Just a post to mark the arrival of spring. Hurrah! Here’s a little photo of some lovely flowers I bought at the market yesterday – what glorious colours. And everywhere there are crocuses (please don’t make me say ‘croci’) and daffodils. Plus magnolia which always surprises me by flowering so early – it seems an altogether more exotic tree that should come into bloom in high summer. Soon the blossom will arrive for that all too fleeting but magical time.
For those of you who do read my ramblings on a semi-regular basis (not many I think!), I’m sorry the posts have become so erratic. Hopefully the longer days will spur me into action!
Tags: bird song, Blackbird, twitter
‘I know that sometimes in the quiet evening, when I have been reading in the garden just before sunset, I have been so startled by a blackbird’s loud alarm-rattle that I have dropped my book and leapt to my feet in astonishment’ – Enid Blyton, Round the Year – Spring Time
As we know, Enid was an expert naturalist and knew the calls and tweets of many birds. To celebrate the 5th birthday of Famous Five Style – yes, it’s really been five years to the day since to my first post – I’m now going to be doing my own sort of tweeting @famousfivestyle
Please do come and follow me!
Tags: Geffrye Museum, Twelfth Night, typewriter
I’ve just got back from a lovely and heart-warming way to celebrate Twelfth Night – the Geffrye Museum’s annual ‘Farewell to Christmas‘ celebration. They usually have a traditional burning of the holly and the ivy outside the museum, but unfortunately that was cancelled this year due to the blustery weather. But we did have Christmas cake, mulled wine and carols, with a fantastic brass band (the French horn player looked very red in the face). It felt like a good way to end the festive season as now it’s nearly time to return to the working world.
Since getting home I’ve been distracting myself for a little while by typing up some recipes I’ve promised to share with a work colleague (a selection of Dan Lepard’s tasty bread and cake recipes). It’s always nice to have an opportunity to get my typewriter out, but it is rather noisy and makes the kitchen table vibrate. I’ve been half expecting my next-door neighbour to come round to complain. It reminded of Enid, the BBC TV film with Helena Bonham Carter as Blyton – in which she merrily types away next to her open window, disturbing the peace of all around her. A return to the computer seemed sensible. So, to sign off, here’s a picture of the ever productive and hard-working real Enid Blyton to get us all (well, definitely me) in the mood for going back to work.
Tags: On the Map, Simon Garfield, Sustrans
A Christmas gift for Julian, the boy who loves maps, planning journeys and navigating: On the Map: Why the World Looks the Way it Does, by Simon Garfield (author of the excellent book on typography, Just My Type).
And if Julian’s been especially good this year, he could have an additional present in the form of a donation to Sustrans, the charitable organisation that supports the creation of National Cycle Routes. Sustrans are currently doing a cute Christmas gift scheme where, for £30, you can sponsor a mile of a cycle route. So Julian (or whoever) would get their name published on the online map listing sponsors, and would also receive a thank you pack, sponsorship certificate and special reflective bike sticker. And most importantly, when the Famous Five set off on a cycling adventure in the spring, they’ll have safer routes to ride along (well, safe apart from the baddies they’ll inevitably encounter).
Ooops. I went to the panto (Puss in Boots) last night and got home too late to post. So two suggestions today.
For everyone’s favourite gourmet and gourmand, Dick: A Neal’s Yard Cheese Box. A fine box of cheeses from the British Isles can be a one-off gift, or be delivered to their lucky recipient monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.
For scientist Uncle Quentin, who spends much time working in his study, a LED spiral helix standing lamp from the Science Museum.
Tags: Bertinet, bread-making
For Aunt Fanny – the gift that keeps on giving: A baking class at the Bertinet Cookery School in Bath. I visited the Bertinet Bakery when in Bath over the summer and sampled a range of delicious breads and pastries. If the Five clubbed together to send Aunt Fanny on one of these courses – either the 3 day bread making course or the one day French pastry class, they’ll be amply rewarded over the holidays when Aunt Fanny can pack them off on gourmet picnics. Sometimes it really is better to give than receive.
Tags: Bethnal Green Banger, Brian Roberts Butchers, dog christmas gift, Ginger Pig, sausages, squeaky meat toy
I’m unnervingly on top of my Christmas shopping this year so I thought I would set myself a separate gift challenge. For the next week I will post one present suggestion every day for each member of the Famous Five, plus Aunt Fanny and (argh, difficult to buy for) Uncle Quentin. I’ve got no idea what to get them yet, so I now have a familiar and reassuring sense of Christmas anxiety.
First up – Timmy the Dog!
I’ve actually got two suggestions for Timmy:
1) Faux meat toy. I saw this on Norwich market when I was last there a few weeks ago. I took a picture of it as I thought it would be PERFECT for Timmy. Various baddies try to poison Timmy with dodgy meat throughout the series, much to George’s distress. This faux meat provides a handy distraction, plus hours of entertainment as it squeaks. A bargain at £3.
2) Sausage variety pack. In case Timmy is really peeved by the fake meat, some good butchers’ sausages will cheer him up and restore harmony in the Kirrin home. These are from The Ginger Pig in Victoria Park. I love the green wooden meat cleaver decoration.
My local butchers, Brian Roberts, on Roman Road, East London also does homemade sausages including their house special, the Bethnal Green Banger. As we know, the rest of the Five are partial to sausages (see my previous post on the topic here) so do make sure your meaty gift gets to its intended recipient.
Tags: Ginger Beer Engine, London Fields Schoolyard
Happy Autumn everyone! I’ve been super busy on other projects, mostly film-related for work and pleasure, but had to take a little time out to share this – spotted (and tasted) today at London Fields schoolyard market. Yes, it is a ginger beer wagon.
The Ginger Beer Engine travels around with barrels of delicious home-brewed beverages (ginger beer, dandelion & burdock and lemonade) that are dispensed via a series of exciting-looking pipes and taps. The kind gentleman pouring said beverages generously offered up some samples and I’m pleased to report that the GB is excellent (and just the teeniest bit alcoholic, as all good ginger beer should be).
You can find out more by visiting the Ginger Beer Engine website here. Rather thrillingly, the Engine can be hired for private events. It may make an appearance at my next birthday party.
Tags: airmail recipe cards, polyhedra rubber stamps, Present & Correct, set square beaker, stationery heaven
I was delighted to encounter, en route to the Harlequin pub this evening, the new(ish) Present & Correct shop on Arlington Way, just behind Rosebery Avenue. They have beautiful things that will appeal to any stationery lover, all beautifully laid out in a way that makes you want to buy EVERYTHING. I’ve previously recommended them as a good place to buy Famous Five suitable Christmas presents (there’s a lot that you can imagine Julian et al using at school) but why wait when there are polyhedra rubber stamps, school pencils, set square beakers and airmail recipe cards to buy?
Oh yes! Three of my favourite things together at last: cycling, films and lists. The BFI has put together a top ten of movies about cycling to tie in with the start of the Tour de France this weekend. There are some good selections here, and it also includes one of my old favourites, Cyclists Special, progenitor of the now legendary phrase ‘touch of the bonk’.
My post on Cyclists Special here (gosh, from nearly 4 years ago. Have I been blogging that long?!): https://famousfivestyle.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/cyclists-special/