Tag Archives: free

a garden party

16 Aug

london 11.15am 19C cloudy friday 2019

a huge rain cloud is coming to london, forecast to hit us at about 3.15pm today. that cloud seems to cover the whole uk. so the whole country is gonna rain. 

yesterday i went to a free food garden party at kew bridge. i was early, and nearly could not find the place, because it was a really narrowed road leading to a new build housing development with a football stadium in it.

it was right next to the railway track and kew bridge station. the station  is in zone 3, and is on the overground train line. not a tube station. have no gates and no ticket office, and it trusts u to log in and out with your electronic oyster card or debit card. mind you if u forget and not log in or out, the system will charge you the cost of the whole 8 zones. so that is the penalty for not logging in for those who are thinking of getting away with not paying. haha. 

we found out it was actually a collaboration between a housing developer ecoworld, (who seem to have some malaysian backing, ecoworld have other housing developments elsewhere in london) with brentwood football club and the local council to build a football stadium and add luxury housing to it.

they tell us to dress for a garden party. i have no idea how one dresses for a garden party, until i went there and saw people wearing jackets and tie and thought oh so that is how one dresses for a garden party.

it was a pleasant evening, unlike yesterday when it was raining all day. and the catering was done by the kerb people, a streetfood company. and i stuck to the malaysian caterer, only managed to eat two bowls of their laksa, a fried meehoon dish, and two sticks of satay. haha. i was so full , but still managed to down a doughnut from the doughnut stall. could not manage to eat the malaysian desserts.

i pass over the pulled pork burger stall. i was so stuffed… sat at a table full of malaysians who seemed to have flown in from malaysia to support the consortium. at the start we were told we might not be able to get in as they expected 50 people  from malaysia, to come to the party. the elderly couple i talked to said they came for a holiday of two months, and to visit their daughter who lives here.

we were at the head of the queue, so it did not go down well for us to be told that as well as we have to wait till the bus load of expected guests come… some people in the queue actually left the queue, being angry about it all. but there was no need really to tell us that , because in the end, that big bus load of malaysians did not really bring in many people, and we were allowed in. they even provide free cocktails, though i did not bother to queue up for that.

there were some football players, tall fit looking young men, wearing suits, who must be from the football club, invited to help spread the word. haha. i am not a fan of football so cant say if they are famous or not. though they could be mistaken for security guards, if we were not told the football players will be there. in the end, the place was not full really, but maybe just as well, because it was a small space, and we have plenty of room to move about. and what is more to be able to get the food easily without much queueing.

there was a short ceremony to officially open the development, and then the dj came on for the dancing, and that is when i left.

i saw these two articles that interests me. what3words an app that makes it easy to tell others where you are. esp if u are lost and want the rescue service to find you. added. i dont have a smartphone so cannot download their app, but i find i can do everything just by going into their website what3words.com. you can find out what 3 words describe your location by searching for it in that website search engine. fascinating really, you can tell people where u are without giving them your address. or postcode. which is how i usually tell people. 

added. in fact ian wrote me to ask if we can meet up on sunday. and i gave him the link via that what3words website to let him know where it is exactly that i want to meet up… it would be impossible to describe it, because regent st has two parts , north and south side, and there are all those points around oxford circus … but just giving him https://what3words.com/sleepy.limes.trash

tells him exactly where. it is really a very useful website. 

and this one , peculiar photos . that one about the dog in the background, which is actually a profile of a gameplayer with head phones on, really fooled me. i saw that image a few days ago, and could not see the player… and was really puzzled at why a dog is there… but this time when i saw it again, because they pulled up a close up of the dog, i could very faintly make out the profile face of the player. 

added. i just have a thought, who in their right mind would want to live near a football stadium, the noise! the crowds! every match day just cannot bear thinking about.

