Sunday, 30 June 2013

Invisible Me

I'm feeling lucky to be alive. Thought I'd take a little time out this morning to go buy food. Tootling home and came within inches of being wiped out by some dozy bitch pulling into my lane without looking. Even when I blared my horn and flashed my lights at her she still appeared oblivious, as did the man in the passenger seat. Thing is, this happens quite a lot. It's only a few weeks since someone else pulled out on top of me at a junction - I had to call the police - she claims not to have seen me at all! A couple of months before that, another idiot trying to pull into the space that my car was then occupying. Again claiming "I didn't see you". Either there are too many people driving around with their eyes shut - which is a very frightening thought - or they really did perfect the invisible car, and it's mine! Perhaps James Bond might like to borrow it for his next mission.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Mail Manners

Whether one has any intention of acting on information in an email or not, how difficult is it to fire a quick reply at least acknowledging receipt? I get that people are busy, but surely that was supposed to be one of the benefits of email - that they were quick and easy. No real writing involved, no posting or searching for someone's in-tray in which to drop a printed note. Automated responses stating something has been read don't really cut it either. I have a friend who clicks open every email she gets from colleagues which then triggers the 'read' email being sent back. Has she read them? Has she hell! But here I am, not even an automated response in my inbox, not a brief, 'thanks but I haven't the time to deal with it' or even 'thanks but no thanks' - simply nothing. I feel I wouldn't get far if I played like that.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Summer's Flop

Actually, Summer hasn't quite been a flop yet. The sun has been shining and it's been warm, not that I've seen much of it - work work work. The sun however, does bring out that most heinous of fashion trends in men - the flip-flop. Not content to be relegated to holidays in the Med or pool-side, it appears they can (really?) be sported with everything. Evidently the men wearing them possess neither a full-length mirror nor a partner willing to tell them how naff they look. This week I have had the misfortune to subject my eyes to several men wearing the offending footwear with thick tracksuits, all grey with elasticated ankle cuffs, and one poor man in a suit and flip-flops. Ick. And, FFS, if men really have to wear them, at least get a pedi!
Pic. Men What to Wear 2012

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Plough's in a furrow

The Plough at Dipton has been a favourite of mine for a while now. It touts fresh local produce and inventive menus at a very reasonable price and has built up a good reputation. However, once a place has achieved something good, it is required to maintain that standard and unfortunately, The Plough is allowing things to slide. The specials are uninspiring and unchanging and the quality of the food, its preparation...disappointing. Undercooked, overcooked, skimpy's fast becoming run of the mill. Sort it out Plough People - get back on the ridge!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Claude and Aud land a good'un in Landes

After a year of waiting since its premiere at the Cannes Festival last year, I finally got to see Thérèse Desqueyroux. The intimate 'Roxy' screen at the Tyneside Cinema had me feeling as though I was watching it in the comfort of my own home albeit with a few more people than my front room can accommodate. Director Claude Miller died shortly before it premiered and the public has endured a further year before seeing it on general release. It tells the story of Thérèse, daughter of a wealthy landowner from the Landes 'departement' in Aquitaine. Intelligent and headstrong, she believes that marriage to the older brother of her childhood friend Anne, will 'sort her out', that she will become accustomed to the banalities of life as a wife and mother. Jealous of her friend's passionate romance with a young Portuguese man and confined in her marriage to a man content with the union of the two wealthy landowners; he is eager for a child and is happy to play out the expected social conventions of the time, Thérèse is stifled and resorts to desperate measures, but is not necessarily in control of her actions. Beautifully played by Audrey Tautou; she captures the disappointment, bitterness, resignation in the situation in which Thérèse finds herself; Gilles Lellouche as Bernard is an imposing character, and there's delicious eye-candy in the form of Stanley Weber as Anne's Portuguese lover whom some may recognise from the series 'Borgia'. The backdrop to the whole story is the land, around Argelouse in Landes, Aquitaine. Anyone who's visited this area, or even further north into the Gironde or Charante-Maritime will recognise the sandy soil, the pine trees, heather and the lovely blue sea. The houses are stunning, as are the costumes. The film is never loud or showy, it is slow and gentle, but that is all it needs to be. It reminds us that for all the special effects available nowadays, it is still possible to produce a great film without them.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Byzantium -er -er

