Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My dress (again)

Monsoon have finally added a picture of my dress to their website...so here it is!

PS - I love love love Josh Rouse. Everyone should go and buy "Nashville" right now!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Top tip

Ladies and gents, another top culinary tip from the walking disaster area that is me.

When you get home from work and begin to make a leek and goat's cheese tart, and realise that the only other times you've made it were at your parents' house and that you don't actually own a rolling pin...don't panic! Simply take one plastic water bottle, fill with water to add weight, and hey presto! Roll away.

Never come to my house for dinner if you know what's good for you...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Today I went shopping and I bought...

a dress for the wedding! Hurrah. I tried to find a picture to post online but the silly Monsoon website doesn't have it listed. It's white with big blue polka dots and is generally floaty and spring-like and lovely. Now all I need is a jacket to go with it, and to decide whether the silver shoes will work. The complications just go on and on!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The glory of life

Sometimes I notice little things that remind me how wonderful life is. I was just idly scanning through the BBC website when I came across a story about marine snails, and how having left handed shells makes them more likely to survive attacks by crabs, which cannot open these shells. Scientists have only just discovered this, and there are still question marks around why snails with left handed shells are not more common, given this advantage that they have.

Quite apart from the fact that (for me at least) this is fascinating and a wonderful example of how nature is just so stunningly complex, I was uplifted by this story purely because there are people out there who are researching things like this and being given funding to do so. In a world full of negativity, consumerism and "I want it now", it's so refreshing to be reminded that there are people spending their lives researching snail shells just because they find it interesting and want to increase the pool of human knowledge in one tiny way. We may be selfish and violent, but this story gives me hope for humanity and our capacity to find joy and interest in the world around us.

Thus speaks the optimist who is convinced that the world is still a wonderful place and that life is a joy! You can find the full story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4831218.stm (apologies that I still don't know how to make proper links!). I'm not sure I've expressed this very well, but it made me happy.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Back to normality

Well, after that last mad week before my holiday and the tour itself, I'm now back to normality. I went to a Higher Education fair in Reading today which was a good event and a nice way to get back to work, and now I'm looking forward to a really quiet week with lots of nights in and time to cook for myself.

Italy was gorgeous! I would recommend that everyone should go there at some point in their lives, and I'll definitely be going back to both Venice and Verona to see them properly. I could walk round Venice for days just discovering more and more gorgeous little streets and going into all the cultural places and little shops - it's truly one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. It's one of those places that they always say you should visit and you wonder if it's actually as good as its reputation, but I can confirm that it really is wonderful. Now I just need to find someone to go there with me so I can actually have a gondala ride! Although this was definitely the highlight, everywhere else we went was gorgeous as well, and I think that the country as a whole is just the most all-round lovely place I've ever been to.

Apart from the scenery, highlights of tour include the buffet at the uber-5 star hotel in Geneva, walking round the roof of Milan cathedral, eating my favourite smoked salmon pasta in a lovely restaurant in Milan, eating the best strawberry icecream in the world ever in Bergamo (it tasted exactly like my mum's strawberry souffle), tasting some really excellent wine in Brescia, eating a delicious meal with lovely wine on our first night in Verona, drinking lots of nasty fizzy blanco plonko at the bargainous price of 7 euros per litre in another restaurant in Verona, the first concert which went ever so well, and the "buffet" after the first concert which turned out to be a sit-down dinner with pasta, risotto, perfectly cooked steak and as much free wine as we could drink. Sam and Ellie are proof of the limitless wine - at least Sam made it to the coach toilet...

Right, I'm off to finish reading Heat and listen to Norah Jones. Quiet nights in are just fab.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Does anyone want a CBSO ticket?

I have a subscription to the concert series at the arts centre, which means I buy tickets to lots of concerts months in advance and before I know what I'll be doing round that time. I therefore now have a spare ticket to this week's CBSO concert, because we have a tour rehearsal on Thursday night. Does anybody want the ticket? It seems a shame for it to go to waste, and the CBSO concerts are always excellent so I'm sure someone would appreciate getting in for free. The programme is Beethoven Piano Concert No.1, played by Leon McCawley, and Shostakovich Symphony No. 7, and it's on Thursday at 8pm. If anyone wants the ticket just let me know by commenting/texting/calling/emailing.