Sunday, 30 December 2012

And I Also Resolve....

..... to get Mrs D to give me ("moi aussi") a makeover also.

I be working quite hard this last two years for an old girl made of pipe-cleaners and cotton wool. Do you remember my head did fall off a while back? Mrs D had to step in quick there. Not to mention the time me finger snapped off as well. Which be worse you think? Head drop off? Leg drop off?
What a pair us Old Uns be.

The time has come to grasp the pliers, Mrs D.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

In 2013 I Resolve.....

... to get that Ol' Mrs D to give The Old Man a makeover.

I mean, tis a worry when a leg drops off just when one is about to shoot a scene for the annual Christmas movie. Which is why in part it do not happen this year... Mrs D do give him a temporary fix with a "metal hip" but we both know......

And this do make the "real life" Old Man a bit queasy....

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Herman Stays Swedish

Yes indeed. Still baking with Herman the sourdough starter. This lot are Swedish Cardamom Buns from Sourdough Companion.

They's all gone now. Yum Yum.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Walk in Helston

Mossy trees by the side of the footpath from Helston to Penrose Estate.

A point in time when it is not raining.
Redwings again, long-tailed tits, and a little egret settling onto the grass of a neighbouring field.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Good-Bye Sara Lund

So there it is. For those of us in the UK who watched the last episodes of "The Killing III" last night.

Blimey! I do not see that ending coming. They do always manage to surprise me, that team. And yes I do admit to being rather on the edge of my seat and chewing my nails and shouting at The Old Man not to talk so much cos I is reading the sub-titles. The Old Man huffs and says they could've wrapped it up previous episode....

I did complain a bit, I admit, at the US spin-off series of The Killing but by second season I do get the hang of it and do think it pretty good and rather grittier... and rainier.... than a lot of US cop series. And by grittier I do mean that the actors do not appear to have been botoxed and buffed to Alcatraz and back. So then they do announce that they be cancelling it! Typical I do say to myself. Now it is possible that they are un-cancelling it!  Or hang on a minute. Stop Press! May be cancelling it again? I give up....

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

All Tied Up...

With apologies... AGAIN. But I be all tied up with this parcels for Christmas thing. Just gotta get my act together and get unstuck....

Thursday, 6 December 2012

And On A Natural Scandinavian Note....

Redwing: Photo from Wikipedia
The Old Man and me do spot our first Scandinavian winter visitors....  in a field next to a nearby lane... a couple of redwing bouncing about looking for food. Slimmer than a thrush or blackbird... more upright.... Also one puzzled blackbird bouncing about after them .... maybe thinking to itself ... they didn't look like they came from round here.

And yes we are indeed following the final season of "The Killing" on BBC Four. I do read one snarky review that said it was right to finish the series... tired etc.... not up to "The Bridge". Honestly. How nit-picky can you get. "The Killing" still has me hooked, and whilst I enjoyed "The Bridge" I do not think it as classic... the characters a bit too off the wall.
Now who's being snarky.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

In Which Herman Travels To Scandinavia...

... indeed "Herman" my sourdough starter is now positively crisp on the subject. Ho-Ho. I do use him to bake some "crispbread" from Andrew Whitley's book "Bread Matters". The recipe is  not specifically sourdough but lists a proportion of prefermented "sponge" which enables me to have a go.
 "Bread Matters" is a weighty book of great detail. It have rather daunted one or two would-be bread makers that me and The Old Man do know. But now I have my adaptable beast of a sourdough starter, "Herman", I do boldly go... These darlings do stand up for themselves and do pack a snap. Wish I could say the same for myself.

And what precisely does Herman the Sourdough starter consist of these days?

Herman sits in a bowl in the kitchen porch. He be covered with a modest plastic showercap to keep him snug. He do get all stirred up with a spatula every day. And every four days or so he gets built up with the addition of half cup strong white wheat flour and half cup of soya milk. (This last is just a kind of hangover from the original recipe.... most sourdoughs are fed with water and flour.) Every week, the day before I bake I add more flour and soya milk (same proportions) and split the result... putting about half (usually about 250 to 300 gms) back in the Herman bowl... cover with showercap and put it back in the porch. I put the other half in a mixing bowl and bring it into the kitchen... ready for use in the bake.

