Monthly Archives: January 2013

NCIS – Shiva

They seem to specialise in writing a good episode, ‘to be continued’ by a less riveting affair, don’t they? I felt Shiva was nothing but sentiment. It had none of the Kill Ari thrill, where every scene was full of everything you could possibly want.


Gibbs is getting soft in his old age, while DiNozzo occasionally comes across really well. Funny how we get to visit his apartment so soon again, now that we’ve finally been allowed in. I was hoping he’d introduce Ziva to Kate the goldfish, despite her grief. But he didn’t.

We have a new father figure for Ziva already, with the return of Schmeil. Let’s hope he lasts. We also have a new Mossad baddie, not to mention a completely hopeless Deputy Director. You can’t have someone like this Craig! Not in a job like that. And if they have deputies, why on earth has Gibbs been deputising in the past?

I know why. It’s plot driven. Pure fiction.

And did they know they had two – seemingly – unrelated Swedes? I mean that the Swedishness was unrelated, not the men.

Funeral of Mrs Vance

Photos © CBS

Will my first time be my last?

I was so pleased to have found it, but now, a few months later it seems The Byre Theatre in St Andrews is to be no more.

The Byre

In a way it’s not at all surprising. Everything is going under, except the government. And I blame them. Times are bad, and we can’t have everything in life, but we could do with some more encouragement and money spent on sensible things.

The Olympics are gone, but we are still here, and we could go to the theatre. If it can stay open. We have money for wars, but need to close our hospitals. There are Bibles (or was it Shakespeare?) for school children who can’t afford to eat.

The Byre

My first visit to the Byre was a good one. It was for the St Andrews literature festival in October. As litfests go, it was small. But St Andrews is no metropolis, and a big festival is not necessarily better than a small one. I was quite satisfied, and I thought the theatre was fantastic, and set in the most beautiful surroundings.

The Byre

You go through an old passageway, and then there are several small courtyards, and eventually you come to a brand new glass and wood (and stone) theatre.

As someone said when discussing this; the building will remain. Something needs to be done with it. Usually they seem to make obsolete structures into luxury flats. Maybe they will build more student halls?

The Byre

Or, thinking university and theatre; I suppose it could be a new lecture hall. But really, it’s the wastefulness of having perfectly good venues just being cast aside that gets to me.

It was too good to be true.

Unit 1

You are already wondering what on earth to do when Borgen finishes in two weeks’ time, are you not? It’s understandable. There will be no more The Killing. Don’t know about more Bridges, and we have all seen Wallander several times over.


But do not despair. Unit 1 is here. (Honestly, what a title. But no doubt I shall get used to it, and will soon talk about it in three languages.) I mean Mord-kommissionen, as it is in Sweden. Or its original title Rejseholdet, as the Danes know it.

It’s not coming to BBC4 next, unfortunately. But desperation for more murderous Danes and role model female detectives will send you hurtling into the nearest HM.., no it won’t. You’ll probably buy it online. It’s what we do these days. Anyway, Rejseholdet, aka Unit 1, will be available to buy from tomorrow.

You will love it.

If you don’t, it will be your own fault. I have gone on at length about it, for years, and here we finally are. It’s season one only, which I think means the first nine episodes. There is a total of 32, so no doubt the rest will follow, once they have you hooked.


It is being sold as something starring Mads Mikkelsen. Only as a member of the team, however. It’s even been described as having his brother Lars in it. (Troels, you know.) I think only as a minor character in one episode, just like Søren Malling who is Meyer/Torben. And then there is Lars Brygmann, the other Troels (Höxenhaven), when he was younger and much sweeter.


And anyone else you can think of, most likely. It also has a few people you might never have met, but who will soon become your best friends. Like IP, who we look out for every time we land at Kastrup. What’s more, for those of you who believe Denmark is always dark and cold and wet, you will now get the tourist’s Where’s Where of this lovely country. The murderers obligingly murder somewhere new each time, and we get to visit the whole country.

Very nice.

