Street corner florists were selling their red roses like hot cakes. Business relating to the heart was extra brisk, especially as the day drew to a close. People were extra loving holding hands extra tight. Those saying goodbye by the roadside, by the station, anywhere, took extra lingering moments before the final farewell. Those walking back alone too were clutching tight their red or yellow roses. And I, well, I held on tight to my new book Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters that I just bought at Borders, as I made my way to Selfridges to meet my date.
It was as if the street was painted red – red hearts on balloons, red hearts on lingeries, on bedsheets displayed on beds in shop windows everywhere. And Selfridges is certainly the place you’d want to be if you were searching something for that special someone.
But I wasn’t searching for anything of that kind. I was searching for my date and while waiting by the escalator, I just watched people to see how love that was in the air was affecting them.
The young ones did it everywhere; gazing into each other’s eyes as they sipped their latte, holding hands across the table, over their half eaten muffins. Old couples, with matching silver hair walked contentedly, arms linking, fingers touching. Then my eyes were drawn to one elderly Malay gentleman; a well known face with that unmistakeable mop of grey hair that is somewhat thinning. Two steps ahead of him was a young leggy beauty with long chestnut hair. No, it couldn’t be, I dismissed the thought.
When my date arrived, we sat at the table for two and ordered our lattes and Earl Grey. It was the second day in a row that I sat there in the same café by the escalator at Selfridges sipping Earl Grey, but with a different date. The waiter gave me a smile of recognition as he offered me the menu. And as I had my last sip, the elderly Malay gentleman walked past our café again, but this time with the leggy beauty striding by his side, clutching something in that well known Selfridges’ carrier bag. Just let us say, she must be a niece or a distant relative.
My head was full of these encounters as I made my way past the chocolate bars packed with people buying presents for their sweet tooth lovers. I have lost count the number of times that I spotted familiar faces walking hand in hand with another who is not the one that I am more familiar with. How many times have I had to duck into a corner or cross the road to avoid embarrassing situations and awkward, hesitant introductions.
So why London when London is crawling with people who are bound to know you? And why not some other cities like Milan, New York or even Timbuktoo where no one would know you from Adam. Oh well, I was by then debating with myself and was already attracting curious glances from other shoppers.
It was choc-a-bloc at the florist in Selfridges. People were just grabbing what’s left rather than leave empty handed. The last bunch of red roses that I received was some months ago in Paris, and it is safe for you to assume that it wasn’t from my other half who believes you can’t eat roses. But, yes, Paris is the place to be now – the city where love is forever in the air.
It was there that I was swept off my feet by a Frenchman, in full glare of other tourists and witnessed by the towering Eiffel Tower. And before you let your mind roam, let me explain. I was doing my piece to camera, when my camerawoman said something to my soundman in French. He then came over on the pretext of adjusting my microphone and then, voila, swept me off my feet and the moment was forever captured on tape as evidence of my ‘tryst’ in Paris!
Oh well, I remedied that situation a year later by spending 14th February, with my other half, up the Eiffel Tower, shivering in the cold air. It wasn’t a romantic moment, just a trip up the tower for the sake of taking photographs and telling people yes, we were up there.
So, with such thoughts in my mind, I picked my way to the other side of Selfridges where business was less brisk at that hour. I suddenly knew what I wanted for my other half that would permanently embed me in his heart; two fat mackerels, one fated to be grilled and to be accompanied by air asam, made to his liking.
As if on cue, the song " I know him so well" by Elaine Paige played in my mind.
Kak Teh's other Roseless Moments:
Reminiscence Of An Incurable Old Romantic
Love in the Autumn Years I
At the moment, Azam Aris is my Valentine. His book on TS Azizan is a page-turner. Wife paid it with her credit card in Penang yesterday.
We reached the Pearl of Penang at 2.45pm, and the buffet lunch at Sarkies Corner was just over. Walked to The 1885, hoping to have traditional English afternoon tea, but they made us wait for quite some time, and we left the place after waiting for 10 minutes or so without consuming Earl Grey and what have you.
