Tuesday, January 27, 2015

That's just mean!

I've just been out into the garden to get a lemon for my vodka and tonic and someone has pinched all my lemons! The tree was loaded this morning. Now all that are left are the ones that are too high up to reach. Oh well, I know, very minor in the scheme of things but disappointing all the same. (The tree is just a few steps up the drive and very easy to reach from the road.)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Gail pies Deirdre

"Ken, do something!" What Ken does, is to try not to laugh. Farewell Anne Kirkbride. She will be missed. I'm a lapsed Corrie fan, I haven't watched for years, but I always liked Deirdre of the outstanding neck tendons. 

Monday, January 19, 2015


I've had a rotten cold and cough recently and a kind friend gave me a bottle of Stone's Green Ginger Wine, urging me to drink it with lemon juice and hot water. Which I obediently did. Enthusiastically. It didn't help my cough but it was good! And oh, the nostalgia. I was immediately transported back more than three decades to my nursing days when after coming off duty a group of us would pool our funds to buy a half bottle of whisky and a bottle of Stone's ginger wine. Cheese on toast, ginger macs, and if we were lucky a few off-duty junior docs would join us. Those were the days!

An extraordinary man

I've always liked Scottish actor and entertainer Alan Cumming, and I read good reviews of his autobiography when it came out a few months ago, so when I saw it in the local library I picked it up. And wow. What a story, what a remarkable man. The abuse, psychological as well as physical, that he and his older brother suffered at the hands of their monstrous father is almost Dickensian, and yet he writes about it without a trace of self-pity and even a dash of humour.  Now I don't like Alan Cumming any more, I love him.
The uneasy relationship between Alan and his father is only part of the story though. Through the BBC programme "Who do you think you are" Alan discovers the grandfather he never knew, his mother's father, Tommy Darling. Tommy Darling was a war hero, brave, kind and respected, everything his father was not. The two strands are skilfully interwoven with understanding and clarity. This is a brave book.

The episode of "Who do you think you are" that triggered it all is on Youtube, and is well worth watching.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Would you look at this face?

Who could resist this smile! Not me. It's Richard E. Grant of course. Lanky, witty, totally irresistible British actor.  I've been enjoying his series "Hotel Secrets". currently on television here in New Zealand. It's such a pleasure watching this clever and erudite man exploring the world of luxury hotels. I particularly enjoyed the episode set in Venice.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I came across this wine the other day. A wine with my name on it! What could I do, I ask you. I had to buy a case of it. Fortunately, it's delicious.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Charming and delightful

I've just watched "Begin again", a modest and unpretentious little movie with a big feel good factor. Mark Ruffalo has always been a favourite of mine and here he epitomises rumpled charm. Plus he has great hair. Kiera Knightley is beautiful (and thin) as ever and thankfully goes for wholesome rather than glamorous, and even the obnoxious James Corden gives an endearing performance. The dialogue is sharp and witty and the music is great. I loved it!

I was given this lovely outdoor pottery bowl for the garden yesterday.  I like the way the glaze shimmers and shines.

This stunning red lily is blooming at the moment:

Another picture of the wild poppies in the herb garden, suffering somewhat from being blown to bits by the wind. That's the bee bath in the background.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Unexpected poppies! I've just come back from a few days up north, and I always like to check on the garden when I've been away. These gorgeous self-seeded poppies have sprung up in the vegetable patch. What a beautiful splash of pink among the green.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Literary larfs

I am a person who loves to read, and I read a lot of book blogs and review sites. One of my favourites is Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and it is the smart bitches I have to thank for alerting me to my latest favourite timewaster, Literary Starbucks, a Tumblr run by three students from Carleton College in Minnesota, USA.  This is hilarious. According to their "About" page,
 This page is run by two English majors and one History major who have WAY too much time on their hands. One day we thought, what would all of history’s famous authors and characters order if they lived in modern times and went to Starbucks?
The rest is history.

Give it a look! I loved the George R.R. Martin one, and the Wordsworth one is pretty funny too. The Tolstoy entry reminded me of this scene from the IT Crowd.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


The arthritis in my hands has been bad today, particularly my left hand. I've completely lost my grip which means I haven't been able to hold my knife and fork to eat, quel horreur! Well, I can hold my knife, but not my fork, which means I have had to eat my lunch the way they do in the movies, holding the fork in my right hand.

I decided a little wine would help with the pain so I hurried off to the supermarket and came back with what I thought was a bottle of pinot noir, only to find on closer inspection that it is what they call "low alcohol"! Who knew there was such a thing? I feel cheated!