Friday, December 22, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Who'd have thought Westonbirt Arboretum could be so much fun - green lights, mirrorballs and even a bubble machine all hidden among the trees.
I can't decide whether it was cheesy Americanised tackiness or genius... but there are worse ways of spending a couple of wintry hours.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Surprised to find myself in the Crystallised Fruit Centre of the Universe at the weekend. Every fruit imaginable had been drenched in and dusted with sugar and joyfully wrapped for Christmas. One shop had a river of fruit running through it.
It all looked so lovely but, let's face it, crystallised fruit never lives up to the promise. The texture is always a bit weird and the sweetness too sweet.
Gimme a packet of Fruit Pastilles any day.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
However, I think Heston is missing a trick here. All the layers in his gateau have a perfectly acceptable, ready made, authentically 1970s equivalent which means you could knock together a Blumenthaley-stylee-gateau in about ten minutes and save a load of money. So here is my alternative recipe:
For the biscuit base - use two or four Jaffa Cakes (this saves you having to make the apricot compote)
Place a bar of milk chocolate Aero on the top of the base
Add a layer of chocolate Instant Whip
Add some cherries (glace or tinned)
Add a good thick slice of chocolate Swiss Roll which has been soaked in kirsch
Add another Aero (optional)
Add another layer of Instant Whip
Add some more cherries and some whipped cream (fresh or spray.)
You can freeze this or eat it straight away - it really doesn't matter. If you're really lazy you could put all the ingredients on the table and ask your guests to assemble it themselves. The only thing I can't decide on is how to get the final suede effect - probably a good layer of Hundreds and Thousands would do... failing that I suppose you could use real suede.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
The coffee is from Spain and is just the thing for a post-prandial pick-me-up, while the can of "refreshing water' was purchased in Japan.
My all-time fave was a bar of chocolate I bought in France called Crap! ah - le plaisir de crapsiller. I ate it and it was indeed a plaisir. I should have kept the wrapper. There also used to be some French Lemonade called Shittt but they've stopped making that now which is a pity.
The telly beckons now but I'm not sure I can face Planet Earth as apparently the Polar Bear dies. I still haven't quite recovered from the grieving elephants on BBC Two last week and am certainly too low on tissues to risk too much more Natural Cruelty. At least I still have the one millionth episode of The Archers on Tuesday to look forward to.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Mildly Diverting pointed this out to me today (in true Mildly Diverting manner) and, as ads go, it's mustard. Unlike the Budweiser ad mentioned elsewhere in this little blogiverse, this ad is aimed at me! Woo!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Meanwhile I am listening to the band with the fabbest name in the world, Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly and wishing I'd thought of it. With a name like that it wouldn't matter if all their songs were rubbish, but actually they're not bad and they've really cheered me up on this wet and rainy Sunday. They remind me a little of Pale Fountains - whatever happened to them?
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Meanwhile, try as I might, I just can't seem to care about Nectar points. Am I alone in this?
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
The official guide to the festival is delightful but not very helpful. The description of the castles is as follows: "From the last third of century XVIII Santa Tecla has welcomed the best local gangs and they have reached constructions up to nine levels or floors of people like in the mythical celebration of 1881 when it was reached the four of nine without support and the three of nine without support which were performanced respectively by the gangs. At the end of the performance it will be served a vermouth and aperitive with the typical musicians which go always with the humans towers and cheer them " So there you have it.
I have to go back next year, if only to get a new offical guide and to see if I can find the vermouth.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
Not sure what one really does with seven lemons.. a very small bottle of lemonchello perhaps?
Saturday, September 09, 2006
As I've said here before, I am rather scared of spiders and certainly can't tolerate them in the house but out in the garden they have their uses and this guy (at least, I think it's a guy, I haven't been that close) has obeyed my orders and stayed firmly in the same space for a couple of months now. He's a big chap - that pot in the background is a 12 incher - and sometimes the mainstay of his web is up to six feet long. It's stood up to some fair winds this week and today he had a bit of a set-to with a cat but I think he will still be there tomorrow. They say it's going to be sunny tomorrow too, so Jeronimo and I will be out there trying to get that last bit of tanning in.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Next up: Tarantulas on a Train...
Monday, August 28, 2006
One of the Spiders I Have Trained, Jeronimo, has built an enormous web. I shall try to take a photo when it stops raining.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Inspired by my favourite van Gogh painting (to which I cannot find a link which seems odd) I too have painted my favourite chair. The chair was from a boot sale. The paint from B&Q (specially mixed blue eggshell made up by their extremely helpful staff to my demanding requests). The cushion was made by Sally. Beautiful.
