Sunday, 20 July 2014

You wouldn't believe me

Not a lot of people sit in their garden in July sipping a cup of broth then a Christmas pudding with ice cream- but we did today! We are clearing out the ancient freezer as we do regularly in case it breaks down or will not restart when I defrost it next. I make 3 Christmas puds and though we have the big one on Christmas Day the two smaller ones we eat at some point later in the year- but time was pushing on and it would be a waste to have the last of our festive fare go mouldy- it was beautiful if I say so myself.

We have run around so much this week- in fact for the last few weeks- so the garden was thigh high in grass, weeds etc in the borders.

Going to visit the Aln Valley Railway was interesting- all these men slogging away to create something from nothing- boys and their toys.

We have been to the Theatre Royal to see 'Black Coffee',  Agatha Christie's first play and Hercule , Jap, Hastings were all in there. We thought it was much better than 'The Mousetrap'.

We were fortunate to miss the rain when we went to see Heartbreak productions do Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' in Jesmond Dene; the evening got cooler after a hot day but it was a smashing night.

We also watched friends get married in Las Vegas- via Livestream; it was as though we were there!

Yesterday we spent several hours at a barbecue; the joys of British weather meant one of the guests brought a gazebo/marquee so if rain threatened the roof appeared overhead to stop our Pimms from being diluted- however the rain was fleeting and light and the fire meant we could stay out & enjoy good food and great company till almost midnight..

Right now I can hardly move as I have gardened since 2p.m. and have just showered as gardening in your shorts gives you hacky filthy knees!

Outside the clouds are pink and lit by an evening sun; folks forget that up North we have summer light in June/July pretty well right through the night.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Restaurant reviews

A dear friend reported that he and his wife liked my 'reviews' of afternoon tea in  venues in Newcastle and requested that they would like me to do some recommendations of restaurants & cafes in the city too. Wow! That gives me a licence to eat!! Well someone has to do it!

We tend to eat at the same place frequently- do I want those places which are already packed due to popularity- to get too full for us to get in?!

We have eaten recently at La Vina (Grey St) , La Tasca (Quay Side) Piccolinos (on Trinity Gardens near Quayside/Law Courts) all of which I have reviewed on Trip Advisor- none were among the best places I have eaten in. We do quite like Zizzis if we are going to the Theatre Royal. We have not found any faults with Basilico in Gosforth. I have not been to Jesmond Dene House in ages for lunch or dinner because in spite of their reputation, years ago I had 2 very unsatisfactory lunches there. Eslington Villa has to be one of our best rendezvous'  still over many years. Maybe we might have a go at Jamie's, Browns, and some of the new places opened recently as well as Iguana, CafĂ© Rouge etc which we have not been to in for ages. Whilst I think Barluga is overpriced for tiny portions, last weekend someone advised me to try upstairs so maybe.....  Of course I like the coffee rooms at the Tyneside Cinema but I told you that a few blogs back. I heard drastically poor reviews of afternoon tea at the Baltic last Sunday- expensive, poor and take no regard for food to which one is allergic or unable to eat due to pregnancy (both of which had been rung in days before guests attended).

For a reasonably priced lunch in town I like Cloisters at St Mary's Cathedral and Coffee Bean downstairs in Old Eldon Square. For a coffee 'Johann's' in Fenwicks is central. I used to like the vegetarian restaurant 'Supernatural' but sadly it is no more.

woman bishops

Well done to the Anglican Synod who finally voted in the possibility of female bishops; apparently Pope Francis of the Catholic church said last weekend something along the lines of the church having married priests-  at last; Lots of people said Hallelujah- but lots also said what about women priests?

Imagine recognition of equality coming to the Christian churches?! What about other religions too?

Watch lots of spaces............

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Halcyon days

I do not care what anyone says.... this is the second warmest summer on record. and what a glorious day today has been.

6 of us taking turns to push the pram while walking in 29degrees to Dean and Daniella's to sip Fentiman's rose lemonade and nibble a variety of grub; the healthiest of us nibbling avocado and prawn salad while jealously watching those who ate pizza, chicken sandwiches and sausage rolls (you all know who the 'Sausage Roll and Sweet Mince Pie Queen ' is.

Walking back we called into a pub and bumped into a young friend with whom we could catch up over a real ale.

Later we left the house full of runners and baby feeders and drove to pick up a friend to head to the coast for a barbecue. What a fantastic barbecue! Beautiful food, a lovely garden, lots of chat conducted in glorious sunshine and best of all with dozens of old friends.....

Life is good.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Grand parenting

Yes it is grand; being a grandparent means you do things with your grandchildren that you would never have done with your own children- eg allow them to eat chocolate and biscuits or visit cafes.
Pressures of time, education and discipline mean parents have to say 'no' at times and move on to the next 'project' or educational activity which will be beneficial in the competition held daily at the school gates- the casual , dropped in comment about how your Charlie has just swum the length of the pool and got his 25 metre badge or your Sophie has just got her Grade1 piano grade (with distinction!); it starts with the arrival of the first tooth/first crawl/ weaning/first steps and continues through university grades to their job

Grandparents have no one to compete with- and don't care anyway. You too are in your second childhood; in this child's eyes you are an expert train driver, tractor loader,

fish spotter


sand castle builder

farmer- you are an expert at talking to animals
and about animals

story teller

cake maker and drink provider.

You love and are loved.


H1 has not left the sofa for what seems like eons.

I love tennis, I have been to Wimbledon Court No.1 , I have seen the Williams girls singly and doubly and I enjoyed the Men's final.
We had 4 days watching bikes fly up and down the Yorkshire Dales while the crowds were so deep and appreciative- so British!
Now the World Cup is occupying the screen - it seems all night , every night, 24/7. Admittedly even I had to sit down and watch the beating Brazil took from Germany but tonight the Netherlands has had to play Argentina without me because I have had a sickener....
I have just seen a trailer giving the dates of The Open- you know and I know H1 is an addict to the hitting of little, white balls with sticks

Oscar Wilde said 'golf is a good walk spoiled' and I have to agree with him.

It is no good! I have had enough sport to last me through 2014. I may have to take up knitting.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Jungle fever

Once again I am thwarted! I am back after two weeks away 'nursing' a relative and enjoying looking after a toddler 24/7 (Heck! Exhaustion!) The garden is like a rain forest.

Meanwhile at home H1 doesn't know the difference between a rose and a redwood so everything has just taken off..... but we keep getting torrential downpours (back in the Tropics again!) so I cannot get out there with my machete- well secateurs- and hack everything back.

On Saturday I came in soaked and we gave up and went to the Tyneside Cinema to see 'Belle'. I have always wondered about that painting- Two richly dressed girls in the 1700s but one black and one white- at a time when slavery happened in Britain; I had looked up some research but when I read reviews for a film I was determined to view it. We learned more about the details of 'the Zong' case and recommend the film (though do take into account dramatic licence).

We went to eat at La Vina- Spanish style , pleasant ambience but raw pork which was sent back- & was recompensed with a recook, being taken off bill and a free drink but I couldn't stomach any more.

Yesterday part way through hammering back the Montana clematis the heavens opened again. A dash inside meant we watched some television. I found 'Common' really disquieting; I imagine joint inclusion means less research- but how when even solicitors can hear who actually has committed the crime (in the group), how can they say it was a joint enterprise- and how can the law not abandon the red tape protocol ?