Sunday, July 31, 2011

Michael and Geri's Wedding Photos

The negatives of my parents' wedding photos crumbled a number of years ago. They only had tiny prints so I scanned them in, had them printed at a larger size and took them down when we went down to visit them with May (the MIL).

Michael and Geri's Wedding 01
Michael and Geri

My parent's wedding on Saturday 02-June-1951.

Michael and Geri's Wedding 02
Michael and Geri, Michael Casson, two unknowns, Keith Pullar and his brother

Michael 'Mick' Casson went to school with Michael and went on to become a famous potter. Keith Pullar was one of my two godfathers.

Michael and Geri's Wedding 03
Geri and Michael, Michael Casson, Bertha and John Roake and Keith Pullar

Bertha and John Roake were college friends of Michael and Geri. Doesn't that car look the business?

Michael and Geri's Wedding 04
Michael at the top of the Eiffel Tower

For their honeymoon Mum and Dad went to Paris. This is my Dad looking cool at the top of the Eiffel Tower.

Michael and Geri's Wedding 05
Geri at the top of the Eiffel Tower

For a full set of photo's see:

Michael & Geri 60th Wedding Anniversary
The Perfect 60th Wedding Anniversary Present

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Capitial to Coast 2011 - Pictures

Many charity events publish photographs - some free, some commercial. Capital to Coast 2011 had official paparazzi stationed at various points along the route. They put the gallery up on their website and you can then search by rider number and purchase prints or digital images with a percentage going to the charity. Vanity meant I could not resist the special offer of the complete set in high resolution on CD. These are a selection:

Capital to Coast 2011 - 01
Me and Ian. Photograph ©

Capital to Coast 2011 - 02
The South Downs. Photograph ©

Capital to Coast 2011 - 03
Lance Armstrong look-alike. Photograph ©

Capital to Coast 2011 - 05
Over the finish line. Photograph ©

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Race for Life - Hyde Park 2011

Hyde Park, London, England - Sunday 17-July-2100

Cancer Research UK LogoRace for Life Logo

It is quite an inspirational sight to see 11,000 women wearing pink. All raising money and awareness for Cancer Research UK.

This is Mary's second Race for life this year (see also "Race for Life, Battersea Park 2011")

This time we had Mary's mum with us. What May did not know was that Mary had sneakily entered her without her knowing. As we parked up the car we produced a wheel chair out of the boot and Mary sprang the surprise that she, May, was to be pushed round the 5 km circuit!

Race for Life - Hyde Park 2011 - 01
Waiting for the off

The back sign is way for the runners and walkers to dedicate their Race for Life in memory or in celebration of someone they know.

Race for Life - Hyde Park 2011 - 02
Mary's back sign - Catalina + Anyone else recently diagnosed

Race for Life - Hyde Park 2011 - 03
May's back sign - Me (cancer survivor) + Bill, Aunt Peggy, Laura

Race for Life - Hyde Park 2011 - 04
Push for Life

The weather was intermittent so thank goodness for the cheap rain ponchos we bought a couple of years ago.

Race for Life - Hyde Park 2011 - 05
Having crossed the line

Race for Life - Hyde Park 2011 - 06
Time for a cuppa

Thanks are due to Shopmobility, Wandsworth who made it possible through their hire of the wheel chair.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Enoteca Turi - The Italian White Wine Evolution

Putney, London, England - Tuesday 12-July-2011

Another fine wine dinner at Enoteca Turi. This time not a region and not a producer; the theme was white wine and the coastline.

White Grape Harvest 2010
White grape harvest 2010 - Mary and Anthea hard at work

To quote the blurb:
Michael Palij MW, wine writer and lecturer will take you on a journey through the ages, beginning with traditional wines such as Verdicchio and Orvieto, the yet to be discovered Timorasso and Arneis, and moving on to the well-kept secret of the Chardonnay Selezione from Borgo del Tiglio, on a par with a Premier Cru Puligny Montrachet, and Ribolla Gialla, an unusual and intriguing, but amazingly complex wine from Jasco Gravner, the most controversial winemaker in Italy. The evening will end with a sublime dessert wine, Scaccomatto, a botrytised Albana di Romagna from Fattoria Zerbina.

Giuseppe will explore the cuisine of the Maritime Republic – the city states of Venice, Genoa, Pisa, Amalfi, Ancona - whose shipping activity and trade with the east in the 11th – 17th centuries, brought new ingredients and flavours to the Italian diet.

As always fascinating to learn about the influence of history on the cuisine and the changing fashions in viticulture on the wines. My favourite quote from Michael was "France has attitude, Italy has altitude".

He side stepped the debate around premature oxidation in Burgundy which we first heard discussed at a BBR tasting on The Fine Wines of The Montrachet. Instead he brought the wines to life with anecdotes about the producers, the grapes and the personalities of both.

My impressions of the wines and the notes I wrote are so scrappy as to not be worth sharing. What is worth saying is that "a meal without wine is like a day without sunshine". As I wrote previously in "A meal is more than just fuel for the body" a meal is about good food, good wine and good company - it not not (just) self indulgence, it is a life affirming occasion - and I'll drink to that.