I must say I am a bit surprised that I be baking like this. OK, where shall Herman and I go next?

Monday, 3 December 2012

Madame Deficit Admires The Rural View

Oh my dears, as you know I am a lover of the countryside and all things rural... But even I do pause for thought when Planning Minister "Nick" Boles points out the "moral right" of people to have their own homes surrounded with garden. How hard it must be to be a modern Tory... straddling so many viewpoints. Presumably these "moral right" homes should only contain the appropriate number of bedrooms... (see previous post). Consequently, he do say, we must be prepared to start building on open land, tout suite!

Brush away those open fields and rural views. Don't you know that the built environment can be beautiful too? says Mr Boles. Oh but I do, Mr Boles... you can see an example of my own architectural inspiration in one of my previous posts here.

Brush away those green hills and fluffy sheep.. (Oh dear but I be so fond of the petit fluffy mouton things). Brush away the objections of those National Trust 'latter-day Luddites'. (Alors! Was not Daddy Boles a National Trust Chief Exec back in the 1970s?) Build, Build, Build.... but nothing "pig ugly", mind. We must have standards, but let us not stand in the way of progress. Fill the view with lovely, lovely buildings. I am particularly fond of those bijoux estates of houses with gardens... the ones that hunch up together for comfort? Where you can gaze out of the kitchen window at your own patch of lawn, raise your eyes... and stare into the eyes of your neighbour at their kitchen sink ten feet away. Such bonhomie.

And let us not stop there. We must be practical. Nuclear power stations. Lots of those. If we can get some poor mutt to pay for them. Let not the Luddites stand in the way of progress. Let's not mess around with wind turbines. No.. all the fuel generation can now take place where Mr Osborne prefers... out of sight and underground. Aah the joys of fracking.

Build... Build.... However.... I do be a little concerned at the prospect of more rain, Mr Boles. You know.... all those inconvenient floods we do have recently? It just may be that concreting over those useless green fields may contribute to the problem of drainage? Where do the rain waters go? Perhaps I speak out of turn. I just be a little old fluffy head brioche-eater. But.....

Better to build on stilts perhaps?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Madam Deficit Considers Sleeping Space

Naturally this government do have a proper view on what the poor should or should not be prepared to do. According to Lord Freud they (the inconvenient poor) "have the least to lose".

As of April next year... those in social-housing and in receipt of housing benefit must cut their cloth and their living space accordingly. They will see their housing benefit taxed for any spare bedroom they may have! The perceptive Lord Freud has some say in the matter again... which seems to boil down to go somewhere else and/or get a job that will help you pay for your spare bedroom.

I do kind of wonder if there are ever any circumstances that could warrant an extra bedroom? Are there divorced parents with weekend visits from children? Are there people who are trying to set up in business/study for qualifications who need office/storage/study space? And what about the size of this spare bedroom you must not be allowed? My dears... if you go home-hunting you would be surprised at spaces described as "bedrooms"... a cupboard by any other name.

Ah well. Clearly those who have a second-home in London and/or their constituencies for their parliamentary work would have a clear grasp on the matter of "necessary space" for living (their own and their ducks)...... as we have been shown.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Madam Deficit Quotes Freud

No my darlings.... Not Sigmund.... but another of that great and ubiquitous dynasty. I am referring to Lord Freud, Welfare System Reform advisor of choice to New Labour under Blair.... and Minster of same to the Coalition Government under Osborne ... oops! I mean Cameron.

Anyway... I think he just about sums up the prevailing attitude with his statement that...... "...People who are poorer should be prepared to take the biggest risks; they've got the least to lose...."

Then of course there is that other bon mot that has caused a sharp intake of breath in certain quarters.... when discussing the possibility that he may not have any first hand knowledge of what it is like to live on benefits....he says "I think you don't have to the corpse to go to the funeral...."