We supposed the tables inside The 1885 were full with couples who wanted to express their undying love for each other, and we imagined the love in the air mood might be spoiled by our taming the toddler session.
So, we ended up having ala carte at the Verandah. A perfect and beautiful afternoon.
Semoga kasih sayang berpanjangan dan perasaan berbunga-bunga sentiasa terpahat di sudut hati. Itu lebih bermakna dari jambangan bunga.
GUiKP, aah so I read abt that book too but there's no way I can get my hands on that yet. I have so many books which I promised I'd never buy - because I already have so many books that I have yet to read. Yes, I gotmyself two books at borders yesterday. That's my valentine present for myself.
pls be generous to share that air asam recipe! *drooling*
Chahya: amboi senang sangat nak buat air asam.
potong cili, hiris bawang nipis-nipis. Potong tomato juga.
tambah belacan, garam and perah asam limau -. masukkan garam..then you picit semua tu sekali. masukkan air - jangan banyak sangat.
Oh selepas picit air asam ti - basuk tangan, jangan sentuh mata.
so sweet :-)
btw, who was the elderly Malay gentleman? hhahaha... the key-poh-chee me! hahaha
n.i. sorrrry, tak boleh cakaapppp! hehe - too well known for me to mention here. But like i said, janganlah mai london kalau nak bawa yang muda manis jelita pun, kan?
hahaha saje je tanya... trying my luck wpun dah tau jawapannya hahaha...
well, some people think that when they are out of Malaysia, they are free to do whatever they want/like... little do they realize that there are actually many Malaysian 'unofficial' spies or paparazzis out there...
lepas tu, bila gosip keluar newspaper kata semua tu fitnah... sabar ajelah hehehe :-)
p/s: kalau i, i dah curi2 ambik gambar... tapi simpan kumpul bukti hahaha... *wink*
I suppose they think they can be anonymous here. *LOL* I heard it works both ways. The elderly ladies are here with their "butlers". *grins*
As for me, this day of love is going to be spent at home with the lil one as she was down with a bug in her stomach last nite.
N.i, actually now it is not safe to do anything anywhere with people having camera phones as well as the internet - silap haribulan masuk youtube!
Ms B, I hope the li; one recovers soon. Now the weather is improving, it is good to be outdoors for some fresh air. But get better first. And have a wonderful cuddle with yr little valentine.
The very mention of Selfridges make me want to fly to London right now. I too am curious as to the ageing romeo with the sweet young thing. The world is very small, pergi mana pun you are bound to meet someone that you know, why are men so stupid and think that they can get away with it.
Your air asam sure look mouth watering, dah 37 tahun kahwin dengan orang Kedah masih belum master buat Kedah delicacies. Orang Kedah cerewetlah, orang Guanu tak macam tu kan?
Grilled mackerel?? Sedap nyer!
What a lovely day in Selfridges kan? People shopping and lots of love was in the air! Itchy old Malay man pun ada!
Taknak teka lah! Obviously dia tengah valentine jugak tu!hahaha
NanaDJ, the ageing remeo must have a fat wallet, i am sure. but then again, kita mesti sangka baik, kan...anak sedara ka, cucu ke, manalah tau.hehe! eh my trengganu man not cerewet - i can cook the lousiest food - and it is still alright. That is why even if i dont get flowers, i dont really care.
jangan teka, hehe, nanti kalu jawapan you betul susah pulak i nak menjawab.
That itchy elderly Malay man tu kalau nak bawak 'cousin' or 'niece' or 'saudara bau2 bachang' pun jgnlah bawak ke London. Everybody knows London is like KL. So many Malays and Malaysian both. Like Kak Teh said, bawaklah ke Timbuktu ke, kan? Sungguh lah I nak tua siapa mamat tu.
Looks like it's fish season. I pun baru buat baked trout with vegetables. Next time nak buat baked fish with air assam pulak lah.
Happy Valentine's Day Kak Teh!