Sardine in saor
Pannelle with pepper preserve and grilled squid
Potato croquettes with scamorza
Orvieto Terre Vineate DOC 2008 Il Palazzone
Cannoli di polenta con branda cujun
Polenta cannoli, crushed smoked haddock, roasted red and yellow peppers
Verdicchio di Matelica DOC 2008 Az. Ag. La Monacesca
Risotto al granchio con rucola e limone
Risotto of fresh crab with lemon and rocket
Timorasso DOC 2008 Walther Massa
Arneis Roero DOC 2007 Brovia

Zuppa di pesce del mediterraneo
Fish medley with clams, gurnard, John Dory, squid, scallop, lobster ravioli
Chardonnay Selezione Collio DOC 2006 Borgo del Tiglio
Bianco Ribolla IGT 2001 Jasco Gravner

Delizia di limoni d’Amalfi
Amalfi lemon sponge with lemon cream
Scaccomatto Albana di Romagna DOCG 2005 Fattorina Zerbina

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Capital to Coast 2011

Hove, England - Sunday 10-July-2011

Has it really been five years since we last did the Capital to Coast Bike ride (aka Hampton Court to Hove)? It would appear so.

This year we both signed up but Mary wimped, partly on account of having done almost no cycling this year and partly because of having her Mum staying with us.

Instead our friend Ian stepped in to take Mary's place and keep me company. That meant Mary could act as support vehicle, take her Mum for a Sunday drive, collect us from the seaside and ferry us back home. Much better than faffing about with the lorry and coach option (for the bikes and riders respectively).

I must confess to being concerned. Ian is a serious, Lycra-on-Sunday cyclist and eats 60 km for breakfast. His bike has a titanium frame with carbon fibre forks - a mean machine."Don't try and keep up with him" Mary advised. As luck would have it he has been a little out of practice and what with me cycling to work regularly we were well matched thigh-wise.

Capital to Coast 2011

It was a lovely sunny day and perfect for whizzing though some delightful countryside. We made the 60 miles (96 km) in 5 hours 10 minutes - a considerable improvement on last time when I did it in 7:20 but Ian did it in 3 ½. I clocked a maximum speed of 60 kph (37 mph) on one nice, long downhill.

I am also feeling particularly smug because I made it up Devil's Dyke without stopping. In fact I did it sitting down - no need to even get up out of the saddle and stand on the pedals.

A grand day out.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Terence Blanchard / Soulbop at the Barbican

London, England - Thursday 07-July-2011
My sister Jane and her husband had tickets but were not able to make it so we swapped for two bottles of fine wine and went off for an evening of Jazz at the Barbican Hall.

We dined beforehand at Searcy's Bar and Restaurant which was good but maybe just a little pricey - but then they do have a slightly captive audience being so convenient for the Hall.

Both bands were excellent but I found Soulbop more to my liking; I don't feel qualified to write a review so here is a review from LondonJazz:

Terence Blanchard Quintet, Soulbop
(Barbican Hall, July 7th 2011, Review by Frank Griffith)

This was a night when two storming quintets held forth at the Barbican as part of the Blaze festival. Sporting essentially the same lineup (trumpet, tenor sax, keyboards,, bass and drums) the two groups could not have been more different in terms of style, repertoire and overall musical message. This contrast showed the versatility, scope and effect of what we define as jazz nowadays. Full review...

Programme for Terence Blanchard / Soulbop at the Barbican

It has been ages since I wandered around that part of the City and the Barbican. It gave me flashbacks to my days with Coopers and Lybrand back in 1980 when I was young and single. Ah, those were the days.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Puglia June 2011

Locorotondo, Puglia, Italy - Thursday 23-June-2011

We managed to double book Trullo Azzurro so this trip had an added twist - we had to clear our stuff out of the way to make room for a family of four.

Normally we don't let out our side of the property, it is lock up and go, leaving all our possessions there. That is what make it possible to travel hand luggage only.

However we accidentally rented Trullo Azzurro to two sets of guest with a two day overlap. We gave them various options, including full refund or stay at nearby Truddhi at our expense. The one they went for was stick with the original booking but stay in our house some or all of the time.

That meant we had to make it habitable: we set up the truckle bed in the small sitting room to make it into a second bedroom, cleared all our clothes off the hanging rack into boxes under the bed and took bikes and a box of tools round to leave with our neighbours. It was a useful opportunity to review what we had out there and chuck some stuff or bring it back to the UK.

Lavender 2011
Lavender bush

Apart from that we enjoyed the food and sunshine, caught up with Chris and John and Carol and Mino. Ate and drank, and chilled out in the courtyard listening to the white-tailed bees buzzing in the lavender.

We also replaced the cheap and cheerful straw fly screens with some pretty blue beaded curtains. Unfortunately that mean shortening one of them - un-knotting the end, removing the terminal bead, removing 30 cm worth of small beads, re-threading the big bead and re-knotting. Doesn't sound too bad - takes, say, three minutes to do that. Then you have to realise there are 66 strands to the curtain which meant half a day. As the Scots would say "It's a right fouter, this!"

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Michael & Geri 60th Wedding Anniversary

Reigate, England - Saturday 18-Jun-2011

A family gathering of siblings and partners to celebrate Mike and Geri's 60th wedding anniversary plus a couple of bonus grandchildren.

On the actual anniversary (see "The Perfect 60th Wedding Anniversary Present") Mary was in South Africa and Jane & Pete were in China so a full gathering had to wait until the wanderers returned.

Michael and Geri McLellan and offspring
The Nuclear Family
Mark, Michael, Geri, Jane, Ian

Jane and Pete hosted a lunch in Reigate complete with a surprise guest, Effie - Dad's second cousin - who was actually at the wedding aged 12. We were also joined by Ian's eldest, Lorenzo, and Ian & Sarah's eldest, Joe.

Michael and Geri McLellan, offspring and partners plus two grandchildren
The Extended Family
Tom, Sarah, Ian, Lorenzo, Geri, Mark, Michael, Mary, Jane, Effie, Pete

sister Jane and wife Mary
Jane and Mary

A full set of photos on Flickr: