The Shipping News

A beautifully written book, that follows an unlikely hero from lonely misfit, to part of a close-knit Newfoundland community. The frontier atmosphere and culture of Newfoundland come across strongly. The language is beautiful and the narrative style includes short statements that are often startling in their bluntness. By the end of this book I’d fallen for all of the characters.

“The Shipping News” (Annie Proulx)

I, Claudius

Fascinating reading the exploits of the Caesars, particularly when the stories have been spiced up with a bit of fictional adaptation. I went back afterwards to have a quick flick through Suetonius (the Twelve Caesars) and Graves has actually followed the outline of Suetonius well (mind you it was Graves that made the translation of the Twelve Caesars that I have).


“I, Claudius (Penguin Classics)” (Robert Graves)

Wine by the river

Left work just after 5 and found that I had a blow-out on my bike tire. GGGrr. It’s always on the days that I’m keen to be somewhere else. Shoved a new patch on and I made it to the Riverbank Club by 5.50, where Michael was waiting with a packet of Indonesian Crackers and a bottle of cheap red wine from Aldi. Had a quick swim to cool off and a laze in the sun, drinking wine with Michael and Liz. Left about 7, still a lovely warm evening and still sunny outside, even now.

Sunny Sunday

Lovely day today so we went along to Newnham Riverbank Club for a picnic. All the members have been adopted by a two ducks and there was speculation about the gender, which the web hasn’t been able to resolve.

Hello Duckie

The river was 58F and okay for a lovely swim past Dead Man’s Corner. After all the rain the swim upstream was really slow compared with the downstream rush. Stayed till about four, drinking a bottle of our favourite rosé from Waitrose.

Firebird Legend Merlot Rosé 2007 Vulcaneshti, Moldova

Made from 95% Merlot and 5% Pinot Noir at the AurVin winery under the watchful eye of Angela Muir MW. The Merlot is particularly good for Rosé style wines, with deep colour and vivacious raspberry fruit.

Michael made some lovely marinated lamb chaps for BBQing in the evening, so spent a really good long part of the day in the sun.

Lunch in Norwich

Michael and I took the train out to Norwich today to get out of Cambridge and have a nice lunch somewhere. The weather was wet and cool when we got there and in fact it rained all day! Grabbed a slow taxi to the Market Square and had coffee and tea at Caley’s Cocoa Cafe in the 15th C Guildhall on the Market Square. The teacakes are very good there and it’s a very pretty building.

Market Square, Norwich

We walked up to Brummells Seafood Restaurant, off Colegate, for lunch. As we had phoned for a table, the owner had opened the place up and we were in fact the only cusmtomers there. We had a lovely lunch:

  • BRANCASTER MUSSELS IN CREAMED CHAMPAGNE SAUCE
  • SEAFOOD PANCAKES, TOPPED WITH ILCHESTER ALE CHEESE, LACED LIGHTLY WITH A GREEN PERNOD SAUCE AND GARNISHED WITH LUMPFISH CAVIAR
  • GRILLED HALIBUT STEAKS WITH WILD MUSHROOMS AND BASIL COMPOT
  • CHAR-GRILLED TUNA LEFT PINK IN THE MIDDLE WITH A COMPOTE OF FRUITY CURRY MARMALADE (which was a winning combination)

A nice sorbet in the middle, and washed down with some white rioja ‘Azabache’ which was very nice, with a good punch of oak. The meal was lovely, the halibut particularly good. However, it was overpriced for a lunch time.

Had a stroll in the rain to the Cathedral , and through the cathedral grounds to the river, along the river to a new leisure ‘zone’ which was out a box, then getting a bit fed up with the drizzle, jumped on a train back to Cambridge, where it seemed it had be dry all day.

Norwich Cathederal

Hickory-smoked Chicken

I couldn’t find wood chips for smoking when I was making the BBQ Ribs the other day, and we got some Hickory chips today. Perfect excuse to try a kettle BBQ roast chicken. Story in photos (well the novelty of the new BBQ hasn’t worn off yet!). Predictably (because we’d seen the weather forecast) it started to rain pretty much as soon as we started.

Hickory Wood Chips Lighting the fire chimney Lighting the fire chimney Charcoal is ready Fill one side of the BBQ Then fill the other Chicken and Wood Chips on Time for a smoke Hickory-smoked Chicken Vegetables on the BBQ

Hickory-smoked Chicken

Garden is looking lovely

Our garden is looking lovely at the moment: Clematis is flowering and the little order has been augmented by the contents of one of our window boxes that got tipped onto the streets by some passing louts. Lovely, fresh colours and looking very clean after a shower of rain.

Garden, rainy day in June

Curry Night at the Free Press

Michael and I had dinner tonight in the Free Press, which is a take-away curry evening on a Sunday,. Ordered curries from Moghul Tandoori, which were good. Michael had a Lamb Tikka Murch Massala, which was very hot and chilli spicy! I had a king prawn ceylon, which was good but not quite as nice as Michael’s dish. Breads and rice were good, and we shared a bhindi bhajee (okra). A few pints of IPA to wash it all down and good company—a great way to spend a Sunday evening.