Farina, mungkin n ak bawa ke London boleh tayang kut, bawa ke Timbuktoo orang tak kenal. Ish, (slaps own wrist!)
sedap tak your fish bake? I have ever tried it.
Fishes looked so yummy. Unfortunately, my dear Kak Teh, it's already past midnight here in KL. So all I can do now is to stop salivating and hope not to dream of baked mackerel and sour chilly dippings all night long. Sheesh!
Happy Valentine's Day, Kak Teh dear!!
We're spending the day at home with the kids, makan nasi ayam and watch Little House on the Prairie :D
That man at Selfridges...dia tak tau his spouse kat Harrods ..pun dengan a younger one..haha! Barulah bertemu buku dengan ruas :D
tak baik I...tsk tsk tsk!
Kak Teh, you really know how to make your man's heart melting with your cooking antic. And it was surely one fishy experience on one Valentine day.
(Psssst...pssst...who is that gentleman Kak Teh? - tut...switching to my busy body mode :)
Have a nice day!
meronta2 hati i nak tau siapakah gerangan orang itu haha...
air asam tu mengiurkanlah kak teh...i dah belajar buat tp bila buat tak jadi2 pun...at the end, x pyh le i buat :D
For some reason, I dunno why the snippet of the elderly Malay gentleman with the leggy ‘niece’ is overshadowing your lovely entry in my head now. And that reminds me of this (bad) joke here, :P
When a newly married couple smiles, everyone knows why.
When a ten-year married couple smiles, everyone wonders why...
But of course it doesn’t apply to me, you, our family, our relatives, our friends, our blogger circles, etc, etc, etc…….
Dear Kak Teh,
So that's the "niece"?? LOL...one could fool budak-budak berhingus ynag baru mai London lah, but not with you lah kan..wink..wink.
I should have read your entry before I went to the market this morning. Boleh beli ikan and grill just as how you had done it. Now, dok terliuq tengok yr ikan & air asam tu.
p/s cheh...I am still so tak puas hati yang pi tayang-tayang in London, gi lah Alice Spring ker, Fiji ker..confirm no one would give a second look.
Komen Pak Malim kucing ray yg alim.
Mmmmm. Meleleh-leleh air liur saya melihat ikan yg Kak Teh sediakan. Kak Teh ni memang pandai menambat hati, kata Pak Malim sambil naik pedati. Nak minta sikit, boleh? kata Pak Malim sambil memegang koleh.
Dear Kak Teh
Happy Valentine's day to you, tho belated.
I have seen similar elderly men in my previous trips to London. Penat (plus jelik) kekadang nak melihat. Tak payah tunngu Valentine's day.
Andrea, where you are there's so many choice of fish. here I only know mackeral, seabass, tuna - and the rest i wouldnt know what to do with them . so to be safe I buty mackeral and make curry, grill or fry. that's all.
Naz, betui, betui, bini dia kat harrods kut - spending with his credit cards. Kalau ada dua tiga gold card, tak pa.
Dr Sam, hahaha, that bit has got the better of you - but for now I must remain mum!!! but you have to take me to that heavenly restaurant you write about.
Lyana, air asam tu senan sangat nak buat. Tapi orang kata kena tangan jugakan> Kak teh tak suka sangat air asam, tai yang tu yang boleh buat elok sikit. My specialty.
hhmmmm, toksah dok meronta nak tau laa. banyak juga yang macam tu.
NJ, nampaknya yang dapat perhatian ialah that gentleman and the mackeral - hahaha! well, for now, alhamdulillah. we live a day, or perhaps a week at a time.
kay, hehehe, memangla kalau nak tayang model baru nak ke mana lagi. But then again, i cld be seriously wrong - mungkin anak saudara atau sepupu ke..manalah tau kan? A friend said to me, anak dara dia tak mau jalan dgn bapa dia sebab nanti orang ingat dia gf bapa dia.
memang ikan tu kak teh buat nak umpan pak malim, kata kak teh sambil dengar SM Salim. Memang lemak tak terkata, terliur kak teh sambil naik kereta.
