Lunch With Mum, Garry & Janice at La Cucina, 23 February 2014

Towards the end of mum’s life, these outings were not easy affairs, as her confusion was certainly getting quite a bit worse from the start of that year.

Mum liked La Cucina in Northcote Road and had settled on that as being “her place” after a not such good meal at Numero Uno early in her time in Nightingale.

La Cucina is now gone. Here is an extract from that restauarant’s final record – click here:

A large corner building marked by large burgundy awnings, Italian bar and restaurant La Cucina is a Northcote Road landmark – indeed you’ll often hear uttered locally ‘I’ll meet you at La Cucina. But the popularity of this restaurant isn’t just down to being easy to find, of course not, La Cucina is so well loved by Wandsworth locals for numerous reasons, not least the laid back, friendly atmosphere and friendly service from all Italian wait staff.

Indeed, we were happy to carry on going there because the waiters used to fuss around mum and make her feel special. They also did “old fashioned Italian-style food”, such as liver strips in sauce, that made her feel comfy.

Garry and Janice kindly came up from Southend to see her/us from time to time and this was one such occasion. Mum was really pleased to see them – she still recognised people she knew well at that time – six moths later it was different.

An enjoyable lunch indeed. I think we retired briefly to the Nightingale cafe so mum could show off her family to the visiting masses.

It Just Stopped by Stephen Sewell, Orange Tree Theatre, 22 February 2014

A curates egg of a play, this. Good in parts. Irritating in others. It is set in an apartment block in which a pair of Manhatten sophisticates are thrown together with a vulgar pair of Melbournites when their tower apartment block has a total blackout.

Here is the Orange Tree resource on the play – sadly lacking the cast and creatives (but they are nevertheless tagged in this Ogblog piece).

Here is a link to a search term that finds other resources on this play/production.

Below is a Vimeo of the cast talking about the play:

I recall we enjoyed the first half of this one more than the second half. Still, we were glad to have seen it and went to Don Fernando for some Spanish grub afterwards.

The Mystae by Nick Whitby, Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, 21 February 2014

I’ve written down 9.00 beside this one, so I think it was a short play that they ran twice an evening.

Looks as though we ate beforehand (Harry’s I’d suggest) and I vaguely remember us both wondering why we’d taken on a late gig on a Friday evening.

But I also recall it was a very lively play that held our attention throughout.

One of those coming of age/rite of passage plays, but very well done.

Here is a link to the Hampstead resource on this production.

Here is a link to other stuff you might find (no formal reviews downstairs of course).

Below is the explanatory vid with director Tim Carroll:

Hil & Chris For Dinner At Noddyland, 15 February 2014

Nothing much written down, but I think this was the evening that Janie produced her wasabi beef special for those two and jolly wonderful it tasted too.

I seem to recall that they stayed over and that we said goodbye to them before going off to play tennis, during which time they left.

The Mistress Contract by Abi Morgan, Royal Court Theatre, 8 February 2014

This is a very interesting play, based on a true story about a man and a woman in California  who agreed a formal contract for “mistress services”, at the behest of the woman.

The true life couple also taped a great deal of their conversation; a resource that was utilised for the story.

For me and Janie, it worked much better as a conversation point than it worked as a drama. These were consenting adults after all and it seems that the arrangement worked well for them; the persevered with it into their extreme dotage. Perhaps that explains why the reviews were mostly indifferent.

Still, excellent cast and well produced, as you’d expect from the Royal Court. The piece certainly got me and Janie talking afterwards. I think we went to the Four Seasons for Chinese that evening – I don’t know why that thought pops into my head nearly four years later.

Here’s the Royal Court’s resource page on the production.

Here is a link to reviews and stuff.

Below is the trailer vid:

Dinner At Noura With Jamil And Souad, 7 February 2014

Every so often, Jamil and Souad insist on taking me and Janie out for a meal. We occasionally get a chance to reciprocate, but not as often as we are hosted.

On this occasion, not for the first time, they chose Noura; a fine Lebanese restaurant in Belgravia; a place where our host couple is well known.

Janie and I love Lebanese food; Jamil and Souad know how to help us choose; to some extent favourites and known treats, to some extent things we might not have tried before.

As always with those two, an excellent meal in excellent company.