weekend 11/12 June 2011

Yesterday, big carb-free fry up for breakfast, then walked into town, saw X-Men: First Class (fabulous – best of the bunch),  dash in the rain to Ferens Art Gallery for a cup of coffee, and a look at the photographic exhbition (interesting, but badly lit), then home for chicken stir fry. And we made a start on The Shadow Line, which really is rather good, particularly Rafe Spall, who is terrifying.

Also changed the fish tank water, and moved it out of the fireplace, so we can see it better now. We want a bigger tank! and I have my eye on one on Ebay, but there’s no rush. God knows why they’re all so ugly, though.

This morning we sallied once more to Frisby Aquatics, where we bought two new plants, some stripy stones, three White Mountain Minnows, and a cleaner fish (total:  £15:10). All looking much nicer now.

Pete cooked dhal for lunch, and we have just been slumped on the sofa for the afternoon, in front of the fire. I’m watching Mad Men, and Pete is currently making cheese scones for supper. We’re supposed to be going to a showing of Inside Job, but it is absolutely vile out there, and I suspect that we shall remain slumped in front of the fire.

weekend 19/20 Feb 2011

Lazy, really. We sauntered up to Dukes (cafe bar on Princes Ave, just at the top of the road) for a No2ID meeting, which was thinly attended. So much going on – ANPR, NHS spine, DNA database, census – but nothing to hang a campaign around now that the dreaded cards have gone, but we will soldier on. We stayed for a lunch of not very good burger – the fat chips were not in any way crisp, the stilton on my stilton burger was not melted.

Came home, lit the fire, Pete chopped up some wood. I watched Have You Heard About the Morgans, which was really not very good. Lazy.

Sunday was fairly lazy too – cooked a small fry up for breakfast, went to Beverley to Lakeland(s). Bought spring form cake tin, egg spray glaze (whoever heard of such a thing), vanilla extract, food tongs in one Lakeland. Had to be led away gibbering after spotting the most surreal thing in the store (and there are many) – a device for lifting a device for poaching eggs from the pan. Poaching devices come in two colours, poaching device device in just one – what a dilemma for the stylish chef! Picked up three bags of ground almonds for the price of two in Julian Graves.

Had a forage in the fabulous Boyes (as it were), picking up a mechanical ice cream scoop (top tip from Lorraine thingy who had a baking prog on the telly – ideal for putting muffin mix into the pan), a pepper grinder like a cat (*just* horrible enough to be fun), a pack of red hair dye.

Then onto the other Lakeland, where I found a leather jacket of fabulosity. It had a cunning sort of arrangement where an inner middle section/hood zipped in and out, for extra warmth. Pete insisted I had it, and the assistant very kindly unzipped the zip in/out bit to show me how it works, and then we all discovered it had a faulty zip, and it was the only size 14 they had (size! 14!). I prepared to lay on the floor and throw a tantrum, but was thwarted, as they offered to check stock at the warehouse, and found another, which will be delivered to the Beverly store on Wednesday, which is terrific. The swing ticket said £179, so I hope they don’t try to charge me the price on the web site!

Watched The Men Who Stare at Goats, which we thought was hilarious. Cooked moussaka, a slow cooker full of tomato and lentil soup, and some chocolate and banana cakes for the freezer (but we had to sample them).

In other news, the builders are here bricking up the back door and knocking through the hatch, so the kitchen works can begin and chaos will rule.  My single ring induction hob arrived this morning, and it’s cracking; I so wish I’d persuaded Pete that a full induction hob would be as good as gas, but there was no budging him. Builders were here at 7.30, so it feels like going home time now. I’m not looking forward to the next few weeks …

weekend 15/16 Jan 2011

Richard Thompson, Grand Opera House, York | Jan 2011

How did it get to be 2011, FFS?

A quiet Saturday, involving a trip to Morrisons (rock’n’roll, eh), and The Taking of Pelham 123 later on. This was the Denzil Washington/John Travolta version, and frankly I thought it not a patch on the Robert Shaw one. Still, that is on the Blockbuster list and will no doubt turn up in the fullness of time.

All the rather weary veg from the the fridge were diced up for soup, and cooked off in the slow cooker, a chickie! was roasted, and a pudding was concocted from the last two plums and a huuuuge Bramley, with an almond sponge topping. We also consumed a bottle of red wine between us, and two pots of coffee – this latter was a Mistake, as we both suffered from a severe caffeine overload overnight.

