July 2012 Archives

in challenges |


All done.


  • run 50km — done 55.42km total, not a good total for me, I need to find a race to train towards
  • weights x8 — done 8, mostly the same sets
  • keep to maintenance calorie target x24 — -done 25, eating out was as always the biggest threat, as well as not enough running


  • vegetarian days x4 — done 5 days total; peas are coming into season, and I made fresh pea and broad bean pesto which went down very well
  • non alcohol days x8 — done 12, meals out and the need to finish the open bottles of whisky the main culprits to not achieving an even higher total
  • fruit or juice x24 — done 28, I like that i have the motivation to have a constant supply of fruit at home
  • eton mess — done: post with pics


  • defrost freezer — done, happy to have worked through a lot of excess food in the freezer
  • make list of stuff to sell — done, sis wants the sofa bed and I measured everything to realise that I can fit the bar table and stools so no need to sell the big items
  • make list of stuff to buy — done, bought towels, duvet cover during the sales
  • clothes and stuff for charity shop — done, took a couple of bags down to the shop and another bag for the clothes bin down the road


  • book all components of bbmm holiday — done
  • outline idea for this year’s nano — done, a romantic mystery, I even have a location, I’ll go take some pictures next time I’m over there
  • LL rewrite at least 2 chapters — done 6 chapters actually, or 22,420 words making the total wordcount 43,173 — about halfway

in sports active |

Canoeing, table tennis, weightlifting are the new sports I saw today. It’s also the cross country day of the equestrian event. Cross country is being held at Greenwich Park across the river from Olympic Park. Oh what a beautiful course, glorious.

in sports active |

Did some running in the morning in the showery weather, then settled for a day of Olympics on tv. So lucky that I have the BBC. Waking up on Saturday to comments that coverage of the opening ceremony in other countries weren’t as good was a bit shocking. NBC cutting the Abide with me segment was insulting and insensitive. I watched the whole ceremony live with no interruptions and sensible commentary.

On the BBC website, we’re supposed to be able to watch 24 channels of streaming coverage, although all it did was crash my flash plugin. I only have freeview so I have a limited of extra channels on my red button — during the day I have 3 channels in total, at night 4. Still, I’ve managed to catch 22 out of the 37 sports, which I think is wonderful. Some of them haven’t started, I’m hoping that I can at least watch a segment of every sport. The 22 so far:

  • archery
  • badminton
  • basketball
  • beach volleyball
  • boxing
  • canoe slalom
  • cycling - road
  • diving
  • equestrian
  • fencing
  • football
  • gymnastics
  • handball
  • hockey
  • judo
  • rowing
  • sailing
  • shooting
  • swimming
  • tennis
  • volleyball
  • water polo

Some of those were brief segments, most of the morning was watching Team GB lose in various sports. Again, it was cycling that got my attention, keen to not let yesterday’s men’s road race disappointment dwell. And wow, the women’s race was edge of seat stuff. Tactical attack, torrential rainfall and a sprint finish. In Beijing, the first British medal was by a female road cyclist and this time it’s no different, Lizzie Armitstead winning silver. So proud, so happy.

The evening turned better. Becky Adlington winning bronze, the men’s football team 3-1 against the UAE, news of preliminary successes for Ben Ainslie in sailing, the rowing team, boxing and eventing.

The biggest heartache is the news that Paula Radcliffe is out of the marathon through injury. She’s such a giant and role model that I’m truly distraught. I know she didn’t stand a chance, but she’s Paula, you know. Sigh.

The public row over empty seats continue, and I feel that the public should, and will, keep giving this issue the high attention it needs. Sounds like it’s not corporate sponsors but the Olympic “family” that are hogging all those seats, and without fail, they are the best seats. Someone need to be held accountable for this. Complete shambles.

in sports active |

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The plan was to watch all the Olympic games on TV, but the disappointment over the men’s road race took the steam out of that plan. I didn’t want to hear about how Cav didn’t get any medal all over the broadcast tonight. Idly, I clicked through the ticketing site half searching for returns and any games available. I wanted basketball, even though it’s too far away. Looked for events in this part of town — badminton at wembley, volleyball at earl’s court and beach volleyball at horse guards. It was 4pm, and there were tickets for beach volleyball at 8pm. They only give you 2mins to decide on whether to take the tickets, and it did take me the whole 2mins.