Well done, there! or was that a Freudian Slip? Grandaddy would be pleased.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Bagel Hubris and General Woes

My second batch of bagels were wrinkly flat little things..... "over proved" we do say.... "over proved"....
Apologies for not posting for a few days.
The rain raineth. The wind bloweth. The government makes me cross and "sick to the stomach" and "fed up"... (and other such worthy and incisive quotes from our esteemed Prime Minister....) I can't bear to look at the Middle East....
And Big Sis have finally sold up and is leaving Cornwall  after forty years.... for the other side of the country.....
Was it something I said?

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Animated Discussions: Alois Nebel

Received my DVD copy of "Alois Nebel" today and greatly looking forward to watching it.

It's a 2011 Czech animated film by Tomáš Luňák, based on a trilogy of graphic novels. The story is set in the late 1980s in a remote village on the Czech-Polish border where Alois Nebel works as a dis­patcher at the small railway station. A loner, fog brings him hallucinations of trains from the last hundred years passing through his station bringing with them ghosts and shadows from the dark past of Central Eu­rope. His experiences drive him to a sanatorium and his journey continues from there.

Of course I don't know the full story as yet... cos I haven't watched it! The film itself is black and whiteand uses the technique of rotoscoping live-action film.

Animated Discussions: Alois Nebel - Trailer HD

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Reshaping Of Herman

Or rather... the reshaping of Herman-the-German-friendship-cake "starter"....

Because Herman is not as he was when I received him. Then ... he be fed on flour, sugar and milk as per his recipe. To be honest, he be a pale and lazy type... frequently smelling of alcohol.

Anyways I start to substitute the dairy milk with good unsweetened soya milk when he need feeding. (A remnant from my vegan days which I still prefer for some things.... Yes? What? Yes I did once be a vegan .... for several years... and jolly healthy I did feel on it too but cappuccinos with friends set off the moral rot, plus I do get tired of justifying my food faddism with so-called friends who do not understand my views. I backslid into straightforward vegetarianism thus lessening some of the criticism. What? I do not say I be a Heroine!)

Back to Herman. Next - I kinda do not see what the sugar is for.... because The Old Man makes sourdough bread from his "starter" fed on straightforward flour and water which he has kept bubbling away for about five years now. So.... I stop adding sugar to Herman's feeds.

And this is what he is today. A lean beast of strong white flour and soya milk who lives in a covered bowl in the kitchen porch being fed on same about every four-five days. Now he is thicker, bubbles a bit ... and he smells of yeast rather than alcohol. So.... for you who be interested in the conversion and reshaping of Herman into brioche (ooh-la-la) and bagels (oy-veh).... This is how he lost flab and be made strong.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

In Which Herman Becomes Jewish

My "Herman the German Friendship Cake Starter" is continuing to travel and transmogrify. I did tell you about this dollop of sourdough in another post which it successfully sampled being French and turning into Brioche. This weekend it successfully turned itself into Bagels. It's a right little chameleon.

The recipe came from Sourdough Companion again. I just lessened the quantity a little... based on their Baker's Percentage ingredients... and was most surprised to have Bagels for Sunday Breakfast. Next time I will try cooking at 225C for a little shorter time.... cos it has to be admitted that these are of course delicious but be a trifle.... crusty. Their recipe for Sourdough bagels be here.

Mounts Bay Harriers Strike Out

Down on Long Rock Beach for the Sunday Walk and we see the Mounts Bay Harriers reaching their turnaround point after running from Marazion. One barefoot, some with dogs.

The grumpy Lowry figure with its back to us on the extreme right be The Old Man stomping off on his own. He be grumpy because he be furious over the BBC resignation brou-ha-ha. And that be another story.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Never Mind The Sheep - Back To Crime

OK. Brushing aside the brioche crumbs and sheep's wool...
I'm back to say that I do catch up with and greatly enjoy Tuesday's episode in BBC One's "Imagine" series: "Ian Rankin and the Case of the Disappearing Detective". Amongst other things it takes us through Rankin's writing process and his decision to bring Rebus back from retirement by following his writing of "Standing in Another Man's Grave"  from day one of draft one through to the book's completion.

