Sunday, September 30, 2007

Last Day in New York

On my last day in New York I had 2 hours free before my flight. The traffic was at a standstill due to roadblocks. Bill Clinton was in the hotel next door. Decided to be brave and get the subway downtown.

I was a bit worried about this, largely because I remembered how scarey it looked in the film 'The Warriors'. Anyway, it wasn't.

Airconditioned, cheap and efficient. Much better than the Northern Line. Had a quick wander around Union Square and flew back to Dublin then eventually to London.

Back home now. Managed to say hello to the family, go for a 40 mile cycle ride around Richmond and see Derby draw 1-1 on Match of the Day. Off to Budapest for the next 3 days.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Central Park

Just back from a really lovely early morning run around Central Park. Even at 7am it was really hot and humid. There were hundreds of people running, cycling and walking dogs. All ages. All shapes and sizes. Most of them overtook me.

On the way back I saw dozens of policemen on a street corner. They were holding sheets of paper so I imagine that they were extras in a film that is being shot today. I wonder if they have a spare uniform? Maybe I can ask to join in.

Have got one last workshop today, tonight I'll fly straight to Dublin for another meeting and finally, finally I'll be back to Tooting. I love New York, but am so looking forward to getting back home.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

5th Avenue

I had a bit of spare time today in between meetings so I went for a walk up 5th Avenue towards Central Park. The traffic is at a standstill at the moment because the President is visiting.

Managed to resist buying anything, but simply had to have a look in the Apple store. Managed to get my hands on the iPhone to see what all the fuss was about and I thought it was fantastic. Sleek, easy to use, full of really cool stuff. No wonder its taking the world by storm. Also love the new Nano and the latest touch screen iPod models.

Apple always seem to get it right and people were queueing out the door to buy stuff. With $2 to £1 at the moment it took enormous willpower to walk out empty handed. However, there's always tomorrow morning...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Hot in the City

This picture was taken at 7am this morning looking down 7th Avenue. Managed to find a classic American Diner for a huge breakfast. Temperatures rose to 25 degrees today. Didn't get much time to see very much as I was meetings all day.

Is really tempting to buy stuff as everything is so cheap compared to the UK. Will do my best to resist.

New York, New York

Its 1.30am. I've just arrived in New York and am staying in the Michelangelo Hotel which appears to be modelled on a poshTuscan villa. Quite a coincidence in that I stayed near Caprese the town where Michelangelo was born in Tuscany only last Wednesday.

Will be here for 3 days before I fly straight to Dublin for a meeting. Its always exciting being in New York. Not sure how much time I'll have to look around but will try. Flew with Virgin Atlantic in Upper Class which was great. I love the Virgin Lounge in terminal 3 at Heathrow. Could spend all day in there.

Saw Hot Fuzz which is in many ways the perfect airline movie. Non-demanding, funny and very English, which along with pie and mash for supper made for a very pleasant journey. Must try and get some kip. Have got an 8.00 am meeting tomorrow. Plus, want to find time for a huge breakfast in a New York Diner and watch the commuters. Always a highlight.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Photos From The Game

A Trip to the Emirates Stadium

Going to see Arsenal is a bit like a trip to the Royal Opera House. A beautiful stadium - with padded seats - a polite and appreciative audience, a sublime performance of art and beauty and a sense that it was a bit of a special occasion which may not be repeated in the future.

Derby were overawed and outclassed. We didn't play badly. We did the best we could, but we were up against a team who were from a different planet and played the game at a completely different level. As a football fan I've always enjoyed watching Arsenal. It was a privilege to see such talent on show and although we were played off the pitch it was great to be there.

Great to see Giles Barnes back. Boy, do we need him.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Back Home

Have been away most of the week with little access to the Internet. I can't believe I missed all the news about Morinho and Chelsea. What a shock. Apparently Arsenal were amazing in Europe and have got a very tough game v Derby today. Am really looking forward to the trip to the Emirates and as with all football fans am filled with false optimism. Now that Derby have their first win under the belt I'm sure we're in with a shout. We shall see!

From Wednesday onwards, I was in Italy looking to buy some property. Am doing my best to live out my dream of owning a famhouse in Tuscany or Umbria. Really enjoyed it and am very excited. Watch this space for news...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Derby 1 Newcastle 0

Hurrah! First win of the season. Wondergoal from our new hero Kenny Miller. We are no longer bottom of the league!

Sam Alladyce, Michael Owen, Alan Shearer, Bobby Robson, Kevin Keegan, Peter Beardsley, Gazza, Malcolm MacDonald, Bobby Moncur, Jackie Milburn, your boys took one hell of a beating!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Arsenal vs Derby Preview

This morning I went to the Pride Park shop in Derby to buy the new Derby shirt and other bits of tat - including a Derby mug with my name on it

One of the guys at the checkout then told me that 2 tickets had just been returned for Derby's game at the Emirates stadium next Saturday, so I bought them as well. Really lucky, as the match is a sell-out.