I almost envy you coming to this fresh. I definitely envy you getting the English subtitles. We are still labouring away with the Swedish ones. Not me, but the rest of us.

(Here are a few links to my previous rantings on the lack of Unit 1 in the UK. Link 1. Link 2. Link 3. Link 4.)

Miserable, with music

I’ve been reliably informed that my company will not be required ever again when Daughter goes to see a film. I’m not allowed not to like a film, nor am I permitted to lie when asked for my opinion. It’s tough.

Les Misérables

It was Les Misérables that clinched – or unclinched – my presence. I didn’t like it enough. I didn’t hate it, although it was long and slow. Felt it would have done better without the singing, or better with actors who could sing better. The females all sang well, so surely they could have unearthed a few male actors who can carry a tune?

He is nice to look at, that Hugh Jackman. But I won’t be buying his collected albums any time soon. It was good that they all sang as they acted, but at times I just wanted to speed them on a bit. Also, in this day and age when we have abusive adults on our minds at all times; a scene like when Valjean meets Cosette for the first time is pretty disturbing, even when it’s not bad.

Les Misérables

The photography was excellent. Even the Paris sewers looked ‘good,’ albeit not very tempting.

And I cried at the end. How could I not?

Too long. But educational. Relieved I never saw it on stage, although the voices might have been better. It’ll get a lot of Oscars, this one.

It’s enough to make anyone go crazy

Politics, you know. Maybe we should be less harsh on our own politicians, especially those in power. Who Have All Gone Absolutely Mad.

Now that we see quite how crazed the post of Prime Minister has made Birgitte – and she started out so very sensible – it explains how less wise men have turned certifiable in such a short time.

Political power… I wouldn’t wish it on my best friend, and I don’t want to be ruled by my enemies.

And how easy it is to do something a little silly. The kind of thing that us ‘normals’ get away with every day. Go celibate and don’t drink. Do the Danish thing and stick to smoking in the cold. Unhealthy, but you stay almost sane.

Who’s going to replace poor Höxenhaven? His smarmy face was getting to me, but we are losing politicians by the bucketful. That dreadful Minister of Finance is bound to smarm even more now.

Katrine and Hanne

We had carelessly discussed interns earlier in the day. For a totally different reason, but the name Lewinsky came up. Oh dear. It was the witchiness again.

Do ex-politicians go back to normal afterwards? Or do they simply regret the passing of power?

I agree with Daughter; it is sad when labour parties no longer have workers working for them. But at least the lady journalists stood up to their shady boss. They did, didn’t they? Hope it wasn’t just a passing phase.

NCIS – Shabbat Shalom

Well, well. This was the first episode crying out to be written about since, since… Probably since the end of season nine.

Eli and Ziva David

I wonder how they do it? The scriptwriting, or the plotting; do they gather and discuss who or how many recurring roles they can kill off in one episode? This was quite astounding, considering all the people who survived the bomb blast in May. Could it be they are after getting rid of Director Vance?

Mrs and Director Vance

You could tell that Eli David was for it. My companion expected him to have a heart attack, but I felt that standing up at dinner was a risky move to make. You could also tell the Vances weren’t going to have their cosy evening in, but we didn’t see the obstacles quite in this way.

Cunning build-up, too. Start with some fishing, and the usual (fake) Navy murder victim, and move sideways to cosy family stuff, and on to top of the range politics, and then, kaboom! Pretty good, even if it was upsetting.

Let’s see how they can disappoint me next week.

(It was written by Christopher J Waild. At the moment I can’t recollect where he stands in my list of writers. He’s moved up, wherever he started.)

Photos © CBS

At the Richmond Tea Rooms

You know facebook? And those fb friends you have that you don’t really know, or whom you’ve never met? One of mine lives locally and she is a Fascinating Aïda fan, just like me. So – obviously – when she recommended a great place for tea, I needed to try it out. Especially as another fb friend happened to mention it soon after.


I decided to wait until I had company, because whether a new place is lovely, or awful, it’s best shared. Finally, Daughter was here, and we were going into Manchester anyway, so I said we’d go to the Richmond Tea Rooms as a treat.

