Tuesday, 31 March 2020



Today's lunchtime treat, listening to Penelope Wilton read from one of the best biographies ever!

Trying hard to waste not want not - and I fear tonight's spag bol, which might yet morph into cottage pie, will have a retro 1970s quality that owes more to Oxo Mum than Anna del Conte - however, we're still a week away from food historian Annie Gray's Spam and pineapple sorbet pizza.  A classic!
Now wondering what I can make with two cans of corned beef and Ambrosia creamed rice.
#dystopiandishesforthedesperate

Sunday, 29 March 2020



Suddenly struck me that this lovely book would be the perfect Coronavirus read - although lockdown in a Moscow hotel is a sight more social than lockdown in a London flat.

However, little things are immensely cheering. I was thrilled when I discovered daffodils (as rare as tinned tomatoes!) on my last jaunt to Sainsbury's for milk. And when they opened, they turned out to be the prettiest daffodils I've had this year, pale with peachy centres - so much nicer than the brash yellow ones.

Saturday, 28 March 2020



And all across the land, people who had never jogged before spluttered to the parks convinced that Boris's hour of exercise was a government directive - and women blitzed spiders' webs in a frenzy of spring-cleaning - and bakers, reckless of their figures, joined #bakecorona (launched by my heroine Regula Ysewijn who confessed on radio yesterday that she has 80 eggs and 40k of flour, but I have five eggs and 3k and can't keep up! However, I am mightily impressed by this gentleman's fish battenberg pie! - although as I've only got two trout fillets in the freezer, that won't be happening here any time soon.)
No, it's time that I did my bit for mental health and launched #slothcorona a support group for those who are happy to lie in bed until mid-day.
Meanwhile, your personalised TV Times service continues - and next up, coming soon on BBC3, is Normal People.  I'm afraid I was bored by this when I read it last year; it didn't merit a blogpost at the time. That's maybe because I'm way too old to care about the romantic tribulations of millennials. (I think this is possibly the first time I have ever watched anything on BBC3!) However, desperate times - and I'll own up to enjoying the first few episodes of the TV series rather more than the book. Probably because of lovely Irish voices and a Sligo/Dublin setting. 

Also, you probably know already, but the National Theatre is streaming online as of next Thursday at 7pm. First up is One Man, two Guvnors - but I'm not a fan of James Corden so I'll be holding on for Jane Eyre the following week. If only they'd do My Beautiful Friend or Home, I'm Darling, both of which I missed.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020



Oh dear, I've well and truly had my wings clipped and have even resorted to clearing the kitchen cupboard of doom. (Haul: one jar of pesto (rare, possibly valuable), one can of figs (bought who knows when for the pretty tin, will probably still be there when COVID-119 strikes), and hurrah a Christmas pudding acquired within living memory. Sadly, no caster sugar. Or chocolate.)
Meanwhile, this long neglected blog is turning into a TV Times spin-off and thank heavens for another costume drama in the nick of time. I haven't read The Luminaries, set in the New Zealand gold rush - but on the strength of the first episode, it'll hit the spot.

And for anyone who didn't buy their Hilary Mantel before the shops closed, here's the wonderful voice of Anton Lesser. I'm not listening until I've finished the book.

Sunday, 22 March 2020



Binge-watched six episodes of this "Downton for kids" series last night and it's perfect escapism and a welcome break from obsessively counting one's toilet rolls and googling imaginary symptoms. Matron could vanquish any virus with a glare!
Now off to make blueberry pancakes for the Vitamin C content.

(Coming soon,  as I guess I'll be watching rather more TV than I'd choose, Normal People - though I didn't care for the book - and The Luminaries which sounds promising.)

Saturday, 7 March 2020



I was going to say it must be 40 years since I read anything by Elizabeth Goudge, but actually it's more like 50 - gulp! I adored Towers in the Mist and Gentian Hill when I was 12 or 13 and could submerge myself in a book in a way that, sadly, doesn't happen quite in the same way any more. But I've thoroughly enjoyed this novel about the Civil War and it's put me in the historical mood for Hilary Mantel. In fact, I've got such a crush on Thomas Cromwell - or is it Mark Rylance's eyes? - that it's almost like being 13 again and falling head over heels for anything in a doublet and hose!
Fortunately, my mum was very understanding - and, "I'm reeaaaddding..." was an excuse that got me out of pretty much anything.


Is Belgravia the new Downton Abbey? Well... not judging by the first episode! More of a poor man's Vanity Fair if you ask me. Oh well, I expect I'll watch it anyway.
Nice to spot the cherry garden here pretending to be Brussels!