Discover my sagas and cosy crimes

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Best of Everything

Just finished reading The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe. It's a 1958 novel which has been reissued with a retro black and white cover bearing the tag-line, The Original Sex and the City.

It's a smashing little book and the reissue is on sale in Watersones for over a tenner or you can do what I did and pick up an original via eBay for 99p. The novel was turned into a movie and then a soap opera in the US and is definitely worth a read, even 50 years on.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Magnum P.I, why-aye

For the third time this year I have a stinking cold and for the second time this year, it's forced me off work sick. Fortunately, it's nothing worse, but still, it's really snot fair.

However, the one good thing about being confined to the sofa with the TV remote in one hand and a Lemsip in the other is the joy you can find on Sky TV.

Ah, be still my beating heart.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Top 10 things to do in London

Now that I've lived in London for over eight years, I feel I can blog with some authority on the city, don't you think? So if you're planning a trip to the capital, here's my top 10 favourite things to do in that London.

1. The London Eye. I've been on it four times, even though I'm scared of heights.
2. Sir John Soane's Museum. A hidden gem in Holborn and it's free.
3. Borough Market. Get there early before the tourists.
4. Ride the Thames in a London Duck.
5. Sit on Kirsty MacColl's bench in Soho Square.
6. Royal Festival Hall. My favourite building in London, followed by a walk along the Southbank.
7. London Transport Museum will release your inner tube-driver.
8. Imperial War Museum has some fantastic tanks. Yes, really.
9. Churchill Museum and Cabinet war rooms. A sobering experience.
10. Saint Clement Danes Church. Turn up at 12 noon and the bells really do chime Oranges and Lemons.

And now for some tips. Do yourself a favour and avoid the over-priced scrums of Oxford Street and Covent Garden. And if you're not 17 don't go to Camden Market, you'll just feel un-hip and sad. Oh, and never say you want to see Big Ben. You can't see Big Ben because that's the name of the Great Bell inside St Stephen's Tower, which is what you can see.

And finally, some things which you think might be over-priced and naff but are still worth doing - a river cruise and an open-top bus tour.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Walking in my Mind

To the Hayward Gallery this weekend, one of my favourites in London, to see the Walking in My Mind exhibition. My favourite piece was this one by Chiharu Shiota which was a room criss-crossed with black wool and in the centre, these haunting outfits. Although chaotic it was amazingly peaceful. Highly recommended.

Coronation Street Weekly Update, August 24 2009

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here.

This week the update comes with a come-hither look through meat-pie eyes.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Birthday, blog and bloke

Earlier this month, this blog celebrated its third birthday. Here it is celebrating its 2nd and its 1st.

Today is my birthday, I am slightly older than my blog.

And later this week my lovely man and I will be celebrating a very special anniversary. A wash and brush-up, and best bib and tucker is called for as a night at our favourite restaurant beckons.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

After a night at the the-ay-ter, when I write a blog post about the show, I normally nick a picture from a website and stick it on my blog. Not so with Priscilla Queen of the Desert. What you see above is my very own picture, taken in the interval of the show at the Palace Theatre this week. The show? Oh you know... it was just about the most fantastic musical I've ever seen and goes up there in the top 5 shows I've ever seen in London.

It was absolutely brilliant - funny, heartwearming with gob-smackingly outrageous outfits. And if you're not singing and clapping along with the drag queens by the end then you'd better check your pulse as you surely must be dead.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Coronation Street Weekly Update, August 17 2009

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here.

This week the update comes with a jiggling beer belly and I'm pleased to say it's not mine (this time).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

London noise

Regular readers will know that living in London does my head in, at times, anyroad. If it's not crowds, it's lack of clean air and space, but this time, it's the constant hum of the city that's cheesing me off.

Ah, I sense familiar symptoms. Feeling stressed with London and homesick at the sight of seagulls? I therefore prescribe myself a few days up north with family to cure my ills.

The joy of re-reading books

I've just finished re-reading and thoroughly enjoying, again, one of my favourite books. It was Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye, a story of female friendship in its most nasty form. It's my first re-read of that particular book and I somehow find myself going back to re-read a couple of favourites every few years.