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this is the second laksa i had. there are 3 large prawns in there. 

added. 3.58pm rain 17C. just got a free cookie from pret a manger, they give it to u between 3pm-4pm today if u say ‘bake my day’, the password. it is rather fun, and you can have a free cookie. just perfect with coffee. there were two of these pret shops near me, actually there are 3, but i only went to these two and got a cookie from  each of them.

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this is my second cookie, and it has been allowed to cool down so that it is quite firm. the first one came straight out of the oven and was still gooey. they both are very chocolatey…

you could be forgiven to think who would want to queue up for these, and on a rainy day like this… but there was a long queue in both of those shops. one said come back half hour later, when the cookies will be baked… the other let us wait, the queue stretched out of the door. people like their cookies in london. they seem to be office workers around the area. a group of 4 indian guys were in front of me , and one of them was holding a tray of cafe nero coffees. he pointed to one with letters on the cover and said that one is for the manager. he mentioned he can get a free coffee because of the stamps he can get , for each coffee and he gets a free one when he collects enough stamps. i said it is great , if his manager pays for the coffee and he gets the stamps. then he said he pays for it, and i said what! that dont seem fair, then i said maybe u want something from him, and i said maybe you can get a day off when you want and he will give it to you. and he said yes, and added that he and the manager are good buddies and he would buy him coffee because he wants to. then one of his coleagues observed that they are entering a pret shop with cafe nero coffees and wonders if that might cause offense from the people in there. that might explain why they decided to leave the queue. though i also said the coffee will get cold and the manager will have to drink cold coffee. one of them did say they can microwave it hot again. though i secretly wonder if that might spoil the coffee… to be reheated like that. who knows, i am not a drinker of shop bought coffee who would allow his coffee to go cold and reheat it. haha.

i often find people who work are out buying coffee from these coffee shops. how come they dont have a kettle in the office and given free coffee … to make themselves and save money… or if the firm is so stingy at least provide a kettle. and you might be able to bring your own tea bags, whcih are so much stronger than the ones u can buy from these coffee shops… what am i missing i wonder. don’t office workers make their own coffee or tea anymore???

 this rain cloud is really huge, the rain cloud seems to stretch way out over the whole of england , earlier, it stretched right across the whole length of uk, no wonder they said the country will get a month’s rain just today.


16 Jul

london 1.15pm 26C sunny tuesday 2019

such a sunny hot day today. i have just been to a free chicken burger given by meatmarket, their branch in jubilee market in covent gdn. they want to publicise their new menu, which has a caeser chicken burger, and that is what we got. a chicken breast meat with a whole huge little gem lettuce between two buns. with lots of gravy… or i should say dressing. very nice indeed. there were not that many in the queue, just our gang of 5, and maybe another 6or 7 others. 

they are giving out only 50 but i only know of it this morning, from a email from steve, who knew it because he has joined their newsletter which told him of it a few days ago.  when i heard from steve, i went to check it out in their instagram, and saw they only made the announcement yesterday. so it is very short notice. steve said it is a good idea to join their mailing list, as they give u a free meal on your birthday. i shall join even though my birthday is over for this year.

the burger,  you can see that big lettuce , and underneath it is a huge chicken breast.and also the free choc ice cream given by another place hotel chocolate in covent gdn, which we went to after the burger.

steve got a voucher from them for 4 free choc icecream, and invited me to join them. surprisingly, the shop assistant gave us 4 icecream. very creamy the icecream, and a lot of it, that cup is huge. i only managed to finish one, whilst steve and his wife finished off the other 3. it costs about £3.85p normally. it was certainly good weather for eating icecream.

life is very pleasant here in london. its warm , not hot, highest never goes higher than 26C recently…in spite of dire warnings of hot weather coming our way. and no drought, so no water rationing. we got the best of worlds really. unlike new york which have a blackout recently, and it seems it suffers these blackouts; london has not suffered anything like that within my memory of living here all these years. london utilities run well. most people dont appreciate it until it goes wrong, than they get all upset about it. but london runs well and so we dont suffer any interruption of these basic services. 



living unawares

24 Jun

london 6.56pm 24C sunny rain monday 2019.

i have just got back from another free hamburger offer , this time from burger and beyond, who are in shoreditch. they are giving out 150 free hamburgers to celebrate their success on instagram, i think i heard mention they got 150,000 followers or something. 