I do very much enjoy watching this process and observe that an experienced and successful writer may still undergo that dreadful see-saw of doubt and satisfaction that accompanies creative activities. "Page 65" is apparently the tipping point. I just know the middle of making something is Doomsday.... but my efforts are largely confined to lino-cuts. Not quite such public acts of doubt then.

And of course while on the subject of crime thrillers - whatever Rankin may think about Scandinavian crime - a nation of fans is standing at the ready for the third and final series of "The Killing" due to take off with a double episode on our telly screens - BBC Four Saturday Nov 17th 21.00.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Madame Deficit Speaks

Did you know that you can keep warm on colder days by letting your pet sheep sit on your lap? Feed it with chopped mint and stale brioche and your next meal will be ready-stuffed lamb. Delish!


Monday, 5 November 2012

Where Have I Been?

.... Well nowhere of course. But overcome by the eating of brioche I have been swept into the winsome world of Marie-Antoinette. After all... was she not nicknamed by her unhappy peoples of France as "Madame Deficit"? And be not I in similar situation being of pensionable age and having worked in the public sector? It would appear that my position is responsible for the debt of our nation and the ruination of generations to come.

Some months ago The Old Man and I did visit a certain Cheese Shop to buy some .... cheese. In the course of our conversation the owner do ask what jobs we do before retirement... we do both reply "public sector". The owner smirked and do mutter about "gold-plated" pensions. We did take our cheese and leave... but we do not visit the shop any more... which I hope do bring the cheese-man to the realisation that only those with gold-plated pensions can afford the price of his cheese. Meanwhile I do cower if people do ask what I did to earn my living. I fear the village stocks and rotten cabbages... or worse... the tumbrel ....if I do tell them that I worked in the public sector.

Cottage from the Queens Garden.
Instead I toss my curls, embrace my frivolous nature and do escape into rural fantasy, gambolling about with my flock of pet sheep and designing model villages so many royals be prone to do. When I do peer at the starving masses I do naturally ask why, if they have no bread do they not eat cake?  "S'ils n'ont pas de pain, qui'ls mangent de la brioche." (Though some people do say that Marie-Antoinette did not actually say this. Which is possible. Speaking as another ninny who seems to be blamed for the poverty of others I have only sympathy with her on that point.)

Alors! I must be off and gather rosebuds whilst I may and work up an appetite for all that brioche I do be baking.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

In Which Herman Is Frenchified

You may remember that some months ago I be given the starter and recipe for a Herman German Friendship cake. (See here for that post.) Not to be outdone I do persevere in experimenting with the recipe for the cake: soya milk instead of dairy in the starter, less sugar in the starter, less baking powder and less sugar in the cake, sour cherries, white chocolate, prunes, apricots, crystallised ginger.... you name it, I poke it in. The cake always tastes good but I never never have found the right baking time and temperature. It has nice sourdoughish holes in it but it always ends up solid and undercooked in the middle.

Some things in the recipe don't seem to conform with the principles of sourdough baking.... which The Old Man do frequently educate me in.... The original recipe uses baking powder in addition to the "starter" and allows no time for proving. So what is the point of the sourdough starter?

During all of this frantic Herman experimenting time... my sugar-restricted-soyamilk-instead-of-dairy "starter" be getting feistier and feistier. Instead of smelling of alcohol it starts to smell of yeast. And it do start to bubble away with vigour. So I decide that my next "cake" will be a kugelhopf and I will be brave and rely on the starter alone to raise the cake.

Looking around the internet for some guidance I do find a very helpful site - "Sourdough Companion". And there I do find, instead of a kugelhopf, a recipe for sourdough brioche. I do nerve myself up and commence the long.... very long... process for to make this French beauty... with my startled and somewhat altered Herman the German starter jollop. And here is the result.

OK. Not in dainty French shape or in buns... I's too much of a beginner to fully master the shaping process so I just about manage eventually to tiff the dough into loaf tins. I bake them at around 200C for ten minutes then down to around 185C for 30-35 minutes. Here is the original recipe from "Graham" at Sourdough Companion.

