Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Pickles and Pints

From eggs to onions, pickled snacks have long been a mainstay on all good pub’s back bars. Join us on the 18th November to celebrate this pub snack power pair with a four-course supper club using Hop Back beer and something pickled in every course.
  • Summer Lightning & Cheddar Soup with Pickled Apple & Bacon
  • Smoked Mackerel, Pickled Cucumber, GFB Mustard Mayo & Croutons
  • Guest Beer Braised Beef with Smoked Garlic Mash, GFB Mustard & Beet Pickled Onions
  • Chocolate & Beer Mousse with Sweet Pickled Cranberries
I'd have been all over this event around the corner at the Sultan on November 18th if I wasn't travelling down to Wales for the Japan game on the 19th. I'm sure my ace-pickler brother John would have been as well.

Maybe next time.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sunday, October 23, 2016


My god daughter has got a job with Yahoo in Shaftesbury Avenue, so she is going to stay with me until she finds her feet.

Her dad is going to bring her up from Cardiff this afternoon.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

It won't last

Wilson’s men had got off to a flier with a super score following the opening line-out of the match. Allen scythed through the Pau midfield after sprinting on to a pass from Shingler and found the slippery Fish for him to put Scully over in the corner.
The Blues beat Pau last night to go top of their group in the European Challenge Cup. As I write the Ospreys and the Dragons top their groups as well.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Oh, horrible, oh, horrible, most horrible!

We drove through Aberfan before, but on the very day of, the disaster. I am sure I remember being told that; out in the car with Dad, on inspections.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Scarlett Johansson to open gourmet popcorn store in Paris

The actress Scarlett Johansson will be opening her own gourmet popcorn store in Paris later this week. The store, called 'Yummy Pop', will sell treats including popcorn flavoured with Vermont cheddar, truffle, parmesan and sage, to customers.
The popcorn will be cooked and mixed fresh on the premises, using seasonal ingredients, and will be served by Johansson herself at the grand opening.
The store is said to be "a labour of love" between Johansson and her husband, the advertising executive Romain Dauriac.
And to think, that until this story appeared in the Telegraph at 12:55 I was beginning to worry that there might be nothing worth recording for posterity today.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Laying it on the line, time after time after time.

I added an Active Plug to my set up last night.

At first I plugged the multi socket extension that powers the TV, Amazon Fire Stick, Sky Now Box etc. into it with the idea of setting a schedule or program to turn them off when they're not needed.

I had forgotten, however that the Hive hub is is attached to that as well. Every time I turned it off the whole system went offline, which baffled me for a while.

It's working now and seems to be OK.

I can't control it with Alexa though as she (it?) is interpreting "Alexa, Hive turn off my plug" as "Alexa, hi turn off my plug."

It looks like I will have to wait for voice training to be released in the UK, or for the Echo to adapt itself automatically to my dulcet tones, before I can try that out without getting so frustrated I feel like throwing it out the window.

One nice minor touch in it (to end with a whimper) is a manual over-ride switch on the top. So now you know.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


Here's Lewis playing for Ealing Trailfinders Academy in a win over the Army academy earlier this week.

He's just turned 19 and Ben was sixteen at the end of last month which means that, early in 2009,when they came to Kitzb├╝hel with us skiing, Ben was eight and he was 11.

Time flies eh? I bumped into him the other week. What a nice guy he was and remains.

Monday, October 17, 2016

curate's egg

I fancied listening to some Diana Kraal yesterday as I was pottering about in the kitchen only to find myself floundering in a senior moment in which I could remember that she was Elvis Costello's wife but couldn't put my finger on her name.

"Alexa, who is Elvis Costello married to?" I asked my Amazon Echo.

"Diana Kraal is the spouse of Elvis Costello" she replied.

You could have knocked me down with a feather.

Later I tried "Alexa put meet Ollie in the pub in my schedule at four o'clock."

She checked if this was four o'clock in the morning or in the afternoon, and then added an appointment called "Volume king of pop" to my Google diary.

Back to the drawing board.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Read Emily Ratajkowski's essay here

Actually I seem to have misplaced the essay, but if I had it I would post a link to it.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The best time to drink champagne is before lunch.

My brother saw Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in No Man's Land by Harold Pinter, when it was on tour in Cardiff and before it opened in the West End.

I tried to get tickets at the Wyndhams' Theatre based on his review only to find that it was practically sold out, and the few scattered seats still available were eye-wateringly expensive.

The National Theatre Live has come to the rescue though, as it is being broadcast to cinemas on December 15th.

Herewith the skinny, http://ntlive.nationaltheatre.org.uk/productions/ntlout19-no-man-s-land.

I'll probably try and catch it in the HMV Curzon.

Friday, October 14, 2016

On Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize

Noting how popular "Visions of Johanna" remains among "hardcore Dylanophiles", Andy Gill suggests it is the enigmatic quality of the song that is responsible for its popularity—"forever teetering on the brink of lucidity, yet remaining impervious to strict decipherment". Gill writes the song begins by contrasting two lovers, the carnal Louise, and "the more spiritual but unattainable" Johanna. Ultimately, for Gill, the song seeks to convey how the artist is compelled to keep striving to pursue some elusive vision of perfection.
Myself: But it contains the ludicrous Hear the one with the mustache say, “Jeeze I can’t find my knees”.
Clinton Heylin has described what he construes as the strange circumstances surrounding the song. Written around the time of Dylan's marriage to Sara Lownds, Heylin describes it as "one of the oddest songs ever written by a man who has just tied the knot and is enjoying a brief honeymoon in the city". Noting that the song is an elegy for a past lover, Heylin speculates that "it is awfully tempting to see Johanna as his muse" who, in the song, is "not here". For Heylin, the triumph of the song lies in "the way Dylan manages to write about the most inchoate feelings in such a vivid, immediate way"
Myself: But it contains the ludicrous Hear the one with the mustache say, “Jeeze I can’t find my knees”.
Dylan critic Michael Gray also praises the subtlety of the song. Gray acknowledges that it is difficult to say what this song is "about", since it is at once indefinable and precise. For Gray, its principal achievement lies in the way it confuses categories, using language to be simultaneously serious and flippant, delicate and coarse, and mixing up "abstract neo-philosophy and figurative phraseology".
Myself: But it contains the ludicrous Hear the one with the mustache say, “Jeeze I can’t find my knees”.
Robert Shelton called "Visions of Johanna" one of Dylan's major works. He writes that Dylan's technique of throwing out "skittering images" evokes "a mind floating downstream"; these "non-sequential visions" are the record of a fractured consciousness. Shelton argues that the song explores a hopeless quest to reach an ideal, the visions of Johanna, and yet without this quest life becomes meaningless. He suggests that the same paradox is explored by Keats in his "Ode on a Grecian Urn".
Keats: When old age shall this generation waste,| Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe| Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou sayst,| "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," – that is all| Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Bob: Jeeze I can’t find my knees

Thursday, October 13, 2016


I ran up some falafel mix last night. It is in the fridge to be furnished forth this evening.  Can I conjure vegan mayo to go with it? Watch this space.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

As president, will you sing or veto legislation?

The President of the United States has numerous power ballads, including those explicitly granted by Article II of the United States Constitution, implied power ballads, power ballads granted by Acts of Congress, and the influence and soft power ballads that come from being President of the United States of America.