A good day, and a really excellent evening

Candle warmth on a dark and stormy night

This morning, I was delighted to receive two envelopes that, while lacking a return address, bore the familiar handwriting of Sarah Johnston. As each is marked ‘for your birthday,’ I’ve placed them carefully aside until Monday. Many thanks to her for remembering. Indeed, these last few days have been a wonderful reminder that there are people out there who care about me; I appreciate it a great deal.

I had quite an excellent time this evening and tonight. Emily, Claire, Nora, Alex, and Margaret all came for dinner at the Moonlight Tandoori Restaurant. Unfortunately, something went wrong with the reservation and they could not give us a table. Luckily, the Kasmir Halal restaurant next door proved available and quite good. I haven’t eaten so much since I arrived in Oxford. I had a tasty bowl of Dall Soup – to combat the cold – followed by papadums, vegetable vindaloo, and garlic naan. The vegetable vindaloo was the hottest curry I have ever been served without specifically requesting that the curry be made hotter. It was wonderful. Also good was the chance to introduce Nora to the delights of Indian food: of which she had not previously partaken.

Along with dinner, we shared two bottles of wine that Margaret kindly picked up at Tesco’s. Perhaps the best thing about the night was conversing with friends from disparate parts of Oxford, and appreciating the fact that they enjoy conversing with one another. One of the things I always enjoyed most about throwing the occasional big party with lots of food and friends from all over was giving them the chance to meet one another. When living in a strange place, it is incredibly empowering to feel like part of a community; tonight, I definitely did.

After dinner, Emily and Alex had to scamper off to do work. Shortly after, Margaret left with a similar determination. Claire, Nora, and I, however, discovered a Jamaican bar on the west side of Cowley Road, no more than a block or two north of the restaurant. Before that, we tried going to the Wychwood Brewery, but it was unpleasantly loud and there was nowhere to sit. By contrast, the Jamaican bar offered plenty of places to sit, nice bass-heavy reggae music, and an enjoyable ambiance. We were also introduced to an excellent cocktail. Called a ‘dark and stormy,’ it consists of Appleton Special Jamaican Rum (dark) and Old Jamaican Ginger Beer. Served in a half pint glass, with ice, it tastes like a more interesting, more Caribbean gin and tonic. It met with universal approval.

Very kindly, Nora furnished me with a travel guide book on Tallinn: A Hedonist’s Guide to Tallinn and the Iain Pears novel An Instance of the Fingerpost as birthday gifts. I look forward very much to reading both during the next while, and making use of the first, during the break. Very generously, Nora, Claire, and Margaret also paid for my excellent birthday dinner. Alex gave me a very kind card, and voucher for the purchase of additional reading material. Emily also gave me a card, but I am fairly certain she means for me to open it on my birthday proper. My profound appreciation goes out to everyone who showed up. You really didn’t need to get me anything, but I am exceedingly pleased that you did. One day, I shall mix up a pitcher of dark and stormy and share it with you all – especially those who didn’t get the chance to try it tonight.

8 thoughts on “A good day, and a really excellent evening”

  1. Sounds to me like the Jamaican place was Hilo’s Jamaican Eating House. Was it?

  2. Hey I went out for indian food tonight! and drew mentioned to me that he and a friend went out for indian yesterday. Must be a good weekend for it… oh he went to Palki’s and I went to Mumbai Masala. (www.mumbaimasala.ca) It’s on 16th off lonsdale, I don’t know if it was here when you left. Regardless you must try their lentil dalh. SO GOOD! :)

  3. My apologies to everyone for the abusive comments that sometimes get posted here. I would prefer to leave this as an open forum, dealing with such instances as they occur. We can collectively lament the fact that there are people out there who are cruel, unsophisticated, boorish and sufficiently well endowed with time to spend theirs annoying others.

  4. It’s really very irritating that whenever I see: “United Kingdom Lancaster, Blackpool” on my server logs, I need to scan through the blog for crude and abusive comments. The person isn’t necessarily in Lancaster, what’s just the WHOIS address linked to their IP address, but I really wish they would just knock it off.

  5. Those with the boldness to live life openly and with interest will always find themselves targetted by the petty and by lesser minds. Don’t let them worry you.

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