21 June 2008

Busy, back later

Apropos of nothing (it's pouring down with rain, I've spent the afternoon packing), here's:
Right, off for some sun. If there isn't any, I want my money back.

18 June 2008

Oooh, caaaake

I have run out of inspiration due to lots of work, but just popped in to say if anyone feels like cheering me up they can make me Good Food's latest cheesecake.

I'm a sucker for a good baked cheesecake, but I've never tried making one before - I might give this one a go.

The best cheesecake I ever had was at Patrick Goldenberg's delicatessen on avenue Wagram in Paris. I've just had to look up when we went, and it was back in 2004, but I can taste it even now...

You could buy cheesecake by the kilo in the deli, along with pastrami, all sorts of pickled things (including some rather marvellous gherkins), and a pretty good chicken liver pate. We sat at the tables outside, ate lots of pickled items with frites, drank lots of wine, and got serenaded by a mad accordionist. It was a top night out.

Later, we went back for the cheesecake, and returned with a large white box, which sat there enticingly in the corner of the apartment. For all of 10 minutes.

13 June 2008

The Flickr game

Ooh, couldn't resist trying this. Thanks to Miss Meep who showed me the way.

The concept:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker).

The Questions:

1. What is your first name?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. What high school did you go to?
4. What is your favorite color?
5. Who is your celebrity crush?
6. Favorite drink?
7. Dream vacation?
8. Favorite dessert?
9. What you want to be when you grow up?
10. What do you love most in life?
11. One Word to describe you.
12. Your flickr name

Answers when you click on the photo. Don't laugh.

12 June 2008

Captain Jack and the V.E.T.

To the vet's today, complete with (a) one cat in need of annual MOT and (b) one small toddler clutching Captain Jack in his 'cat box' (an old cardboard lunchbox).

That's Captain Jack over to the left. This was taken a while ago, so he's even more scrofulous now, despite a good scrub with a nail brush and a bit of Comfort. He's also currently sporting a rather natty red ribbon collar, complete with bell, in the hope that we don't lose him again. He does like to dress up - so far this week he's worn a pink diamante tiara, sunglasses and a red flower (not all at once, thankfully), but for the purposes of today's outing the snake lunchbox was deemed fancy enough.

The vet, bless her, played along, and listened to his heart with her stethoscope. Rustle (our real cat), was not impressed, and looked pissed off throughout. I think she'd been looking forward to her yearly moment in the spotlight...

10 June 2008

Happy campers

I appear to have ignored you all for a while. Sorry about that. It's sunny, ok? And we don't get much of that up here in the frozen north, so it's enough to turn any girl's head.

In fact, driven delirious by two whole days of sunshine I actually agreed to go camping on Saturday. I am not the world's greatest camper, and agree to endure nights under canvas only if we take (a) a blow up airbed/mattress (b) my coffee pot, so I can brew horribly strong coffee in a morning to balance out the fact I will get about three hours of sleep.

And, to be honest, it was rather fun. It didn't rain. The campsite was pleasingly low-tech and low key (two fields; a shower block in some old outbuildings), we managed to get the tent up without hitting the small child on the head with the mallet, and the 40-year-old camping stove created pasta and chorizo for tea with a minimum of fuss.

So far, so cool camping. We did look a little bit out of our league compared to the massive cars/tents/gazebos/deckchair-and-table-combos favoured by our neighbours, but hey, you've got to start somewhere. We had a bottle of wine. What more did we need?

Actually, a heater would have done nicely for a start. It was bloody freezing in the evening. With the child deliriously happy in bed in the tent, we sat in the car, read the paper, and tried not to think about the three nice pubs that we'd seen in the village.

It was still on the parky side at 4.30am, as I tried to sleep. And not much better at 7am, when everywhere outside the tent was covered in a thick carpet of condensation and dew. Still, sausages, beans and coffee for breakfast went down well (bizarrely, stirring beans on a stove was the toddler highlight of the whole experience), and it got pretty sunny fairly quickly.

Still suffering from the effects of little sleep and a massive caffeine hit, I may have agreed to repeat the whole experience.


03 June 2008

Yet another work-related thing

On a completely different note, and following on from all the tagging malarkey, Badger Madge has some excellent advice for folks thinking of taking up this writing business.

02 June 2008


You know how you build something up in your head, look forward to it fervently and then when it arrives it's truly disappointing?

(You might expect something epic from that spiel; rest assured, it's rather more mundane. I tend towards the drama queen on occasion.)

My favourite coffee bar closed for 18 months while the Tyneside Cinema was refurbished. It's now open to punters, in all its red leather glory. So on Friday night I trundled out for dinner, ate far too much bread and mezze, and thought I'd call in for an espresso, savour the atmosphere, and reminisce about old times.

Sadly, not. I wandered in 20 minutes before closing time only to be told they were shut. Not "the coffee machine's been switched off", but "we're closed".

Gah. Extremely annoyed (I'd quite like to finish working early too, but I don't tend to get paid if I follow Intermezzo's example), I wandered the streets...but it seems impossible to get a decent cup of coffee in Newcastle at 11pm. Everywhere (even the places with a late licence) had switched everything off. Beer, spirits, more wine, yes. Coffee, no.

I caught the bus home, made some coffee, and thought about moving to France. Philippe makes a mean espresso at his bar at the Lac de Gurson...