Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I have recently become hooked on the tv crime series Rebus, taken from Ian Rankin's books (one of which I have also just started reading). Me being me, I didn't just accept this new found interest but began to think instead...why am I interested in watching this show, and, to a lesser degree, the similar Taggart? Why are we interested in watching crime shows at all, or reading true crime books? There is the classic whodunnit element of course, but is it also that characters like Rebus are living lives we would never want to actually lead - investigating horrible crimes, never seeming to sit down to a good, square meal or sleep peacefully in their beds - but which we are happy to vicariously lead through tv shows? Is it perhaps even the location? I have never been to Scotland - I would love to go - but the mean streets of Edinburgh that Rebus paces are not streets we actually have to (or want to) walk down. We can rest back on our sofas and watch him do it. Is there an essential 'Scottishness' to the show, just as I imagine there are certain unique aspects of Scandinavia in Denmark's The Eagle, which I mentioned a little while ago, and which I believe you can definitely see in Austria's Inspector Rex and Stockinger. Parts of the landscape that write themselves into the story.
Further to this I have also been enjoying A History of Scotland, hosted by one of those charismatic tv historians, Neil Oliver (and I mean no disrespect here - I spent 10 years trying to make history sound interesting to university students - anyone who can do it gets my vote!) Such a beautiful, beautiful place! Yet another one to add to my holiday wish-list. Has anyone been there? Are there any Scots out there reading this blog? My husband's surname suggests that long, long ago his forebears were from Scotland, but he has no real interest in it. My suggestion that he wear a kilt in his clan tartan to our wedding fell on deaf ears :)
So, as a stereotyped homage to all this, now that the weather here has cooled down here, I am going to bake some Christmas goodies from Ena Baxter's Scottish Cookbook this weekend...it is the land of shortbread afterall. But, as with all cultural bower-birds, I pick and choose. There will be no haggis.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Muesli Fruit Loaf
2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup muesli
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 medium apple, peeled and grated
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, beaten
75 g butter
Combine flour, muesli, sugar, cinnamon and apple in large bowl. Combine buttermilk, eggs and butter in separate bowl. Then combine dry and wet ingredients. Pour into baking tin. Add crumble topping, which comprises:
1 tablespoon self-raising flour
1/2 cup muesli
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
30 g butter
Bake at 180 degrees celsius until cooked through. Very nice warm and spread with butter.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Remember how everyone used to love James Dean? When I was growing up in the 80s, James Dean was a major crush. The jeans, the quiff, the rebellious thing. I don't think I even saw any of his films until the 90s. It was the look that was the thing, the look was enough to set the teenage pulse racing. But watching this clip from Rebel without a Cause just now, I was struck by how good an actor he actually was. This scene really drew me in. As a young person you tend to personify with JD's character - 'parents just don't understand!' - but watching it now (a little -ahem - older), you can also see that break between the idealism of youth and the loss (or tempering) of idealism that comes with age. But is it a loss of idealism? Or is it a growing wisdom and understanding of how the world works?
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Image courtesy of www.guestofaguest.com
Monday, November 30, 2009
I have a couple of reasons not to be a big fan of Christmas. Key amongst them is the crass commercialism, the idea that somehow you can buy happiness, you can buy love, if only you will get into our store right now and buy, buy, buy this special Christmas gift-pack for your loved one...but if anything is going to restore a bit of genuine Christmas feeling (for me at least) it has got to be this very, very sweet clip from 1965's "A Charlie Brown Christmas". Charlie Brown - a boy after my own heart. So, as the Advent season begins, enjoy :)
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
And speaking of Christmas, I know it is a perennial complaint but can I just say: IT IS STILL NOVEMBER! Already I have seen Christmas trees going up in people's front windows and the
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
PS Amazing how many people go with red and white when they retro-ise their kitchens! See above, courtesy of Google Images.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
(5.) The Black Forest, photo courtesy of www.whitewolfjourneys.com
(3.) The Mad Men girls, photo courtesy of www.buttercuppunch.wordpress.com
(3.) I am developing a real penchant for clothes like this. Especially the full skirts. But how to wear them without looking like (a) a lunatic (b) I am in costume? The problem may be solved by the fact that my waist will never be small enough for the vintage dresses which always seem to be for sale on Etsy and the fact that I cannot sew (that well).
(4.) Gin, soda water and elderflower cordial is a very nice summer drink. And before you start to wonder where I'm going with that...chilled orange juice is also delicious :)
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
And while on the subject of innocence and possibility but on a slightly lighter note, I have to say that I feel much the same way about the 80s, but that could just be because I grew up then. Looking back, people wore some horrendously hideous clothes but they did so - in my view -with aplomb and joie de vivre. Hot pink ankle socks, stripy bubble skirts, big bows in their hair...and hey, that's just a selection from my 80s wardrobe! The BBC's Ashes to Ashes captures this brilliantly with Alex Drake now, in the second season, finally managing to wear her early-80s garb less like a costume and more like she considers it to be fashionable and smart.
The 80s revival that I see worn by 'the kids of today' is just not the same - as with all pop culture 'revivals', it's too studied, too knowing - and leaves out too much of the truly horrible! If The Go-Gos singing "Our Lips are Sealed" doesn't jog your memory or at least give you the gist of what I'm talking about, then you were so totally like not even there at the time :)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Peter, Paul and Mary - photo courtesy of www.marytraversblogspot.com
"My favourite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: "Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Image courtesy of http://holidaysiq.com
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Image courtesy of http://marcopoloni.com