Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Since I found Serenity

Originally uploaded by CornishRambler.
And talking of this hypothetical series (shame to let a whole 'verse go to waste) I know where they could find a writer and cast looking for work...just watched the whole series of Firefly* - why do I only discover these things after they get cancelled? Anyway, I think it's love. It's certainly made me start going round in leather waistcoats and muttering to myself in a southern accent. Well, the accent's new, the leather and the muttering not so much...

* OK so this post is largely an excuse for a gratuitous picture of Nathan Fillion

"Angle of approach - not good"

Finally watched the Chronicles of Riddick last night. There's an hour and a half of my life I'm not getting back. It was a shame really, because I loved the universe it was in - the races, the planets, the sets, the whole concept of the film - I just didn't give a toss about any of the characters. It felt like an over-long pilot for a series - are they doing one? Can we have a new writer? And preferably a new cast (excepting Judi Dench - she can stay as long as they promise to do more with her character).

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Witchcraft Museum

Witchcraft Museum
Originally uploaded by
Friday saw the re-opening to the public of the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle following the floods last August. Went along to check it out, and to write an article for the next issue of Dragonswood (check out the Beltane issue for the full story).

Our journalistic foray got off to a rather surreal start, when we were stopped in turn by a reporter who wanted to take a photo of us for the local paper (using the park and ride set up).

There's obviously a lot of work still to be done in the town judging by the piles of rubble and scaffolding still prevalent, but the mood is upbeat and the tourists have certainly flocked in.

The museum is back with a vengeance, with some rearranged, and some new exhibits and a plea for all the visitors they can get - so even if you've been before it's worth a return visit, I certainly saw stuff I hadn't seen on two previous visits.

The afternoon was rounded off with a pint in the Cobweb Inn - well, it seemed fitting!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Drink up me hearties, yo ho

Originally uploaded by CornishRambler.
Or possibly the theme from Howard's Way would have been more appropriate, given that you don't see many pirates on the Fal these days. I was, however, humming both yesterday when we took a boat trip up the river - one of those touristy things that you never actually get round to doing when you live in a place.

It was perfect weather, clear blue skies and not too much wind. Out past the docks and up towards Truro, past the King Harry Ferry and lots of shifty looking cormorants. Round the huge ships languishing in the deep channel until they're sold or scrapped, past the smugglers' cottage, round and back into port (ye gods the Martime Museum looks hideous).

As we went back past the docks, one of the only other two passengers started to instruct us on what each of the ships did, up to the point when he discovered that we were actually local, upon which he started quizzing us on the finer points of mussel breeding. 'm sure there's a plank round here somewhere...

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Unlabelled Biscuit Tin Lottery

At any given point, the larder in my kitchen contains a number of biscuit tins of indeterminate contents. These nestle nonchalently between the splitting bags of flour, unnoticed until such a point when the search for a quick snack fix has exhausted all other possibilities. This is always rather hazardous, as the tin-miner risks levering up a lid to find a pile of mouldy tortillas, a forlorn and furry pitta bread, or, on one occasion, a shop-bought meringue nest that had been there for about a year, and hadn't noticably changed since the day it was hatched. Tonight, however, I hit paydirt. Nearly a whole roll of milk chocolate digestives I'd completely forgotton about. Result!

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Space Commanders and other animals

Originally uploaded by CornishRambler.
Sat down to listen to the taped first part of My Family and Other Animals serialised on OneWord. Now according to the Radio Times, this was "written and read by Gerald Durrell". Given that he's been dead for some time, I was assuming it was an old recording, but no, they'd just got it wrong and it was read by someone else entirely. Steven Pacey. Only bloody Tarrant!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Pan-galactic Gargleblaster

We had a cocktail party the other weekend. Cocktails seem largely to be drinks that give you the initial reaction of "ugh" then an "ooh" kind of shiver followed by successively larger mouthfuls until you find yourself making a second shaker of a drink you'd initially mentally compared with drain cleaner.

