Tuesday, September 7, 2010


This summer I visited London and Edinburgh in the British Isles with my girlfriend. We had a wonderful time and were able to get to visit many of "pre-trip must-do's" including the awesome British Museum, Gordon Ramsay's and a couple of musicals, noteworthy  of these was "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" on stage. Personally I have never been one for musicals but I have to admit that this was pretty good!  A complete "Fail" was a much anticipated visit to the Chelsea Flower Show, which needs tickets pre-booked months in advance: They take their flowers and plants seriously in England! On the other hand we elected to go to a candle-lit performance of several chorale pieces at St. Martin's-in-the-Fields complete with orchestra which was very spiritually uplifting.
We made a couple of other pilgrimages; one being to the Doctor Maartens (DM's) store in Covent Garden, home of the legendary boots with the patented air-cushion soles, which in my youth were referred to as "Bovver Boots" - as in "Do you want a spot of bovver  (bother)?"; the other being a visit to the home of "Neals' Yard", a quintessential English cheese shop.
This cheese shop is one of many examples in London and throughout Europe of shops dedicated to one item. The focus and knowledge is consequently much more profound and the enthusiasm of the staff is palpable even before any words are exchanged. In my opinion one of the distinct downsides of the proliferation of a virtual world on the Internet is the inexorable elimination of these highly focused businesses from the real world.
Fortunately for us, we were able to experience this wonderful shop, to inhale the aromas, to feast our eyes and to taste the wares. There is simply nothing that equals this experience; an environment that so  physically exerts its existence in the tactile and sensory world. And yet certainly it is all but disappeared in the USA, with just a few exceptions in New York and perhaps a few other major urban centers.
For want of a better example, just think about most floral businesses today: With few exceptions, there are no charismatic spaces full of flowers that wow the olfactory and visual senses. Far too many fabulous flowers, great designs and floral decorations are only seen at weddings, on designers' websites or at flower schools that seem to be popping up. For better or for worse, however, that is the way things are today, although as with all things this state is temporal and will change, as flowers are far to wonderful and wondrous to remain the exclusive province of  weddings and events.
Notwithstanding the above, my girlfriend and I got to enjoy this fabulous emporium and appreciate it for the time we were there, in person, up close and also later on enjoy it all over again in our mouths! The Cheese.
That's another thing , by the way, is how wonderfully mature and ripe the cheeses are, with fully developed flavors and sharp, edgy accents impregnated into the deep, creamy textures.
It is so important to allow products such as cheese, beef, and even flowers to mature and age to a point where they impart the full flavors, colors, scents and afford sentient beings the best visual experience.
Which is, of course, how one gets to enjoy the perverse pleasures of a cheese called the "Stinking Bishop". Amen!

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