Aha, I knew Thursday was going to be a busy day even before it started…
To start, nothing better than cycling down to Lidl at 8 AM to do some shopping. And before you start, let me tell you that there is a perfectly good reason for me to have done so! 🙂 Mondays and Thursdays are the days when Lidl refreshes those “one-off” promotions, and this week they had loads of bicycle accessories. You’re starting to get the picture? And even though I don’t think they would have everything sold out by the end of the day, I really had to go in the morning before work as I had plenty of stuff to do in the evening.
(and good thing that I decided so, as apparently Canterbury was completely overwhelmed during the day to the enthronement of the new Archbishop – lots of guests, including VIPs such as the PM and Prince Charles, apparently…)
I had gone to Lidl with my mind set on a new light kit, as my “old” (3 months-old) front light is behaving erratically, switching between modes as I’m cycling along – still works well as a torch, though! I also wanted a little £4.99 accessory kit which came with a nice little pouch (good for those long bicycle rides, in case something comes loose or I have a flat and I’m too far away from home to consider walking back! 😛 ) and a comfortable saddle – I had said before I wasn’t liking the factory-fitted saddle which came with my Raleigh…
Well, I got that and still more! 😛 I found a triple pannier bag set just sitting there all by itself, apparently it was the only one left and thus was slightly reduced in price (£14.99). As my bags were already a bit shabby (probably due to the fact that I repeatedly overload them with groceries every time I go shopping!) I decided to stretch the budget a bit and bought it as well. Boy oh boy, isn’t that thing great! All the other stuff I got is really nice and all, but the bag set is absolutely great, a very good buy indeed (review to follow!).
OK, and I now realise I have written 4 paragraphs on what I did for half an hour on a Thursday morning. No wonder I hate writing 250-word abstracts for conference submissions! 🙂
Moving on… cycled back home (which was quite a journey in itself, since I had to hold the extra bags with one hand while keeping the other on the handlebar, and indicating/braking/changing gear became so much more interesting!), and from there to the lab.
And in the afternoon I had the club’s Ergathon. As I am a bit out of shape (this nasty winter hasn’t helped, and I’m only training on weekends due to transport issues!) I decided to take it easy and did only 5k at a relatively leisure pace (after all, I am a leisure rower! 😀 ). Still, it was just what I needed to warm myself up, as the sun remained stubbornly behind the clouds and a bitterly cold wind was blowing (the fact that the University campus is on the top of a hill also doesn’t help!).
After stepping out of the erg I returned to the lab, only for leaving almost immediately afterwards – cycled furiously home (can you do that on a commuter bike like mine? Apparently you can, especially when going downhill!) , got home, showered and dressed a bit less shabbily (after all, I’m not going dining out every day!), and I was out of the door again in 20 minutes, climbing up the hill towards the campus all over again, as the shuttle bus that links the two campuses leaves from the bus stop in front of Darwin College.
We took the shuttle amid lots of cheerful talk. Even though I skype to my family quite frequently, it feels really good to be able to speak Portuguese with real people on the street, if even for one night.
One hour later, there we were in Medway, and our “host” André guided us to the Portuguese restaurant/café. I had brought some cash on me, since I thought the café would be something very local and, in a way, a bit shabby (perhaps I was thinking of the typical village café you find in the Portuguese countryside!) and therefore had no electronic payment method.
Well, I was quite wrong – just off the High St, quite cheerfully decorated and all! Best of all (obviously) it had all the food I miss around here – francesinha, bitoque, salted codfish (bacalhau!!), roasted suckling pig (leitão no forno), the lot! And, to top it up, at that hour of the night (people here seem to think it is a good idea to dine at 18h..) all of the people in the restaurant were Portuguese, so for a while you could think you were back home, at least if you didn’t look outside the window! 🙂
Outside Café Jaer, a Portuguese restaurant/coffee shop in Gillingham high street (just a 40 minute drive from Canterbury!). Wonderful food and excellent company – what else can I ask?
(I had to crank up the ISO setting on my camera to take proper evening shots – sorry about the noisiness!)
Never thought I’d see one around these shores so soon… but apparently I was wrong.
This thing was gigantic – normally I don’t struggle with a francesinha, but this time I found it a bit complicated to finish it (and I had done 5k on the erg just before dinner, I was really starving! 🙂 )
And suddenly … I teleported myself back to Porto and I was just having an expresso with friends. As long as I didn’t look outside the window, it felt quite accurate!
Really fantastic – good food, great company, I can’t really ask for more. And the owner lured us back with the promise of leitão in a few weeks, along with more cod! (he only gets his shipments quite infrequently, as we are a bit away from the bigger markets. Still, it is way better than to go to London just for dining out!)
The shuttle service between the two campuses is an excellent idea, and to top it up it runs all the way until midnight, and it is FREE for all Kent students and staff! 😀 Sadly, it will only be running until the end of this term (April 5th). Oh well, anyway it is not too long for me to get my car…
As you can see from the length of this post (I really need to stop writing this much, I have the impression no-one actually reads this – I’m just scaring people away with the amount of text I put here! 😛 ), Thursday was quite a big day. But I like big days once in a while, otherwise I just get bored!… 🙂