At the moment, Arsenal are top of the Premier League and Derby are bottom, so I dread to think what the score might be. Having seen the amazing goals Arsenal scored against Tottenham (who beat us 4-0) I'm really, really worried. Let's hope we play well against Newcastle tomorrow night. We could do with a change in our fortunes.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Love Radio 4

Whilst I'm writing this in my hotel room in Schiphol, I'm listening to Radio 4 via my laptop. Forget the multichannel tv and the movie menu, this is the best form of in-room entertainment there is. The Archers, Just a Minute, Front Row, The Afternoon Play...the list is endless. All free, all fabulous and now with 'Listen Again' it can go on forever.

Whenever I hear those familiar voices I'm immediately reminded of home and I get a warm glow inside. God bless the BBC!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Another Day, Another Airport
This time it's Schiphol near Amsterdam, which seems to stretch on forever. I'm not even moving out of the airport complex as the Hilton hotel where I'm staying is right next door. Wasn't there a film about someone who lived in an airport? Just managed to catch the end of the England game - hurrah! and have set up the meeting room where I'll be working for the rest of the week. Bit late. Must sleep.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

England 3 The Rest of the World 0

In a rare coincidence, the England cricket, football and rugby teams played important games today, and amazingly all 3 won! Admittedly, the rugby team were not too impressive, but let's not get bogged down in minor details. It's results that count, so three cheers for our brave boys!

Choumert Mews Party

Choumert Mews in SE15 is a little community of residents and creative businesses who hold a lovely party every year. As ever, it was really enjoyable. The barbecue was fantastic, there loads of kids and everyone was relaxed and chatty. I've just got back home and no doubt the party will go on through the night.

We were invited by my sister Silvana, who along with her fellow food writers and stylists own Fork.

They're keen bloggers in Choumert Mews. Check out Landcroft House and The Daily Muse. In fact the Dulwich area seems full of bloggers. I wonder why?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Food Heaven

The great thing about being in Malaysia is the fabulous food. There's a mix of Malaysian, Chinese and Indian cultures in Malaysia and this is reflected in the huge range of cuisine available.

In UK hotels, if you're running a workshop you're lucky if you get a few chocy biscuits at break time. Here, every couple of hours a banquet appears outside the meeting room with noodles, samosas, satay and peanut sauce, all kinds of little prawny things, spicy chicken, fried rice, dim sum, roti, plus loads of sweets, little cakes and huge plates of watermelon and papaya, etc. Plus of course you've got lunch and dinner.
Its so hard to resist, especially as the people here love talking about food and are always encouraging you to try something new. Its got to the stage where I don't eat anything in the evening and I still feel stuffed. Must try and get to the hotel gym.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ride of the Falling Leaves 7th October

Have foolishly entered this cycle ride organised by the Dulwich Paragon Cycling Club, along with the same guys who I went cycling with in Italy earlier this year. 66 miles! Been having a go on the bike machine in the hotel gym to try and get in some practice. Not sure its going to do much good. Must get out to Richmond Park put in some serious miles this weekend.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

New Cadbury's Dairy Milk Advertisement

Does anyone know what the brand idea is behind this new Cadbury ad?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Just Arrived in Kuala Lumpur

The worst bit of the entire journey was trying to get to and through Heathrow airport. Dreadful traffic, overcrowded, really slow - even though it was supposed to be fast track. It really is an awful airport and travellers are treated really badly. KL airport is so much nicer.

Flew with Malaysian Airlines, who serve really nice satay on board. Did my best to get some sleep on their flatish beds. Started to read Alistair Campbell's Diaries. Have never been a big a fan of his, but it does give you a first hand view of the Blair years which is very insightful. Not sure I'll get through all 700 odd pages but will dip in and out of it.

Staying in the rather posh Marriott hotel on the 18th floor and will be here until Friday. So far has rained non-stop. Very humid. Am travelling with my colleague Mark and the first thing we did was go to the gym and try and return to normality after the 12 hour flight.
The food here is fantastic with loads of restaurants in the basement of the hotel. Played safe and went for the Thai restaurant which was great. We're right next to a very posh shopping arcade with Louis Vuitton, Omega, Mont Blanc shops, etc. Not sure how expensive everything is. Will check it out at some point - not that I'm in buying mode.

Is always a bit nerve racking before a big workshop, but am looking forward to it. Not sure how well I'll sleep tonight, but will do my best to get used to the new time zone. If all else fails I can always check out the movie channel...or else have another go at the Alastair Campbell Diaries.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Aunt Bessie's

Just had Sunday lunch and have come to the conclusion that Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire Puddings are bloody marvellous. Pre-cooked, ready from frozen in 4 mins and perfect every time. Everyone loves 'em - especially the kids so why bother making them yourself.

Am off to Malaysia this evening for the rest of the week. Food's great there but I doubt they'll be serving Yorkshire pudding.

Liverpool 6 Derby 0

Derby are embarassingly bad at the moment. We were destroyed by Liverpool yesterday and I can't see how we can possibly avoid relegation.

The gulf in class between the top Premiership teams and Derby is enormous. Don't think I can face watching them on Match of the Day with those snug ex-Liverpool presenters. Our next away game? Arsenal. How many goals will we let in? I dread to think. Thank God Thierry Henry is not playing.