Sunday therefore dawned a tad grooish, but a brunch of bagels, scrambled egg, bacon, black pudding and mushrooms helped a bit; we kept away from the coffee, mind. Watched The Hurt Locker in the afternoon, which I will need to watch again, I think, and then set off for the wilds of York’s Grand Opera House, to see the wondrous Richard Thompson.

It’s something I miss about being in Bristol – we have to travel to see favourite people, and we’ve done Leeds, Sheffield, York, and have tickets for Mak Steel in Lincoln in March. The only music gig we’ve done in Hull was the Ukulele Orchestra early last year. Still, York is an easy run.

We had a swift, excellent pizza in Il Bertorelli (gorgonzola and mushroom for me – nom), then into the theatre; our tickets were about 300′ up at the back of the Grand Circle, and apart from the need for an oxygen mask, the view was terrific. As was the music – a four piece band of drummer, bass, violin, and a multi-instrumental chap on guitar, wind and brass (no, not all at the same time). Very tight combo.

First half was all new album stuff, which we didn’t know, second was some old favourites. Lovely acoustic version of Al Bowley’s in Heaven,  storming rocking version of Tear Stained Letter, with lots of instrumental solos, and just the teeniest hint of community singing, and closing with a stomping I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight.

Nice easy run home in 50 minutes, welcomed (if that’s the word) by sulking cats. And now it’s Monday again.

Easter weekend 2010

We had no plans, because the weather forecast was so horrible, but actually it wasn’t too bad, at least in the mornings.  On Thursday, we decided to walk to the appropriate Post Office to tax the car – this involved a round trip of  6.7 miles (on top of the 2 miles + swim I’d already done that morning).

We had a “down day” on Friday, just pottered about the house, and on Saturday we did another short walk of  7.3 miles over to Ennerdale Leisure Centre to book a gym induction, as they have “lost the coach” at the local council gym (how careless).  They could do it there and then – £12 each to be shown how to use a stack of machines that a) we know how to use, and b) are not the same at the machines at Beverley Road was, we thought, something of a ripoff, but hey ho.  We walked there along the river bank, and on the way home decided to walk on the other side of the river; this was fine, until we ran out of path, and in getting back to civilisation, had to cross some very damp terrain, and I got water in my trainers; this was officially Not Enjoyable, and I had a grump.  Rest of the day was slumpage.

Hessle foreshore />On Sunday we actually got the car out (shock horror!) and went over to the Humber Bridge Farmers’ Market. It seems you need to get there a lot earlier than 11 a.m. if you want any bread; it looked as though a plague of locusts had descended, but we picked up some locally milled wholemeal flour and oats, which I’m pleased about.  Then we strolled along the Hessle foreshore for about 3 miles (can’t be sure, as the GPS/Runkeeper ran amok, and thought we’d actually crossed the bridge). Came home and cooked a roast chicken with roast veg and new potatoes.

Sunday evening brought a bit of a panic, as one of the web servers had threw a wobbly, and we couldn’t log into it to make it stop (it had a load average of 453 when my log window gave up!).  In the end we had to ask Merula to reboot it, which they did at 23:30 – above and beyond the call of duty, really!  We got up at 6 on Monday morning, and upgraded some server components in the hope of putting a stop to such nonsense, then had a slumpage in the afternoon, although I did do 8.3 miles on the exercise bike while finishing episode 1 of Cranford.

We also managed to watch the two movies from Lovefilm that had been sitting on the coffee table for about a month: Wall-e and In Bruges. Very different, of course, but both utterly excellent.


Like probably thousands and thousands of people have done in the past few days, last night we pulled Brokeback Mountain off the shelves for a rewatch.

We’ve only seen it once – we bought the DVD as soon as it came out, but haven’t watched it again since them. What an extraordinary film – even more poignant on a second viewing, I think. There wasn’t a single scene out of place, and every actor gave an astonishingly subtle performance. And the scenery – I’ve long hankered to go and see the big skies of cowboy country, but I doubt I ever will now.

I still wept at the scene in Jack’s parents’ house – so clean and scrubbed and poor, with the unsaid acknowledgement of what had been, and might have been. And I still howled when Ennis opened the cupboard door. Film making at its best, I think.

off out

We are off for seasonal drinkies with the Bristol noo meeja massif. We _were_ going to High Wycombe to see a (potential) client at the crack of 9 a.m. tomorrow, but he has postponed till Thursday, so there may be an extra bucket of Pinot Grigio this evening.

In other news, we watched the remake of Hairspray last night – gloriously feel good. See it.

Later all.