Monthly Archives: May 2009

Posh tea

As I mentioned the Earl Grey this morning, un-drunk though it was while the paroxysms lasted, I felt a little guilty. Is Earl Grey posh? I only used the name to avoid writing plain old ‘tea’. If it had been Darjeeling, Rooibos or PG Tips, I’d have said so. I just happen to like Earl Grey.

The young witch used to frequent Cranks, whenever her travels took her to London. (That was most of the time.) You would walk along the self service counter, order your tea, and then receive it a step or two further on. On one occasion I reached out for the mug standing on the counter, only to be informed by the ‘lady’ on my right that it was her tea. ‘It’s Earl Grey’, she sniffed at me, ‘and I don’t think you’d like that…’ I wasn’t quick enough to say anything other than ‘sorry’. Stupid me.

In more recent years I’ve been despairing of Earl Grey in cafés. Tastes of nothing, most of the time. The local bookshop served the most divine Earl Grey when they first opened. Then I gather the customers complained that it actually tasted of something, so they switched to Twinings-no-flavour-EG. I liked the original tea so much that I contacted the wholesaler and bought their minimum order of 500 tea bags. Soon time to order some more.

I’m so common, despite drinking Earl Grey, that I have it with milk. Often you get asked if you want it with milk or lemon. Once, at Lakeland in Handforth, I asked the waitress if she’d forgotten my milk, when none seemed to be forthcoming. ‘With Earl Grey?’, she asked in a tone worthy of Lady Bracknell on the subject of handbags. The shame of it.

For my daily tipple it’s Earl Grey loose leaf tea from Sainsbury’s. It used to be Jackson’s of Piccadilly.

Norway – lots of points

I should have seen it coming, but was so busy with other things that I didn’t even have time to watch the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s the 17th of May today, so it’s really quite appropriate that Norway should win on the eve of their National Day. And high time too, after so many disastrous events in the past.

I found this clip on a blog with Norwegian roots, and I know you won’t be able to understand most of it, but it’s so sweet. It’s Alexander Rybak being interviewed on Norwegian television earlier this year.

They had even dug up information on the girl Alexander sings about in his winning song, but it seems their love is no more. Then they go on to embarrass the boy further by showing an old video of him playing the violin at the age of nine. Parents!

And he’s getting so many text messages that he can’t reply to them all. Some of them from girls who would like to replace the one in the song.

I’m amazed that an act that includes playing the violin, by someone who is fully clothed, can win anything these days. There’s still hope.

Give us a hand

MH hands 3
MH hands 2
MH hands 1

I don’t know what you want them for. But I do like to provide what people search for, and a surprising number of you want Mark Harmon’s hands. Hitherto I haven’t had any hands, to the best of my knowledge, so have no idea why you’ve ended up chez witch in the first place. But here are three sets of hands. The same set of hands in three versions, since I don’t think Mark Harmon’s got more than two. Hands.

Synecdoche, New York

I’m pleased the press pack mentioned the word quadrupleganger. That’s what this rather unusual film amounts to. You know, the kind of magazine cover image where there is a picture of the magazine cover with a picture of the magazine cover….

Synecdoche is such a seriously weird film, that the weirdness makes it almost fun to watch. I didn’t understand it. But it’s sort of about life and being afraid of breaking relationships and serious illness. There are a lot of bodily fluids and quite a number of funerals.

Basically you have this theatre director who builds a mock-up of bits of New York in a warehouse, and has actors pretend to be him and his family and friends, and then you need someone to pretend to be the ones pretending, and so on. As his life falls to pieces, more and more actors are incorporated into the warehouse set-up.

But why was the house on fire?

You could analyse Synecdoche forever, but only if you go and see it first. Very surreal.

NCIS – the plot thickens, again


There was that woman from Hustle, which I don’t watch. But she sort of fits in with the ties between NCIS and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., with Robert Vaughn somewhere in the middle. Then we had satnav and jam jars. I know he’s really the Secretary of the Navy, but it sounds like satnav when they say it. Just imagine feeding him Bourbon from a jam jar. Unpretentious is what it is.

Michael and Ziva

The half dead colleague from the spin-off is not yet dead, but interest is being kept up.

Di Nozzo and Michael

And then we have poor Ziva and her beau/non-beau. And what may turn into  major international incident. Or not, if Gibbs works hard. On the other hand, the next episode of NCIS is the last for now, and we need to be left gasping.


(Photos © CBS)

Muppet moment

Beethoven and Victor Borge

Somebody needed cheering up. And when the need strikes, just like that, it’s sometimes almost impossible to think of anything. At. All. Went through the usual ideas, until we hit on the Muppets. The witch is an avid Muppet fan, but there has been a very long gap in watching that collection of videos she craved so much some years ago.

John Cleese on the Muppet Show

Gaps are there to be filled, so we settled down with a couple of shows. The younger generation got to choose which ones, and went for John Cleese and Victor Borge. It never takes long for the permagrin to settle between the ears with those adorable Muppets. Even the not so adorable Muppets are pretty adorable.

I reckon Miss Piggy was based on me. We have a lot in common. Though I don’t fancy Kermit in the same way as Miss Piggy does.


Daughter and I settled down to some Tom Hanks last night in the belief that Tom Hanks is always good. He was, and what a lesson in history Philadelphia turned out to be. It may have been as recent as 1993, but as far as Daughter was concerned it was the Dark Ages. Tom Hanks is gay, and has Aids, and is sacked from his job. I’m so old that this doesn’t surprise me one bit, wrong as it was. But it’s what things were like. Possibly still are, too often. I don’t know. But for today’s teenager this kind of behaviour proved unbelievably shocking. She cried less over his illness and death than over the unfairness of the system.

I’ve never seen Tom Hanks so thin. Even when younger and slimmer, he always had some puppy roundness to him. He must have starved himself to look so skeletal, for the later stages of Aids. At times he didn’t look like Tom Hanks at all, which is an achievement.

Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington

It’s an American film, so you can work out how it must end, and it does. But it’s still moving. Decided I haven’t seen Joanne Woodward in enough films. She was excellent. And Antonio Banderas was, too, and he had Tom’s lost puppy face.

Interesting to find that a film I’d never heard of until I found it on television and taped it, could be so terrific. I don’t think I’d have got Daughter to watch, if it hadn’t been a Tom Hanks film, but in the end it was the film itself that caught her.