Tweets this Week (2010-10-31)

  • Taking the bus from the train station to the Grafton Centre. How lazy is that? It's not even raining that hard. #
  • The 2009 Frankland River Diamond Chardonnay is beautiful. Lovely lively acidity. Nectarines. Yum. #
  • Now having what little is left of the Ferngrove Frankland River Malbec, 2009. Herbal. #
  • Westmalle Dubbel and Hopus Triple at the Elm Tree after a great production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the ADC #
  • Genius on iTunes seems stuck in an '80s rut this evening! 🙂 #
  • Make your own Halloween blood #
  • Finished the durian, with a big bowl of yoghurt. Powerful! #
  • Gorgeous NZ Pinot Noir with Michael's roast pork for Sunday Lunch. #
  • questionableadvice: Hint Hunt booklet, c. 1940s via… #

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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

My first time to see Cat on a Hot Tin Roof tonight by Tennessee Williams. Moving and powerful, the production by Double Falsehood was good. Smashing bottles and lots of shouting made for tense scenes. Simon Haines stood out as Big Daddy, and both leads, Josephine Starte and Ben Kavanagh and Maggie and Brick were good, although I heard a few comments that Josephine was hard to hear. The stage was a bit wonky and we could see backstage through several places, doors didn’t close, and the house lights were kept up for a few minutes in act 2, and the curtains were a pain—a bit more attention to detail would have created a more rounded performance. Review by the TAB (interesting comments about the use of child actors). I agree that Tamara Astor made a big presence as Big Mama, somehat too big in places where her physical presence was over-the-top and towards the comic. But she was very enjoyable to watch!

From the ADC web site:

In deepest Mississippi, a storm is brewing. It’s Big Daddy Pollitt’s sixty-fifth birthday. His family have flocked to his forty-thousand acre plantation to celebrate. But they know something he doesn’t…9fdf12c1-41a2-4423-a7d7-1a819f0f28d7.jpg

Since its Pulitzer Prize-winning premier and the motion picture starring screen legends Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor, this searing razor-sharp examination of sex, lies and a family on the brink of collapse has been universally acknowledged as a modern classic. Now – hot on the heels of an Olivier award-winning West End revival – we present some of Cambridge’s finest talent in a fresh rethinking of this hilarious, sensuous masterpiece.

“I’m not living with you. We occupy the same cage, that’s all.”

Photo from the TAB


Michael lent me Imperium, a historical novel set in Rome, following the rise to Consular status of Cicero, narrated by his salve/aide Tiro. The book is sold as largely accurate for history, fleshing out the human side. This was a potent mix and the book was a pacey page turner. Rome was certainly full of political intrigue towards the end of the Republic and I got a keen sense of the political collapse.

Looking forward to reading part 2 of of the planned three parts of Cicero’s life. Lustrum

“Imperium” (Robert Harris)

Tweets this Week (2010-10-24)

  • Arrived in Stansted from Munich. Long queues at passport control 🙁 #
  • Dad and Son Send iPhone To Space! #
  • Well done Sir Ian McKellen for highlighting anti-gay bullying at village schools #
  • No time for dinner this evening before I went out, so instant rice porridge it is. Spicy! #
  • Who would have thought that an 8% white wine would last 21 years and still be fresh and gorgeous. #
  • Good news, now can export facebook: this was a major reason for me not to post directly to FB and use twitter instead #
  • Great video of superhydrophobic water droplets on a nanotube array. The two droplets merging at the end us fascinating. #
  • Had a great Bordeaux tasting evening at the Gros Frank, on Jason's 40th Birthday. #
  • oh no, dreadful review and I have tickets tomorrow: The Tab – – Review: The Fire Within #
  • Tonight's cocktail is Bombay Sunset: Bombay sapphire, amarretto, pineapple & lemon. Amaretto is a nice touch. At ADC for "The Fire Within" #
  • Such nice beer. Try the Tiki, very light and fresh. Food is good too. (I'm at Devonshire Arms) #
  • who killed bambi? – Heart Gelatin Mold #
  • Couples bid to overturn gay marriage law #
  • Heading out to Bury St Edmunds for a wander and a late lunch. Lovely sunny day and it's good to be on the move. #
  • In a one-carriage train at Dullingham, mobile signal has dropped toning bar. Feel like I'm in the middle of nowhere. Even the sun has gone. #
  • Lovely, if slightly neglected, station at Bury St Edmunds. #
  • Fancied the home-cooked menu. Regretting the decor! (I'm at Scandinavia Coffee House) #
  • uploaded a picture of Scandinavia Coffee House on Qype: #
  • Abbey Gardens are lovely #
  • I just became champion of The Nutshell, Bury St. Edmunds: #

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The Fire Within

Well, the TAB was a bit off the mark about The Fire Within, and that’s hopefully the last time I read a review before I go to see a play. (Varsity concur with the TAB!) It’s a new play by Patrick Garety, produced by Clare Actors. The staging was more complex that the standard ADC production, set in and outside a colonial house in Udaipur. The sound track of cicadas was quite atmospheric and the pauses added to the tension and feeling of oppression in the last days of the British Empire in India. Susanne Curry (Ruth) made a convincing and strong mother figure and carrier her role well. Sadly, George Johnston and Edwin Ashcroft were prone to several fits of giggles between then, including 30 seconds into the opening scene. I do agree with the Tab that Oliver Soden (Lambert) really carried of the eccentric Englishman suffering in the heat—he was a pleasure to watch.

Reading the reviews by the TAB and Varsity make me realise that I go the theatre to be entertained, rather than to review and critique. In that regard, I enjoyed the play.

From the ADC web site:

The fires will be burning in the streets of Udaipur tonight.0a4fde68-642a-490e-9a59-c1feaf3aff90.jpg

The British Raj in India is coming to an end.

