Tuesday, 24 February 2009
Friday, 20 February 2009
Thursday, 19 February 2009
... Well a series of pictures really. By the inspired Walker Evans. In the late 1930s, photographer Walker Evans and writer James Agee collaborated on Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, a portrait of rural sharecroppers in the Deep South. While working on the book, they collaborated on a lesser known project: Many Are Called, a three-year study of travellers on the New York subway. Evans used a hidden camera, photographing unsuspecting passengers traveling around the city. These images invite us to ask questions about these strangers, their lives and personalities. Walker presents a cross-section of people who are unposed and anonymous, as a result, the images have a wonderful sense of directness. These images really speak to me as I love people watching. When I was travelling to work on the tube every day, I always used to observe and wonder. I think there is something about being in such close proximity with such a diverse group of strangers accompanied by the unwritten rule of non-interaction that makes you feel it is perfectly fine to be nosy and eavesdrop / stare in a way you would never do outside the confines of a metal cylinder!
Evans catches his subjects in typical subway behavior, deep in daydreams, or asleep or gazing off into space. I like the middle couple who stare back at him, suggesting that even without a visible camera he was intently observing his subjects but also was being observed back. As we are put in the position of photographer it feels like they are observing us too.
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
- Drink: tea / champagne - mmmmm I love both equally but due to financial constraint tea normally wins through!
- Biscuit: specaloo - this is a throw back to my childhood - speculoo's are the main biscuit eaten in Belgium, at Christmas they make giant ones in the shape of Sint Nicolaas. I like the little thin ones you get with coffee.
- Chocolate: chocolate mint truffles from M&S, yum yum yum - especially when eaten straight from the fridge (I know I know you aren't supposed to but then you aren't supposed to do a lot of things...) Move aside Charbonnel & Walker at £1.43 per little truffle (I have to say, beautiful packaging but awful chocolate).
- Place: Ogmore Beach / St Donats Castle
- Time: dusk
- Entertainment: the theatre, there is absolutely nothing like watching a brilliant play, show or ballet (especially the Northern Ballet whom I love love love)
- Holiday: exploring, I'm much more of an explorer than a relaxer. I don't mean up the Amazon or anything but I like to be able to wander and discover.
Monday, 16 February 2009
A lot of emotion rides behind these games, historically there has been a lot of tension between the two countries, with Wales being annexed by England, the demise of the Welsh language and a great deal of mistreatment of the Welsh people by the English. As I say, this is all absolutely in the past, and with devolution, our own Senedd, and a resurgence of the Welsh language, a lot of the old tensions have subsided. Even so there's no team the Welsh like to beat more than the English! Especially in our national sport - rugby!
The one opportunity for this is the Six Nations Championship, which sees England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and France all competing for the trophy. The Welsh team started the match as the favourites, and had the added bonus of playing on home turf in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. After a few rousing Welsh songs and the national anthems the match began. It soon emerged that things were not going to be as clear cut as everyone thought. England put in a good fight and at half time there was a feeling that it could go either way, but in the end Wales pulled through and were victorious! Go Wales!
Sunday, 15 February 2009
N and I do not have an excellent track history of Valentines day. We normally avoid doing anything on the day itself as restaurants are always so expensive and I hate the idea of sitting in a restaurant full of couples, all trying desperately to achieve the perfect 'romantic' evening. I'm not sure romance works like that. So apart from one year, many moons ago, when I was working for the BBC and N surprised me by picking me up from the bus stop, we have never done the valentines thing. Last year for example, we went to the pictures and saw 'There Will Be Blood' - which admittedly may have been taking the anti-valentines stance a little far!
To compensate for last year, this year we made a plan, and booked a restaurant for lunch. But not just any restaurant. This restaurant is on my favourite stretch of coastline between my favourite two beaches Ogmore and Dunraven. I had heard such good things about it and its talented chef. We arrived at the restaurant a little early and so continued down the lane, along the beach road which plummets down to the sea.