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its quite nice, costs normally £9. we were the first few, so were seated very quickly and were served very quickly too. that is the advantage of being the first few. you dont have to wait long for the food. its nice of them to give us free food.

its nice and hot now in london, i get the occasional sneeze and mostly itchy eyes and runny nose, but it is not too bad. so i should be grateful that it is not worse. but then they are forecasting 30C temperatures later this week, so the pollen might get to pour out then. i saw an article listing the hottest junes and it seems last year was the 3rd hottest on record. hmm, know something? i would not have known if i was not told. it is funny that i have lived through it and dont remember it was that hot.2017 was a hot june too, but i dont remember it as such. it just goes to show that you could be living it and be unaware of it all. 

7.55pm 23C rain.

i noticed it was 24C this morning when i made the first post. it has remained 24C all day, except for a jump at about 4.30pm peaking at 26C around 5pm. so while we were queueing at the restaurant waiting for it to open at 5pm it was at its hottest today. now it is raining so that has cooled things a bit. 


free food and books

20 Jun

london 17C cloudy thursday 2019

i have just been to brunswick centre, russell square, for the annual greek party there. they do it every year it seems, though this is the first time i been there.

as you can expect it is very crowded, the queue stretched 3 , 4 deep in the main concourse, and people were queue cutting, but there was so much food, with 4 separate areas dishing out the food, that everyone can get to eat. and they have a stage set up where they entertain the people with greek dancing and stuff. it is a greek affair. i heard it is paid for by greek brothers who own the freehold of the businesses there. it is rather nice of them to do it, most probably it publicises the place, and brings people into that shopping area. the food is pasta, with hommous, taramasalata , salad, a cooked chicken thigh, a kebab like sausage, a quite a lot of it. and orange juice, or coke, or beer. it is surprising that it has been going on for years and i have not known about it before.

usually summer brings on lots of these local fairs, but they dont give  free food, unlike this one. so this one must be unique.

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i thought i had other pictures of the people and the food tables but it did not come out. 

i have discovered a good read, circe, by madeline miller.  it is very well written and a enjoyable read. which is rather a compensation for some disappointing summer novels that i have been trying to get through. 

i am thinking of celia imrie’s latest book about the riviera, a nice cup of tea. its about expats living in Nice, and things that happen to them or that they make happen.  Reading them, i begin to realise that there are only a limited amount of plot and things to cook up, and in the end, it really relies on how well you can write.

alexander mccall smith does these things very well, he had two of these european novels, which i have finished and the plot is very slim but he can get away with it because of his writing style.

with celia imrie, she hasn’t got that feel- good style, where it does not matter what the plot is, because if she can evoke that feeling of europe, the sundrenched carefree feeling with hints of romance and intrigue in the air,which everyone feels  would happen when they go on holiday to europe, france or italy,  but which never tips over to being malicious, or dangerous, and everything resolved satisfactorily at the end of the book, it makes for a nice formula to these kinds of summer novels.

as it is, i find it quite a struggle to finish the novel, because i find i just could not be bothered with the things that happen to her characters. so i am real glad that there was circe, by madeline miller.

sub cult free food

19 Jun

london 5.37pm 18C been raining wednesday 2019

practically everyday we have a free meal . today is the turn for a bunch of guys who started off with a pop up, then a van now they are opening their brick and mortar eating place.

it is in the city of london, near banktube, mansion house tube. they do sandwiches , with soft 7inch batons of bread. i got their most expensive option, the submarine £8.50, consisting of scallops,calamari, pulled pork with crackling, and it was very delicious and worth the money. we got it free of course, but their prices are quite reasonable when i compared them with the vegan prices that i have been seeing lately.

