Sunday, February 3, 2008

Simple pleasures

I'm writing this post while lying back on my couch watching the Ivory Coast play Guinea in the quarter-finals fo the African Cup of Nations. Lounging around watching sports on TV is just the latest of life's simple pleasures that I've sampled today. First of all, I had a proper sleep-in. I arrived home last night a little bit late, more than a little bit drunk and dressed like a Maasai, so I was in need of a decent sleep. Unfortunately for me, my body clock is usually uncooperative and stops me from properly enjoying a Sunday morning snooze. But on this occasion I'd had enough alcohol to confuse the clock and I didn't roll out from under the doona until well past 10.30am. I didn't have any specific plans for the day, so I took my time over breakfast, waiting for the Shreddies to go properly soggy before tucking into the bowl. Nice.

When breakfast was done, I packed up my sports gear and trundled off up to Kilburn to pay a visit to the gym. Browsing through YouTube the other day I saw some fascinating footage of the sauna world championships (almost every activity can be turned into ao competition if you try hard enough), so I thought I'd have a crack at the old sauna myself. The idea of sitting naked and sweaty on a wooden bench in a small room with a bunch of other naked and sweaty men may not sound all that appealing and to, tell you the truth, it's not. But the beautiful thing about the sauna is that it's so unpleasant inside, it makes the outside feel much, much nicer. Nothing beats the first lungful of cold air after you've just left the sauna. The gym brochure advertising the sauna promised that it would promote an "overall sense of wellbeing". It's pretty accurate, because I did feel pretty damn good after leaving the sweatbox. On a side note, do you think it's weird to read a newspaper in the sauna? Everytime I've been there, there have been discarded newspapers lying around, but I've never actually seen anyone read them. Weird.

After leaving the gym, I wandered down to the shops to buy groceries for dinner and then stopped off at the hairdressers on the way back home. My route didn't take me past the Turkish barbers I usually go to, and the Caribbean barbers always charge a little bit more, so instead I opted for a little Indian "boutique" that I spotted down a side street. My hair isn't all that complicated to cut, so any barbershop that has a working set of clippers is good enough for me. And this particular shop had the added benefits of Bollywood musicals on the TV which my barber sang along to while cutting my hair. There was a canary in a cage singing in the background, and the sound of the bird combined with the TV, the barber's singing and the buzz of the clippers was surprisingly fun to listen along to.

When I finally made it back home I took a long nap before waking up to spend an enjoyable half hour or so watching a music video show entitled "What on earth were they thinking?" Watching terrible music videos is fascinating and surprising good fun. By this time, it was getting on a bit, so I started preparing dinner. Cooking wise, Jamie Oliver is my main man at the moment. I'm working through his Italian cook book and every recipe so far has been a winner. Today I made pork chops with sage, prosciutto and dried apricot stuffing. In Italian that turns out to be costolette di maiale con salvia. In my language, it means "delicious". For dessert I had fresh berries, yoghurt and honey.

And now I'm lying on the couch watching football. In a few hours, coverage of the Superbowl (the world's ultimate televisual experience) begins. Does life get any better? The only thing I'm missing at the moment is a nubile Egyptian princess to scratch my back when it gets itchy and feed me grapes. Actually, I do have some grapes in the fridge. Yep, this is pretty close to perfection.

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