Friday 22 November 2013

You silly cow

This unusual (to me anyway) looking cow (there were lots in the field, so I assume that despite the horns it wasn't a bull) was munching in a field near fact near Rod Stewart's house (which I hear is for sale).  Back in the good old days, I very nearly bought a car owned by Rod Stewart.  It was a baby-blue Lamborghini, just eighteen months old with 1500 miles on the clock.  It had lost two-thirds of its value in that time.  I'm glad I didn't...I couldn't really afford it, I had no where to park it, and I'd have looked like a silly moo when I did the weekly shopping at Sainsbury's.  Anyway, I like the cow

Thursday 21 November 2013

Do you come here often?

Sometimes life can be a little bit surreal.  I cannot deny that we live a very lucky, privileged existence.  I can't think that I deserve it in anyway, we're just lucky.  So any time I moan about how things are bad, just ignore me...we have only First World Problems.

We were invited to the opening of the new Sam Wannamaker Theatre today (Tuesday).  This is the small Jacobean theatre that sits alongside the very well known and loved Globe Theatre.  It's an authentic reproduction (even down to being lit by candles) of how a theatre would have looked in the good very old days.  It sits three hundred on wooden benches and the stage is disproportionately large.  I realise that the only people who are likely to attend are the better off, and a few curious tourists.  It would be nice if people who don't normally get to experience the theatre could be attracted.  The theatre was opened by HRH Prince Philip, who frankly is much more spritely and lively than anyone should reasonably be in the 90's.  He has a wicked glint in his eye, and it was no wonder he felt able to quip to Zoe Wannamaker, "Do you come here often?"  I'm not now, and never have been a fan of royalty, but I do think 'The Firm' has worked hard in recent years to find a new place in British society.  It may be that the Royal family will be the only pillar of society that commands any level of respect whilst all the others continue to drag themselves into disrepute. Certainly at 90+ I hope I don't have to work for my living....

We were sat next to the Chief Executive of Southwark Council, and I was rather charmed by her retelling the story that Southwark Cathedral's Dean had said to her that The Shard is the Spire that Southwark Cathedral never had.  I shall look at it in a new light from now on.

Just to bring me down to earth, somewhere I managed to lose a pair of headphones.  The type that fit in your ear.  They were a treat not so long ago, and quite (read very) expensive as these things go, so I was quite glum about it. That was until I realised that really it's a First World Problem and one that's easily solved.

Tuesday 19 November 2013


The Cat's Mother abandoned me and The Boy this weekend for her annual girls spa trip.  Sadly for us, she completely failed to fill the fridge up with ready meals labelled with the day and meal time.  Fortunately, I was able to rekindle some of the expertise that had kept The Boy and I going when, for several years, it was just the two of us.  We headed to Marks and Spencer.  We can both highly recommend the lamb shanks.  Tasty. The Boy also demonstrated his culinary flair by turning the mundane ingredients of bread, cheese, tomatoes and ham hock into something quite extraordinarily delicious.  I hope he doesn't waste that talent.

We managed to find the time to see Don Hemingway at the cinema.  It's a film that's had quite mixed reviews.  Indeed there's a lot of shouting, and the character's behaviour is quite repetitive...and sometimes his language is quite grandiose, and at other times just ridiculous.  But, but, but Jude Law plays the part with aplomb, the film has a cracking turn of pace, and in most places doesn't take itself too seriously...witness the Rolls Royce accident.  I've never got Richard E Grant, and I don't suppose I ever will, but he plays his part well enough.  We enjoyed it.  In a rough, unpolished sort of way I'd say it's one of the better films we've seen this year.  Just not everyone's cup of tea.

So we had some great highlights this weekend, it's but The Boy has come back wishing he's still on the slopes, and he's taking that out on the rest of us.  Ouch.

The Cat's Mother returned after a fabulous time, and declared that the two of us had turned feral...a little unfair given that her evidence was that we had cooked pasta for Sunday evening supper, and I washed the shirts on Sunday as opposed to Wednesday which is the designated day. Ho Hum.

Monday 18 November 2013

More Snow

I went to dinner with Polly Toynbee and Dan Snow last week.  And very nice they were too.  I wasn't quite their personal dinner guest...I was at the annual dinner (indeed the inaugural annual dinner) for the Electoral Reform Society. I'm not much involved, but the thought of a dinner with people who are passionate about democracy quite appealed.  I'm more of a social media warrior than a get your boots dirty trooper.  Anyway, it was quite interesting, on one side of me was a Conservative Councilor from south London, and opposite was a Labour man who was claiming the record for coming second the most amount of times in successive General Elections.  Dan Snow was very passionate about the need for electoral reform...I am too, although I some of my thoughts don't really accord with the established view.  Yes reform of the House of Commons and Lords, but no I don't think we need to have an elected upper chamber (hands thrown up in horror), yes lets look at the relationship between the constituent parts of the UK...independence for Scotland? Madness, but perhaps a federal system would work better for everyone more hands thrown up), etc, etc.  There was an auction which raised plenty of money: I decided I couldn't afford to spend £600 to have Dan Snow guide The Boy and me round the Imperial War Museum, but someone felt they got value.  Anyway, I walked out at the end with a long-legged blonde Texan.  At one time I would have had scurrilous thoughts on my mind; this time it was just coincidence, and I was left puzzling why a Texan was educated at Essex University, and was on secondment to Plaid Cymru.

Everyone is either loving or being sick to the John Lewis Christmas TV ad.  We think it's quite splendid, capturing the essence of what Christmas should be about. Mushy or not, it suits the season.  In the meantime, I was quite entranced by these Christmas sculptures in the John Lewis Oxford Street store.  You could say they've cleaned up

Many years ago the lady in the downstairs flat gave me a plant.  She was planning to throw it out because it had grown tall, but all the leaves except those on top had dropped off.  I kept it upstairs and it flourished under a skylight, growing to a height of about 18' (it was on the stairwell).  But despite there being a few shoots on the stalk/trunk it only ever had the umbrella of leaves at the top.  When I decided to redo the flat, I took the decision to become a lumberjack.  Down it came.  But at the last moment I decided to see if I could save it.  I hacked the top off, dipped it in rooting hormone and left it in a pot of water.  For about 18 months. Roots did grow behind what looked like a slimy sludge.  But not to be disheartened, I potted it, and then put it on the landing in Loughton.  It loved it.  Leaves grew everywhere.  Beautiful.  We all thought it was lovely.  But The Cat's Mother, who has the least green fingers of anyone I know insisted that it was too big and had to move.  Reluctantly The Boy and I moved it.  Disaster.  Absolute disaster.  I still blame the cleaner who for some reason insists on trying to look after the plants.  One day in the summer she so overwatered it that we had to leave the french windows open for a week to try and dry out the carpet.  The leaves started dropping off.  We were left with a plant that looked as though it had been through a Philippine hurricane.  Worse still it turned black at the top..  But I refused to throw it out.  Just a couple of days ago, suddenly there is new the top.  The Cat's Mother still wants it to go.  I won't let it.  But I am wondering whether come the spring I should chop it down and put the crown in rooting hormone...or can you play that trick just once?