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The opposite of writer's block [Mar. 13th, 2014|10:31 pm]
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What's the opposite of writer's block? Writer's flux? Each of the things that follow could have been a post of its own (not to mention the ones that I remember as soon as I have shut down my computer and gone to bed). Since that's not going to happen, here is the news in brief:
  1. Tyne at the Theatre Royal; David Whetstone's review in the Journal refers to the original production at Live Theatre, and although the Theatre Royal was both packed and appreciative, I felt it would have been more at home in the smaller, more intimate setting. I found the framing narrative more than a bit predictable, but the material it framed was enjoyable. Best thing: a story by Julia Darling that was entirely new to me, The Women Who Painted Ships (perfectly performed by Zoe Lambert and Jane Holman)

  2. I made hot cross buns, a mash-up of my basic sourdough, the recipe from Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery and what ingredients came to hand. I don't usually add sugar to my bread, the sourdough starter doesn't need it, but the remains of the jar of nutmeg jam were quietly cristalising in the fridge, so I scraped that in, and added more nutmeg as well as cloves, cinnamon and allspice. I liked the result, warm and aromatic with nutmeg. I followed Elizabeth David's instruction to make the cross by cutting the risen buns, then gave them five minutes more before putting them in the oven: this, too, worked surprisingly well (Mrs David says don't worry about getting the crosses perfectly even; the important thing is that you have made the effort. I paraphrase, but not by much - and yes, I know it's not like her to be so laid back).

  3. valydiarosada and D. came for the weekend, and accompanied us to a curious concert at the Sage. Greater North was a Folkworks production involving a variety of performers, from recent Folk Degree graduates Horizontal Sunday to the Keelers and Maddy Prior, compered by Kate Fox. What the publicity material doesn't mention is that it was put together as the entertainment for a Rotary convention, which was a bit disconcerting, but didn't turn out to be a problem. I liked Melanie Barber's clog dancing.

  4. Sunday lunch in Cotherstone was a bit of a detour on the way to the Bowes Museum, but a very scenic detour. The museum itself is just so full of stuff you can't see it all: you could spend a entire visit on the ceramics or the paintings, or focus on the history of the building, the Founders' collection, the Swan, or head straight for the temporary exhibitions (currently Gavin Turk neons. These really deserve a post of their own, too, but the essence of it would be: you can't dislike a giant neon banana, but the accompanying information does its best to persuade you...). Then you head downstairs to the cAafé and discovery a whole other gallery hidden away. I end up wandering around exclaiming incoherently: "Mechanical mouse! Meissen starlings! Roman pottery! Cup and ring markings (on the Gainford Stone)..."

  5. durham_rambler and I went to Helen Savage's tasting of cool climate Californian wines. Some very enjoyable wines: a classy Roederer fizz, a Kendall Jackson pinot noir (my notes say both 'butterscotch' and 'cabbage' - but then my notes also say "Beware the glassy winged sharpshooter").

  6. As a birthday treat, J. and I allowed durham_rambler to drive us to Alston for a day out: a pub lunch of Cumberland sausage, a stroll beside the Nent, a circuitous route home - Teesdale again - and suddenly, just on that one stretch of road, lapwings everywhere, tumbling in flight and standing sentry on the flanks of the hills, smart in their olive coats and slicked back crests.

  7. And home for a quiet evening on the sofa, a bottle of Spanish red, a bowl of olives and the first episode of Shetland on television.

[User Picture]From: veronica_milvus
2014-03-13 11:16 pm (UTC)
We could soon be living within sight of the Bowes Museum. Haven't been in there yet.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-03-14 11:10 am (UTC)
Something to look forward to!
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[User Picture]From: desperance
2014-03-14 12:00 am (UTC)
As a birthday treat, J. and I allowed durham_rambler to drive us to Alston for a day out

You're very good to him, you know.
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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-03-14 11:10 am (UTC)
Oh, I know. And I tell him so!
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2014-03-14 06:17 am (UTC)
"Songs range from the traditional Water of Tyne to a beautiful one from Sting’s forthcoming album, The Last Ship."

That sounds promising and Soul Cages-like.

"Mechanical mouse! Meissen starlings! Roman pottery! Cup and ring markings (on the Gainford Stone)..."


but then my notes also say "Beware the glassy winged sharpshooter").

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[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2014-03-14 11:13 am (UTC)
I had to look up 'Soul Cages' (Sting is someone I can take or leave) but yes, it does, doesn't it?

Jealousy is precisely the right reaction: thank you!
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[User Picture]From: gillpolack
2014-03-14 12:28 pm (UTC)
I don't crave hot cross buns this year at all, except for the ones you described here. I guess this is good for me, because there's no way I'm going to get to taste on of those nutmeg-jammed breads!
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