Friday, December 22, 2006

Mr K-E's Work Christmas Party

One thing about Mr K-E's work - they really know how to organise a Christmas party. They started with breakfast at Smiths of Smithfield. The restaurant is famous for it's meat dishes as it is close to Smithfield market, where meat has been bought and sold for the last 800 years. Smithfield Market is one of the oldest markets in London and the pubs in the area have special licenses to serve alcohol early in the morning. The pubs serve meat market workers who start their shifts early in the morning, so by 7am, they are ready for their pints!

(Mr K-E and his colleagues ate in the downstairs dining room, but the upstairs dining room is decorated to look like a butchers shop. Mr K-E thinks this is cool)

After breakfast, they did their Secret Santa presents in the restaurant. For"Secret Santa", everyone draws a colleague's name secretly and buys a small present for them. It supposed to be for fun, so there is normally a £5 limit. Nobody knows who has bought what for whom, so the presents can be deliberately embarassing but not spiteful (usually). For example, Mr K-E was Secret Santa for someone who has a shaggy mop of hair - Mr K-E bought him some "Extreme Styling Wax" to sort out his hair. Mr K-E received a dinosaur model and a book of facts, "Why don't penguins feet freeze?". Both good presents so he was pleased.

Then they walked to the Tate Modern where they went down the slides for a bit of an adrenaline rush before lunch. The slides are part of a modern art exhibition by Carsten Holler. There has been criticism of them, because some people argue that it is not "Art" and shouldn't be in the Tate Modern. You can read about it here. However, Mr K-E thought they were really fun and he doesn't care if it is Art or not. They went down the 4th floor slide, which is not the tallest but the fastest.

There is a live webcam of the base of the slides.

(photo of slides)

It was still too early for lunch so they had some drinks in the Anchor to whet their appetites.

Lunch was at the Cantina restaurant in Vinopolis. Vinopolis is a wine museum with wine tasting events. I've been there, but didn't really appreciate it as I am not much of a wine drinker at all. They had a champagne reception at the bar before going through to the restaurant. Unfortunately, the lunch itself was disappointing. Mr K-E's main course consisted one inch-thick slab of turkey breast, 18 brussels sprouts (yuck), one tiny carrot and three chip-shaped pieces of swede. It was really dry with only a few drops of gravy provided. (Mr K-E wishes that he had chosen the pan-fried bass because it looked delicious.)

In the middle of the meal, there was a fire alarm so they had to be evacuated and spent half an hour playing cricket in the street outside. The game stopped when the ball got stuck on the roof of Vinopolis.

They were finally allowed back in and had their desserts - triple chocolate icecream with peach sorbet. Yum.

Then it was back to the Anchor pub for a quick drink before heading to Auberge on Tooley Street where they camped until 11:30 pm. Mr K-E caught the last train home, which was full of other drunk people. One fellow was singing a medley of Queen songs very badly and was taking song requests from the other people in the carriage. Finally burger and chips for Mr K-E from our local takeaway before collapsing into bed with a smile on his face.

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