me decided to have afternoon tea out in Greenwich – but actually we booked it weeks ahead.

We went to have tea in the Orangery of The Fan Museum, a small heritage site in Greenwich dedicated to hand-held fans, which offers a most exquisite afternoon tea in the hidden garden. Apparently it’s an open secret that they serve one of the nicest teas in London, hence booking is required.

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And it was indeed absolutely lovely. The Orangery is small and intimate with a beautiful view of the secret garden. It was so quiet and the smell of the flowers was delightful.

We had Earl Grey with lemon and an etagere loaded with scones with cream and jam, lemon drizzle, chocolate brownie and two enormous pieces of Victoria sponge cake with buttercream and raspberry.

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After Isa had to leave, I had a look at the actual exhibition of the museum and then went for a walk, had a look at the vintage market and eventually spent the rest of the afternoon reading and enjoying the sunny weather in Greenwich Park.

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I hope you had a super lovely and sunny Sunday as well!

XX, Angie