Horse Guard Parade is only 45mins away, but there wasn’t a lot of time. Had to get there early to physically collect the tickets and go through security. There was a lot of traffic too, so I didn’t get there till almost 6pm. The line for ticket collection took a whole hour! Security was fast though and I was inside, got some water and fish’n’chips and in my seat by the time the first game started.

The first game was men’s Brazil vs Norway. The stadium was quite full, except the usual sight of the best seats (Olympic “family” and sponsors) left empty. Disgusting really. My seat was behind one of the ends and not too high up.

The game was exciting, with the commentator drumming up the atmosphere, dancers coming on at intervals and lots of noise and music. Brazil is one of the favourites and won the game in 2 sets. The second game was women’s Switzerland vs Greece. Lots of vocal support for Greece, the game was won by Switzerland in 2 sets.

Game 3 was men’s USA vs South Africa. Great game, lots of athleticism and powerful spikes. A group of drunken dinosaurs were behind our seat and they were pretty loud. Didn’t matter, the whole stadium was loud. Game 4 was women’s USA vs Australia. It was already 11pm and pretty cold, I’d only brought my running jacket in case it rained and my teeth were chattering. The players also were feeling the cold, instead of the regular skimpy costumes, they were wearing warmer clothing. That was a thrilling match, obviously with the big names of Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor. Both USA teams won in 2 sets too.

The matches were finished at around 11.45pm. Got the bus home, by the time I’d showered it was 1am already. I’m glad I went, it was really interesting and exciting.

in sports active |

It’s Friday 27 July and the London 2012 Opening Ceremony will start in a few hours. The TV is decidedly tuned to BBC1, the Pimm’s is ready and the anticipation is building. Thinking back, I actually was in Singapore that day in July 2005 when the IOC announced that the 2012 Olympics will be held in London. It’s a bit surreal, that I can be here in person during this event. Yes, I complain about the various issues that have cropped up and am annoyed that my day-to-day life will be severely disrupted. But it’s hard not to get super, super excited. It’s such a huge event that the only reasonable thing to do is to get with the program and embrace the spirit. It will be something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Bring on London 2012. Go Team GB and best of luck to all athletes.

in sports active |


I was thinking about whether to go, and the consensus from several people was to definitely go. It’s day 69 of the olympic torch relay, the last full day before it goes to the olympic park. It started today at Camden, moved east to Haringey, Islington, the City, south towards the south bank, Peckham, Lewisham, round Battersea Park, King’s Road, up towards Shepherd’s Bush, Westfield, Bayswater Road, Oxford Street, Regent’s Street, Downing Street, Buckingham Palace and coming back to Hyde Park. A lot of those spots are so near me that there’s no excuse. Initially the plan was to go to Bayswater and the Hyde Park area, I ended up a bit further west at Holland Park. It was a good decision. The crowds weren’t that thick, there was plenty of shade and this was where the route doubled back.

I stood next to a nice lady who was there with her grandchildren. Her daughter had gotten men’s diving and canoeing, she was very excited. They were running late and the first we saw of the convoy was security and police started to congregate. At the head of the convoy were police motorcycles, followed by some runners and then the sponsor trucks. About 2-3mins later the actual torch convoy came by, police first, then a lone torchbearer surrounded by security, then a bunch of buses and cars following.

They headed towards Westfield, so we had about 45mins to wait till they came back. I walked around the shops and had half a pint of a very sharp and bitter beer. Other people congregated at an ice cream shop and inside Tesco’s.

I found another good, shady spot to wait for the return. The crowds were thin enough that I actually crossed over to the median and had a clear view. The group went by quickly and I, like a few others, ran after it. Each torchbearer ran for 300m, so I was able to catch a couple of changeovers. It was an easy bus trip home too, to catch the rest of the relay on tv. There’s a concert at Hyde Park tonight, but that’t not my cup of tea.

