Times Crossword Competition 2012, update

January 27, 2013

Remember when I crashed and burned at the Times Crossword Competition 2012?  Well it turns out that, sucky though my performance was, it put me at joint 33rd among the 71 people who took part in my heat.   That is, just about at the midway point.  So that’s a bit less depressing than I thought.


West End Green then and now

January 13, 2013


Stir up, O Lord

November 25, 2012

What a weekend.

1. Swam.

2. Saw a hedgehog.

3. Saw Damian Lewis, aka Sergeant Brody, out for a walk.

4. Went to Danish Christmas fair.  It’s doubly awesome, because you get to eat meatballs and pretend you are in The Killing (Forbrydelsen).

5. Watched The Killing.

6. Had a mince pie.

7. Made a Christmas cake.

8. Swam again.

9. Went to Hampstead (posh part of London) Chistmas fair.  Ate mac and cheese from a street vendor.  Then churros with dipping chocolate.

10.  Saw the Rolling Stones at their fiftieth anniversary concert.

PLUS cleaned the kitchen, hoovered the flat, assembled a bedside cabinet, put a new chest of drawers in place, and recycled loads of old clothes.

Consider me stirred up.


November 19, 2012

I just saw Rufus Wainwright in concert.  Rufus Wainwright is the son of Loudon Wainwright III, a fellow musician.  Rufus was supported by Teddy Thompson, who is the son of Richard and Linda Thompson, also musicians.  The second support act was Adam Cohen, son of Leonard Cohen, yet another musician.

The second generation trend extended to the audience too.  I saw Dan Snow, TV presenter, son of Jon Snow, TV presenter…


Autumn in London

October 21, 2012


Times Crossword Competition 2012

October 20, 2012

In Soviet Russia, crossword solve YOU.

That was my feeling about today’s Times crossword championship.  In other words, I crashed and burned, and then crashed again for good measure.

The consolation was seeing this dude outside the News International offices. I’m sure there’s some comment to make about what he’s supposed to represent…

Goodbye and thank you, Slice of Ice

October 8, 2012

Slice of Ice is closing.  I know it’s a truism that bad things happen to good people, but it’s still really annoying when they do. It was only last summer that Slice of Ice headed the Times’s list of London’s best gelaterias.  I guess you can’t do much to fight two mediocre summers in a row.

Whatever might have happened, I’ll always be a fan.  The ice cream was great, and the people serving it even better.  Annie’s going above and beyond to help us set up a stall for World Book Night in 2010 was typical.  As I said three years ago, when the doors first opened: “this place deserves to be a huge success: it is charming, and civilised, and pleasant, and delicious.”  I believed it then, and I still believe it now; and I’m sure that whatever Annie does next, it won’t be long until she’s top of the list in that too.


London Open House Weekend 2012

September 23, 2012

What better way to celebrate 50 years of James Bond on film than visiting Goldfinger’s house?  The original Goldfinger, that is, the Hungarian architect who – as far as we know – never tried to corner the world market in bullion.

As a result, there are no hidden death lasers, piranha tanks, or space shuttle launch pads.  There is a lot of Modernist design.  All together now:

– Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?

– No, Mr Bond.  I expect you to admire my use of natural light.

Ivinghoe Beacon and the Bridgewater Monument

April 1, 2012

“In the woods the paths are very muddy in winter,” warned the Time Out book of Country Walks. Reader, I saw not a puddle, not a drop, not a smear of mud anywhere.  The sky was powder blue and the path was powder dry.

The Ridgeway needs rain, and lots of it, fast. It was as dry as the middle of June, not the first of April.

I spent some time wondering “what idiot has carved a ram into the chalk, and why?”

The penny eventually dropped, and I realised it was a lion for Whipsnade.

I saw a kite circling and deer running:

The Bridgewater monument was open.  I paid my £2 and climbed its 172 steps.   The view from the bottom is probably better than the view from the top:

But I did like this tree and its shadow.

This weekend…

March 11, 2012

The cherries and the daffodils are out.   I went for a walk and felt all Housmanian, even though Easter is four weeks away.

I made a crumble.  Rhubarb, strawberry and blueberry.  Delishhh is right, it is.