Suwanna Thai

Had a lovely Thai meal last night in Bicester at Suwanna Thai. One of the most impressive Thai meals I’ve had in the UK. We had quite a bit of bit of beer and then a lovely 30 in walk back to Elisabeth’s house, half of it in the warm rain, which was very atmospheric.

The restaurant is in a converted butchers shop (of the historic kind) and there are still old meat hooks set into the wall.

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Elisabeth in hospital

In Bicester at the moment, visiting Michael’s mum, Elisabeth. She’s probably has a second, small stroke. We drove over on Friday after work and spent the weekend visiting her on the ward. She’s doing well, certainly better than after her first stroke about 5 years ago.

Swimming in the Cam

Swim along the Cam to GrantchesterAnother wonderfully hot day (BBC News item). Booked the afternoon off work and went down to the Newnham Riverbank Club to spend the afternoon in the sun. Swam in the Cam for 70 minutes non-stop and almost made it to Grantchester, but not quite (maybe at the weekend if the water is still warm). I was only passed by about 6 punts in all this time. Michael joined me at four, to share some snacks and wine. The river is still 23°C.

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Virgin Mother

Virgin Mother at the Royal Academy

Went to London today for the JAAS Editorial Board meeting in Burlington House. The courtyard outside the Royal Academy is now dominated by the Virgin Mother by Damien Hurst. It’s a massive bronze sculpture, which was getting a lot of attention from passers by and visitors to the RA. The people who work in BH don’t like it (they have to look out their windows every day at it!). The photo that I found on Wikipedia (Virgin Mother) shows that the bronze was coloured, but I couldn’t see any of this: maybe the paint has been removed or the light was too bright to see it?

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Heatwave breaks record for July

It’s been a scorcher! About 33°C and according to the news this heatwave breaks record for July. I left work at 4.15 and met Michael at 5 at Newnham Riverbank Club and we had a laze in the sun and a swim—glorious. the A14 north of Cambridge was closed for a while because of a lorry collision. The police were ferrying bottles of water to the stranded drivers via bike.

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Last film of the Cambridge Film Festival, Tideland. It was introduced by Terry Gillingham, the Director, who stayed for a Jodelle Ferland, TidelandQ&A session afterwards. We didn’t stay for this, 11.15pm on a Sunday is too late for me to chat! This was a wonderful fantasy film: very dark and disturbing, twisted even! Gillingham said at the beginning that it uses the innocence of the 12-year old lead actress, Jodelle Ferland (who plays Jeliza-Rose) to accentuate the horror of the film: her junkie parents and mad, taxidermist neighbours. It works, and she really is superb. This is a fantasy, with ample references to Alice in Wonderland and children’s games. Disturbing.

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Summer in the City, Big Day Out

The Big Day Out was on in Parker’s Piece this evening and we missed most of it to have a lovely BBQ in the back Exponentialgarden. We did go for 9.30 to see Exponential perform The House of Sleeping Souls. This was performance art using aerial trapeze, silhouetted against the night sky or in front of projected images, to visually stunning effect. Their web site gives a good flavour. A lot of the audience seemed to have been partying too hard, too long and there was a lot of heckling and ‘jump, jump’ -type comments at the start… Fireworks, Big Day Outthese faded away as the show got more and more exciting.

This was followed by a fireworks display, which lasted 20 minutes and was good. We pegged it back to the Free Press for a drink before closing time and it was pretty packed with all the regulars.

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Pop in the Park and the Science of Sleep

Pop in the Park, CambridgePop in the Park, CambridgeLast night was the start of the Big Weekend for Summer in the City art celebrations. We went along to see some of Pop in the Park, which is held round the corner in Parker’s Piece. We saw a few acts on the stage that were okay and had a plate of nachos, which were less than okay! We had to leave before 9pm, when the live bands began, which was a pity. It was quite a chilly evening, so we were actually glad to get away. Bought some turkish delight from the French Market to nibble at the cinema.

Saw the best film so far the Cambridge Film Festival: The Science of Sleep (La Science des Rêves), and this was the UK premiere for the film. Gael García Bernal and Charlotte Gainsbourg were both excellent. The comedy was gentle and funny. The film is offbeat and at times I didn’t know what was truth and what was dream. The growing complexity of the relationship between the two lead characters was fascinating. Super fun!

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Germany v. England

The latest wine tasting at Cambridge Wine Merchants was world-cup themed. The tasting was originally a week earlier which was during the world cup, but it’s looking less topical now!

Highlights of the tasting was tasting (and smelling) a 33 year old Auslese, where both bottles were past their best. One of them smelt of mushrooms and when the cork came around it smelt just like a mouldy mushroom! Sat beside two nice New Zealand blokes who hadn’t been long in the country and who were really getting into the wine.

The wines that stood out from the tasting were:

  • Carl Schmitt-Wagner, 2004, Riesling Longuicher Maximer Herrenberg (QVA), which was excellent for £6.50 (bought two bottles)
  • Chapel Down Schönburger 2004, the best of the 4 Chapel Down wines that we tried £8.99 (bought two)
  • Foundation Estate Riesling Eiswein 2003 Waldracher Laurentiusberg, lovely delicate Eiswein, good value for £20 a half bottle (again, bought two)

So in the contest the German wines won, but England had a good showing! We tried an interesting Pinot Noir from Chapel Down (English) which was very pricey because it was so hard to grow (in tiny quantities). It was really interesting to try, but not to buy at £20.

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