Most of the torchbearers are locals who contributed to the community through charity work, or soldiers, or emergency workers, or brave souls who battled illness or disablity. Some are celebrities or sportspeople. Kate Nesbitt who took the torch to Downing Street was the first woman to be awarded the Military Cross for her work in Afghanistan. I didn’t know who the ones were today, but I thought they were great. The whole event was impressive, moving and I’m so glad I went.

in sports active |

London 2012 kicked off…in Cardiff. Football starts before the opening ceremony, and since the games are played at grounds all over the country, the Millenium Stadium has the honour of hosting the first event. And it’s Team GB vs New Zealand women’s football. I hardly watch football, and I think it’s the first time I sat through an entire women’s game. It was a thrilling game, with many missed chances and lots of pressure. Team GB had the upper hand, and the goal that secured the 1-0 win was brilliant. Hoping this is a sign of more wins and medals for the team. I have nothing planned for the weekend, I’ll be glued to the TV with my cups of tea.

in arts and media |

When Line of Duty started 5 weeks ago, I watched the first episode. A bit confused. A bit bored. A bit addicted. There were intriguing terms, like “laddering” where easy suspects were convinced to own up to more crimes than they’d committed to bump case resolution figures up. Or picking and choosing cases to tackle the ones that promise a higher solve rate. This wasn’t a traditional good cop vs bad guys drama; in modern policing the lines between good and bad were very blurred. I wasn’t sure if I would watch it again.

Episode 2, and I watched it. And kept watching. There are twists, and at the end the message is that there are degrees of goodness and badness. That the police organisation is just like any large corporate enterprise. Bottom line, metrics count. In corporations it’s P&L, in policing it’s number of cases solved. Put lots of people together and there is politics. Add on power and there is corruption. What motivates people is different. Makes you think. The article by writer Jed Mercurio is pretty interesting too.

in arts and media |

Oh my goodness. This is the definition of quality. I’d seen the film and was underwhelmed. My smart theatrical friends told me that this is a must see, because of Imeda Staunton (and Michael Ball.) They were not wrong. So I went out on a hot Monday evening to the Strand to see Sweeney Todd at the Adelphi.

This version of the Stephen Sondheim’s musical was dark and chilling. The chorus was menacing and the occasional screech of the steam whistle heightens the sense of unease. Remember Michael Ball as the babyfaced Marius at Les Miz? Now he’s scary and broody and still sings like an angel. The real star of the show, for me, was Imelda Staunton, which isn’t much of a surprise. I tried unsuccessfully to watch Superstar, the only thing I took away was the in musicals acting ability is just as important as singing ability. Imelda Staunton brought comic relief and masterful acting ability to her portrayal of Mrs Lovett.

The first half started slowly for me, and I was waiting for the next big scene or next big number. The second half though, I was at the edge of my seat, totally riveted. I remembered that almost everybody died at the end, but even so the way they met their ends were just as gruelsome as I expected. Wonderful production.

(This video is from the run at Chichester last year, with the same London cast>)

in eating and drinking |

squashsoup02 vealrib01201207

What I ate today. Veal rib roast with cabbage, tomato and rocket salad for lunch. Roasted from frozen, 770g took about 1.5hrs for rare. No, I didn’t eat the whole joint, just one chop. It was nicely pink and very juicy.

For dinner I had roasted butternut squash and carrot soup, totally homemade, even the stock which was from the bones I had in the freezer. Not sure what exactly they were, hehe, my freezer bones are normally a mixture of chicken, duck and it may have even included guinea fowl and squab. The butternut squash made the soup so, so sweet. Crumbled a bit of stilton when serving, to give a bit of creaminess.

in eating and drinking |

etonmess01 etonmess02

Over at the kitchn they were asking for ideas for a british foods for an olympics dinner party. Surprisingly, there were some authentic and good ideas. One of the better ones is for Eton Mess.

There’s been a resurgence and attention for this very English dessert. Takes no time to make too. I used mascarpone (broken up with a little milk and sweetened with a tbsp of sugar) instead of cream. Spoon over meringue nests, add some strawberries and blackberries. I did one pretty-ish presentation, but as befits the name, it needs to be messy.

in eating and drinking |

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I’ve been trying to go to 10 cases for a while. Their gimmick is that they order wines 10 cases at a time and when they sell out, they sell out and they get another 10 cases of something else. I like the small bistrot location, you can sit at the bar or at the tables or outside.

