16 June 2007

Arts Corner: get a life

It's Saturday, and there's no weeping Josephs to watch. Quite frankly, what am I going to do with my time? Well, apart from getting a life...

  • I could go and watch Opera North perform Dido and Aeneas at the Theatre Royal (but at £13 for the cheapest of seats in the gods, I'd have to really like opera - and as you may have guessed from my viewing habits I lean more towards musicals...)
  • I could go and see a production of Peer Gynt at Northern Stage (only £7, and I'm sure quite a bargain for some experimental theatre, but my heart really isn't in it)
  • I could go and see Das Leben der Anderen at the Tyneside Cinema (in fact I'll probably go and see this in the next couple of days, but it's not really light, frothy Saturday night entertainment, is it?)
  • the Journal Tyne Theatre doesn't have anything playing, so that's a bit of a washout (although if you wait until September there's an evening with Ray Mears - Ray Mears! My hero!)
  • the Sage Gateshead is similarly dark, but there do appear to be brass bands galore tomorrow night, for those wanting to entertain Brassed Off fantasies of Ewan McGregor...
  • and that's all quite apart from places like the Star and Shadow cinema, City Hall, the Metro Radio Arena, World Headquarters...need I go on?

In short, Newcastle's a busy place. What's a girl to do? Well, cook chilli, stay in and watch telly with husband, obviously. I think it might be time for a nice (free) documentary on stadium rock.

15 June 2007

Project update

Lemon drizzle cake = brilliant. Even if I say so myself. There's not much left now.

Wardrobe doors = still not finished. White with a hint of blue looking good, but mahogany still winning.

Big project ending = new book = Neil Gaiman's Stardust.

See you when I've finished it.

14 June 2007

Fantastic, fantastic, fantastic!

Wah-hey! Big project pretty much finished, holiday just round the corner. Just time to pop back and tell you all about my exciting plans to finish painting the wardrobe doors (it's like the Forth Bridge all over again) and make a lemon drizzle cake. Hey, suburbia's where it's at, don't you know? What with the lawn mowing and washing cars, we really know how to party.

Actually, my car could really do with a clean at the moment, given that the last time it was done was when it went in for a service several months ago. Since then it's been liberally smeared in toddler goop on the inside, and Northumberland mud/sand on the outside, to the extent that even said toddler keeps remarking on how dirty it is. So far I've decided to buck the Sunday carwashing trend, but I might have to succumb.

Our carwashing avoidance tactic last Sunday was to spend the weekend camping in the wilderness of Northumberland, up past Rothbury. That's right - the bit that's practically Scotland, with no mobile phone coverage. It might have been a beautiful back-to-nature experience - the website of the place we were staying promised: "No busy roads or traffic nearby, just the gentle bleating of sheep in the surrounding fields, penetrates the tranquillity of this ideal retreat." Ah, but they hadn't bargained on the Coquet Creek Country and Western Weekend just up the valley or the Beerpigs Scooter Club taking over the nearby hotel with about 200 scooters had they?

Still, outbreaks of grumpiness aside, I've now discovered (a) it's pretty light at 4.30am (b) birds sing REALLY loudly at dawn when you're in a tent trying to sleep and (c) I can function reasonably well on three hours' sleep as long as I drink obscene amounts of strong coffee.

03 June 2007

Sunshiney day

Newcastle was bathed in sunshine today, for the fourth day running. It's a bit weird, to be honest - we're not used to this in the frozen north. Usually you can't take your vest off until ooh, at least August, especially if you're a southerner like me. My grandad was a Geordie, but obviously the Bigg Market genes that allow you to go out in nothing but a boob tube dress and a pair of sandals in January got a bit diluted somewhere along the line.

We headed down to the Quayside, seeing as how it felt continental enough to sit outside and have lunch. Most of Newcastle seemed to be out there as well, parading around in their finery and watching the bizarre sight of an enormous stretch Hummer ploughing up and down the side of the river while about 20 six-year-olds dressed in pink party dresses hung out of the windows, frantically waving. It probably made some hungover stag parties do a double take, especially as the shrieking was a little on the loud side.

We ended up at Est, Est, Est which has a nice decked area outside and pretty good food considering it's a chain. The menu changes every couple of months, and they do a mean pizza fiorentina, which is more than enough in my book. And actually, the caesar salad was good today too - it was definitely lettuce at some point in the past, which is more than you can say at some places.

And, best of all, you get crayons and pictures to colour in if you're small. For once we let M play with them, rather than nicking them all and colouring in the (paper) tablecloth. Yes, I know we're mean. But there have to be some advantages to taking small child out to lunch, surely?