TM, yes, certainly I have seen many too in my time here. Hope you had a great Valentine's day. My other half was out all day and I spent all day in bed sorting out my MiniDV's.How romantic!
Happy Valentine's Day to you!
I'm sure the leggy beauty with long chestnut hair had thoroughly enjoyed her Valentine's Day in London with her 'grandfather'. Habis Selfridges di angkutnya balik ke Malaysia, agaknya. Iya lah..'Grandfather' suka melayan cucu yg muda2 kan. Lagi muda lagi seronok melayan! ;-)
Your kuah asam really looked yummilicious, Kak Teh!
I Know Him So Well...my God, i LOVE that song! Reminds me of my, err, Form 1 era. haha
I Know Him So Well on You Tube*
Salam Hari Kekasih buat Kak Teh and AG!
AG must be very pleased with your mackerel & ayaq asam. For us both, it was a non-event, which suited me fine. We just bought Ayamas takeaway since Pak Abu nak tengok 'live' golf on TV.
Sounds like a good Valentine's Day to me
Kak Teh, baked trout tu meamng sedap. Kalau nak cuba buat, try double the amt for lime juice and kicap. Lagi sedap!
KT jadi PI kejap ye duduk sambil minum earl grey's tea...
what a valentine's gift to AG ... food to win his heart:)
Salam Kak Teh,
So it seems that many well-known Malay gentlemen bring their not-so-well-known other half to shop in London. Tapi kan Kak Teh... I think these guys already know that there are many Malays in London. They know that they would be spotted.
Tak glamer la nak bawak gf gi shopping kat Timbuktoo, heheheh.
Whenever we see "couples" like that, we like to assume that the younger one is a distant cousin or niece as well. Malas nak komen lebih2, it's their lives.
My Valentine was spent ferrying the kids to and from school. We had masak lemak perut lembu and ikan terubuk bakar for dinner, compliment from my husband (since the wife cannot cook such things).
But the night before, I went out for karaoke with him, which was quite nice...
Have a nice day, k.Teh!
I was entertaining a few clients at a restaurant when a couple - a mother and son - sat down at the table next to mine. "How refreshing!", I thought; spending Valentine's day with your mum is not rally very common place. And they had the works, too - chocolates, roses etc.
But being a nosy writer wannabe, I overheard their conversation. Let me tell you, it even made a hardened veteran ex-player like me blush.
She wasn't his mother (although she was old enough to be).
Moral of the story? Sadly, women cheat as well. Sometimes, its just not so obvious.
Hi Kak Teh,
good thing to spend V-Day on safe shores outside of Central London, indulging in decadent French pattisserie, else I would have seen red too, for I am still fishing!
Have never noticed any Malays in London or Selfridges, was too busy trying to escape the Filipinos in John Lewis next door! Luckily, my European features let me browse there undercover a la 007: License to shop (in peace)!
Happy Valentines Day!
that old man...dia tak takut ka mati in mid (can i say it here in this Pg 13 blog)...orgasm???
hahahaha...all the exertion, boleh heart attack tgh jalan, and then that young filly with the long legs mengelabah! how to dispose of the body!!!
MTT, ya granpa are always more attentive to their cucus, especially leggy ones. hehe! and more generous pulak tu!
Roti, oh God, you made me sit and listen to that song again and again. But I think Lea's Salonga's version is also fantastic. I went to the musical but unlike other musicals it wasnt on for a long time, or else I'd go and see it again. Thanks for the link.
Puteri, ikan dengan ayaq asam and ayam mas tu on the same level where romance is concerned. A non event. For me, dia tak dak kat rumah pun. ada kerja.
Blogreader, it was anice day. I spent time at home with tabby, sorting out old MiniDV's. and he was in Malaysia hall judging a debate.
Farina, thanks - nanti Kak Teh cuba dnw ill let you know.
Kak Elle, Earl Grey tu boleh minum kat rumah, tapi nak tukar suasana sikit. And can watch people whaaat.
