It was only the beginning of February that we took off for two nights at The Traddock but it feels SO long ago. It was really a very short trip with only one full day and 4 hours driving to get there and back from London.
Obviously, we spent our one full day walking. Because my life is pretty much about food, walking and Stu. (It was a very good day.)
I have loved the work of Kiyoshi Nakashima for a long time. And have been aware of him for a long time as he is from the Saga prefecture of Japan, as are my family. However I know very little about him. I have one book about him but it's in Japanese and I can't read it! So last weekend, I asked my mum to help me read it (very grateful for her time).
I have struggled to find any English information online so I'd like to provide the little I can. I only found one, very angry article about him online which upset me and I will discuss it a little further down.
I want to start with the feelings I have long held. That his pictures capture the fleeting nature of nature itself. The ever changing beauty of the seasons, the countryside, the sky. And the fleeting nature of childhood.
I booked a couple of nights at The Traddock (a very nice hotel) in the Yorkshire Dales because they had a cheap deal for February midweek bookings and I wanted to get away. Later I was happy to realise, the dates fell across our 12 years together anniversary! An auspicious start to our trip.
Central London is pretty pricey. I often go out after work
to either gigs or museums and need a bite to eat that I can afford that
isn't a sandwich (I get hangry). There is so much choice and much of it
is more than I want to spend or isn't very good and sometimes I don't
have time to research and don't always want to chance it. Or there are places that are too cool and you can't book them and you have to queue for about an hour. Or sometimes I don't want the standard veggie option of mushroom risotto, halloumi burger or goats cheese tart and I don't want to drag my omnivorous friends to a vegetarian restaurant.
People can look down on chain restaurants, bunch them all together as cheap, poor quality, unhealthy, unimaginative, childish, mainstream, corporate. It does irritate me that there are about five Prets in the vicinity of my office and I've seen so many independent places close (though I do quite like an occasional Pret). And I hate that chains can afford to proliferate and push out small businesses who can't afford skyrocketing rents and it all becomes a circle of going to chains because that is all there is.
That said, often businesses have expanded into chains because they are great. Affordable, delicious and consistent. They have a brand that you like and you trust that you'll get the same good food, no matter where you are. They are convenient when you just need dinner and you need it now and you don't want to research, you just want to know what you're getting.
I have three favourite chains that I can count on when I'm in that kind of mood. These are all places that serve meat but have excellent vegetarian options.