11 December 2008

Decorations (part III)

Terrible pic (mobile phone again), but you get the idea...

UPDATE: recipe here

08 December 2008

Decorations (part II)

(or how to entertain your small child on a cold and damp afternoon no 4,167)

Decorations (part 1)

(or how to make your dining room look like Top of the Pops)

06 December 2008


We spent the afternoon pottering around in Durham today - tea and cake in the Undercroft, a pootle round the craft fair, and a look at the reindeer in the market square. Lots of tinsel, some beautiful Christmas lights, and, of course, the cathedral, which is one of my favourite buildings.

The others being, in no particular order:
  • the Eiffel Tower (for sheer lunacy and its breathtaking views)
  • the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (it's painted red - what more do you need? And Orb asked me to marry him in the middle of it)
  • the Pompidou Centre in Paris (again with the breathtaking views, but this time escalators rather than lifts)
  • the Angel of the North (less a building more a giant sculpture, but when I see it I know I'm home)
But back to the cathedral. It's the massive pillars down the nave that do it for me - they are just monstrous and beautiful, and contrast so well with the thin tracery of the stonework behind the high altar. I could witter on about it for hours, if I could remember much of the course on early Northumberland and its history and buildings that I took in my third year at the university.

Sadly, that was quite a while ago, as we realised today. Where did the last 16 years go?

05 December 2008

Tweet tweet

I've been playing around with Twitter for the last couple of days (the more observant among you may have noticed it's appeared in the Empire of Me sidebar). It's early days yet, but I'm reasonably impressed (mainly because the lovely Patroclus directed me towards TweetDeck, which is a rather less clunky method of reading and organising Twitter updates than the original).

It's good mainly because it is so stripped down - it literally is all about what people/organisations are doing. I'm on facebook too, and what really bugs me there is the extraneous tat that you have to find out about - so and so has fed their pet fish and gained so many star points, someone's scored 500 in a movie quiz...bleurgh.

It's also much broader than facebook, in that you have access to everyone (which in itself raises interesting dilemmas when everyone has access to you - what you post to where, personally and professionally, particularly if you don't have a pseudonym?) It can make for interesting reading (fancy following Stephen Fry? Join the other 26,000-odd people who already do...) or for total tedium. I guess you have to pick carefully. But you get the chance to reply or ask questions of people who might not ever consider reading an email from you, which could be an interesting prospect professionally.

I also like the way many content providers (eg MediaGuardian, or our own more local bdaily) are using it as a news feed - somehow it's easier to read snippets like this (especially via TweetDeck) than it is in Google Reader.

Anyhow, the experiment continues. Here's to minutiae.

04 December 2008

Sneak preview

Painting a giggling three-year-old's hands with glittery yellow paint was definitely the best bit.

Decisions, decisions

There's an interesting article on Hamlet skulduggery over at the Guardian - it turns out that David Tennant's been using a real one for the graveyard scene. I rather like the idea of leaving your body to a theatre company, rather than to science...but maybe that's the exhibitionist in me talking.

I once had one of the RSC's prop skulls in a box under my bed, which was a little macabre. It had been Ken Branagh's rehearsal skull for the RSC's 1992 production of Hamlet...so presumably looked a lot like this one:

(via the branaghcompenium.com)

I was stage managing a student production of Hamlet at the time (we're talking 1993, I think), probably due to the fact that I'd actually seen Ken in all four and a half hours of the RSC thing, and had been totally bowled over by it.

Rather pleasingly, the guy who played Hamlet, Adrian Fear, has gone on to become a pretty successful actor (even if he now has far less hair than he used to). He had stage presence, even then.

03 December 2008

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

...how spooky are your branches.

And angels...

This just goes to show the dangers of taking pictures on a dodgy mobile phone, rather than being bothered to get the actual camera out.

This is just M's tree - the small one that goes in the living room. We're off to the Forestry Commission tent at IKEA soon to get the large one for the dining room that gets decorated in the tasteful stuff. Hopefully this year we'll pick one that isn't too enormous...we always think it'll be fine, and then I end up sitting in the middle of a forest in the car on the way home.

Last year we really thought we'd cracked it - the tree fitted in lengthways; I didn't have needles up my nose...and then we got it home and it turned out to be about 7ft wide as well as tall.

This year I'm taking my measuring tape.