Oldstock, memanglah tak glamour bawak pi Timbuktoo. At least in London, the trophy at the elbow can sort of boost the ego sikit, kan?
Mrs N, read your valentine entry - romantic what. ada karaoke lagi.
Bangkai, I knew you will be coming up with this version. Had I seen a middle aged woman with her toyboy, I would have written it here too. Indeed, it is not unheard of. What is good for the goose is good for the gander, no?
Heidi, thanks for the visit. Oh, Oxford street is crawling with Malaysians. Next time look out for them.
An-Nimr, hahaha - never mind the heart attack. at least they go with a smile, no?
I sent a Valentine MMS to my hubby on Friday. Then my hubby replied that he just heard a long 'khutbah' on Celebrating V-day before Friday prayer. So, we ended up not celebrating it this year... hehehe.
So, obviously all mosque in Selangor was giving a highlight on V-day. I wonder if Churches did the same.
BTW, thank god the senior romeo brought his GF (assuming that's his GF) shopping in London. If they went to Singapore/Genting/Langkawi, lagi lah kena gelak dengan ramai orang.
Hi Kak Teh,
Now you can still enjoy ayak asam with ikan bakar anywhere in the world heh..
BTW, only my other half is a Kedahan I m from Johor..
Valentine s day??Havent celebrated for ages..
Baca cerita you teringat zaman zaman pi jalan in Selfridges, can still remember the smell and the people bustling in there...usually i'll be at the handbag section and the pinggan mangkuk section downstairs...berpuluh kali pikiaq nak beli ke tidak le crueset periuk set, kesudahnya tak beli, berat sangat nak angkut balik malaysia...yes, the earl grey tea (now in malaysia i efer lady grey)...and the walk down to satisfy my perut melayu down the street at M'sia hall in bryanston square...bilalah nak pi lagi? of course staple food smocked mackerel cicah dengan kicap campurq cili!
happy belated valentine's day!
Wah, Kak Teh boleh jadi Gossip Girl la, XOXO!
But unlike the NY version where GG covers the misadventures of young NY socialites, Kak Teh boleh cover the misadventures of Malaysians who aren't cunning enough by choosing London for their hidden trysts =D
Kak Teh, kalau nak tengok yang tua gatai tak bertempat ni, pi saja KLGCC karaoke lounge.. punyala ramai yg patut kena tenyeh dengan pemarut kelapa.. fenin, frenin .. LOL
DNAS, we didnt even mention the word valentine in the house. Yes, I think I read a fatwa about it somewhere.
Madam Gold, My other half is from Trengganu - so ikan bakark is his thing - not really mine. We too have not celebrated Valentine's dat for so long. tak apa lah and tak payah pun.
Kitceh Guardian, Le Crueset tu dah lama jadi idaman kak teh. Tok pegang, sapu, letak, pegang balik, usap, letak - belum beli2 lagi. Nanti kalau beli satu set, tak dak duit pulak nak masak!
kalau beli pulak, takut nak bagi anak -anak basuh pulak - satu hal.
Oh did you know that Malaysia hall dah pindah ke Queensborough Terrace - dekat dengan Bayswater. Tapi memang - di Bryanston square dulu lebih meriah.
Nurul, memang betul tu, kalau tulis cerita pendek dah penuh satu buku.macam2 perangai.
Puteri, oh yes, I have seen them too there. Sikit punya lupa umork. Tapi karaoke lounge kan gelap - jadi depa ingat muda lagi laa.
I love the way you write. I can almost hear a soft gentle voice in my ear...The words that appear on my screen each time I read your post never fail to touch my heart because I know you write straight from your heart.
Thanks for sharing, Kak Teh!
Have a lovely day.
P.S. Actually, I wrote a comment here when you first posted it but I absentmindedly clicked preview and then I left :( so this one is the second edition...hehe...Maaf ya?
Paula, thank you for your kind words. it is only from the heart that I know how to write. Cant do it any other way.
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