I have never baked or eaten brioche before. But whatever this is.... it be nice.
Ooh-la-la! Sugar-free Herman enjoys things French.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Mrs D Still Listening To "Foreign Bodies"

Mrs D be listening to Mark Lawson's eurocrime series "Foreign Bodies" on BBC Radio 4 with great enjoyment and much nodding of approval. She likes to say that she do read the eurocrime for the social and political content also. (Har! Har!) Whatever, she do enjoy Mr Lawson being able to express what she cannot. Although she do admit that she haven't read half the writers he have talked about so far.

A reminder for those able to tune in to BBC Radio 4 that there is an omnibus edition of this week's series coming up on Friday evening 26th Oct at 21.00.

.... and as part of the overall season.... a series of Saturday afternoon plays based on the Swedish crime writers Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall character of Martin Beck starts this week on Saturday 27th Oct at 14.30. with "Roseanna".

Monday, 22 October 2012

Mrs D Admits Her Ignorance

We do listen today to the first episode of  Mark Lawson's series of 15 minute programmes on European crime fiction on BBC Radio4 called "Foreign Bodies" as mentioned in my previous post. This episode looks at Christie's "Poirot" and Simenon's "Maigret".

Now I did make that Mrs D stand in the corner wearing a dunce's cap. For she tells me that despite reading a lot of crime fiction and sometimes writing about it.... she have never (pregnant pause) read a Poirot or a Simenon. (Gasp!) I tell her she be admitting ignorance then.

But she remains defiant, I do hear her muttering into the corner that she does not want to read Agatha Christie. After some silence, I do hear her say that maybe she should read some Simenon.

Ha-ha. I think so too.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Mark Lawson's European History Through European Crime Stories

The very estimable broadcaster Mark Lawson is to be doing a series of short programmes on BBC Radio4. As of Mon Oct 22 at 1.45pm they will broadcast daily for 15 episodes. The series is called "Foreign Bodies"  in which... and I quote.... "Mark Lawson shows how crimes reflect Europe's times" by taking a look at some of the most celebrated detectives in European crime fiction.

I and Mrs D will be followin' it all closely: on the radio, recorded, or from the BBC website. We shall be there.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Old Man Explores Literary Genres

Discussin' the Man Booker Prize, The Old Man be talking about the Will Self book "Umbrella"....

".....It's Stream-of-Consciousness?...
.... Stream-of-Consequences?...

It's The Old Man's "overactive thesaurus" thingy again, innit.
Room for thought.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Animated Discussions: Google Celebrates Winsor McCay

Today you can catch Google's elaborate Doodle-Tribute to cartoonist and early animator Winsor McCay. Their animated tribute is a notable thing in itself. I'd like to acknowledge not only McCay's early foray into animation but to his surreal and elegant comic and illustration style .... what I do like immensely.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Listening To The Radio: The Flower Fields of Cornwall

Sorry, but I am a bit remiss in the Blog department at the moment. Not helped by continuous mists, rain, fog and the gloom that do accompany it all. Today, for the moment, the sun do shine. So it be all hands to the pumps for the washing to get it out there to dry (no tumble dryer here).

And that do lead to burying the dead rat I do find in the pathway... Yes you did read that right. Dead rat. Rural life. And probl'y despatched by a neighbours' cat...

Then I do clear up the layers of "Cornish palm" leaves lying about from the last few days of bad weather.... What with washing up, mopping the floor.... here I am. Well what I really mean to say is... that I come in from my rat-burying duties to find I am missing a programme on BBC Radio4 about "The Flower Fields of Cornwall". Very interesting it be too. (So I must go along to the website and catch up on the whole thing.) Because in part it is talking about the tiny patchwork fields that were made at the very edge of the land above the sea. You can still see a few (and some are allotments) over at Mousehole where they were recording. But I remember, in my youthy days in Carbis Bay, my friend and I would walk the lower footpath towards St. Ives. And I did wonder about these tiny sloping patches directly above the rocky shore, hedged and somehow looking deliberate. I did see the remnants of cultivated violet crops there, no longer tended and picked, but still growing... the dark purple, large flowered and fragrant variety that would be sold in little bunches. So,  I am really pleased to find out that I was not mistaken and that these must have been the remnants of  "quillets", the name given to these tiny strip fields.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Animated Discussions: David Elwell & Gareth Hughes: Gloam

Re-blogging a post and video from Animated Review. Animated Review: David Elwell & Gareth Hughes: Gloam: In this atmospheric short from David Elwell & Gareth Hughes we see a wonderfully animated CG character wandering a dark forest alone....."

