Every once in a while, Best Friend and I treat each other to dinner. Yesterday was my turn again, and I turned up on her doorstop at around 5:30 pm, finding a post-it on the door saying the bell was out of order and could I please phone? Luckily, whilst fumbling for my mobile in my tote, Best Friend's ex materialised laden with groceries (apparently, he now rents the top floor of her Amsterdam townhouse), and let me in. BF was all excited, as she'd just been to the pound that afternoon; one of her cats died last week, and now she'd gotten herself 2 'new' ones. She proudly showed them to me and G., and then brought out the sherry. When G. left about half an hour later, we decided we felt like Italian, and called to see if Rosario could squeeze us in. He's a Sicilian we've known for some years, and owns the restaurant, listed among the finest in the city, that bears his name. He said "Sure, for you, anytime", and when we got there, he came and sat at our table and insisted we toast the new year with a glass of prosecco. He told us he'd recently expanded on his winecellar and before we knew it, we'd embarked on a serious tasting session. Meanwhile, the food he had his cooks prepare for us was magnificent. I had 2 antipasti: venison with cabbage, mushrooms and wild berries, and maltagliati with cinghiale (wild boar), followed by a main course of wood-grilled rombo (tarbut), washed down with a light Sardinian white and the highly recommended Sicilian Sanagostino red. For dessert, we had a pannacotta and a hazelnut mousse, and a very nice dessert wine compliments of the house. Considering the quality of the food and the copious amounts of wine we'd imbibed, the bill when it came was surprisingly reasonable, although it did take me out of the black for this month.
BF, always more of a drinker than me (for every glass of wine I drink, I always make sure to drink 2 glasses of water) had to be supported all the way home, and since it had already gone past midnight, I decided I'd sleepover -- the second floor of BF's house is my usual pied-à-terre whenever I have to stay in Amsterdam overnight. I had a leisurely soak in the bath, and must have gone to bed later than I thought because I overslept this morning. BF brought me breakfast in bed, and only then did I notice that I ought to have been at the office an hour earlier. It didn't take us long to devise a devilishly wicked plan: I'd call in sick, accompany BF to yoga class and then we'd go shopping and she'd buy me lunch.
Yoga class was brilliant. After 6 months of not having practised it at all, I was surprised to find that even with an injured ankle I was still able to effortlessly get into the positions, remembered the chants and the respiration yogi-style, and felt so much better afterwards. I stayed for tea and chatted with someone who'd been in my Teacher Training class, who's got the qualification I would have had by now too, and teaches at the centre. And found out that one of my former teachers, Adithya, now has a class on Saturday mornings! So, I'm going to surprise him by showing up for class tomorrow -- and maybe he and Ganga will relent and let me start Teacher Training over...because I have missed yoga so much over the last few months, and I am convinced that if I'd been able to continue with it as before, not only would I now have been a fully qualified yoga instructor, but I would also not have suffered a burn-out or whatever it is they want to call it.
After a full morning's work-out, BF and I headed for our favourite department store; and as we passed the shoe section, I showed her the what I call 'Pocahontas boots' I'd been lusting after for some time. She agreed that they were 'so me' and that I had to have them, but I resisted, telling her of the silver-brushed boots I'd bought last week and the buckled pair of granny boots I'd purchased a month ago and still haven't worn because of this damn ankle, and explaining that I was skint anyway. So off we went to have lunch -- a steaming bowl of soup, a nice plate of salad, and a bottle of beer to celebrate the fact that we were being naughty while I should have been at work. Afterwards, we trawled the store from top to bottom picking up countless items (and me, 5 kilos of wholemeal breadmix at 50 cents a pound -- what a bargain!), until, passing by the shoe section again, I just couldn't leave there without the boots. Because they're the mocassin type, I can actually wear them; they have no heel to speak of. Makes a nice change from wearing trainers. ;-)
By then it was time for a sit-down, and BF insisted we had another salad and bottle of wine to give us something to sit down to. Then I decided to treat her to tea with a selection of friandises, after which she reciprocated with pink champagne. The sun was already setting when, one more round of shopping later, we finally emerged into the street and went our separate ways.
I don't often indulge on shopping sprees with my friends. I should do this more often, because I can honestly say that it's much more fun (considering) buying stuff when there's a like-minded individual with you than when you're on your own. It's more fun trying on things. And it's definitely more fun to have a good glass of wine and a good conversation in good company than to have a cup of coffee on takeaway.
The phone rang when I arrived home at last. It was my mother, telling me her favourite sister, and my favourite aunt, died this morning, quite unexpectedly. She was only 75 years old.