Monday, 21 September 2015

Oyster

I recently found myself in Dublin. Not the kind of, I woke up with a banging headache and no idea how I got there, found myself in Dublin. More the kind of, I had a few days off work and went to Dublin with my girlfriend, kind of found myself in Dublin.

I liked Dublin. I wouldn't say I loved Dublin. Not the way that I have loved other cities, such as Copenhagen, Krakow or Split, but I had a great time and I would highly recommend a visit (just not as much as a trip to Copenhagen haha).

While we were there, we found this lovely little seafood restaurant called KLAW.



KLAW is the "cheeky love child" of Dublin Lobster and is a cool, cosy little place with wonderful food and great service, that is aimed at "bringing' crabshack dining to the city". I couldn't possibly recommend KLAW strongly enough. If you're in Dublin and you enjoy seafood, then it is an absolute must! When we there, we ordered the seafood platter to share between the two of us.

I think that seafood has to be by far and away my favourite type food. I love prawns and lobster, crab, whitebait, salmon, octopus and probably my outright favourite: calamari. If calamari is on the menu, then it's absolutely pointless asking me what I'm having for my starter. I don't even see the other options.

Despite my love of seafood, there was however, something that up until that weekend in Dublin, I had never tried and if I'm being honest, had never really planned on trying. But this is the Year31Project and seeing as I have eaten Kangaroo, Jellied Eels and and even a Caterpillar, then it was probably about time, that I got around to eating my first ever oyster.

And although it wasn't something I planned to do or even really chose to do. The platter we ordered came with lobster, crab, prawns and four big oysters. So, what better chance was I going to have. It was time to try an oyster for the first time.

So here goes! Here's a little video of me eating my first ever oyster. (It really shouldn't haven't have taken me until I was nearly 32 haha):

video


So as you can maybe make out form the video, it was alright. A lot better than I thought but then I was almost expecting it to be as bad as the Jellied Eels. But it wasn't, it was actually fairly pleasant. And although the second one - Liliana didn't want any, so I had all four haha - got stuck at the back of my mouth for a moment and made me feel a little bit sick for a second. And although I'm not sure I would purposely order them again. They were quite nice and I would happily eat them again. I'm just not sure I would knowingly pay for the pleasure.

Happy eating or
HAPPY SLURPING!


Ps. You can read more about my trip to Dublin and my other trips including Lisbon and Croatia on my travel blog: aroundtheworldin80mugs.co.uk (if you so wanted).

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Carnival

Held each August Bank Holiday since 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival is the largest festival celebration of its kind in Europe.



In the time that I have been living in London there have been SEVEN Notting Hill Carnivals and I have been to... yes you guessed it, NONE... Not one!

I've always wanted to go. Even before I moved to London, I wanted to go but for one reason or another it has never been possible. I've been trying to think back to when I first moved to London at the end of August 2009. There is a chance that I was in London at the time of the carnival? However, having just moved to the big smoke of from the sticks of North Wales, I didn't know anyone in London at that time and so I wouldn't have had anybody to go with. There is also a good chance that I was out of London over that particular weekend, collecting more stuff from home and saying goodbye to family and friends. 

I'm not completely sure what the truth is about 2009. However, every year that I have lived in London since, up until this year, I have always been out of London at the end of August. But finally, this year that was all about to change. This August Bank Holiday Monday I was actually in London. However, unfortunately, although I was here in London, I wasn't completely free to enjoy all of the joys of carnival. 

Even though it was Bank Holiday Monday, still the end of August and the children throughout London wouldn't be back in school for a week, I was, for some unknown reason, still expected to be at work. Which of course was a tad ridiculous. How could I be expected to teach my swimming lessons, when most of my students were still sunning themselves in foreign climes?

But back to the matter at hand. CARNIVAL! It was the Notting Hill Carnival and I was finally in London.!So me and my lovely girlfriend Liliana dressed up in our sparkliest carnival outfits wellies and waterproofs - because although it was raining quite heavily, there was no way we were going to let the weather dampen our spirits  - and jumped the tube to Notting Hill.



And despite the fairly substantial rainfall, there were a hell of a lot of people out and about. Upon arriving, we found a huge sea of umbrellas, stretching as far as the eye could see (and thanks to the undulating roads of Notting Hill, they could see quite far):



But people couldn't care less about the weather. I mean, I'm sure people would have been having even more fun, if the sun had be blazing down upon us but people weren't about to let a little rain spoil their fun. 

There was music and people dancing at every turn and of course the big, bright and wonderful parade winding it's way slowly through the streets: 




Of the very little I saw of the Carnival, it was brilliant! I saw a little of the parade, had a little - slightly self-conscious boogie in the streets - and enjoyed some wonderful jerk chicken:



But unfortunately because I had to run off, to sit bored by a swimming pool, dreaming of being at the carnival all evening. I wasn't there when it really starts to come to life and so I still feel as though I haven't been to the Notting Hill Carnival. 

It was fairly busy while I was there but it was only just starting to warm up. As I was leaving the crowds of young people arriving was bigger than ever:



I'm not sure how well you can tell from this grainy, black and white picture? But that is a lot of Red Stripe supping youths arriving!

For the short time I was there I had a great time, but having to shoot off mid afternoon meant that I missed all the evening fun. I definitely got the feeling that the real fun starts as the sun starts to go down? Therefore, although I had a fun time and would highly recommend checking out the carnival next year if you get the chance. I say it while feeling like a bit of a fraud. 

I have now finally been to the Notting Hill Carnival but through no fault of the rain, it was all a bit of a washout. Maybe next year?!

Happy Bank Holiday everyone! :)