So this is a spur of the moment share.... because..... I did just consider this "dark forest"  thingy in the the 12 year old Judderman ad. And then too Mrs D have just read John Connolly's "The Wrath of Angels" set in Maine and therefore rabbiting on to me about the mythy, supernatural, age-old thing about forests.... Brothers Grimm, Twin Peaks, ya-da-ya-da....

So Animated Review have happened to pick out "Gloam" - a little short from David Elwell and Gareth Hughes about something in the Dark Woods. Have a look-see.

Friday, 5 October 2012

A Night Out With The "Wah! Wah! Girls"

So I did see "Wah!Wah!Girls" at the Hall for Cornwall last night. Finishes tomorrow, Saturday 6th October, mind. And I did enjoy it. The Old Man was a bit more picky about it. But... picky is what he does. Cast be good and the older leads very much so. I did very much enjoy Rina Fatania's irrepressible "Bindi". The sets are ingenious, relying on photographs on gauze and frame-worked movable pieces of set like a "25 Bus". And also of course I do like bright colours, lights, glitter, music and dance and the occasional bit of puppetwork. Well. I would wouldn't I. A modern story by playwright Tanika Gupta with music by Niraj Chag and directed by KneeHigh's Emma Rice. All very fine by me though it has to be said the show's reviews have been a bit patchy.

But going out for the evening be a bit difficult in rural Cornwall. On a night of driving rain and gusty winds... a twenty-five mile car trip.... No high heels and high fashion, I'm afraid. But not sure if The Old Man can get into his high heels anymore. So we do climb out the car in walking boots and parkas! Well... The Old Man do flash his leather jacket but it do get wet.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Animated Discussions: The Dark European World of the Quay Brothers

Have spoken about the Quay Brothers before and their stop motion animations that create an almost microscopically scaled world of a surreal dark imagination. Almost too elegant? I don't know, but a fan I be. Anyway MOMA in New York has opened a retrospective of their filmwork including the later live action films such "Institute Benjamenta".
I think that... as often happens...the feel of their work influenced other stuff including advertising. I be trying to think of an advert from the early 2000s that did remind me of that dark world. It advertised some kind of drink. Turns out that I be thinking of an advert directed by Enda McCallion for a defunct Schnapps-based alcopop called Metz... and it featured a character called the Judderman. (You can watch it here and a clip about its making.) Watching the advert again I see it is nothing like I remembered.... and not even animation really!  What a strange thing my mind be. Maybe some apologies to Quay Brothers...... Though... Judderman was a good ad.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Good Morning Starshine: That 1967 Thing

I do find myself singing over my breakfast making.

"Good Morning Starshine...." goes I.  "Dibby dub dooey... la-la-la-la-LAA...." as you do. "Hair" ... that 1967 musical thing.

The Old Man drifts in and expressionlessly drifts out. Soon the record is on the turntable. But not the big 1969 musical version. True to his nature, The Old Man never has just one recording where two will do. So he do have a recording  (what he do get from a charity shop) with the original off-Broadway cast who opened Joseph Papp's Public Theater in New York in 1967.

Neither of us have listened to it properly before. Stripped down. Sounds more clearly like the current rock/pop songs of the time in some ways. Not the lush musically enhanced versions we be familiar with. I like it.