they are called sub-cult.

they make it easy to eat, the sandwich is very neatly packed so that you can eat it without making a mess.  it seems they have been around for 5yrs but it is the first time i heard of them.

fortunately i went early. i got an email from steve, to remind me and he said 11ish… the notices i got said 12pm. so i decided to go early anyway, and glad i did, because i got there at about 10.20am, and they told me they open the free food at 11am. normally i would have tried to get there  about 11.30am, half hour before it starts at 12pm.

if u had come then u might have missed out as the queue was very quickly filled . they are only giving out 200 free food. i was the 4th in the queue. but my order was number 41, so it looks like there is a party of people being given priority earlier. or they were breakfast customers, which they serve earlier. 

later i saw steve and his wife join further back in the queue. this free sandwich is certainly one of the really good ones that i have tried. 

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this is just the head of it , the cross section as it were . you can see the scallop, it goes back a fair bit, 7inches long. i think. very worth it.

when i went there i took the tube as it is the quickest way to get around if you are in a hurry.  though if u change at victoria, you might have a long walk underground, changing from one line to another. unless you know the short cut like i did, haha. there is a way to get from the victoria line to the east bound district line without going the long way round.

coming back i got the bus, and ate the sandwich on board, it was very pleasant, i sat on the lower deck at the back, it was one of the new routemaster buses with the seat facing backwards so had a nice view of all the mad traffic following us as the bus make its slow way to trafalgar square.

there are lots of traffic jams and traffic was slow. this is due to the road works that narrowed the street. for some reason they all decided to repair the roads at this time. could be the rain flooded the drains, and caused all this road repairs.

well as in anything, one man’s meat is another’s poison. so the rain to me is very welcomed, but i daresay it will cause others to suffer. in fact, the bus 11 i got after my workout at the circuit training that i go to every wednesday was diverted so much that it went directly from sloane square to victoria, taking the short cut, that by -pass its usual long route. all because of road works at the junctions. two of them along that route.

its possible the roads were flooded, because when i got out of the sports centre after my session, i saw the roads were wet, and it was raining. it must have rained hard when we were inside doing the training.


breakfast at chloe

18 Jun

london 4.18pm rain 19C tuesday 2019

i am really happy to see it rain. this summer i hope will be a good one for me, with lots of rain right through till autumn. to me it is a welcome sight as i immediately bring up visions of it removing all the pollen that is flying about, and wash the air clean.

even though there have been many rainy days occasionally i still get bouts of sneezing, which suggests to me that if not for this rain,it will be a lot worst.   this summer i think,would rank as one  with the highest amount of pollen put out by far. they dont measure it, maybe because they have no means of measuring the amount of pollen per square inch, but i bet it is a lot. all they tell us is that it is high, and that have been stuck at high all the time, even through the rain. usually when it rains, i expect it to at least drop to medium or ,a hopeless wish, to low. 

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actually there is more filling than shown, as usual with burgers when u bite into it you push all the fillings back so that it protrudes out at the back and make things very messy.

this morning i got breakfast at chloe. you will remember they gave out guacomole burgers before the shop was ready to open. this time, they have got it finished and it is a very nice big space. and a big menu board above the serving counter. and i was approached straight away when i walk in given a menu and asked to chose, so i asked about the free breakfast, and he said it is on thursday. i must have looked disappointed, because he quickly said he can give me a bacon burger. vegetarian one of course. their system here is to give u a pager, and ask you to sit anywhere and wait for it to buzz. so i used the time to go downstairs to the loo. it was a long trip through twisting corriders and down stairs. haha.

it took some time to get my order. and there were a few people sitting about, but some of them seem to be staff, sitting with laptops. at least they were not being given their burgers, even though they were here before me. just a couple , man and woman, got their burgers before me, and they took theirs out rather than sit in the restaurant to eat it. i myself took mine out and went to the steps of the church nearby to eat it.