I love this stretch of road, you do feel like you are clinging on to the land, floating above blue-grey expanse. At the bottom you park up your car and have three options: climb up the cliff for a gorgeous top-of-the-world ramble, continue up the white path to the ruins of Dunraven castle where we picnic in the summer, or clamber down over the pebbles to the beach. Short on time we decided on option three. I love a good clamber. Slipping and sliding over pebbles and shingles, picking your way carefully, gingerly, altering your course until you reach the sea.
Feeling invigorated and having worked up a bit of an appetite we made our way back to La Plie. What can I say about this place? Other than that it was amazing. It is run by an extremely young chef whose menu is adventurous and fantastically brave. Every single flavour combination just worked, every morsel we tasted was delicious. And what excellent value for money! Our three course lunch (which also included extra little appetisers) worked out at £20.00 each. I am so used to being palmed off with mediocre vegetarian options - oh how many mushroom risotto's I have consumed in my lifetime! But I started with squash three ways - a little cup of soup, a squash mousse and roasted squash seeds - yum yum yum. My main was a winter plate which was delicious and pudding, well I can hardly write about it without my mouth starting to water (and as a chef de patisserie I am super critical). I had a warm chocolate fondant (cooked to absolute perfection) with white chocolate ice cream and orange marmalade. Scrumdillyumptious! We were there for nearly three hours! What a lovely way to while away a lazy afternoon! I feel so passionately that there is such amazing talent out there, in every profession and that it should be supported and nurtured. Talking to the owner and chef, you could just tell how much he puts into the place and how much he gives of himself. I couldn't recommend it enough.
After lunch we made our way to Ogmore to walk off our dinner. It had turned into a gray hazy afternoon and the long beach just looked eerie and spectacular with little black silhouettes in the distance of walkers and their dogs. Gorgeous. This is it on a sunnier day:
Friday, 13 February 2009
When I see you from across a crowded room my heart skips a beat when I get nearer to the place where I think you might be my heart starts to thump - will you be there? Will you be there? Will you be there? And then as if by a miracle, the clouds part and the sun pours out from behind a curtain of grey and suddenly you are there... my throat goes dry, my legs turn to jelly and even now as I write this my hands begin to tremble at merely the memory. I think you have a nice smile. I think you look kind. I don't want to be alone with my thoughts. Would you? Could you? Be my Valentine?
I must admit I have never sent an anonomous valentines card, ever. Have you?
Happy Valentines day for tomorrow!
Monday, 9 February 2009
Friday, 6 February 2009
- Travelling up to London early today to go to N's cousin's 21st dinner (please work trains)
- A Saturday lunch in a pub with an odd name with a big gaggle of girls from university days. I can't wait! We all studied English Lit together - one is now works for the Foreign Office (clearly some kind of spy), one is a journalist for the Telegraph, another is a University Lecturer compiling a book for publication on smell in literature, one is a drama teacher - and the others have equally exciting jobs and then there is me - cake maker ... hmmm!
- Early Saturday evening drinks with N's work colleague who has just returned from getting married in New Zealand. I haven't met any of his current fellow workers yet so I will have to be on my best behaviour (blimey!). Afterwards we are meeting some friends, as one of them has a lovely new fella she would like us to meet - I think we are going dancing which will be fun as I can't remember the last time I went dancing! (Clear sign of impending old age)
- Sunday N's parents are coming to the flat for lunch (NB I need to think of something for pudding) and then I am tootling off back to Wales. and back to my normally quiet existence!
Thursday, 5 February 2009
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
favourite tea jam (x2), a beautiful caddy of amazingly fragrant tea called Thé de lune (what a name!) a caddy spoon shaped like a lotus leaf and a recipe book for cooking with tea. I cannot wait to try the tea infused Crème Brûlée!!! mmmmmmmmmmmm! I'm so excited!