Ah. 1967. A year when I do enter art college. The world my oyster and "Art" calleth. I do remember a party .... daisies in the field, daisies caught in the car door as we drive home.... "Giddy...Glub...Gloopy..."
I do let my own hair grow. It be curly and grows out rather than down. By the early 1970s bus conductors (I know... that's a retro job, I am afraid) are remarking that they be surprised that I can get onto the bus.... the hair be so high and wide.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

The Badger Thing

Clarissa Dickson Wright says that we should not waste the badgers that are to be culled in the government's great Bovine TB experiment. We should eat them. Their meat be a perfectly good thing, say she.

Tell me.... is there something I have failed to grasp in this situation? I understood that badgers are to be culled on the basis of being "reservoirs of disease" for the whole cattle rearing industry thingy. Pardon me if I do pass up on the opportunity of sampling "Reservoir of Disease aux Clarissa"..... leaving aside the whole wussy vegetarian thing, I mean......

Oh! And that will stand for the grilled fox giblets, smoked deer haunch, llama livers, chat aux cerises and Jack Russell Supreme that be sure to follow the "diseased badger" entree.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Happy Concert-Going: IMS at Porthleven

This is just to say that yesterday afternoon we did indeed get to a concert from the IMS series in St. Bartholomew's Church in Porthleven. Well I enjoyed it very much. In part, it is so long since I have been able to listen to live music of this kind and it is so different to be in the room with the living music. Like the difference between looking at a painting and looking at a reproduction of that painting.

Although it be "lucky dip" at the time I got the tickets as to what they would be playing, I be lucky and it turned out to be just fine with me. Webern, Schumann (OK, not too keen on Schumann) and Schubert, all fine. And I be entranced.

The Old Man do grumble about the acoustics in the church venue. And the gentleman sitting next to me did lapse into snoring from time to time. But maybe it was too soon after a good Sunday lunch for him.

Me? I be adrift in Schubert String Quartet in G Major... and they did play it fine.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Sunny Afternoon : Wheal Coates

 A walk around Wheal Coates on the Cornwall coast near St Agnes. Sometimes people do hang-gliding from here. But this afternoon... which be in fact yesterday afternoon.... there is no-one in the sky. Down on the Chapel Porth beach, with the tide well out, I do see a party of surfers in the narrow band of water that they are allowed today.... and the RNLI lifesaver Landrover.

See how the landscape stretches with little vegetation except heather and gorse. That's the legacy of tin-mining for you. Though here is a bench when you need one ... cos the path up has been steep.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Travels With My Film-Life: Brittany 1969 - and Chabrol

Alors mes enfants. The other evening we do travel to Quimper in Brittany courtesy of Claude Chabrol and his 1969 thriller "Que La Bete Meure". Tis elegant, thoughtful and dashed clever this one. I very much enjoy it as do The Old Man. A grieving father seeks revenge on the "beast" hit and run driver who knocks down and kills his young son. Having located the man with obsessive cunning and a few coincidences, he do find a thoroughly unpleasant piece of work who bullies and terrifies everyone around him. There are twists and turns and the whole thing is very good. Not a thriller so much as a cool puzzler. Add a Brittany landscape that be very reminiscent of Cornwall....

I didn't know that the film is based on a British crime thriller written in the thirties by Nicholas Blake. Even more... I do not be aware that "Nicholas Blake" be the pseudonym of  Poet Laureate Cecil Day-Lewis. There's a thing.

You can read a Eurocrime review of the 1938  "The Beast Must Die" by Nicholas Blake, republished by Vintage earlier this year,  here.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Concert Going Mirage

Every year there is an event called the International Musicians Seminar which is held at Prussia Cove, here in Cornwall. I know thet they put on local concerts but I have never been to one. So this year I have booked tickets for a Sunday afternoon concert in Porthleven. Which be quite near us.
It will be good to go and try it out.

Except I do not know who is playing.
Nor what they will be playing.
.....Now I see there is a "NB" on their diary next to the "Time" of the concert... but no explaining what that NB be for....

It do get mysteriouser and mysteriouser.... will the venue disappear in a puff of smoke before I get there, do you think?

Friday, 14 September 2012

The Rook Be Singing Again

So I have talked before about the singing of the rook. (Singing Rook Post) And now I know that rooks sing in autumn not spring. Because here it is the same time of the year and the rook be singing again.

