London 2016 diary: Day 3

Wednesday, 28 September, 2016. 16:16

I’m sitting in The Pilot pub, having one of their specially infused gins and tonics. They have a range of four of these, and I chose the plum and cinnamon, which tastes pretty good. Our ISO meeting has ended a full day early thanks to some quick sessions and an incredibly short lunch break today. Which means I now have tomorrow completely free to explore London.

I got to sleep easily, but woke up at 02:30, and then had trouble falling asleep again. I got up a bit after 05:00 and did some stretching exercises and checked various Internet things, before calling M. on Facetime for a chat. After that I had a shower and then went down for breakfast. Rather than fill up on hot food, I went for just muesli with fruit and yoghurt, followed by a plain croissant.

Christ Church, Turnham Green
Christ Church, Turnham Green, Chiswick

Breakfast was done and I was ready to go a bit before 08:00. Rather than sit around waiting, I decided to go for a walk down the Chiswick High Road. The sky was only partly cloudy, and the morning sun was giving the street a wonderful light as I walked east towards Turnham Green. The black stone Christ Church on the green looked pretty in the light, and I walked around it taking photos.

A little further down the street I found an amazing bakery called Gail’s. They had wonderful looking loaves and rolls, croissants and pastries, muffins, scones, cakes, slices, and biscuits. I bought a sour cherry and dark Belgian chocolate scone to have for morning tea. I also passed a place called Patisserie Valerie, which was more on the cake side and also looked deliciously inviting. In the window was a huge frilly chocolate construction which looked like it might have been useful as a cake topper for a metre high cake.

Gail's Bakery
Gail’s Bakery

I got to the BSI building and the meeting a bit before 09:00, settling into a place at the meeting table. The morning session was pretty full on, as we raced to get topics completed in an effort to finish a day early. There were no breaks until 12:40, when we had a twenty minute lunch break before resuming. I was glad I’d bought the scone to sustain me through the long morning! The only feasible option for lunch was the cafeteria on the first floor, and we ate there quickly. I selected a spicy chicken wrap and a cup of fruit salad, but others got plates and filled them with salads and meats and things from the buffet. Unfortunately Jonathan spilled hot soup on his hand, and got some frozen corn from the cafeteria staff to hold on it (he’d asked for ice, but they said the corn would be better because it would mould to the shape of his hand).

Back at work after this lightning lunch, we powered through the afternoon session. There were some interesting technical discussions and the usual nitpicky disagreements, but you have to expect that from work intended to define international standards. We got through the business of the meeting and adjourned a bit before 16:00. Then it was rounds of handshakes and farewells until the next meeting in Yokohama in February.

After I said my goodbyes, I walked over to The Pilot, where we’d had lunch yesterday, to try one of the specially infused gins. The selection includes chamomile and rose, dill and cumin, apricot and ginger, and the plum and cinnamon I selected. They have large jars of gin infusing with stuff behind the bar, and I overheard the staff saying that one that was being prepared now was thyme and honey.

Bar at The Pilot
The bar at The Pilot pub. Gin infusing flasks just below the blackboard: “When life gives you lemons…”


I headed back to the hotel after the gin and tonic, where I dumped my laptop bag and then ventured out for a pre-dinner walk. I walked east again along the Chiswick High Road, after a check of Google Maps showed that there was basically nothing interesting within walking distance in any other direction. This time I walked further than before, discovering more new things, such as a gelato shop called Odonno’s where I stopped to try a cup of the pistachio flavour. But before that I stopped at Patisserie Valerie to buy one of the mille feuilles I’d seen there this morning, so I can review it for my vanilla slice blog.

Oddono's gelato
Gelato from Odonno’s

After about an hour of walking, out and then partway back, I stopped at an Italian place called Zizzi, where I’d seen yesterday that they have calzones. I ordered a calzone carne piccante, which had chicken and meatballs and chilli in it, plus a glass of Italian shiraz wine. The waiter asked if I wanted a starter, and talked me into what I was half thinking about, an interesting sounding serve of baked dough balls with garlic and smoked sea salt.

The dough balls came with a balsamic vinegar dipping sauce, which added a nice contrast to the saltiness. On the table was a metal can of chilli oil, which I added to the vinegar to add a bit of kick. It was pretty hot! And then when the calzone came, it too was rather hot, with chopped green chillies in it. I had to drink quite a bit of water as well as the wine to wash it down. The waitress who processed my payment of the bill asked what I had planned for the night, and I said, “sleep”, to which she said, “Whenever I ask people that they usually just say they’re going to get some sleep!” Not surprising after a big meal like this!

Zizzi's calzone
Calzone at Zizzi’s

I walked back to the hotel, putting my jacket back on as it had cooled down outside. For much of the walk I had the jacket off, after heating up with it on. It hadn’t been very warm when I’d stepped outside of the meetings briefly during a short break, but it must have warmed up a bit late in the afternoon. Then it was writing diary and preparing for bed, and also sampling the mille feuille from Valerie Patisserie.

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