We went. We saw. We liked. Very much. And that’s not just the amount of cake we consumed. It was our kind of place.

When we’d ordered, I let my eyes rove the room to check it all out. And – obviously – there she was. The fb friend I’d never spoken to. So I popped over and introduced myself and we chatted. She and her companions were having their regular ‘office meeting.’ On the red velvet corner sofa! I want job meetings like that.


Anyway, I had to pop back to my Earl Grey, which turned out to be Earl Grey with flavour. None of this wishy-washy stuff some places serve. Daughter tried Assam, which she liked. She had Alice’s Rarebit, which surprisingly – for her – did not contain rabbit. I had a very, very freshly made scone with clotted cream and Tiptree jam. And, a little something afterwards. That Pear Frangipane must have seen me coming. It was pear with almost nothing but marzipan..! It was wow!


Mismatched crockery and lace, table service and generally crazy decorating makes for the perfect place to sit and stare and relax. It’s all pretty Alice-y. They had signs ordering us to Eat and Drink, so we did. One does under such circumstances.

(I did wonder about the lack of hot water, seeing as the tea was leaf tea in pots. But I didn’t wonder for long. Instead of letting the hot water go cold, someone comes round every now and then with fresh hot water, and adds it to your pot.)

And I don’t know if I’d ‘met’ the other guest before. It felt like I had. Almost like old friends. Not facebook ones, but people like me. Only thinner.

Saved by the puzzles

We knew we needed to do something. You can’t have everyone together for Christmas and have no plan at all. (And expect it to work, I mean.) The Resident IT Consultant issued an order well in advance that we had to do some jigsaw puzzled when the Grandmother arrived.

She is a bit of a pro. Whenever I visit and want to spread my laptop out, I have to shift a jigsaw puzzle. She ‘test drives’ them for Oxfam. It’s best to know whether what you try to sell has all the pieces, so she does that. Me, I can’t see well enough to differentiate between this piece of sky or that piece of sky. (Progressive specs are all very well, but there are areas in-between where I just can’t focus.)

So they puzzled and I made tea. Fair exchange.

I realised – belatedly – that we should have asked for a jigsaw puzzle table when Offspring did their woodwork for GCSE. Is it too late to ask them to return to secondary school and do the course again?

Jigsaw puzzle

Speaking of woodwork, that is what is behind the puzzles. The Resident IT Consultant’s grandfather made them. The whole extended family has loads of jigsaw puzzles, and when we’ve had enough, we swap.

He would search for interesting pictures (I think the most ‘different’ jigsaw picture I’ve seen was the enormous one of Earth as seen from above the North Pole), stick them onto a sheet of plywood and then attack it with the jigsaw, cutting out the oddest shapes. This means you can never guess what shape you are searching for. It also doesn’t help that there is no image, so you have no idea what you are working towards.

The jigsaw puzzles

I have a shelf full of handsewn fabric bags filled with jigsaw pieces. Some of the smaller ones live in old cake tins. And I keep meaning to make sure that as soon as a jigsaw puzzle has been completed, we will take a photo of it. But somehow, in the heat of the moment, this tends to get forgotten.

We – I mean they – went through a lot of them over Christmas. It helped that we had some ‘fresh’ ones in from Aunt Scarborough.

Borgen, here we come

Four episodes in one day might just have been a couple too many. I felt a bit like you do when you should have stopped after the second helping of cake, but didn’t.

Borgen, season two, starts this weekend. And as Daughter had omitted to watch the first lot, and omitted believing the old people that it was worth seeing, she had some catching up to do. And I ‘had to’ keep her company, which is why we consumed ten episodes in six days.

How come she took the word of her peers, when they said it was a must-see? I said the same thing.

Anyway, she liked it, and we are now sorted for Saturday. It was hard at first to accept you can walk down dark alleys alone, because if it isn’t The Killing, you will be fine. And watching it all again, so fast, it was fascinating seeing Birgitte’s marriage breaking down. (I don’t mean that badly. It simply became so much more clear.)