Started with a white chateauneuf with small dishes of potted crab and saucisson. Then I had a bacon, pork cheek and poached egg salad. Supposedly a starter but big enough (and with robust pieces of bacon) for a mains. Didn’t have dessert, went to a gelato place.

I was having dinner with a new acquaintance, someone from work who transferred a while ago. It has taken us more than half a year to connect. I guess going to a new restaurant was a risk, I’m glad I suggested this place.

The casual bistrot style means people don’t need to go especially for the food. Sit at the bar, have a glass of wine and order the small dishes. Less expensive than the pintxo bar I was at earlier.

in eating and drinking |


I had half an hour at Covent Garden before a dinner appointment. Instead of walking around the shops I decided to give pix bar a try. It’s a pintxo tapas bar that at 6.15pm on a Friday was heaving, the lady at the door found me a nice corner at the bar though. I had a glass of ribera del ducro, a chorizo and manchego skewer plus a fig and cheese bruschetta. Not cheap, wine by the glass £5-8 and each skewer was £1.90. There was a fun Hemingway quote on the wall about doing things sober vs drunk. Will I return? There are other places in the area, that’s the thing. Next time I have half an hour to spare I’ll go to a pub or to 10 cases, which was where we had dinner. See next post.

in eating and drinking |


I’m at home most of this week, no need to go out or eat out till Friday, so plenty of opportunities to eat simply. Weeks like this, I want to try to have at least one vegetarian day. Made yellow and red pepper stuffed with mushroom, halloumi and Israeli couscous. This is my favourite stuffing, I can just eat it by the spoonful. The Israeli (aka giant aka pearl) couscous adds taste and chewiness that regular couscous, being too small, doesn’t have.

in eating and drinking |

Other events are coming up later in the year, like in October with the self-described UK’s greatest whisky show at Vinopolis. The ticket entities visitors to samples and a buffet meal. Sigh. I won’t be here, wonder if it’s worth flying back.

in in the news |


Locog are trying to get us more into the Olympics spirit. Additional Olympics tickets are being released. I guess they are the ones with low takeup or returned for resale, because they are all at the higher price categories. There are even opening and closing ceremony ones, so if I had a spare £1,600 or so I can go to the opening ceremony. Um, no thanks. There’s wrestling, weight-lifting, gymnastics, basketball and volleyball (regular and beach) as well as scads of football tickets. Even the diving final that we are going to, the top price tickets are available.

I could be patriotic and go to women’s football at Wembley to see Team GB play Brazil. Or volleyball at Earl’s Court — both men’s and women’s preliminary round matches involving Team GB are available. How about beach volleyball at Horse Guard’s, there are loads of sessions available. The venues are better for me, no need to trek all the way over to Stratford. Problem is that they are all category A or B tickets, do I want to see women’s football for £45 or beach volleyball for £50?

I think I will try to go watch the marathon though, support Paula and Mara and Claire in the women’s event. I’ll be in Provence for the men’s.

in arts and media |

Patriotic ad from British Airways. The message is “Don’t Fly. Support Team GB.” And coming from the national airline it’s kinda of an oxymoron.

It’s now almost 10 days to the Olympics. Running to Regent’s Park today past Lord’s they’re already beginning the preparation. Giant concrete anti-terrorist blocks along the entrances, official cars disgorging officials lugging boxes into the site. Archery is at Lord’s, and it’s one of the earliest sports to begin.

Sigh. I’m NOT getting the Olympics spirit yet. Far, far too many stupid ignorant tourists around town. Standing still blocking almost the entire pavement while they look up, or look at maps. Not knowing to stand on the right on the tube. Getting off the bus from the front! Making my teeth grind and wanting to just wring their necks. I wish I had made plans to leave the country.

On the other hand, apparently aside from Olympics visitors no one is coming so it’s easier to book restaurants. Well true, I just managed to get a reservation for one of the hottest new restaurants, Dinner by Heston for August. Small silver linings.

in challenges |


Been a busy 2 weeks with sis and mm visiting, so a lot of days out. Not too bad, still on target. Fewer plans for the second half of the month, so I should be able to complete this challenge.