In the twilight of history, an entrenched colonial family prepares its last supper.

Eve has been missing all day. On the eve of James’ departure for England, the family gathers for a final farewell. Tempers fray as the oppressive heat of day climaxes in the stifling darkness of the Indian night. Someone is harbouring a dark secret. Outside, a storm is brewing.

This poignant snapshot of a decaying empire is a pertinent reminder of the bonds of family, the power of love, and the struggle for identity that burns within.

Nothing is ever really yours here. No matter how many times we stamp things, nothing is really British.

Patrick Garety’s lyrical new play comes to the ADC in a haunting and evocative production which celebrates the fervour of youth, and how the choices of a moment can shape our lives.


Bordeaux wine tasting at the Gros Franck

A special day today—Jason’s 40th, and we met him and Sarah for a Cambridge Wine Merchants tasting of Bordeaux wines at the Gros Franck. Sarah and Jason speak highly of the restaurant and Michael and I were very keen to try it out. There were forty five people booked in for the tasting, which make for a good atmosphere. The food and wine were superb.

Ben Kennedy was the guest speaker from from Luc Thienpont, who had moved to Bordeaux several years ago after falling in love with the wines. The food was super—the foie gras and duck very nice indeed (but rich). The Petit Tournedos were pretty hefty, and also very nice. For the wines, the Château Bonneau  2006 Haut Medoc was my best wine of the night. Also enjoyed the well-made Château Marjosse 2006 Bordeaux Blanc and the Château des Tours 2006 Ste Croix du Mont desert wine. I found the Puygueraud a bit to harsh and intense—maybe after some laying up it would have been delish. Jason got an extra desert with birthday candles form the lovely owner, Ling-Ling.


Menu for the Big Bordeaux Dinner

Feuillete aux pommes confit et foie gras

Château Marjosse 2006 Bordeaux Blanc

‘Z’ Bordeaux 2008 de Luc Thienpont

Confit de canard au cepes sur roesti

Petit Tournedos Bordelaise gratin Dauphinois

Château Puygueraud 2007 Cotes de France

Château Bonneau 2006 Haut Medoc

Plateau de fromages au lait crue

Château Tayac Plaisance 2008 Margaux

Panacotta a la poire carame’lise at sa meringue au cafe

Sabayon aux pommes at cannelle et sa glace Margaux

Château des Tours 2006 Ste Croix du Mont


Tourist day in MĂźnchen

Peter had to leave at dawn for work, leaving Michael, Douglas and I to have brunch at nearby CafĂŠ am Beethovenplatz. Douglas booked the table for 10am, with a strategy that we would be there to see live music starting at 11. And there was aJazz trio at 11 which were good. Breakfast was hearty (including a glass of prosecco that came with mine).

After brunch we went up the tower of Alte Peter (St Peterskirche) for good views over the rainy city, and the Neues Rathaus. We were there at 12 in time for the Rathaus-Glockenspiel and enjoyed the show through the rain from an unusual high viewpoint. The longer-distance views were hidden in drizzle.


We continued the churchy theme by exploring the Asamkirche, an amazing 1746 baroque chapel, highly ornate with over-the-top gilt and statues. So much to look at, including confessionals topped with lovely white marble pillar-tops so that cherubs and skulls were grinning down as you confessed your sins.


IMG_0225 IMG_0226

From there we popped into the lovely new Jewish Museum which has interesting permanent and temporary exhibitions, The building itself is impressive, with modern-stark architecture inside, next door to the modern and ornate Ohel Jakob Synagogue. It was a good place to while away a rainy afternoon and some of the exhibitions were quite moving.

We continued our tour to Odeonsplatz by which time the cold and the drizzle drove us back to Douglas’ house, to devour Prinzregententorte and watch Summer Storm on DVD. Such a good film. We left about 7.30, after a roast dinner, which made this an impressive end to a foody and indulgent weekend. Douglas looked after us incredibly well.

Tweets this Week (2010-10-17)

  • #Trainyard #
  • #Trainyard #
  • Home-made bubble tea was a success. The tapioca bubbles were a bit chewy. I'll cook them longer next time. #
  • Having Fools Gold cocktail at ADC to see The Alchemist (in few mins). Cocktail: orange juice, cointreau, tequila and coke. Looks awful. #
  • Back at the Chemistry Dept this morning. It's strange: it feels so familiar to be here and yet it's 17 years since I left. How time flies! #
  • Greater Manchester Police tweeting every incident today @gmp24_1 @gmp24_2 @gmp24_3 #
  • Waiting for melt-in-the-middle chocolate puds with glass of Moscatel de SetĂšbal—slightly oaked,lots of rich raisin #
  • If it wasn't $150 I'd get one of these in time for Christmas: Chimera: creepy Christmas decoration #
  • Excited to be en route to Munich to visit Douglas and Peter. #
  • Safely in Munich. Adding an hour makes quite a difference on a Friday night. #
  • Had a great relaxing afternoon at Therme Erding, the biggest thermal baths in Europe! #

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Night out in Munich

Lebkuchen (chocolate, jam and marzipan)—that’s how we started the evening. Peter was able to join us for dinner after being away working overnight. Douglas made us a great meal of big spicy meatballs with ratatouille. We headed out for drinks after dinner to Sendlinger Tor to the gay bars bars: started at Kr@ftAkt where my ropey german managed to oder me an alcohol-free pils! The bar was good and relaxed but certainly not as full of character as Pop-as bar round the corner in Thalkirchnerstrasse. Peter and Douglas were clearly well known regulars here, and favourites with the owner Carlos. Great fun, until there was a fire small fire in basement. Free gins and tonics finished us off at the end of the night. Late night, particularly considering that Peter had to be up a few hours later for work.


Picture from: