Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Bbc staff at Glastonbury

Tut tut Nigel! And tut tut me for posting a sideways image, sorry.

It really is ridiculous all the sanctimonious drivel that's been written about the BBC's expenses in the papers this week (except Peter Preston's column in Sunday's Obs, which of course was ace). I'd like to know the details of the meal Jeremy Paxton spent 231 quid on as much as the next person, but everyone knows that's what expenses are for in the media world - buttering up star reporters, taking clients to lunch, wining and dining contacts in the hope of wheedling stories out of them.

Not one of the journalists criticising the BBC hasn't done the same thing themselves, and most of their editors earn a lot more than Mark Thomson for running much smaller corporations. They're just copying the Telegraph's MPs' expenses model and trying to win some of the glory for themselves.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Rocking out

We're at the Dave Matthews Band gig at the Brixton Academy, the man is awesome!

What an amazing gig - aside from the genius of Dave Matthews, it's great to see so many talented musicians (the trumpet player and the violinist are my favourites, although TIm Reynolds on guitar is always ace and Mark liked it when the saxophonist played two saxes at the same time).

One thing to note though - Dave gets away with dad dancing because, well, he's Dave, and he at least has a sense of rhythm. The bassist plays guitar like a mf but he really should stop trying to compete in the dance stakes, it's just embarrassing for the poor chap.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Mr and Mrs Sharps

Sam and Becca's wedding on Saturday was fabulous! And the perfect way to end our holiday, dancing like crazies with our friends to some rocking live music. It was such a perfect English country wedding, I'll post more pics when I get round to downloading them all.

Friday, 19 June 2009

The view from our new favourite restaurant

We're staying in a fairly rural location (there are cows next door) outside Porthtowan, a tiny village with its own beach but not much else. Other than the Flaming Wok takeaway (which I'm sure is lovely!) and the beach bar there's not much in the way of restaurants here. So we were very excited to discover St Agnes just along the coast, a lovely village with a beautiful cove and two really impressive beachfront restaurants.

Driftwood Spars has sea views, a varied bistro menu and excellent fish and chips, and boasts a proper local boozer downstairs that even brews its own ales (we like Badlands, named after the local nickname for the cove - the surfers evidently don't like outsiders).

Schooners (above), which is only open towards the weekend and sometimes not even then, is our new favourite place. As well as the view, the food is delicious, fresh and imaginative (for a chef who only works 3 or 4 nights a week in a Cornwall village he's exceptional), the atmosphere is relaxed (it feels like a surfer hangout, but posher) and the people who work there are just lovely. If we could work from home we'd move here tomorrow.

White asparagus salad

Mascarpone and spinach linguine

"Side" salad

Monkfish on crab

Shortcake stack

Cafe gourmand - espresso, sorbet, rhubarb and ginger creme brulee and pot au chocolat, yum!

The sunset from our table overlooking St Agnes beach

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Garden of Eden

Drove manically down the A30 to reach the Eden Project before it closed but we're so glad we did! It's incredible, so well designed and just the most amazing sight when you view it from the top of the crater it sits in.

Logan ran riot in the Mediterranean biome - he did at least three laps with Mark trailing behind him.

An ingenious way of disguising the electrics!

THE Cornish session beer

Another one for Nigel! Camra gold medal winner last year, Mark says it's smoky and hoppy and generally excellent.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Monday, 15 June 2009

Close encounter

The penguin photocall wasn't as bad as I thought, in fact it was quite cool! Houdini the penguin was lovely, happy to be stroked (she was hand-reared) and Logan was really gentle with her.

He loved the rest of Paradise Park too, especially the soft play!

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Logan hits the beach

Down in Cornwall for the week. Still getting our bearings - not found a decent walkable pub yet - but the weather's been kind and Logan loves digging on the beach.

Checking out Paradise Park tomorrow - red pandas, parrots, flamingos and, um, goats (but no camels, yes camels). They do a penguin photocall for kids, not exploitative at all, oh no...

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Library Show, Birmingham

Excuse the bad quality picture, shamefully it's the only one I managed to snap at the show today - it's a fine balance showing enough interest in a product to get the best freebies without getting trapped in a pointless conversation, and taking photos of stands would definitely have strayed over the line.

Anyway, more later on Dame Lynne Brindley of the British Library and the digital future, digitising papers and the excellent freebies, now I'm heading home to the tube strike... Definitely taking a taxi, can't walk home after spending the day in heels!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Dance, little lady...

A 1929 ad from the Guardian.

Farewell Michael, hello Anthony

I've already discussed why I think Michael Rosen is a genius of a children's author. He steps down as Children's Laureate today, and has written about his experiences in the Guardian.

The new laureate is Anthony Browne, author and artist of children's classic Gorilla and the lovely I Like Books, among others. I hope his two years are as successful as Michael Rosen's at getting children excited about reading.

The Swedish duck island could be yours!

The Telegraph has flogged the MPs' expenses story to death, temporarily boosting sales but discrediting their broadsheet reputation in the process. Obviously there's a serious issue underlying all the tabloid-style vendettas - the expenses system is badly broken and needs a complete overhaul.

The story has also had serious consequences - only 35% of registered voters bothered to turn out at the European elections last week, either through apathy or through some misguided idea of protest. The result is that the hateful BNP are now stronger than ever - hopefully their success will horrify people enough to get them to the polling station for the general election, when it's finally called.

But amid the claims of second home flipping and high cleaning bills, some humour has shone through. You can't help but be amused by Sir Peter Viggers, Conservative representative for Gosport, who tried to claim for the cost of a £1,645 Swedish duck island at his second home. The claim was quite rightly turned down by the expenses office (not much of a story there then), and Viggers, who paid for it himself, sheepishly admitted that the ducks hadn't liked it anyway and it was now in storage (the Telegraph had tracked down satellite photos of his pond, showing it was no longer there).

Now, the MP has declared that he will auction the duck island for charity. He might be leaving parliament at the next election but at least some ducks, somewhere, will get a shiny new home to call their own.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Hanging out at Stanley's

We had a really fun weekend in Brighton - left London as the rain started and headed back just in time to avoid the rain in Brighton yesterday! Hung out in the sunshine with James, Sarada and Stanley, Jo ("more Jo!" was Logan's continuous refrain) and Nigel, and had a semi-successful barbecue.

The hotel was appalling btw - we booked a night at the Grand which should have been fab but the promised babysitting service didn't exist, so we had to take Logan out for the night instead. And the thermostat in the room didn't work. Not impressed.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Taking in the view

Mark had flu, I had a headache and Logan was grouchy but we still managed to have a fun wedding anniversary. We went for me a stroll at Alexandra Palace, ate ice cream and failed spectacularly to feed any ducks. Logan had his first funfair ride (not a fan) and won a cow on hook- a-duck.


Tried to take a pic of a lurking balloon but it hid behind the post then headed rapidly in my direction... Have I convinced anyone else they're sinister yet?


Logan hanging out with the gorgeous Sadie-May - she definitely got the tall genes, she's going to tower over him before long!


Mark got excited a few weeks ago when Logan pointed to the Star Trek action figures on the telly and the Batman one at home and said, 'Dada!'; when he did the same to a cartoon leprechaun on a postcard he was less impressed...

Last week Mark was in Montreal but Logan saw dada in all sorts of places - the pic above is 'Pat' (left) and 'Dada' (right). He spotted him judging Britain's Got Talent (Piers Morgan) and even started counting daddies on the bus - 'Two dada, two dada, four dada'. Thankfully he recognised the real one when he came home on Sunday, but if he carries on much longer my reputation is going to take a serious battering.