Anyway, alone and at a loose end for the evening (always dangerous with alcohol in the house) I thought I'd be terribly sophisticated and mix one of the coktails we'd recently been sinking to great effect. I briefly considered changing into a dress for a touch of authentic ambience, but decided on the whole that I couldn't be arsed, and that should any of the voices in my head call me on it, I would maintain that I was instead being the sort of chap who'd been out hunting rhino all day and was just striding back into the lodge for a well deserved cocktail.

Two things occurred to me as I was draining the cointreau bottle into the shaker and musing that this cocktail business was rather draining on the old spirit levels. Firstly, that I did actually possess a measure spoon, and thus using the lid of the shaker probably wasn't a measure in the strict bar tending sense of the word, and secondly, that by following the same recipe, I'd just mixed as much for myself as I had previously for four people.

If I've posted this it means I've regained consciousness, which is a good thing. Probably.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Full Service History

St Nicholas
Originally uploaded by

Despite setting out armed with enough food to fell a small rhinoceros, we still ended up paying over the odds in Tewkesbury Little Chef for the simple reason that we needed to use the loo. I'd never yet come away from a Little Chef thinking 'hmmn, that was nice and VERY good value'. And I still haven't. But I digress.

The church, St Nicholas, was pretty and so far successfully fending off the encroaching factory developments (our favourite one being for Trelleborg Dowty Seals - manufacturing particularly resourceful Danish marine mammals? Anything's possible round here). Matt remarked that the church looked particularly defensible in case of attack. I thought yes, perhaps against marauding Saxons, but it turns out he was thinking zombies. No change there then.

We had a lady vicar who I wouldn't have been surprised to find out was the
Reverend Watkins, but there didn't seem to be any overly supernatural goings on (other than a rather alarming crashing of bells as we were filing out at the end, leading to theories of bodies dangling from the bell ropes - segue from Ledwardine into Midsomer).

The service went smoothly, although the singing might have been a bit lustier if any of us had heard of any of the hymns - we mostly stuck to the traditional British mouthing silently with eyes fixed firmly on the order of service. I'd also like to respectfully suggest to the parents of the small girl in front of us that whispering 'shut up. Shut UP. Do you want a smack?' in increasingly murderous tones is not likely to actually quieten a kid who just wanted to be able to see. Still, I did manage to trip the mother up later at the reception, which I'd like to see as the application of inventive karma.

So anyway. A successful hitching - Alison looked every inch the lovely bride in lashings of white froth and veil with sparkly weights (although if it had been me I'd probably have been in fur trousers given the outside temperature - still, each to their own...).

Were left to our own devices after the service, with several hours to kill till the evening reception. Naturally found a pub (guesthouse, cashpoint, pub and hotel all conveniently located along a fairly short distance). Can thoroughly recommend The Berkley Arms, all timberframing, good beer (guest ale was Round The Maypole) and food and friendly service.

Made it to the Hop Pole Hotel just as the speeches were finishing (oh gosh, really?) and installed ourselves in the comfy chairs in the corridor where were were neither deafened nor blinded by the disco. And there, larelgy, we stayed for the rest of the evening, it being quite a good spot to talk to passing people, as we were between the entertainment (not me for once, although vague recollections of drunken rambling suggests it was a good thing I wasn't involved in the speeches) and the bar.

We were staying at the Barton House Guesthouse (previously the Bali Hai), and decorated with a mixture of entertainingly exotic fans and brasses and seventies floral print. Oh, and a tremendous collection of swords over the fireplace in the dining room. We were right at the top of the house on the second floor, with a good view over the rooftops of Tewkesbury. £18 each for three of us sharing, including breakfast - and a friendly resident black cat as well (I was going to put "to boot" there, but I think that would have given the wrong impression...).

Back to Cornwall on the Sunday after a full English all round and a quick detour via Ikea (two washing up brushes and a packet of biscuits if you must know).

