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Beyond the Pale - A 'pale' is a fencepost. The English Pale was a boundary in Ireland marking out the part of Ireland under direct English rule circa 1450 (which included Dublin and environs). Those that lived 'beyond the pale', outside of English rule, were considered out of control and uncivilised. You decide...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Inside the Pale (and thereabouts) - London and Dublin

Best line from the movie Elf - "Santa! Oh my God! Santa's coming! I  KNOW him, I KNOW HIM"
TURKEY DAZE

Every now and then I like to check that Dublin and London still exist. They do. Phew!

In between the raindrops we made it to a great little spot in London's Soho for Italian tapas, Polpo, check it out. If posh meatballs isn't your style go to any cafe in South London for your breakfast and you will feel like you have stumbled onto the set of Eastenders (btw, it's pronounced 'Kaff' by the locals). The people are real people, the food is real food, the grease is real greasy, bring it on.


I'm back in Dublin now balancing my niece on my knee as I type. She just asked my Dad if she could stay here a "looooong time". I know where she's coming from, if I woke up tomorrow and found myself trapped in a Christmas movie for ever more, it would probably be a dream come true. Preferably one where I save Santa, find the Christmas Spirit under the kitchen sink and am followed everywhere by a choir singing 'Oh Holy Night'.

Today was not the first time in a few weeks that I got up close and personal with a turkey. We had our first Thanksgiving Stateside in November. If you live under a rug and are unaware of Thanksgiving, it's something the yanks, Canadians and some other wannabee countries mark every year. I think the origins (at least for the American Thanksgiving, stem from the meal the early pilgrims had after their first successful harvest in the New World - for which they were eternally grateful - evidently!).

I always said I had a head like a sieve

Even though no one at the table was American I did insist that we hold hands and individually 'give thanks'. In between spluttered laughter and shades of mortification thanks was doled out, which mainly revolved around the feast I had laid out before them. This was just as well as I had been up since 6am wrestling with my turkey and had recently purchased a rolling pin (for said feast), I wasn't afraid to dole out my own shades of appreciation (I'm kidding).
Marshmallow madness

Thanksgiving meal is essentially the same as a Christmas meal with completely bonkers dishes thrown in - yams with walnuts and marshmallows (yes, marshmallows!), green bean casserole (a thanksgiving staple cleverly created by the Campbell's soup company, as Campbell's soup is the 'key' ingredient), and rice crispies mixed with turnips and cardamon pods! Okaaay, I made the last one up, but you know what, throw some Campbell's soup on it and it'll be bubbling away on the stove in a trailer park somewhere next Thanksgiving.

I must admit, I'm a fan of the holiday, it's a bit close to Christmas for your waistband but the thought of taking a moment to gather, break bread, reflect and say thank you...What's wrong with that?! Maybe that's why the Americans are such a mannerly, friendly bunch. (Now that I've said that I've probably jinxed myself and will be punched squarely in the face the minute I land back on US soil!).

Anyhoo, while I'm back over this side of the world (this side being the "other" side of Greenland) I'm starting to reminisce about my move to London, all those years ago.

Click here to find what impact big London town had on little ole green me.

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