Sunday, February 22, 2009

Valentine's Day Weekend in Dublin

We were booked into Tom Ilic's for our romantic candle-lit supper when Mary spotted Ryanair were doing a deal: Flights to Dublin for ten quid including taxes. So it a last minute body swerve to Dublin for the weekend and 40 quid. Even better we had some Natwest loyalty points left over from our recently cancelled NW Mastercard - enough to get us two free nights in a hotel. Result!

It was a seven o'clock flight - too late for Mary to eat when we got to Dublin so we dined early, airside at Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food restaurant. By the time we got to the hotel it was time for a nightcap of Guinness and bed.

BTW I have to put in a good word for T5. They may have cocked up the initial opening but we have been through there four times now and it a has been smooth sailing evey time. Non existant queues for boarding card check, short queues for the scanners and spacious facilities airside.

Saturday was a typical Mary style four-part day The morning was spent in Malahide down on the coast wandering round Mary's old haunts and a pub lunch with a pint of Guinness at Gibney's. Back into central Dublin for a matinée peformance of October by Fiona Looney at the Olympia Theatre - very entertaining. Supper was at the nearby Mermaid Cafe - excellent as always. Part four was into Temple Bar and The Auld Dubliner for some live music and a couple more pints of Guinness.

All in all a fine weekend.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Charteris Wine Society: a Tour of New Zealand

The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of M&M Enterprises.

Translation: Mary disassociates herself from these random notes of dubious accuracy. Any remaining errors are the my responsibility.

Another enjoyable evening of wine tasting at the Charteris Wine Society. This time a varietal canter round New Zealand including an introduction to the wine growing regions.
  • Cloudy Bay Pelorus Sparkling NV (£12.76) - apple notes and very tart; a bit too brut for me.
  • Villa Maria Single Vineyard Taylors Pass Pinot Gris 2006 (£11.06) - to me it smelled of midori but the flavour appealed to my sweeter palette. More enjoyable than a number of disappointing Italian efforts but too sweet for Mary.
  • Delta Vineyard Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (£8.59) - the aroma was a nasal assault of the most overwhelming gooseberry; on the palette - clean and crisp. The tartness was right up Mary's street but too sharp for me.
  • Pegasus Bay Chardonnay 2005 (£13.27) - I got warm bread and putty on the nose. A fairly heavily oaked old world style
  • Wild Earth Central Otago Pinot Noir 2006 (£15.31) - sharp maraschino on the nose and unripe cheery on the toungue with a hint of strawberry.
  • Saint Clair Pioneer Block 14 Doctors Creek Pinot Noir 2007 (£15.06) - warm wood smoke on the nose and soft red fruit in the mouth. My preference of the two PN.
  • Ata Rangi Celebre 2006 (£17.45) - So called Bordeaux blend but a bit of a misnomer with all that Syrah (50% Marlot, 30% Syrah, 20% Cab Sauv) - soft leafy forest nose and gentle tannins
  • Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot (£13.61) - to quote someone there "a glass staining monster". Not so impressed myself, I got the faintest hint of mustiness on the nose and palette.
All wines available from The New Zealand House of Wine in Haslemere. Note: prices ex-VAT.

After which we went for supper at Vinoteca just the other side of Smithfield Market for a very fine supper of an aubergine based starter and pappardelle with wild mushrooms which was the best thing I have eaten in ages.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Where There's a Will

Catching up on belated posts I feel like the White Queen in Through the Looking Glass "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

Not last weekend but the one before we went to see Where There's a Will a farce by Georges Feydeau at The Rose Theatre in Kingston with Chris and Sue. It may be set in 1895 but some gender sterotypes have obviously not changed that much and it seemed remarkedly contemporary. Good play, well acted. That is as about as in depth as this review gets.

Supper afterwards at Carluccio's and a train home. Nice to get some culture and catch up on C&S's news.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Galashan twins win 10m British diving title

Identical twins Helen and Carol Galashan took their first big step towards the London Olympics in their new sport of synchronised diving by winning the 10-metre title at the British Diving Championships in Sheffield.

sychronised divers off diving board

The 21-year-olds, both students at Leeds Metropolitan University who have only been diving for 2½ years, defeated Olympic duo Stacie Powell and Tonia Couch after becoming the first synchro pair in the world to perform an arm-stand back double somersault with 1½ twists - considered one of the most difficult dives in the world.

They took the gold medal with a final score of 299.76 points, ahead of Powell and Couch who took second place with a total of 285.90.

Full story at

See also "Galashan twins in synch for London 2012"

Friday, February 13, 2009

Woke up it was a Chelsea morning

and the first thing that I heard. Was a song outside my window, and the traffic wrote the words...*

Today is the last day of my three month contract just north of Slough. My commute consists of a five mile cycle to Paddington and a two mile cycle at the other end. A frequent comment I get is "Isn't it dangerous cycling in London?". To which my answer is "Not if you cycle sensibly. And choose your route," My route takes me along the Thames path, over Battersea bridge, through some quiet residential streets in Chelsea and then through Hyde Park.

Cycling up Launceston Place I was thinking what "des res" the houses were so I looked them up on It would appears that the last house in the street to change hands was in 2007 and went for a 'mere' 4.41 million. So not suitable for a first time buyer then!

* Joni Mitchell, Chelsea Morning