Well, having seen the trailer for this a few weeks ago, it was on the 'one to watch' list, but since its release on the 31st May, very few cinemas seem to have shown it, and few for more than a week. How bad could it be? Actually, it's not 'bad' at all, just mediocre. The plot is ok, Gemma Arterton and Saoirse Ronan, the undead, but hunted by a Brotherhood as Arterton, as Clara, broke the rules by becoming a creator, but there's a fair bit of over-acting and some cringe-worthy dialogue as well. You've probably missed it on the big screen now, wait for it hitting your TV sometime next year.

Stressed? Get desserts

The new GBCupcakery on Queen Street in Newcastle is divine. There's a 'parlour'; it's not huge, just a few tables and chairs. The décor is delicate; the cakes are delicious. I'm almost sorry I found it. My waistline is not going to thank me for it but gosh, it's a little piece of melt-in-the-mouth heaven. Cakes to order for Weddings and Birthdays too. The picture shows the lemon and raspberry cupcake and the millionaire brownie.

The quay to wedded bliss

It's been a busy weekend. I'm glad I didn't go mad Friday night, being pretty tired after another hectic week (is there any other kind?). I'd intended going to the Steamer event at the Stephenson Building, but blew it off in favour of a curry from the local and a glass of red. Saturday, and we popped along the Quayside to the new GBCupcakery - see separate post - and then, finally to the Steamer event. Should really have scheduled more time for this and am glad to see it's a regular; will also leave the car at home next time in order to sample more from the Wylam Brewery. Music provided by Northern Monkey Brass Band, a funky take on classics/popular/soundtracks - lots of fun, and the food, I'm sure I gained weight from the aromas alone!! Gorgeous. Definitely worth a visit next month. Night, and it's on to The Gate for cinema, Studio B, this is my home cinema when I drop the EuroMillions - to see Byzantium - separate post - then home for a quick few hours respite before the wedding. The nuptials of, let's call them Sarah and Mike, were lovely. Simple, elegant, a reading by the bride's brother moved the entire room (including the bride's brother) to tears, a reading about a zombie apocalypse brought laughter, but was still sentimental and heartfelt; the flowergirls were adorable, the colour of the older bridesmaids' dresses the sort of cornflower blue of a Mediterranean sky; *sigh*, almost makes one wish it was one's own wedding! Gentlemen, form an orderly queue! I'm sure "Sarah and Mike" will be very happy. I do admire people willing to still take that step, despite the statistics.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013


The post-birthday blues. The night(s) out, the cards, the presents - all over and done with; this week sees me feeling a little flat. Not depressed, just flat - a bit 'meh' 'blah', you know what I mean. Work is really busy, deadlines to meet, the weather has been pretty good which means I'd rather be doing anything but working and I'd really like a holiday. On the plus side, I'm going to a wedding (another one) this weekend which should be nice and am looking forward to the steamer event in Newcastle this Friday night. Little things!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Fabba Saba-tini

Today is my birthday. I've had a lovely day - sedate, thanks to overdoing the vino just a teeny bit last night. Starting with drinks in Brown's (it's about the only thing I'll have in there as the twice I've eaten I've been disappointed - see previous posts), we moved on for a quick one in the Slug and Lettuce before nipping out the side door, across the street and into Sabatini's. I've never been before but know many who have and many who love it. I am now one of those who love it. From the delicate batter coating my calamari to the last dregs of Limoncello, it was quite simply fantastic, and very reasonably priced to boot! I'll be back.