Monday, 14 April 2008

After weeks of having very little time, this afternoon I finally have a bit to myself and can post something on the blog, and hopefully, get around and visit a few friends.

Thursday was Lorna's birthday, so they'd booked a table for the whole gang at Teri-Aki, a Japanese restaurant with a good reputation in Cambridge. This was of course, because they were not long back from Japan themselves, and wanted to introduce us to some of the culture.

Sadly, Jane had been taken ill in St Alban's, and was really rather poorly all week, so she cried off, and Julia was sent home ill from work on Thursday afternoon, and the party shrank to 4. Even so, we had a very good time, sampling lots of excellent food, much of it quite different from other oriental 'brands'. The only thing we didn't like much was the noise level. Many modern restaurants have polished floors and lots of hard surfaces all around, and the net effect was that we could hardly hear ourselves shout at each other much of the time. Even so, a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

It being Lorna's birthday, we'd put our minds to a present for her, and Jenny and I made a choker between us. I cut a square of silver sheet into which I cut a pierced design based on a Japanese Shinto torii shrine. Actually, based on this postcard they sent us from Japan!

We gave it a couple of large rings on the top edge and threaded a purple silk ribbon through it, which looks rather good. Sadly, I didn't have the wit to take a photograph, so you'll just have to imagine it. Sorry.

On Saturday we finally got out into the garden in between showers, and the raised vegetable beds are now covered with fleece and warming up ready for planting in a week or so. I've planted dwarf and runner bean seeds, but still have lots of other stuff to do.

Yesterday we had the first rehearsal for a Watties trip to Venice in May. The Watties are a choir that forms about once a year to do a weekend trip abroad. We've been doing this for quite a few years now, and have done several French towns, like Rouen, Caen, Arras, Reims, as well as Bruges a couple of times. This year it's Venice, where I think we'll be singing in 3 masses, one in St Marks. Jenny and I have sung 2/3 of the programme before, but the rest is new and some is quite hard. Made doubly so by the fact that we can only make one other of the remaining 3 rehearsals. I shall have to do some note bashing at home between now and then if I'm to hold my end up.

Then last night we went to a wonderful performance of Montiverdi's Vespers by the Cambridge Taverner choir in Trinity College chapel. Jane was well enough to come, and we had dinner in Pizza Express afterwards. Jane was still off the alcohol, poor thing, so kindly volunteered to drive us home, allowing me to guzzle the red without restraint. It was only as we approached Royston that we realised this still entailed me driving from her house to ours, but fortunately we'd actually only had 3 glasses each, with food, so I was almost certainly OK.

Something else that came up over the weekend was an opportunity to get rid of some goldfish. We have 2 ponds, and the goldfish are quite .. er .. fecund, so we look out for the chance to give the buggers away. Someone posted a request recently on Freecycle, after fish to replace those which had been cleaned out of his pond by a heron. I caught a few big ones using a fish trap over the weekend, then this evening had another go, trying to catch little ones. I threaded a clear poly bag onto a wire ring, punched a load of holes in it with a hole punch, then tied that onto a bamboo pole. I think I caught a dozen before he arrived to collect them! So to celebrate, I took a couple of snaps of some rain-sodden tulips in the sunshine.


Pondside said...

I've just had a nice little catch up on your blog. It is always so interesting to hear the names that you write so casually - names that are known to me only through literature and history. I also enjoy your food descriptions!!!
I read the posting regarding your stepmother's death with a twinge of familiarity - we are in a similar situation with my step mother-in-law - awkward situation, but then families are full of odd relationships.

ArcticFox said...

Glad you're keeping so busy and having a good time with your singing.... am so glad you're managing to find time to write a bit (and read too) - You're certainly more busy than me, so I've no excuses!! As for Japanese, I prefer a simple noodle bar, like Fuji Hiro in Leeds!!


Rob Clack said...

Welcome back both! I did enjoy your description of your island, Pondside!

Actually, FoX, it's food I like. Almost any food, with only a few exceptions. Noodle bars are good, as are fish and chip suppers, pizza, Thai, Indian, home made.

Tonight we're out at a wine tasting run by Cambridge Wine, tasting New World wines. No doubt our judgement will be razor sharp by the end of the evening and we'll come home with a few bottles.

Rob Clack said...

Curiously, we were not keen on almost all of the 10 or so wines we tasted. However, as predicted, we found the last couple completely fantastic, so were obliged to buy some of those. Naturally, they save the expensive stuff for last. Well, we've been doing these things for years, so it's not as though we don't know what to expect! Sigh.

orchidea said...

Tulips are such indefatigable blooms not even a downpour can subdue them. Lovely.

We share a pond with our neighbours. Pond cleaning Saturday is our May tradition that marks the beginning of "high spring" in our little corner of the universe. There are scrubbing duties and fish-inventarising duties. I'm an avid fish-counter. ;-)

DJ Kirkby said...

Oh I so wish you had taken a picture of the necklace! What lovely friends you two are to handmake a gift. They are always more special. I would like to design a Japanese restaraunt where the seating was on cushions round the table and eat seating area was closed off behind their own silk screens.