The running continues to go quite well. I can cover 5km ten minutes more quickly than my first attempt at running a few weeks ago, and I have had a wonderful week of celebrations. First, my daughter’s 18th which we celebrated with a spa day in Bath for the ladies of the household (gentlemen were at work and school respectively) and a family meal at Comptoir Libanais in the evening.
After a quick turnaround on my return from work, the boy and I arrived at the restaurant to find the ladies looking revitalised from taking the waters at this historic place. The food at the restaurant was great and reminded me of some of the exotic tastes that I experienced during my time working in Qatar. The mixed grill and the mezze plates are highly recommended. I was a little sad that culinary delights of elsewhere in the Middle East were not available ( the famous Egyptian Umm Ali dessert, to name just one).
This reminiscence prompted me to look up how this delicious pudding came by its unusual name (Mother of Ali). The story of this dessert comes from an episode of intrigue and violence in 12th Century Egypt that is worthy of a Game of Thrones plot line. Umm Ali was the enterprising mother of a new Sultan (Ali) who engineered the untimely demise of her rival Shajar al-Durr at the hands of maidservants who reportedly beat her to death with her own shoes. In celebration at the death of her rival, Umm Ali ordered her cook to make the most delicious dessert. When she served the dish to her courtiers, Umm Ali had a Shajar al Durr gold coin placed in each bowl, prompting them to chant her name.
The weekend saw us travel to East Sussex to celebrate my father’s birthday. This brought my brothers and I together for the first time in several years. We had a great time with a rather excellent meal at Rosetto; arguably Eastbourne’s best Italian restaurant. The service was second to none, with plenty of bonhomie from the waiting staff.
All of this celebrating and the fact that I have spent the weekend mostly sitting in a car means that I must double down on my commitment to reducing my girth and improving my fitness. With three months to go until the next family birthday, I have plenty of opportunity.