These have been Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, Erin Pizzey's The Watershed, and my all time favourite book which I've read at least five times now. It's this one.

I'll be going shopping soon for a bag full of new novels to take on my jollies with me. Any recommendations?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Summer soundtrack

My perfect summer soundtrack. Makes me feel happy and sad all at the same time as it reminds me that summer, like most things in life, moves on too quickly. Stevie Wonder covered this tune too but the reggae version's the real thing.

The birds and the bees

Last week it was pictures of the birds and the bees and this week it's a butterfly in our garden. Still a disappointing lack of ladybirds though.

Nigel Slater's Sexy Yeast

Nigel Slater should be given a knighthood for his services to my kitchenery and baking skills. Here's his sexy yeast focaccia straight out of the oven this afternoon. It's absolutely gorgeous and the recipe's online here.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Haway the lads, etc.

Football season starts next week. Haway the lads, etc. This means the fab Soccer AM returns to Saturday morning telly and structure and meaning return to my life once more. At least until May next year.

The Sopranos - forgeddabouddit?

It had to happen one day and that day has now arrived. The final series of The Sopranos is now in the house.

We started watching The Sopranos when the first series came as a Christmas gift last year and so the last eight months of our lives have been a New Joisey-fest of violence, murder, mayhem and mafia. And it's been wonderful, one of the best TV series I've ever seen, almost on a par with this other favourite TV programme of mine. Almost.

Anyway, as The Sopranos nears its end, I can breathe a sigh of relief... there is a post-Sopranos support group out there after all.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Adam Cooper's Shall we Dance?

To Sadlers Wells this week to see Adam Cooper's Shall We Dance? At £40 a ticket in a perfect venue for outstanding dance I expected something great but was given only good. I'm no arty-clarty arts reviewer but I know what I like and this just didn't do it for me. However, Judith Mackrell of The Guardian is the arts reviewer who covers dance and she's rather more eloquent in what she has to say.

Before the show, we went to a fish and chip restaurant and were given a decent meal, but you know, they weren't quite the real thing. (How could they be, in London?). The dance event felt a little like the same; could have been better, hotter, fresher and with more vinegar and salt.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Strictly Come Dancing

I love Strictly Come Dancing so was a bit miffed when I heard that Arlene Phillips won't be in the new series.

And then today I found out that the fab Karen Hardy's been axed too. Both Arlene and Karen are professionals. Arlene will be replaced by Alesha Dixon - lovely lass, I'm sure - but no dance icon in the way Arlene is and has been over the years. And who'll replace Karen Hardy's international, award winning dance experience?

Anyway, it's not like me to get upset about telly but this time I have. Must be my age. I've written to the BBC to complain and I urge you to do the same. Click here. Oh go on, you know you want to.

Coronation Street Weekly Update, August 3 2009

I've been writing Coronation Street weekly updates since 1995 and this week's Coronation Street update has just gone live here.

This week the update comes with Steve McDonald's nightmare.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Magner's Pear Cider - doesn't do what it says on the tin

Magners Pear Cider, the advertisement said on telly, 100% pear, 0% disappointment.

"That's a bold claim", I thought to myself, and quite liking cider and fruit based alcoholic drinks, thought I'd buy a bottle in the supermarket the other week. It was sweet, sickly and tasted artificial.

0% disappointment is a load of old tripe. I'd say my disappointment level was 62%, rising to 95% when I threw the remains of the pear cider away down the sink.

Bring Gardeners World back down to earth

I grew up watching Gardeners' World. I still watch it now and as an enthusiastic gardener, learn a lot from it.

But this new series with Toby whatshisname and Alys Fowler is leaving me cold. Toby turns gardening into a competition to be won and Alys' tone is patronising to anyone who isn't Toby.

The good bits of Gardeners' World now are the allotments and garden design with Joe Swift and the pinching out, cutting back and enjoying having soil between your fingers with the wonderful Carol Klein. But head presenter Toby and sidekick Alys leave this viewer cold.

My new favourite thing

Having discovered the delights of Reese's peanut cups while living in the US many years ago, my new favourite thing is the Reese's Nutrageous bar.

I have one every Saturday as a treat.
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