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Dr John Hawkins

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Dodgems and Fortnum and Mason

Posted on 2008/12/20 13:21:38 (December 2008).

[Sunday 14th December]
There were dodgems at my company's Christmas party on Wednesday. This led to something of an altercation with Chie the following day. Apparently she had expressed considerable interest in having a go on the dodgems and I had been somewhat dismissive. Although I don't really recall this discourse myself. Anyway, Chie had left the party a little earlier than I did, and later on I did actually go on the dodgems without her.

In order to pay my dues for this heinous crime I had done a bit of research to try and find some dodgems in London, and this afternoon when we set out from the flat with the aim of going to do some shopping, I took Chie on a "mystery tour" which ended at the "Namco Experience" in County Hall, near the London Eye. It's the sort of place I'd usually give a very wide berth, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Therein we found the dodgems, and for the relatively reasonable sum of just 2 I was able to buy my way out of Chie's bad books. These were surprisingly violent and aggressive dodgems, lots of head on collisions, every one of which gave us a pretty severe jolt. I was glad of my seatbelt.

It occurred to me part way through that the guy supervising the whole thing probably had some kind of override switch, and from his little control panel could influence the course of all the individuals dodgems - for one thing there was no reverse pedal, and yet when we got stuck in a corner we'd magically get backed out again. Moreover I think Chie was actively trying to avoid the other dogems, and yet occasionally would swerve off course involuntarily and a crash would ensue. The controller was of a somewhat sadistic bent in my opinion, he didn't impose any rules on the proceedings whatsoever, and seemed quietly very satisfied every time there was a high speed collision. It's reassuring to think that in our society, his particular skillset and personality can find a vocation in life.

Still, it was surprisingly quite fun.

From there we headed into the centre for some shopping, on foot, which made for quite a pleasant stroll. There was a bit of a Christmas market on the South Bank, and crossing the Thames on foot is always a pleasure.

We had lunch at Food for Thought, the vegetarian cafe near Covent Garden, which is exactly like vegetarian cafes everywhere - bare wooden tables, tiled floors, whitewashed walls, the same sort of rough and ready presentation of the food, and amicable but mildly flustered staff reminiscent of that Armstrong and Miller sketch - "It's kicking off Pru!".

The main shopping highlight of the shopping expedition was a visit to ever wonderful Fortnum and Mason, which really comes into its own at Christmas time. There were just so many desirable and luxurious things I wanted to buy there, and their presentation is consistently immaculate. We bought quite a lot actually - a Christmas cake, some potted blue cheese, a fantastically presented bottle of Champagne, and so on.

I am developing a real thing for Eau de Nil.

We also went to the new and improved Japan Centre to buy some Japanese food, and when we got back had a typically eclectic mix of Japanese delicacies for dinner.



Comment 1

You can go backwards by turning the steering wheel through 180 degrees

Posted by Dave at 2010/07/19 10:00:33.

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