  • run 50km — on target, 30km done
  • weights x8 — on target, 4 done
  • keep to maintenance calorie target x24 — on target, 13 days under


  • vegetarian days x4 — on target, 3 done
  • non alcohol days x8 — on target, 6 done
  • fruit or juice x24 — on target, 12 done
  • eton mess — not yet, didn’t have time to make it for mm


  • defrost freezer — still have lots to eat up before I can start
  • make list of stuff to sell — done
  • make list of stuff to buy — done
  • clothes and stuff for charity shop — have a couple of bags of clothes and a box of stuff, almost ready


  • book all components of bbmm holiday — only need to book Paris hotel
  • outline idea for this year’s nano — there’s a vague idea, need quiet time to just think
  • LL rewrite at least 2 chapters — part of 1 chapter done

in on the relationship front |

Breakfast at Carlucci’s at St Christopher’s Place followed by more sale shopping. Managed to fit in M&S, Primark and vitamin shopping. Walked to the piano store on Edgware Road so mm can ask about practice rooms for next time. Bought cake from the shop at Warwick Ave then home for a late lunch. I even cooked my remaining stuffed rabbit for her to try. All too soon it was 5pm and the minicab arrived. I went with her as far as Paddington to see her off on the heathrow express. Quiet when I got home, missing her already. Only 2 weeks, but it can’t come fast enough.

in eating and drinking , on the relationship front |


We are trying to cram everything into 2 days, get as much eating and time together as possible. Changed our reservation at Hawksmoor to lunch — had D-rump, sirloin, bone marrow followed by honeycomb cheesecake. I’m so happy that mm likes the place too. Bought cheese at Neal’s Yard diary. Resumed our trek to Foyles and then had ricotta cake at Princi. Went to John Lewis and bought towels, bowls, glasses and other kitchen stuff for mm. Took the bus home and had hoummous and cheese for dinner. I opened the bottle of peach wine from Georgia. Fantastic day.

in evidence of my insanity |


Here’s a random, philosophical question. If everyone had a crystal ball, who wins? At the most basic level, say the result of a football match is 2-1. If both teams had crystal balls and knew the result, a) what’s the point of playing the game; and b) what’s the point of the losing team showing up to play the game? And if they don’t show up, there won’t be a result after all.

in being healthy |


official: 5.6km 34.46min 6.10min/km (9.56min/mi)
nike+: 35.40min 6.14min/km (10.04min/mi)

Race #6, second of the week. Corporate challenges always clash with other races, almost every year. This will be my last corporate challenge, which is a bit sad. Ah well. I had to go into the office to pick up my t-shirt and bib this morning, and I was early getting to battersea park, not sure about train times and all. It wasn’t ideal for running — yes the temperature was cool but it was sunny one minute and heavy showers the next, it’s the unpredictability that caused the problem. I wore my hot chocolate raincoat while waiting with the rest of the team — didn’t have anything to bagcheck. I don’t like wearing it on the race itself but I didn’t have much choice.

Took forever to start, despite the corrals. Really crowded too, with people running 2- or 3-abreast (these 3 women walking in the middle of the path too) and at the other end of the scale people pushing through running faster. The course being only 3.5miles I could afford to go quicker. At the straight part, I did okay, and then there was one part where everyone slowed to a walk because of the mud.

Decent time. Still waiting for the day when I can go back to my old form and complete this under 30mins. We get a finisher’s t-shirt, bananas, water and there was a voucher for a burger (i had chicken) and 2 drinks (beer of course). Socialised for a while, then headed home on the bus.

in eating and drinking , on the relationship front |


I didn’t go to heathrow to pick mm up as it was too early, sis still here, and mm needed to check into the hotel anyway. We met up mid-morning at john lewis and walked around the entire store. Slowly made our way to covent garden where I had a reservation at l’atelier de joel robuchon. I’m losing track of how many times and who I’ve taken to all these restaurants, hahaha.

The restaurant was pretty full, but we still had a good seat at the bar. We opted for the 3 course lunch menu with wine pairing. To start I had sea bream carpaccio and she had asparagus cappuccino. For mains I had black leg chicken and she had hangar steak. We then moved upstairs to the bar for dessert — chocolate mousse and cheese plate. Just over £100 for the two of us. I ended up drinking most of the wine, including hers.

