Tuesday 28 February 2023

Month of February 2023

I'm sure many people tried and willingly spent effort standing in the hot sun, all for that improbable shot of winning. But it was in vain as three winners scooped the grand Toto prize for CNY. For days leading up to it, my colleagues and I bantered about what we'll do if we won. In a last minute action, we added more bets on the actual draw date using the convenience of the app and not joining the crazy queues. As per countless years, it turned out to be a dream and we didn't manage to submit our retirement letter the next day after results were announced. My wife later commented that none of the major Toto winners in previous draws had bought their tickets via app, suggesting that I join the masses in queue. I don't think so.

It was time to pick up tools and do some DIY at home. The kitchen light was changed, plants got repotted, leaky gaps were sealed, aquarium had a touchup and toilet seats were replaced. Now, it's waiting for the rainy season to stop before a little painting can be done. However, there was nothing I could do as my car tyre got punctured. The moment he opened the door, my son alerted me to a gushing sound. I thought about rushing to a nearby repair shop but the deflation happened too quickly. This was the second time within a year and I don't think it was by coincidence. Rather, there had been many renovation contractors moving in and out during this period of time and someone likely accidentally missed picking out the debris. I had to call in the mobile tyre repair service who arrived an hour later. A chatty young man appeared in a truck and did the patchwork in less than ten minutes. I was rather impressed by the well equipped vehicle as this was a one man repair shop on wheels. Paid him $70 and off he went for his eighth appointment of the day. It was 4pm, business must be going well, he told me the company had two trucks on the road at any time.

By some good fortune, I had the chance to visit two new restaurants. The first was Brasserie Les Saveurs for a weekday afternoon tea. The set came in a beautiful three tiered assortment of tarts, scones and cakes, served with a tea or coffee of choice. The taste, however, couldn't keep up to my expectation as I found them just ordinary, not one item but most. The calm ambience, aided by wonderful natural light and tall ceiling, did provide a little redemption. Don't think I'll be back unless someone invited. The second was Olivia Restaurant on a weekday night. The place was packed and specialized in one of my favourite cuisines, Spanish tapas. My friend and I ordered the jamon, octopus and beef cheek ragu, accompanied by a delectable Verdejo. This was meant to be a quick bite as we had a meeting straight after. We were done in 45 minutes and the impression left was a good one. Finally, to round off the gastronomic indulgence, my wife and I dropped by a stall that we patronized since school days. This was at the Holland Village XO Fish Head Bee Hoon. The owner was as usual, seated at the order counter with pen and paper in hand waiting for customers. He's obviously aged but looked fine and his sprightly voice confirmed it. The food was as delicious as before, underlined by years of dedication to his craft. Hopefully it's not another five years before I have this again.

Tip: Basa Blancos De Rueda 2020, lemon straw, light ham with a soft body

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