Sunday, 25 June 2017


It has been a very floral Sunday. I picked honeysuckle, just because -

And limeblossom for tea as it obligingly hangs low from the trees all down the lanes -

And marigolds to put in a cheesecake -

And roses, pansies and borage, to be crystallised in sugar. They'd have gone on top of the cheesecake except every crumb disappeared before they were dry.

If this sounds too bloggy and idyllic, I now have very achey shoulders from fiddling with tiny flowers and I wish somebody else would cook my dinner.

I suppose a readymeal would be letting the side down.

Thursday, 15 June 2017


I've been enjoying the recent Cazalet repeats on RadioFour which prompted me to pick up EJH's memoir. However, I'm flagging with this, too many lists of irrelevant walk-on characters met at parties and I far preferred Artemis Cooper's very readable biography. I haven't got as far as the Kingsley years so maybe it will pick up.

Saturday, 10 June 2017



I'm not sure when the big Friday night out turned into the early show at the cinema, followed by a whizz around Waitrose on the way home. Last night I dithered over going into town to hear a talk by Tracy Chevalier and realised I couldn't be bothered ... oh dear! 40 minutes to get there, 40 minutes talk, 40 minutes to get back. Sorry, Tracy - it was Cousin Rachel in the suburbs, but I did feel a bit guilty!
Sadly, the film fell a bit flat. Rachel Weisz is very good as the widowed Rachel but somehow there's no tension - remember how gripping the book was? - and I'd agree with the reviewer who called it one rung above an interesting failure. 6/10 from me. I'd have probably enjoyed it more if I'd gone to the Curzon over the road but I had free tickets for the Odeon. Why are Odeons always so grotty?

Sunday, 4 June 2017



It was rude, exuberant, raucous, joyful, a little bit sad, brimming with youthful joie de vivre. I found myself sitting at one of the tables on the stage - stacked with bottles of Irn-Bru  - well, I hadn't expected that when I booked a last-minute ticket and didn't realise until I collected it from the box office ... but it just added to the fun, and now I can claim that I've appeared on the West End stage, tapping my feet to music that I'd have been up and dancing to on a Saturday night - errrr, nearly 40 years ago. (It took me a while to place this more recent tune.) I wasn't quite as naughty a convent schoolgirl as the choirgirls of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour on their day out to Edinburgh - I'd never heard anyone use language like that! - but it did make me think fondly of a school trip to Stratford-upon-Avon c1971, smoking Consulates with the bad girls at the back of the bus and not letting on that I really didn't like them once the Polo-mint taste wore off.

I hurried straight home at the end of the show, completely unaware of the terrible events that were unfolding only a mile or so away across the river. So sad to think of those who didn't make it home safely.

Friday, 2 June 2017

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We ate our picnic, went round the house, sniffed the wild roses, wondered if we could be bothered making homemade elderflower cordial, went for a walk, spotted lots of wild orchids ...

When we got back to the car, those who refused to be parted from their i-Pads politely inquired if we had a nice time. Yes, thank you. We did.


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Sunday, 28 May 2017




What an irresistible cover! This has been my 'handbag book' for the last week or so; each diary extract is just long enough to read between two bus/Tube stops. (I know ...that's highbrow literary criticism, but I'm just about to embark on a book for the day-job that I can barely physically lift. Does the publisher honestly think that any reader is going to bother flexing their muscles?
I do think that James Lees-Milne had a fabulous job, swanning around English country houses during the 1930s and 40s, persuading their fallen-on-hard-times owners to hand them over to the National Trust. One house, to be honest, sounds much the same as another; what I love is his waspish descriptions of the eccentric, batty owners and that slightly poignant feeling that, love them or loathe them, they are the last of a breed that is teetering on the edge of extinction. I'm a NT volunteer so I headed straight for the chapter on 'my' house and was with J L-M every step of the way down the long drive (I walked it yesterday} into grounds that were 'indescribably overgrown and unkempt' (they're simply gorgeous today) and waited at the back door (that grating noise has been fixed). An elderly man opened the door. 'He had red hair and a red face, carrot and port wine ... "The old alcoholic famly butler," I said to myself... Slowly he led me down a dark passage, his legs moving in painful jerks. At last he stopped outside a door and knocked nervously. An ancient voice cried, "Come in!" The seedy butler then said to me, "Daddy is expecting you," and left me ...'   

Friday, 26 May 2017



I was too hot - too tired - not in the mood - I thought it sounded bonkers and couldn't remember why I wanted to go in the first place ... but I'd already got my ticket so I dutifully set out this evening to see An Octoroon inspired by Boucicault's play that caused a sensation in 1859 ...
And it turned out to be quite mad and absolutely hilarious and very clever. What a shame that the tiny Orange Tree Theatre was only one-third full (and quite a few left at the interval including the lady next to me who clearly didn't get it.)
The Guardian called it 'bizarrely brilliant' and they're right. I do hope they get a fuller house when the weather cools down.