So I take on this project b/c I left a week free for it and always help with students form Moscow...tried to find people to work on their budget, but no-one would so I end up doing everything that's left myself: photographer/writer/translator. Stupidly brave as always...
Up at 7, not 5 this time...because BB* turned up late the night before and we ended up getting into a long conversation. In Queensway by 8:30 (supposed to be 9), with 10 pre-paid Oyster cards for the group. Suggested we get the bus which takes us directly to where we're going on time instead of the tube which would have made us late and we would have had to walk for 20 mins on top of it. Get stuck in traffic because of some Queen thing. Everyone's asking "why did we get the bus?" Driver wouldn't let us out b/c we're in the middle of the road. The mob of 25 Russians is getting increasingly stressed out. He eventually opens the doors and we run to the tube. An hour late for The Admirable Crichton - one of the best catering companies in the world. My lovely organiser/friend Andy (nickname: The Bishop of Manchester) is really happy to see me, as I am him...that is until he finds out that it was MY idea to get the bus. Johnny of Admirable tells us about the most important aspects of catering (quality and service), tells us he only hires hot waiters, then splits us into two groups and we get a tour of their venue. This is when I realise that their translator has been sent into the group with me...the OTHER translator #fcuk. We put on our white chef's jackets and get to see the kitchen, where we're asked not to touch or eat anything. One of the chefs offers us Langoustine, everyone is confused: are we SUPPOSED to eat now? Another moment and we dive in with our hands into the amazing crustacean. The group is back together and half of them are pissed they didn't understand anything. Johnny leaves us with this: "If you take nothing else from my speech...visit Jo Malone and get yourself a bottle of linen spray - it's amazing for your table cloths etc". Waiting waiting waiting for the cabs. The organiser and I are discussing the visit/goodie bags...
- what's in here?
- matches, toothpicks, DVD of the company
- wow...I thought the'd be at least a bottle of that Jo Malone stuff
- no dude, basically, if we take nothing away from this visit...we're supposed to go and buy ourselves a can of linen spray
Arrive at Grosvenor House on time. Maybe our troubles are over? Turns out I'm translating for 5 people. As we start I realise I can't seem to remember any Russian. Not only can't I remember certain words like "award ceremony" but I actually seem to be making words up and speaking Runglish. Everyone is looking at me in shock...I think they actually understand English better than whatever it is I'm speaking. After half an hour of death looks I get called over by organiser #1 who tells me what I already know - everyone is pissed. I realise my dictaphone stopped recording at some point...how am I supposed to write this article? At the end organiser #2 swears at me in Russian and all I can say is - I don't have anything TO say, you're right! I get sent down to the kitchen to film the executive chef showing us his process. I realise I can't find a video button on my friends camera. I decide it doesn't take video and tape the thing with my iPhone. On the way to a private tennis etc club "The Hurlingham" (with a lot of old people going "rah rah rah daaahling" somewhere in Fulham) I stay with the remaining students to get the last cab, once we get in, one more shows up, so I had to get out so the cabbie would take them. I hop on the tube, they close the escalators. Eventually I push through and run down one. I'm 30 mins late for the meeting. Terrified of translating again, I actually do an ok job this time. Still getting death stares though.
Finally it's dinner time at Broadway House in Fulham. Really nice venue, gorgeous terrace, can't wait to come back here in the summer. The wine - superb. I needed that glass of carmenere like life its self. No one's really talking to me except Andy, who had a "day" himself. Brenhan, the owner...is so lovely I have no words. Keeps ordering me red and suggested lamb. I realise this is a mantaurant* b/c although I appreciate what they were going for...it tastes/served like it's just been prepared by a hunter. In a word...a bit gamy. Brenhan must be a mind/face reader because he quickly orders me the chicken instead. The organiser sees me getting another plate and laughs at how I'm eating two dinners. Andy steals my breast ;) in revenge for picking from his ham chop and eggs. I realise everything here has that...country touch that I don't care for. Although I know others will.
Organiser #1 and I have this thing that whenever we're on a project together, for some reason EVERYTHING has to go to hell, and we start laughing...because we're so nervous at what's next that it becomes endless uncontrollable giggling, which doesn't help with the death stares. I tell her that although I brought 3 dictaphones and 2 cameras things still went wrong. She says - don't bother. It's inevitable. I think to my self...fudging mercury retrograde...We giggle all the way to Sainsbury's where I get a dark finger (Kit Kat...even though I don't eat stuff like that anymore...but it's an emergency) and she gets tea which says it's "smokey & mysterious" and take them to bed. We think it's extremely funny. The check-out people don't.
Was supposed to sent photos and recordings but passed out half undressed as soon as I walked in and fell into bed. Up at 5...hoping today will be better...but this was just day 1 ...6 more to go. FML. Can't help thinking I got chewed out b/c I am no longer holding back on people who take the piss...Karma Shawarma...