He/she be a groovy rook. Wherever it takes up a singing post it do let go with a gravel croak of syncopation and blues shuffle worthy of Tom Waits.

Groove, groove my blatant birdy.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

A Night Out: Footsbarn's Tempest

Last night we do see Footsbarn's "Indian Tempest" at the Hall for Cornwall. I must say that Truro do look deserted at 7 o'clock in the evening.

I told you a little about Footsbarn Theatre in a previous post. So.... I enjoy the production once I get the hang of it. First of all the players speak to each other (and us) in English, French, and Indian languages... But then I do think.... that this is Shakespeare's "The Tempest" which be set on an island ruled by the shipwrecked magician Prospero with his young daughter Miranda... along with various spirits and monsters. So I do reckon that multilingual speaking be fine for this magical place.

Performances full of gusto, Indian costumes, masks, European costume, flames, smoke and magic... as it should be in all theatre, I do reckon. (Well. Almost. I like my Beckett stripped down as intended.) The clowning is wonderful, clear and part of the plot as I do not often experience in Shakespeare. And the musicians are great. I enjoy the whole premise of the production. The Old Man desperately wants to connect it all to Commedia dell'arte but I'm not so sure... although where do you get away from Commedia dell'arte when it comes to theatre? One did see and hear some audience members desperately trying to piece together what they knew of the plot of The Tempest. Nevertheless we do give the company a warm applauding.... and clap to their drumming, singing finale.... and they seem well pleased with our effort too.

Just a shame to leave a theatre that for all the world feels like a closed-up municipal building... which is what it is I guess. Shutters over the bar and coffee place.... magic gone.... and there you are.... tiffed out into the still deserted streets of Truro. Ho-hum.

Footsbarn continues their production in Truro for the rest of this week until the 15th of September. After that.... its Amsterdam, back here to Exeter, then Corbeil-Essonne in France. You can see the details on their website here.  If it sounds like your stuff... go see and enjoy.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Last Night I Dreamed...

.... a friend have come to stay. I be trying to welcome and get food ready. She have brought a little plastic dish of some food like a south-east Asian soup. It do taste nice..... but my whole welcome and food thing do get out of hand. In fact the south-east Asian soup be all we eat.... cos Things proliferate. Not to mention the spare people cluttering up the place (which is not my home as now...) who be like members of the Royal family and bankers' children and such like. So that I be forever trying to put food on the table but not quite managing it and it do get ridiculous and be like champagne and cakes and right at the end..... sugar spun fripperies like a "prince on a white horse-type" cake ornament... and....and....
What an awful dream.

I do know what it be though ...... pasta machine guilt.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Tied Up...

I been practicing making pasta for a bit. I have enjoyed it. But I do only have a rolling pin and try as hard as I can... squeezing and rolling... I cannot make the pasta thin enough.

We do eat it and make out we do enjoy it... but it do require a lot of chewing.

So I do decide to get the pasta machine.

Thumbs and Fingers...

I have to take a chunk of pasta and run it through just to clean the machine from new... cos you can't wash it.

I eventually manage to make it through the rollers from thickest setting to thinnest..

Woah. That be very thin....

Pasta, Pasta, Everywhere

So thinnest setting is a problem. Everything is getting a little tricky to handle. The Old Man hovers anxiously... his fingers dying to clamp on MY machine....

Cos next... I have to try the cutting contraption. What does this fine one do? Ya... it do make intricate squidgy mess it do.

Am starting to scream and make a fuss because I am my mother's daughter. Soon I will have to, like her, resort to weeping in the kitchen with a glass of sherry....

The Old Man hushes me aside and attempts to clear out the cutter with a pastry brush. Remember. One must not wash the pasta machine....

I recover and we agree to stop the rolling process at one before the thinnest setting. More manageable. And I do go for the other cutter what be more like tagliatelle. Better.... but it's all getting stretched and tangled and Yah.... I cut the sheets in half. Hurrah. We get pasta.

I stagger into the kitchen to make the sauce and cook the noodles. The Old Man remains to mop up all surfaces and apply the pastry brush to the machine again.....