i was surprised at how long it took to make the burger. there were not many people, no queue. normally when there is something free going on you expect to see a queue. i dont see any of my freeloader friends either. so maybe they know it has been moved to the thursday perhaps. i must ask them when i next see them.

it has been advertised as starting from 7.30am, but when i went there earlier at 8am, i was told they open at 11am. that is why i went back nearer 11am, and maybe that is why there is no queue. they must have been told the free breakfast is on thursday instead. so my free food is a courtesy gift from them even though today is not a free breakfast day. it is nice of them to give it to me.

i got  a bacon cheeze burger. the bacon is just onion sauce, very nice too because it was a bit burnt and have that lovely flavour, (in fact, i am thinking i might do the same with my onions next time i cook them) the cheese was tofu i think, coloured to look yellow egg like appearance , by tumeric maybe… and does look and taste like egg. so that is a success.

its all vegan their menu.   and quite a big space, lots of seating. so people can linger if they wish. this one i got cost about £9 normally. it does seem rather high for a breakfast product. i dont know about you, but i expect vegetables  to be cheaper than meat…but maybe with all that trying to make them appear like meat,it is a costly thing to do.

but somehow to me, after all that effort, it is still a vegetable sandwich. i have tasted them now, these vegan efforts and i think so far they have not done anything remotely like meat.

maybe seitan will be more like meat, i have yet to taste seitan, or the impossible burger brand, which they seem to say is meat like.

i read of kfc having a meat -less ‘chicken ‘ burger (made from quorn)but it is only in some select outlets. in london it is the gloucester road branch.

from that article i learnt that only 1% of the population are vegan. so why are so many restaurants jumping on this vegan bandwagon? maybe the profit is high? the markup is high and they can afford to make a gamble. who knows the public might bite.

added. it seems the real beef taste and texture is in two companies, beyond burger, and impossible burger. link to comparing them. both are american companies.


17 Jun

london 1.42pm 21C sunny monday 2019

it was only this morning that i found out about a free lunch today given by SOW, to celebrate its opening at great malborough st, near the top end of carnaby st. i was exchanging email messages with steve, about a different matter and happen to click on a link he gave me that says this place is having a free lunch to the first 100 customers today. when i got there, it was exactly 12pm, and i was expecting to see a long queue, but no, no one about it seems. 

there were two men standing at the entrance, so i hesitantly asked is this the free food? and they said yes and gave me a menu and when i walked into the place i see my friends, steve and wife and all the others allready seated and eating. they said they started going in at 20mins to 12, even though it was meant to start at 12noon. 

anyway i got a nice chicken and rice thai green curry… lots of chicken breast meat, normally costs £8. its very mild curry though. i am really surprised there was not such a long queue, but then it was not publicised at all well, as i have not heard of it till this morning and only by accident. i was wondering why they call the place sow. female pig. until i came back and googled it and found it is meant to be a verb, like to sow seeds etc. haha. well it can lead to confusion i bet. 

in fact, the others were talking of a free food given by the malaysian high commission, recently, to celebrate hari raya puasa, and i had not heard of it. the others said they themselves only heard of it last minute. one went and said it was so busy she only was able to eat 3 of the foods. it was held at the high commissions house in hampstead. and it seems tun mahathir the prime minister was there, making a short 3day visit to uk. i belong to a malaysian in uk facebook site and they dont know anything about it, which is rather a disgrace really as they should know and alert us to it. but maybe it is allready so busy they just dare not make it too well known as no one checks if u are a malaysian or not. so they just try to make it known by word of mouth and only to malaysians. 

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quite a lot of chicken breasts in this dish.

they were talking of other freebies, so i was able to get info on some more free food to be given out in the near future. it is very useful this little group of regulars that we have, we keep each other informed of new offerings.