~*~ Congratulations Jon and Alison ~*~

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Nice day for a white wedding

Off to a wedding in Tewkesbury today. My food bag for the journey up is bigger than my overnight bag, I'm not sure what that says about me. Probably that I'll have burst out of this dress by the time I get up there. Also bought some dark red pvc trousers for the evening do. Someone should really stop me from shopping while drunk...

Friday, March 11, 2005

One Word

Tony Hawks
Originally uploaded by
Have just discovered OneWord, which is a digital radio channel where people basically just read books and plays to you.

Have so far been listening to Tony Hawks reading Playing the Moldovans at Tennis* and Warren Clark reading the Dalziel and Pascoe book An April Shower.

Discovered one drawback to taping radio through the telly though - very difficult to find the point you want when fast forwarding, without a picture...(I know this should feel no different from fast-forwarding a cassette, but it does, so there).

* Bit in the paper about Moldova this week, where they objected to being described in the news as sandwiched between two other nations. "We are not a sandwich, we are a country" (now is that a step up or a step down from "I am not a number"?). It added that probably the only reason anyone in Britain would even have heard of the country in the first place was through Tony Hawks' book. Bet they're not even grateful.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Overheard at work

"Well it's 50 of one and half a dozen of the other really."

Thursday, March 03, 2005


Originally uploaded by
I saw a firecrest this morning. Felt it was worthy of note, as I've never seen one before. It was taking a bath in the melting ice on top of a parked car.


Promotional offer on a new box of Go-Cat: "Get your free essential kitten taster pack". Seems a little harsh...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Dear Mr Coren,

It's always a bad sign when during a trip to a restaurant I start composing mental emails to Giles Coren the Times restaurant reviewer, and last night was no exception.

Now, there used to be a very nice Chinese restaurant in Falmouth, which was run by visibly Chinese staff, who also ate in there. A while ago, it got taken over, shifted a few doors up the road and re-opened, with cold, spotlit, tiled decor replacing the carpets and the chicken made out of lottery tickets. The staff had also mysteriously shifted ethnicity into a bunch of grumpy looking caucasians.

Willing to give it another chance, we dropped in last night, reasonably confident that we'd be able to get a table without a reservation on a rainy Tuesday in February. We needn't have worried - the place was completely deserted. We were there for an hour, and in that time two takeaway orders got phoned in, and no-one else came to dine.

Our waitress looked like she'd been drafted in from Broadmoor to prevent us escaping out in to the night and about as happy about it. At one point a Chinese chap did come in the door, leading to speculation that they probably paid him to walk through every night to make the customers think their food might be in some way authentic (he left again shortly afterwards, dashing any hopes we might have harboured).

We ordered two cokes while we were waiting, and the deathly hush over the place was enough to hear the 'ffsst' of a multi-litre bottle of unspecified cola being opened somewhere in the back.

The soup came suspiciously quickly, intimations of hidden microwaves being borne out by my lumps of crab-meat not being entirely what you could call warm. It wasn't bad, but as I said, you can't really go far wrong with something available in tins. More appetising than the won ton soup anyway, which was a bovril-y tasting thin stock with floating cabbage and two sheep's eyes (ok, so they weren't actually sheep's eyes. Sheep's eyes probably would have been tastier).

The main courses weren't bad per se, but the portions certainly wouldn't have filled a take-away container, and would it have been too much to ask for the rice to come in a bowl that a/ had been warmed and b/ didn't have a big chip out the side of it?

OK, picky-picky, the lot came to under £30 for the two of us, but then, I left still feeling vaguely hungry. And with the realisation that we had had a worse Chinese meal - the last time we'd been in there. I don't think we'll be going back.

Treas em Wankeing ont Sime

Was idly perusing the available templates for a possible change in look and was rather taken with the mock text they're using for the examples. Et harumd und lookum like Greek indeed.