Walk #17: Uri

Walk #17, with: Uri (born 1974)

Date: 1 July 2016

Where: Borough Market, London

Uri is one of my closest friends. Both times I was in London this summer I stayed with him for part of the time. The first time he was feeling pretty glum about a difficulty in another relationship, but nevertheless decided to invite some of his close people around for a dinner party in honour of my flying visit. I was looking forward to meeting his close friends Cath and Catarina about whom I'd heard a lot. Another guest cancelled at the last minute.

Having taken the Friday off work to spend with me we agreed we'd head to nearby Borough Market on the bus to shop for ingredients. I couldn't help but think of Virginia Woolf's opening line 'Mrs Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself'.

Food shopping while hungry is never a good idea, so we began by queuing for huge toasted cheese sandwiches. Next we bought a selection of cakes including a German one with custard-cream and honey-almonds from a stallholder who addressed us as 'gents'. Strolling into the main part of the market we spent quite a time discussing which vegetables to buy. Uri favoured potatoes only, which I don't really think are vegetables. We took a puerile selfie with some melons (doubtless my idea).

In Neal's Yard Uri was embarrassed when I suggested out loud we boycott British cheeses because of Brexit. We sampled several cheeses before choosing three and also got some buttermilk for Uri's chicken dish.

Next we went into Brindisa where Uri selected hors d'oevres while I got flirted with by an assistant who persuaded me to buy some quince jelly even though we'd already bought some very similar in Neal's Yard. What a sucker.

Fully laden we made our way back to Kennington to start cooking.

The second time I visited Uri, at the end of August, we had a Sunday morning walk to Vauxhall where we ate brunch at a fancy place in a railway arch. On the way I ranted defensively about a new date I thought was projecting her own unexamined shit onto Uri, and he assured me that he's perfectly capable of deflecting such behaviour.

On the way back from brunch - during which Uri seemed to feel glum about the dietary regime imposed by his recent gastric trauma but allowed me to take a lovely series of photographs of him - we saw some nice donkeys, and walked through an area where Uri hopes he may one day be able to buy a flat. As we walked Uri had a call from his parents in Israel seeking technical support.

Thank you Uri for welcoming me into your solo sanctuary. Thank you especially for always being yourself with me; it's an honour.