She wanted to go to foyles to look at music, which we did. Then her jetlag and wine got the better of her and we had to go back to the hotel quickly. Napped until early evening, went out to m&s to get dips and chicken wings and that was our dinner for the day. We’ve been looking forward to seeing each other for a while, it’s nice to simply spend time together.

in family first |

Sis and her family came up to London today. I met them at Victoria station and we had lunch at Yo!Sushi, lucking out on it being their Blue Monday and many dishes at £2.40. Then we went to the science museum and mostly spent the time at the hands on area. We were all tired, so we got a taxi back home to rest. Dinner was at Hawksmoor — Sis and I had the D-rump and sirloin while little one had mac’n’cheese and mash potato. Again, we lucked out on it being Monday, with BYO at £5 corkage. We bought a Malbec at my local wine shop for the surprising price of £6.99, it was a bargain. R came after his drinks. Sis and little one stayed in the spare room and R slept in the living room, I’m happy that my flat is large enough for all of them.

in being healthy |


official: 10.0km 1:04:58hr 6:29min/km (10:27min/mi)
nike+: 10.2km 1:05:02hr 6:22min/km (10:16min/mi)
overall placing: 13,480 / 19,716

Race #5 this year. I ran this race last year and wasn’t impressed, so I’m not entirely sure why I registered this year. I’m totally not in running mode and was pretty tired when I woke up. Briefly I thought about skipping it for a second but one does not DNS without good reason. Tired is not one of them.

It was pelting down with rain, so I got out the disposable rain poncho that my sis bought for me. That proved to be so useful, I had it on until about 5 mins from the start and it kept me dry and warm.

Ah, the start. Fiasco last year, marginally better this year. Some singer sang a song, they played all 3 verses of the national anthem and the race started 10mins late. No corrals and having people line up on Piccadilly then turn around over the underpass really doesn’t work. At least the bad weather probably deterred some of the walkers, I remember scalds of them blocking the road last year. They still blocked the road but there were fewer of them.

I’m out of practice. Started faster than I wanted, still quite slow. The rain stopped for the first part and then it started pelting down. There was no cover, kudos to all the spectators who stuck around. I didn’t feel tired and kept a fairly even pace. Even managed to sprint a little down the last 200m.

Nike was the sponsor this year, may be the extra sponsorship money was responsible for the basic things in a race like timing chip and extra water. There wasn’t enough water last year, and this year there were 3 water stations. Of course it being a rainy day not as much was needed. We also had to wear the race shirt to qualify for a free official pic. It’s a nice shirt, I just hate the small sleeves for women’s t-shirts. There was also a finishers’ shirt and I grabbed a men’s one instead.

Definitely just a fun run. And yes, great course through London passing all the important sights, which I guess is its biggest draw. There simply aren’t enough big London races — plenty of smaller ones but only this one, BUPA 10k and VLM come to mind. And this one come a very distant third behind those two great races.

in evidence of my insanity |


Even though I have a fancy schmancy Aeron chair in the study, I’ve stationed myself in the kitchen since moving in and have been sitting on a bog standard kitchen stool for 18 months. It’s not terribly comfortable, but it’s okay since I can’t sit still for long periods of time. Lately though, it’s been feeling harder and harder. So what I’ve been doing is mixing up sitting with standing. When I’m on the mba I sit but when I’m reading I prop the ereader / kindle up a little and read standing up.

Even if I wanted to, I won’t be able to switch to working whilst standing unless I either get a standing desk or prop the worktop up a couple feet. Right now my standing reading posture is very poor — I’m basically slouching and bending my neck down.

There was some attention on switching to standing working a while ago, and some good reasons for switching. There does seem to be definite benefits to limiting time spent sitting down. After all, notable people like Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf were standing workers and look at how they did in life. This is a pic of Hemingway at his standing desk, look at the tiny typewriter.

in arts and media |

Musical #3 this summer, Chicago. On my own this time, and matinee at an odd time of 5pm. I’d gone to Hawksmoor to grab a lobster roll for lunch and ended up staying there till almost 3pm drinking their best bourbon, heehee. Anyway, I opted for the cheapest £20 upper circle tickets, this is a musical that I feel like I’m supposed to see rather than me chomping at the bits to see it. Truth is, I hadn’t even watched the film till this week, and only because I knew I was coming to see the show and I want to get familiar with the story.

