Saturday, 29 December 2012

Buskers on the Tube

Ted Emmett, TfL busker
Hearing music floating up the escalators on London's tube always gives me a lift, even when going down, not up. The performers are usually very, very good and deserve a coin tossed their way. I stopped to listen and talk to one Ted Emmett who was playing some really nice stuff. Apparently there is stiff competition to hold one of the 39 pitches available in 25 underground stations. Transport for London vets each applicant and licences them to play, and TfL also send all their buskers a newsletter and can serve as a go-between to put them in touch with the public who would like to hire them for gigs. Seems like a win-win situation for everyone. I just wish I'd see more people contribute to the cause  – after all, it's nice to reward a good player for their efforts rather than have someone stand on a corner with a begging cup.

Chelsea Buns for Christmas!

I was devastated last year when I visited Cambridge and found Fitzbillies bakery closed for business. Then Tim Hayward and Alison Wright came to its rescue and Fitzbillies, that most Cambridge of institutions, are selling their wondrous Chelsea buns again, along with – extra bonus – slices of their incredible Sachertorte cake! (So you don't have to buy a whole cake.) Others are rapturing about the delicious menus in the new café-restaurant, but I am just glad for the take-aways.
   Yes, we fell in love with Fitzbillies Chelsea buns during our time in Cambridge but are somewhat glad we don't have access to them too often anymore. They are very special food, and so what did we eat this past Christmas day? Not turkey like every other household in Britain but Chelsea buns! What a treat.
   As for the Sachertorte, having loved the Fitzbillies variety, we were very excited one year to be in Vienna to visit the Sacher Hotel, which made the cake famous. With watering mouths, we ordered our Sachertorte – and, it didn't hold a candle to Fitzbillies' version!
   You can read all about the excitement of the new opening of Fitzbillies this past autumn and their various offerings on their website. And if you can't get to Cambridge to try these delicacies, both Chelsea buns and Sachertorte are available by mail order. Enjoy!