Afternoon tea

April 26, 2014

IMG_1048We thought it would be nice to have a few folk over for afternoon tea over Easter. Just a few folk. Just a nibble or two and a drink. Cup of tea if they insist, but hopefully enjoy the garden that hubby has been working on and just catch up with a bit of relaxed chat for a couple of hours. So we asked a few friends round – not ones that knew each other – and settled on Sunday. IMG_1079The weather was glorious on Friday and Saturday and the Heavens opened on Sunday. Torrential. No hope whatsoever of getting a sniff of the garden air, so we reverted  to our new knocked-through back room.

IMG_1080I had persuaded my Mum to write down some of her recipes before she died so i made various basics out of her book –  scones, chocolate cakes, fruit loaf and then supplemented them with some parmesan biscuits and salmon on soda bread. Just to soak up the alcohol.

Which was champagne then Sipsmith’s Summer Cup – a kind of less sweet version of Pimms which slips down like water.IMG_1081





We started at 3 . We stood about and chatted, drank and nibbled. Eventually we sat down and ate the lasagne I’d prepared earlier (another recipe from Mum, but not written down, just learnt)  and we finished at midnight . Fantastic. That’s what I call a result.


comfort food

comfort food


Ann Hamer RIP

April 23, 2014


I first met Ann when I was about nine. She was a year older. Blonde. Glamorous. And had orange patent sling back shoes and a matching handbag. I was so in awe of her. She found everything funny and would make a joke out of things that weren’t. She just wanted a good time. Our sisters were best friends and our mums were close so we spent quite a lot of time together.
But it was when we’d both left school and moved to London that we became closer. She’d trained as a nurse and I was a medical student. Both of us up from the country and loving London. She lived in Camberwell before it was trendy and I used to go there for parties. Wild parties that were fantastic.
And then she gave up nursing and became a receptionist in Peat Marwick and Mitchell in Blackfriars. She got to wear nice clothes and high strappy sandals every day instead of the frumpy nurse uniform and she came to live with me in Central London. She had money and went out for meals in Covent Garden and picked up men all the time. They doted on her. Were devoted to her and adored her. She juggled them all and would come home with hilarious tales of her escapades in posh restaurants, penthouse flats in the Barbican and fast cars. She loved life and made the most of it. I have a strong memory of her singing “We are family” at the top of her voice in our bedroom whilst strutting her stuff and lifting up her skirts. We were collapsed in mirth.
She went on a first date to Tuttons and ordered spare ribs. Spilt some sauce down herself so went to the bathroom to wash it off. Only to discover her lovely green chiffon dress went see through when wet. Undeterred she returned to the restaurant and brazened it out. Being a stunning, incredibly sexy blonde helped in situations like that. She simply looked like she had won a wet tee shirt competition and pulled it off with aplomb.
We moved to Herne Hill and it was whilst there she met the man who she would marry. They had a passionate courtship with water fights , ketchup fights, shouting out of windows, emptying pans of water over each other’s heads from great height and lots of laughter too. She left Herne Hill to live with Eddie and they had children who she adored. If they have inherited half her sense of fun and joie de vivre they are lucky indeed.
Here’s to Ann. May she rest in peace.

Locke One star

April 22, 2014

Great cast, “Gripping” “Groundbreaking” “Thriller”. Four and five star reviews. And not just in ‘Empire’ magazine. But not from me. The only tension was when would the twist come? When would we care?. And it didn’t happen. Mr Concrete (Tom Hardy) is driving in his BMW and the ‘action’ (such as it is) takes place during the phonecalls he makes to those important in his life. He is an unfeeling disconnected twat that deserves everything coming to him. One star.

Last night – the evening before a four day weekend – whoo hoo! – and I am out with three mates for a bite in good old Cote. On the way there I am scurrying down Leonard Road when I see the traffic on the Uxbridge Road at a standstill. I think it just as well I am walking. There is a throng of people and then  I see the black BMW across the road and a young woman face down on the street. I hasten nearer, but at the same time hoping the ambulance will arrive before I do.  It is a long time since I practiced clinical medicine and I am no longer up to date with the required certification in lifesaving skills.  But equally I could not walk by and not offer basic assistance  to someone in need, and seem to have to do it on a not-infrequent basis.  But that’s another blog altogether. On the edge of the crowd I ask if someone has called the ambulance and at that moment I see it so I am let off the hook as the professionals arrive to take over from the two men who are kneeling on the ground and talking to the woman. I continue on to Cote to meet three friends and we drink and eat and chat chat chat until suddenly the place is empty and we are leaving. The hours just flew.That’s what good company does for you. But the night is not quite over. I do not go straight home but walk up to Wetherspoons and meet three others there. And here a round  for four including Jaegerbomb chasers is only £21. This place is incredible. How does it sell things so cheaply? Presumably by getting the numbers through the doors and the lowest quality produce. But at 11 30 who cares about quality? Not me that’s for sure.  They talked about school and of course I heard stories that I’d never known at the time. Which was probably just as well. And then the wait for Skycabs. We met Gavin from Connemara or somewhere else incoherent and he was looking for a pixxa place but couldn’t get the gist of ‘Down there turn left’. I apparently let the side down by actually telling him my name when he asked. The others had called themselves Pizza 1 and Pizza 2. But I think that’s what blue WKD does to your brain – they had actually forgotten their own names.

Calvary. Four stars

April 17, 2014

The title is probably a clue, but I hadn’t thought about it before we watched this new film which stars Brendan Gleeson. It also features Dylan Moran and Chris O’Dowd so it’s going to be a barrel of laughs. Wrong. It does have humour, but really there s much more sadness and  some suspense.

“I first tasted semen when I was seven years old” is the opening line from an unseen guy in confession who admits he is going to murder Brendan Gleeson the following Sunday. And the rest of the film is the run up to that as we watch the priest tend his flock and go through their own agonies and miseries. When I say tend, he seems relatively disconnected from them. He is not the all tender and comforting priest.. But he is there. And maybe that is enough. He came to the priesthood after his wife died, struggling with alcoholism and  leaving his daughter .He has troubles of his own and no one to share them with but God. But tellingly he believes forgiveness to be the most underrated virtue.  It is a gripping film with wonderful scenery, strong acting and a play-like quality. I want to see it again as it will bear re-telling and confess more to me second time around I’m sure. Four stars (and a few tears).

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