Monday, February 26, 2007

Calcotada and Peggy

My folks came down for a long weekend last week, and we were lucky enough to be invited down to my husband's families place for a day, and for a calcotada. This is a very traditional Catalan celebration. A calcot is a member of the onion family, and is somewhere between a leek and a green onion. They cook them over a very hot fire, literally. All kindling, big flames and no coals. They cooked them on a metal bed frame, which probably doesn't date back all that far, but is now the usual technique. Once they are removed from the flames, they are piled into newspapers, and eaten out of doors, with a Romesco sauce though the one we had was looser than in the recipe you will find if you click on the name. Needless to say it is messy. You have to pull off the charred exterior, dip it, and then raise it above your head and eat it rabbit style. Mmmmm.

Here is a lovely photo of Peggy from November in Spain. Irrepressible as always, she will be hopping onto the Queen Mary II again and visiting Joanne in Poland in the spring.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Count me in

Have fallen behind on reading the blogs - just spent the evening catching up on both oreneta and carter family. One book every 3 months sounds like fun and my kind of speed at the moment (ruthlessly prioritized life - kids, work, husband, personal hygiene, book every 3 months) - have always wanted to be in a book club and somehow never have been. Can we read new Harry Potter next - yes yes yes!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Books etc

My book club does still get books and we do discuss them. However we also eat meals and swap recipes as well. And drink wine. And go to Pembrokeshire once a year for the weekend. It's got most things you need. I'm up for reading one book every 3 months. I'm not sure aboutMSN and would have to get educated on it by my offspring, and the last time we tried it with the Mac they didn't like each other very much. For the record I have just finished Desmond Tutu's biography which was excellent, a sort of biographical set of reminiscences by Miles Kington which was very funny, am rereading Thud by Terry Pratchett over breakfast, and rereading a Short History of Nearly Everything in the upstairs loo, while the Quite Interesting book holds sway in the downstairs loo. I have just started the new Lindsay Davis book Saturnalia which promises to be as good as usual, and have found a Margery Allingham that i missed up till now (beckoning Lady) at work which I am reading at lunch time (between looking at books on the menopause and Vienna (and of the 2 I prefer Vienna by a long way). it all sounds very trivial next to Chris's list. Holes is nice and short anyway so I will have to get a copy from one of the libraries. This is quite exciting isn't it. (or does that comment mean my life in general is not exciting??)

The packing was excellent. The best I think I have ever seen. Unlike our CD suppliers who pad everything beautifully into a box so that nothing can move. They seal up the box with tape and then wrap it absolutely meticulously with brown paper and more tape - it is a master piece each time. And somehow there is always at least 1 damaged cd. How?

love Helen

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Packaging, the Virgin experience

Well Virgin has taken over/merged with NTL. We recently ordered a new remote control from them. Painless to do and delivered within days. But have a look at the box it was sent in above.
So I expect you think it is very carefully packed with lots of polystyrene, as did I.

But then we opened the box, and look what we saw.......................

Yes, gentle reader, that small box was sent in that large box with no packing or tape so it has rattled around on its journey, consuming enough space for 20 boxes. Thankfully the remote works. Well done Virgin................

First book

Ok. Here is my idea for the first book.
Holes by Louis Sachar.
It is a kid’s book but would suit kids of all ages and after all it was a kid’s book that started this all off. I first came across it when it appeared in a BBC list a few years ago of the nations 100 favourite books. It was the only one I had never heard of so I read it. I like it very much. It’s not too new so it is available from libraries, Amazon, ebay etc. There is also a film of it for those too lazy to read. I have a copy which could be posted to Spain when we’ve reread it. Your girls may like it too, Chris.
So shall we say 1st June to discuss it and we’ll work out the intricacies nearer the time.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Book club and diet crash.. opposed to crash diet! Spent last week in Germany for work drinking beer and eating sausages so completely crashed my diet!! Can't face the scales so being good this week and I'll weigh in again next week - lame perhaps but sanity saving too.

On the subject of the book club, I love the idea!! Don't mind how we do it but I love getting suggestions from other people. Think the best way to do it would be to take it in turns to pick a book and we all try and read it. And as Kieran says we could be terribly cutting edge and have a virtual meeting to discuss it!!!

Whatever's decided count me in :)


Friday, February 16, 2007

Book group continued...

Well, the book group that I'm in has 7 members and we take it in turns to choose a book. We meet once a month, discuss the book and then have choccy biccies and tea! Helen's book group seems to have abandoned books altogether and just have bring and share suppers! (I think I can hear the outrage from here!) Our only rule is that the book should be no fatter than an inch - although this isn't strongly adhered to. It does mean we get a chance to read something else as well. We have gone as low brow as The Da Vinci Code and as high brow as Turgenev. (the best thing to say about that is that the covers were nicely close together). However, we have been meeting for some years and we do know each others tastes. Some people won't read fantasy and others refuse to touch children's literature.

I think we need to limit ourselves to one book say every three months. I'm open to suggestions about this. I think the fact that we have people from around the globe in the family might widen our horizons. Infact I might write to Peggy and suggest she gets involved. She could always write her opinions.

