Ben Basmatti in Bombay

By | Diary | No Comments

, originally uploaded by benaston.

Our trip to Bombay was short and sweet (ish). We’d never planned to stay long, and after a day, we’d had our fill of it. Although everything is written as Mumbai, everyone here seems to be calling it Bombay. So I am too, it’s more colonial, if nothing else.

Getting here was pretty good. After a nice BA flight which was empty enough to allow us the luxury of sleeping in our own row of seats, we landed in Bombay in the middle of the night. We stayed in a suburb close to the airport, Juhu Beach where Oprah who was also in town, has a pad. The hotel, Juhu Residence Boutique Hotel was good, but I’m not sure what Oprah sees in the place. Juhu doesn’t really seem to have much going for it apart from two cultural highlights – Cinnabon (that was where Bombay was sweet) and Dominoes, which we indulged in dutifully.

I don’t feel that we got to see that much of Bombay – we took a taxi to the Gateway of India and walked the streets around Colaba and bought some clothes, but got bored of being hassled pretty quickly. We took a pit stop at Leopolds which apparently features heavily in the Bombay-based book Shantaram – the autobiography of an escaped Australian convict who makes a colourful life for himself in Bombay. As luck would have it, the author, Gregory David Roberts was there signing books so we bought his enormous encyclopaedic book for Rebecca to amuse herself with for our trip.

And then all we had time for was the taxi back to the hotel via Chapatti Beach which took a couple of hours. That was painful. And noisy. Then some dodgey street food at Juhu beach and it was time for bed.

Apparently, if you don’t like Bombay, you don’t ‘get’ it. That’s according to Lonely Planet so it must be true. So I have to concede, I don’t ‘get’ it. At least if ‘getting it’ is anything much other than lots of traffic, honking, and odd smells.

What I do ‘get’ though is the bottom shower; this has been the real highlight for me – far more efficient than a bidet, and very useful when your diet requires regular use of the toilet.

Next stop Udaipur.

Otoño escapar a Sevilla

By | Diary | No Comments

Sometimes the transition from Summer to Autumn can be a bit difficult, so usually the best thing to do is to go to Spain and take a trip to Seville. It’s warm there, there’s ice cream and all the creature comforts, like Boris bikes.



Cow Club comes to London

By | Diary, Reviews | No Comments

Cow Club Oct ’11, originally uploaded by benaston.

I joined London’s first Cow Club because I like mmmeat.

The concept is pretty simple; get a crowd of mmmeat eaters together, buy a cow, get someone to chop it up, and get it delivered to your door for a bargain £10/kg.

OK, so on the face of it, it might not be a bargain, but this was no ordinary cow.

The Cow Club mmmeat was locally sourced; a Sussex Bullock, native to the South East. These beauties are exclusively grass fed which means they taste better and are healthier too – with lower overall fat content & higher Omega 3 fat ratio. Not only that, but when you compare it to the competition, it stacks up pretty well financially too. After 20 months of chomping on delicious grass, the happy cow trotted just three miles up the road to a small family run abbattoir, hung around for 28 days, and was then transformed into a selection of  delicious mmmeat pieces.


The day Inspector Helen Corbett stole my bike

By | Diary | 6 Comments

Inspector Corbett stole my bicycle, originally uploaded by benaston.

I’ve had bikes stolen a few times. I’m all to familiar with the sinking feeling you get when you realise that either your bike has grown wings and flown away or someone has taken it from you and forgotten to tell you.

But whilst I’m familiar with bikes going walkies, yesterday was the first time that I had my bike stolen by a policeman. And no ordinary policeman, a policewoman, an Inspector; Inspector Corbett, Helen Corbett.

It’s a bit of a sad story. Yesterday I went to Wimbledon to watch a spot of tennis. I thought I’d ride my bike down and lock it up on a roadsign. Little did I know that Inspector Helen Corbett would decide to apply her anti-terrorist training to the situation and after positively identifying my bike as a potential bomb threat, decide it would be best if she broke my lock, take my bike away and park ‘the potential bomb threat’ next to the police station, so that in the event that it blew up, as many policemen and policewomen could be killed as possible.

Luckily Inspector Helen Corbett left a helpful sign up next to the place where she’d stolen my bike which informed me that my ‘unattended’ (no mention of the fact that it wasn’t so much unattended as it was locked up) bicycle had been removed to Wimbledon Police Station. So after a long walk, and a chat with a Policeman who told me it wasn’t his fault, it was Inspector Helen Corbett’s fault because she was scared of the IRA bombs, I got my bike bomb back.


Except, there’s still the issue of the broken lock. And apparently, when the Police steal things (like your locked bike), they can’t give you a crime reference number for your stolen bike and broken lock, they can only give you a piece of paper with Inspector Corbett’s name on. And that meant I then wasted ages trying to find out who Inspector Corbett was on Google.

So please Inspector Helen Corbett, can you give me a new bicycle lock, like the one you broke, so it doesn’t get stolen by the other people who steal bicycles? I’d like this one please