Of course Vincent would probably not have featured the dustbin in the background but I was so busy admiring my chair I forgot to look at the whole picture. And no, I can't be bothered to take another photo. This was a spur of the moment thing.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Brian, David and Irascible Ian are all more recent arrivals at the Blogging Ball but just look at all the stuff they have published. All these thoughts, stories, pictures - if we had dinner every week for a year we'd still never cover all this. But today, on a wet and humid afternoon, I have had some time to look around and it's been so much better than passing the time watching telly, or listening to Any Answers, or cleaning out the freezer (which is what I really should be doing).
And I'm listening to Lowell George singing I Can't Stand The Rain and thinking that in fact I Really Can.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
My worry is that of course the lemon chello makers of Italy, who have been given their produce away so freely over the last few years, will now see a market and more of the sticky stuff will pour into Britain creating a lemon chello lake.... and I will then be obliged to drink more of it and subsequently feel like I did yesterday morning.... and I felt pretty bleedin' terrible yesterday morning. Thankfully the hangover didn't last and I recovered fully while watching the rather lovely Superman Returns. Am now wondering if, as we now all call Spiderman "Spidey" whether we can get away with calling Superman "Supey"...
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Look! Cacti - cunningly disguised as pebbles! I wonder why they decided to do this? Protection against being eaten by camels I guess... but I hope there was a General Cacti Meeting where they voted against disguising themselves as Italian waiters or Bottles of Beer or Small Lizards and decided collectively that their lives would be most fulfilled if they were disguised as pebbles.
And all day I was humming The Cure's Caterpillar Girl.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Friday, June 23, 2006
Why? Is it simply because, just for a moment, it feels like a fairy-tale come true? A giant, intelligent elephant wandering through the streets of London? Or is it because I suspect, deep down, that Elephants will become extinct and giant mechanical versions will be all that we are left with in the not-too-distant-future? All I know is that i'm not bothered about the Sultan but I worry about the Elephant. So that's something else to add to the Enduring List of Worries. Next time I hope they bring a Dragon.
The spider training is proceeding well though - the small hairy ones in the greenhouse are all quite happy with their new regime and there is a new chap near the orange tree who shows potential.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Then, finally I sat down in front of Big Brother with my dinner and the phone went and as I reached for it I caught my arm on something and dropped the phone in my chicken dopiaza. So from now on all my phone calls will be made through the medium of a medium hot curry.
Then I went to bed and realised that days will start getting shorter from now on even though it feels that summer has not really started. And all day long I couldn't get the music of the new Becks ad out of my head... and as advertising goes I'm pretty sure that one isn't aimed at me.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
I am not, however, Worried about the World Cup. There are plenty of other people doing that for me... and anyway I drew England in the office sweepstake (although I weally wanted Bwazil).
Monday, June 12, 2006
i don't like spiders. If they are indoors they scare me and I have to leave the room (I haven't been in the back bedroom since the May Bank Holiday) until I am sure they have gone. Outside spiders have a point and that is to keep the flies down BUT they have to do so in places where they won't get in my hair. Being spiders, they don't always anticipate where my hair is going to be when they are spinning their webs in the dead of night so from late May to mid-June I have to train them. It's actually quite easy - if you walk into their web and destroy it on a daily basis they soon get the message and move to a safer place. Sometimes I train them more carefully using a pencil to break the web and attach the broken web to better placed plants. Last year I trained a rather large and hairy fellow called Henry to stay in the south-west corner of my back yard and we got on famously. If I had a picture of him I would put it up here. He liked Burt Bacharach - a spider of taste.
I hate the word blog. It's right up there with moist, spatchcock, "comfort break" and "ah... bless".
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Today we are obviously listening to Rodrigo y Gabriela because the sunshine outside puts me in Spanish mood and, let's face it, a flamenco version of Stairway to Heaven is a must for this summer.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Take Tuesday morning for example. On Tuesday I woke up in the countryside, drove to the nearest city (Tarragona, where Pontius Pilate went after washing his hands of things on the other side of the Mediterranean), took a few snaps of the cathedral, visited a friend's new apartment, went to the market to buy fresh fish and fruit and had a short walk along the rambla. On the way home we stopped in a village to buy fresh pastries, which we then enjoyed with a cup of coffee on the terrace. Then I had a swim, a long bask in the sunshine, I helped make a paella and then sat down for lunch at about 2pm.
This morning, back in Blighty, I got up, had a cup of coffee, cleaned out the cat's loo, had a chat with my sister, got on a bus to Pimlico and by then it was time for lunch. So there we have it. Spanish hours stretch further than British ones.
Monday, May 22, 2006
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Today we are listening to Bruce Springsteen ("Oh Mary Don't You Weep No More"). I wonder if anyone ever calls him Brucie?
Saturday, May 20, 2006
"Mesdames et Monsieurs - Royaume Uni nul points". That's how it should be.
Also discovered that there's another blogger called polkadots and moonbeams - serves me right for setting this up in the middle of the night after a long day and half a bottle of merlot. Hey ho, It's done now... and it is a great song.
Friday, May 19, 2006
So I am starting my blog.
I'm listening to Counting Crows and it's raining.