I'll maybe send out a family email to see if people who don't read the blog are interested.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Family book group

OK, I'm game for this, how do you want to structure it? I've never done any sort of book group before. I'm reading Persuasion by Jane Austin, which I am enjoying more while I read it than when I think about reading it. That may sound strange but it is true. I think I am not in love with the story line, so I don't look forward to it much, but the writing is so good that once my nose is in it I'm off. D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover is also on the go. I've never read it, and it keeps being referred to. It's time. Also The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck, although I am not really enjoying that one, it is pre-revolution wealth peasant life in China, and I am just waiting for the shoe to drop.....Also a book about Parc Guell in Barcelona. Did you know that some of Gaudi's imagery was also Masonic? I find this hard to believe in such a staunch Catholic. Plus I have Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi lined up. I started it last summer then it got put aside. Someone brought me a copy, and I'll give it another go.

I am not really into depressing books, although the extensive selection of Virginia Woolf's at the local library may head me in that direction.

So, how does this work?
Ihave just ordered 30 copies of Harry P for the libraries -though that is one we are all going to buy for ourselves in our office. Plus I have to buy one for Nic and send it to America so she gets the right edition ie the real English edition. Anyway, it's the most exciting thing to happen for a while. Though I will try to put pictures onto here when we get back from Austria, and hope I manage a bit better than i did last time.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Well I think it's interesting that Harry Potter has got our blog the liveliest it's ever been. Perhaps we should start a family book group! Some of the best books I've ever read came as a result of my book group - and some of the worst as well.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

More Harry...

... in today's Observer there's an interview with Daniel Radcliffe who plays Harry P in the films (accompanied with disturbing photos of him half naked which seems very wrong somehow) but in the interview he talks about J.K Rowling coming to visit the film set of Order of the Phoenix and he says:

'J.K came down to the film set at one point and I said "hello, what are you doing here today?". To which she said 'Oh I just needed a break fro the book - Dumbledore's giving me a lot of trouble' And he said 'But isn't he dead?' and she said 'Yeah but it's mor complex....'

Oooo that so means that Dumbledore's not properly gone!!!! And more importantly of course, that I was right in my previous entry below :)

Love Kate

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Bridesmaid diet: Weigh in (and a word about Harry...)

Well I managed to miss my weigh in last week due to being in London for an event. I will also miss next week's as I shall be in Germany for another event with work. I know, get me and my jet set lifestyle.

Anyway, despite being back on the booze and, since the weather got cold, being hungry ALL the time, I have still managed to lose 2lbs since my last weigh in, taking total weight loss to 8lbs and moving past the milestone of the first half a stone :)

For some reason my updated graph won't upload, but it's looking pretty good!

Also a quick word on the subject of Harry. I am convinced a) Dumbledore's not dead...yet! He might well die at the end though, b) Hagrid will die because he's so lovely and it will make everyone cry and c) Voldemort's obviously got to go as well. So that's three people who almost certainly have to die - Harry will live and be the hero I think.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Link and Hagrid

Thanks for the link Boo and Trev, i have to confess, I would rather have Harry kick off than Hagrid, sort of like kicking a sweet old lady, or driving over the dog to do that..

New Link

Have added a link to Christine's blog - look at the "Links" list on the right.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Harry again

JKR also said something in a recent interview about not wanting to have other people write additional HP stories after she has finished and the best way to do that was bump off Harry. I think it is really up for grabs about who dies. Also with so many questions created by the last book - ie did Dumbledore die? Are Draco and Snape baddies or goodies? What are the other horcruxes? It is so exciting!!

I have finally - thanks to Trevor's expertise finally got back into the blog as my computer didn't like talking to it when it moved to Google, but it seems to be working now. Or if it isn'then there is very little point in me typing this. So it is nice to be back in the mix.

Harry continued

Well, I hope Harry doesn't cop it. I can't honestly think of much kid's literature where the hero dies. And anyway, apparently JK Rowling did a conference thing in New York last summer. She took some questions from the audience and somebody asked her if you could have anyone of your characters to dinner who would it be. She replied, Harry, Hermione and Ron then she said do they have to be alive at the end of the series. The questioner said no so she said in that case Dumbledore and Hagrid!
So what does it mean. I think it could mean the main three are alive at the end and possibly that Hagrid cops it.
Well, all will be revealed soon!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Harry should survive

Harry should really survive - just to make me happy and continue the long tradition of happy endings in..... wait a minute - english literature (ok - maybe I'm going a bit far with the word literature) doesn't have much of a tradition of happy endings does it? In any case - I can totally see Harry growing up, and having a brood of young magicians and keeping on with it all... and in the meantime providing us with really great reading once every year or so...
Didn't mention this in my list of 6 weird things - but I am also really totally into HP.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

H day

Now you see, I can't picture how Harry can survive...what do you do with him after this? Go work at a government job? Can't picture it.

Friday, February 02, 2007


I'm really just blogging to check that it works. But while I am on may I say how excited I am about H day on 21st July!! In my opinion it will be voldemort and Snape who cop it. I think Harry will survive or it will be a bummer of a finish to the series!