Archive for December, 2005

Xmas antics

I managed to do all of my Christmas shopping on Wednesday evening, by being very focussed and limiting myself to a couple of shops. The only downside was that my basket in Robert Sayle added up to a frightening amount. It cost no more than it would have done if I’d shopped here and there, but in one transaction…

The rest of the night was spent wrapping everything up and building boxes to send north. I survived only by slowly sipping a lovely half bottle of 1976 Zeltinger Sonnenuhr Auslese made by Weingut Albert Gessinger. A gorgeous drop of honeyed riesling, almost 30 years old, from that very hot summer.

1976. I was ten. An amazingly hot summer in the Uk and in Holland. We had great times at the beach in Scheveningen and at an inland lake whose exact location and name escapes me. Hosepipe bans galore in England but I don’t remember restrictions in Leidschendam.

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Thursday: our 15th anniversary. It simply doesn’t seem like 15 years since I saw Graham across the tables and benches at the Grad Pad, and then met him a couple of days later at Oliver’s mulled wine party. It barely seems like five years, but then again we have done so many things together. Here’s to the next fifteen.

At work it was the Support Staff Christmas party take two. I left at 6.30pm before the dancing really got started. Graham and I went to the Backstreet Bistro for our anniversary dinner: I had tuna tartar with a gorgeous ginger marinade; venison on braised leaks with a lovely fruity jus and dauphinoise potatoes; and a chocolate mousse with chestnuts. We were surrounded by tables of Christmas partys, all women groups, but still had a lovely evening. I drank too much, though, and felt very sleepy on Friday as a result.

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I’ve been listening to Kate Bush’s new album on my iPod. There is some beautiful, limpid music, expertly performed and produced, which really lifted my spirits on the way home from work.

But what’s with some of the lyrics? It’s raining / What has become of my painting / All the colours are running and Washing machine / Washing machine / Slooshy sloshy slooshy sloshy / Get that dirty shirty clean. She must be gently taking the piss. It’s the only explanation that makes any sense to me.

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We rented Summer Storm from Blockbuster last night. Graham had already seen it at the 2005 Cambridge Film Festival, but was more than happy to see it again and I can see why. It’s a lovely coming-out story framed around a rowing team at summer training camp. The lead character was beautifully acted by Robert Stadlober, who is apparently a very well known teen movie star in Germany. The role and his story hit several chords with me. Lovely photography and a great sound track (especially Blonde on Blonde by Nada Surf), too. The only slight disappointment was the quality of the rowing, but I guess it’s a tall order getting a bunch of actors into shape in next to no time.

More at the UK official site, the German official site, and IMDB.

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Spanish mulled wine…

…well actually I mulled Italian wine, for my mates from Spanish classes past. Helen arrived first, bang on time and determined not to be on Venezuelan time. Tiina, Adrian, Youcef and Maria turned up at roughly the same time, closely followed by Jamie. Finally, an hour or so later, Carolin arrived just as we were giving up hope. At about 9.30 we all headed out to Bar B for more drinkies. I just had the one glass of wine before leaving them to it. A lovely evening, and Graham coped very well with meeting everyone and then being abandoned en masse. I am going to try to go to Helen’s Spanish group in the New Year (Adrian, Tiina and Youcef).

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Dessert wines

Debenhams suits as described by Graham, and an excellent tasting of dessert wines. Glorious eiswein but £25 for 0.37cl is a bit dear. The Sauternes was good but I’d rather spend the money on a Balzac. Graham was very taken by the French and Catalan fortified reds, very interesting! The Tokaji was fab too – we might ask Peter and Omar to get us some as a wedding gift.

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I’ve just finished reading – and not long before time given that it was a 2004 Christmas present from my mother – Dirk Bogarde, The Authorised Biography, by John Coldstream. It is a superb biography, and I enjoyed almost every page. It even made me cry at one point. Bogarde was a complex man of many contrasts. It’s very sad that he never felt able to fully acknowledge the core relationship in his life.

I’m enthused now to search out his films, especially the ones he made after moving on from Rank. Maybe I should set up an Amazon wishlist for Christmas? I’d also like to read (re-read in some cases) his autobiographical and fictional writing.

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…were there all along but were actually expressed as the hyperlink for the date/time of the posting, so somewhat obscure! I’ve made them explicit at the bottom of each post.

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