Yelly Writes

Looking for the blue door

My feet were killing me (I’d been wearing only heels for months and on this London trip I only brought flats–let me tell you, that was not intentional!  My feet and leg muscles were telling me, in no uncertain terms, exactly how they felt about wearing flats after a heels-only arrangement for months!  They hated the idea and me at that particular moment in time).   They were absolutely murdering me.  But I walked on–completely ignoring Portobello Road (which was an experience in itself – especially when the market is on!).

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I walked on because I wanted to go to a Filipino food place.  But as the experience was definitely forgettable, I won’t talk about it again.

My disappointment was all but forgotten when I left the Filipino food place because a few doors down was a familiar looking bookshop.   People were posing in front of the shop, having their pictures taken and I couldn’t understand why.  And then it dawned on me: I was in Notting Hill and they were posing near a BOOKSHOP!  I ran (hobbled really quickly, more like!) the 100 meters to the bookshop and gasped (yes, out loud!) because it was THE bookshop.  It was THE bookshop where the scenes for the Travel Book  Company were shot for the movie Notting Hill (which rangs high up in my list of favourite movies, near enough to Sliding Doors for it to matter a lot!).  I tried to be cool.  I tried to be nonchalant and I managed to convince myself that I only wanted a photograph of the shop front, that that was enough.  So snap away I did!  Only just one photo!  Ha!

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So I walked away, and round the corner, I found the Notting Hill shop of the Biscuiteers.  I had a look around the shop and oohed and aahed at the lovely iced biscuits.  But I really wanted to ask the shop keeper if he knew where the house with the blue door was.  I figured if they were local, they’d know where William Thacker’s house with the blue door was.  I was told to go back to the Notting Hill Bookshop because the lady who ran the shop would definitely know.  So my crown iced biscuite securely stored in my purse, I went then went back to the Notting Hill Bookshop to ask directions.

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I went around to the bookshop because it was a bookshop and I LOVED bookshops.  There’s something about the smell of bound paper that comforts me.  Plus I didn’t really want to pounce on the lovely shop lady and just get the information and run out of the shop!  It didn’t seem right.  They had a copy of the Travel Book Shop Company’s sign up in the area where Rufus the thief stuffed a book down his trousers–or at least that’s where I thought it was shot.  Apparently the interior layout of the shop hasn’t changed, it remains exactly same as it was in the movie!  I couldn’t help myself and did a happy little dance because I was — sort of! — sharing a space with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts!

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I bought a cloth book bag and a fridge magnet (to add to my growing collection) because I felt that I owed it to the lovely lady who ran the shop.  As I waited at the till for her to ring up my purchases, I asked if she knew where the house with the blue door was.  I also apologised in the same breath as I know she gets asked the same question time and time again.  She laughed and gave the directions.  I was relieved to hear that it was only a block away because as excited as I was to be in the Travel Bookshop, my feet were still hurting!

After a few pained steps, there it was, the house with a blue door!  And for a while, I stared at the house, trying to decide why it looked a little different (I realised later that the pillars and the area framing the door were painted blue before and now they were white, except for the door).  But it didn’t matter so much that it looked only slightly different.

For one brief shining moment, I was a girl, standing in front of the door, living a dream!

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Yelly Eats

Just saying

I logged on knowing that I hadn’t written anything on the blog for a considerable amount of time.  I didn’t really realise that the last blog entry I’d written was the day before Easter.  My how time flies, even when one isn’t having fun.  I’ve been battling a throat infection and a bad bout of flu for the past few weeks.

A few days ago I was in Notting Hill, mostly to find a Filipino restaurant that I’d been looking forward to trying.  I think I’m not alone in saying that if it was a Filipino restaurant, run by Filipinos, Filipinos would flock to it because Filipinos would, if they could.  I had eaten in another Filipino restaurant in London, in Charlotte Street, called Josephine’s.  The decor was a little dated but I didn’t mind it because the service, and of course the food, was wonderful.  Despite the fact that there were other customers, I felt well-looked after, not ignored.

That wasn’t the case in this other restaurant.  I know I definitely looked Filipino and made the point of mentioning that I was Filipino and read about the restaurant which was why I wanted to try it but I got an indifferent response.  Colder than lukewarm.  Most Filipinos would ask where you lived, how long you lived there and what you did for work.  This wouldn’t really be intrusive, it’s just the way Filipinos connect.  There are about 300,000 Filipinos spread all over the UK, a mere drop in the ocean compared the general population.  My experience, so far, has always been Filipinos wanting to connect with each other.  But funnily enough, the warm and effusive welcome for a fellow Filipino that I was hoping for was not what I got.  There was no effort to connect, there was no effort to engage.

The food was okay but the ordering wasn’t explained (the menus were on clipboards on the wall and you took one to the table then ordered at a make-shift looking counter), I had to ask.  The options weren’t explained but after I asked if I could have water instead, I was told they could serve me water.  I just felt like they weren’t interested in the business that I brought in.  And I was massively, massively disappointed.

There was another person in the restaurant, a person who, from the conversation I could overhear was a friend.  The person at the counter talked to this friend more than he talked to me.  I think most restaurants, in this day and age, would fight tooth and nail for punters.  I didn’t feel important to this establishment.  I felt like I was an interruption to their conversation.  I felt completely unwelcome.

Even now when I think about it, I feel like crying.  The entire experience was that awful.  I know I only paid £10 in total for my food.  But I would’ve rather not gone now.  I hope they treat other paying customers differently.  More importantly, if they’re going use a Filipino word for their restaurant name, I pray that they treat fellow Filipinos better because the Pinoys that come to them want to come in and feel like they’re in a Filipino oasis in the hustle and bustle of London.

Service is as service done, but this was badly done.  Very badly done.  I’m certainly not going back to this Filipino restaurant.