In a way I take comfort from the way that some people readily presume that I am dead if I haven’t posted in a while. Certainly, that’s the approach taken by my mother, who recently got quite worried given that I hadn’t posted on Facebook for a couple of days, and hadn’t updated this blog in over a month. I apologise to all: I’ve been busy (rather than dead), and my conscience is all the more pricked for having missed this year’s annual High Town Festival over the weekend of 15-16 July, which I learn from the Friends of High Town was super-plus good.
We return to matters gastronomical, this time focusing on two of Luton’s finest tea and chips emporia: the Scandinavia Café and Restaurant, on High Town Road, and Tim’s Kitchen, now tucked away, ‘near the pram stall’, at the back of the indoor market in the Arndale.
I have a little joke (mostly with myself) that I bust out almost every time a friend of mine (and occasionally a date) does me the great honour of coming to see me in Luton. Meeting them at the train station (since I should not like to leave them unchaperoned), I say, ‘Would you like me to give you the tour of Luton? Don’t worry: it won’t take long.’
The other day I was stopped by a security guard in the Arndale and told that I am not allowed to take photos of the centre by order of the management. (I was taking a photo of the Muffin Break sign, not on its aesthetic merits, but because I was thinking I might write a review of the place in a forthcoming post. The irony of this is not lost on me.)
After ranging as far as Luton Hoo in my last post, my thirst to share Luton’s exotic outposts with you, dear reader, remains unslated. In which vein, a focus on Stopsley seems long overdue. I was tempted to include this post within my ‘café culture’ series (series of one…) because I do have a review to make of Coffee Express, but I’m going to save that for later.
The real star and focus of this piece is the Fair Deal World Shop, Luton’s very own fairtrade store, dedicated entirely to selling ethical goods (food, cleaning products, homewares and gifts) and proving that it is just about possible to sustain an avowedly ethical business within Luton. The Fair Deal World Shop is an unexpected treasure, and it needs our support.
I recently celebrated a significant birthday. Significant in my mind, at any rate. Or, otherwise: a birthday halfway between two other, recognisably significant age milestones. Anyway: it was a difficult birthday and a hellaciously difficult week and I am at a difficult age. Let that stand.
The upshot of my difficult week (or week of being difficult) in February was that I cancelled a planned birthday party and basically went into hiding for a period. I exaggerate a little for comic effect, but not so very much.
What does all of this have to do with Luton? Well, it’s probably worth saying that living in Luton has a somewhat clarifying effect on the bad times. Continue reading
Today sees the arrival of a friend from abroad who is spending the weekend at mine. Since I knew he was coming, I have indeed baked a cake, but I sense that I should also make an offering to Luton Airport, since it is only my extreme proximity to an international airport that makes it viable – even easy, inexpensive – to hop over to Luton for a weekend of cake, conversation and Rolfing.
In my new spirit of solutions-centric positivity, I begin, as promised, with the first of a multi-part foray into Lutonian café culture, and with a solution to that timeless question, ‘Where can I get myself a decent cup of coffee?’ The good news is: it is possible. And what’s more: it’s getting better. Sound the positivity klaxon!
The wanderer returns. Or rather: the slightly dilettante writer with a busy life returns to the blog at hand, to Luton (after a brief foray over into that there Europe) and to ‘normal life’, which is a somewhat irregular affair for me in 2013: I’m taking a ‘year out’ of sorts, to work on my PhD and train as a Rolfer, chiefly; and to explore and develop a number of my other interests, such as getting involved with the new Luton Foodbank; with the local hospice charity, Keech; and agreeing (just this morning) to run my first half-marathon. So apologies for the long service disruption to Yoga World & Pesto, and I thank the many of you who asked me where I had gone.
Yoga World & Pesto notes in passing the sad demise of This ‘N’ That, the esoteric buying-and-selling shop on High Town Road that was Luton’s go-to for both buying and selling, and – if official police signage is anything to go by (and one has to suspect it is*) – a laundering mechanism for stolen goods. Ah well. The sign was probably the best thing about This ‘N’ That (We buy. We sell.) and mercifully, that remains.