I got to the Garrick early and made my way up to the top floor. At which point one of the officials informed me that the upper circle is closed and if I would follow him to the box office he’ll give me a new seat. Wow. They gave me 4th row stall, on the aisle. Nice seat. It was full house, I wonder why they closed the upper circle.

I won’t compare with the film, they are two different animals. I am glad I watched it to get a sense of the story, it’s kind of surreal and needs a bit of imagination. Enjoyed the performances, thought it was strange that there weren’t costume changes (policemen and doctors tend not to be bare-chested or wear see-through tight shirts). The principal casts were great, if not outstanding. To my amateur eye, the dancing was better than the singing. All in all, as I said, an enjoyable performance. Should have bought my ticket for next week, Robin Cousins join as Billy Flynn for Olympic season.

in easily amused |

I bought this fantastic lego game life of george for my niece. No idea why the name, but it doesn’t matter. This is the future.

The box comes with 144 standard lego bricks and a small board with grid markings. Before playing, I downloaded the app. The app gives pictures of what to build, the idea of the game is to build the same model using the physical bricks within the time allowed, then take a picture with the iphone. Scores are based on accuracy and time.

There are different levels, single- and two player modes and we can even create our own models. I wanted to get this a while ago, and had been waiting for my US trip, the price difference ($29.99 vs £29.99 — seriously) made it worthwhile to wait. We had a lot of fun, my niece and I. She’s much better at creating models and I’m better at making according to the pics.

in money business |


So one of the first things RM said to me when we got to dublin was, “they use pounds here, right?” Snerk. Um, no. Which is why my EUR stash was dramatically reduced and I need to get some more for the bbmm Provence (and may be Brussels) trip. The rate has edged up, eurozone crisis and all. YTD average is 1.21, and it’s now around 1.24. I should go get some this weekend.

in arts and media |

The London production of Singin’ in the Rain opened in February after a run at Chichester last year, and is one of the tickets RM and I got during the May discount season. We managed to snag the second row and our tickets had the warning that people in the front stalls may get wet. Ha! May?

First the production. Excellent. Excellent dancing. Excellent choreography. Singing was good, though none of the solos brought the house down. Liked that they used the whole theatre, including the aisles at the stalls. The screening of the Duelling / Dancing Cavalier at the back of the stage made us feel a part of the filmmaking. It had enough merit on its own without comparisons to the Gene Kelly film.

The best thing was the theme song at the end of Act 1, and there was real water!! Adam Cooper as Don Lockwood was dancing his way on stage with real water. And kicking the real water towards the audience. Some people came prepared with raincoats, but I think the fun part is actually getting wet. Throughout the intermission, we watched a team of people mop the stage dry, in its strange way it was mesmerising. The company repeated the number at encore and there was even more splashes. We were drenched, completely drenched. It was brilliant.

in eating and drinking |

dressed crab

My sis is here so I went down to visit them. We went into town for lunch, ended up at brasseric blanc, a sort of Manoir lite from Raymond Blanc. We shared a starter board of vegetables, smoked mackerel, pigeon rillette and other stuff. Sis had braised lamb shoulder and I had the dressed crab, opting for something that is too fiddly to do at home.

Our conclusion is that it was nice, but not outstanding. A long way from le manoir — even though we’d never been there, we can imagine the quality of food. This was like a chain, and probably more in the standard of a café rouge. The starter was kinda boring, the bread being the best part. And yes, I did appreciate that someone went into the trouble of picking all the flesh out of my crab, but somehow it all tasted quite bland, even with an abundance of brown meat. We didn’t have wine or dessert.

There are plenty of french style bistros around. I think I’ll give some of the others a try before returning to this one.

in challenges |



  • run 50km
  • weights x8
  • keep to maintenance calorie target x24


  • vegetarian days x4
  • non alcohol days x8
  • fruit or juice x24
  • eton mess


  • defrost freezer
  • make list of stuff to sell
  • make list of stuff to buy
  • clothes and stuff for charity shop


  • book all components of bbmm holiday
  • outline idea for this year’s nano
  • LL rewrite at least 2 chapters


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