The clematis in the back garden is looking lovely today.
- Almost at Kings Cross on my way for a day trip to Bristol. Falling asleep and I think that the underground to Paddington might he a shock. #
- really pleased to be on the train and looking forward to a restful journey to Bristol. http://schmap.me/td83qc #
- The scrum for the 17:45 was really fearsome. Lucky to get a seat. http://schmap.me/wt2bun #
- Fascinating to watch Heston Blumenthal’s ‘Victorian Feast’. He’s an amazing showman and geek-chef. The pink drink! http://tinyurl.com/bm2cul #
- Worried that I’m going to get addicted to M&S Hot Cross Loaf. Munch, munch. It’s lovely! #
- *The Lady in the Van* blog post http://tinyurl.com/de8ap8 #
- *’What to Drink with Dinner’ Wine Tasting* blog post http://tinyurl.com/dmo3gx #
- Just stuffed my kilt, jacket and evening shirt into a bike pannier for this evening. I’m feeling crumpled already. #
- Home from the party. The kilt worked out well and,unusually, only one person asked me if I was wearing underwear! #
- Michael brought me bagels with smoked wild pacific salmon for breakfast in bed. The samlon was fantastic. #
- Got tempted by a dressed crab at the Farmers’ Market #
- Now a great day, after rain this morning. Having a sit in Jesus Green enjoying the view (with my crab). http://twitpic.com/2kk54 #
- Bought some Purslane, and just worked out that it’s a salad leaf, thanks to the web:
- Finally tidied the autumn leaves from the garden, hacked back some of the neighbour’s encroaching ivy and had a spring prune. Looks good now #
- *Clematis in the back garden* blog post http://tinyurl.com/cahx8f #
- Shoulder of lamb with borlotti beans in the slow cooker with lotsbof garlic and tomato was a great sucess #
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The RSC Sports and Social Club arranged another fun tasting at Cambridge Wine Merchants last night. Probably the highlight of the tasting was the guide, Edward Kelleher, who was very knowledgeable, down to earth and fun! There were about 30 people from the RSC and guests. We tasted—
- Prosecco Extra Dry, Beato Bartolomeo, Breganze, NV (£9)
- Manzanilla La Gitana, Bodegas Hidalgo, Jerez, NV (£10)
A few Whites:
- Semillon, Brokenwood, Hunter Valley, Australia, 2007 (£11)
- Pinot Gris, Cave de Hunawhir, Haut-Rhin, Alsace, 2005 (£13.50)
- Bourgogne, Jean Latour-Labille, Burgundy, France (£23)
- Tinta Roziz & Touriga Franca, Altano, Duoro Valley, Portugal, 2006 (£5.50)
- Chateau la Grandt Clotte, Lussac Saint-Emillion, Bordeaux, 2005 (£13)
- Shiraz ‘White Lees’, Gemtree Vineyards, McLaren VAle, Australia, 2006 (£23)
- Chateau des Tour, Sainte-Croix-Du-Mont, Bordeaux, 2005 (£11)
I didn’t find it that inspiring a collection. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by too much good wine from Majestic (thanks Michael! 🙂 ) or maybe I wasn’t in the mood last night. The sherry was great, but I know La Gitana well. The Pinot Gris was lovely and well made, and was the most enjoyable wine of the evening for me. I didn’t like the metallic semillon from Australia, too acidic and the mineral nature was too strong and reminded me of CFCs out the back of a broken fridge. The two expensive wines were good, but at half the price! The portugese wine was good value as a glugger, and at £11 a bottle I would have been happy with the desert wine. I actually bought a bottle of New Zealand Pinot Noir on my way out (well it was pay day!) and I hope this will be good because I hadn’t tasted it!
Amongst other things, we learned from Edward was that La Gitana is made ‘en flor’, which means that the wine is fermented open to the air and that a cap of natural yeast floats on the wine and helps reduce oxidation. The Bourgogne was a much better qaulity wine that the labeling might suggest—this is because the producers in Burgundy can only put forward a certain percentage of their beast grapes for the top quality wines and even if they have loads of great grapes, these have to go into a lower classification. Bourgogne is the lowest classification but the qaulity of this wine was better than it could have been (and thus £23 a bottle). I wasn’t convinced about the value for money! We also learned that the Pinot Gris, a medium wine, went really well with salami. The food tasting went well, and we had olives to match with the sherry (good), pate, tomatoes and cheese.
Jay and I went to see The Lady in the Van, by Alan Bennett, produced by BAWDS at the ADC. It’s a great play, full of dry humour. We weren’t sure what to expect from an amateur production, but the three main leads were all excellent: Particularly the actor who played the older Alan Bennett (Barry Brown) and the actress that played Miss Shepherd (Rosemary Eason). Had a couple of pints of Sparta which was lovely and when we left at the end Michael was sitting in the perfect seat, drinking a half of Sparta, waiting to meet us!
From the ADC Web SIte:
The Lady In The Van is an autobiographical account of an episode in acclaimed playwright Alan Bennett’s life in 1974.
Elderly and eccentric Miss Mary Shepherd is living in a decrepit van in a street near the author’s home in Camden Town. Allowing her to park her van in his front garden for three months, she ends up staying fifteen years.
The outrageous Miss Shepherd, a trained concert pianist, ex-nun, ex-ambulance driver and would-be Prime Minister, forces her benefactor to turn down the volume of his radiogram, recharge her van’s flat battery and become her reluctant carer.
The play offers two Alan Bennetts; one at the age of the portrayed events and an older, more sceptical individual, who is able to take a retrospective view to discuss with himself (the other Alan Bennett) the philosophical issues and true reasons for his kindness to Miss Shepherd. It may all sound complicated but it quickly becomes clear to provide a deliciously comic theatrical evening!
☆ M and S fish pie when I’m too lazy to cook
☆ Bursting buds and greenery in the garden
☆ Early nights!
☆ Industry colleagues willing to share experience
☆ Trains running on time
☆ Dinner in the slow cooker
☆ Meeting a friend unexpectedly on the underground
☆ Watching Heston Blumenthal’s fantastic ‘Victorian Feast’
☆ Michael’s home-made bolognese
☆ Drinks with friends in the Free Press
☆ The internet makes the world feel much smaller
In Google Street View: must have been a rare moment that the car passed by. I was hoping to spot a few familiar faces at the bar.
☆ Daffodils in the sun
☆ Plum blossom
☆ Lunch with Elisabeth
☆ Chat with my mum and dad on the phone
Michael and I drove over to Bicester take Michael’s mum out for lunch at Bicester Country Club. We had a good lunch in Gray’s Restaurant, good food with somewhat lackluster service. I don’t think they were quite prepared for being full on Mothers’ Day.
Lovely plum blossom in Elisabeth’s back garden: