The proms

The proms are a wonderful institution, but I don’t tend to have a great deal to do with them. (I mean of course the BBC music thing in the Royal Albert Hall, not the evil heteronormative behemoth that marks the end of formal schooling in the US and increasingly over here too)

In any given year my sole engagement with them is to vaguely hear something on the radio round about now and think “Gosh, are we in Prom season already?”

Then, a few months on, there starts to be massive trails for the Last Night of the Proms, and I think, “Gosh, is Prom season over already?”

I don’t even normally make the effort to tune in to the LNOTP – but if I’m home, and near a radio or TV and not otherwise occupied, I might turn it on for the best of the flagwaving.

I have once been to a prom, which was quite exciting, but as it was in the middle of a choir week, and I was a wee bit knackered, it was all I could do to stay awake.

This year, however, I am looking forward to note-by-note sarcastic commentary from a rather nice-looking young man who seems to know what he’s talking about. He’s doing video blogs and taking photos and everything. He wasn’t very impressed with today’s effort, and displayed his displeasure in a series of photos of himself looking less and less pleased. I shall watch with interest.


Does it count?

does it count?

Does it count towards your 5-a-day if you eat them all together after midnight in a desperate attempt to get your numbers up? Or if they’re (almost) all fruit? Carrot, apple, kiwi, banana, melon.

Tenbury Wells floods

Rather taken aback to hear the name of the town I spent my formative years in.  I lived in Tenbury from 0-2 and then the nearby village on the other side of the river until I was 11.

The town was hit hard by the floods last month, and this evening, the town was highlighted in the evening Radio 4 headlines as hit again by flooding.

There are some dramatic pictures of the floods from last month on Flickr.  The water was at waist height as far from the river as Caldicotts! Other photos also worth seeing.

Luna Lovegood? Who’s that?

  You scored as Luna Lovegood, You are Luna Lovegood. You daydream and often seem to be drifting off into your own world. You have very strong opinions that many agree are not logical. You place a lot of faith in these beliefs. Possibly, you see more than what meets the eye. You are very accepting of others. You may have only a few close friends because you refuse to sacrifice your opinions and true self for social graces.

Luna Lovegood
Severus Snape
Neville Longbottom
Sirius Black
Remus Lupin
Ron Weasley
Albus Dumbledore
Hermione Granger
Harry Potter
Bellatrix Lestrange
Draco Malfoy
Oliver Wood
Percy Weasley
Lord Voldemort

Harry Potter Character Combatibility Test
created with

Over 100 questions to tell me I’m a character I’ve never heard of! Bah. (via)

1 in 5

According to a bit of paper I was sent while I was in Switzerland, only 1 in 5 adults in Nottingham eats healthily.

That’s shockingly low. And it’s probably right. It certainly includes me.

Garage sandwiches and takeaway food feature all too highly in the food I eat in the average week. And although I understand nutrition pretty well, I still can’t convince myself to eat an apple rather than toast. 5-a-day shouldn’t be a hard thing to achieve, and yet the days in which I do it are fewer and further between than they should be.

UPDATE: I’ve just eaten a raw carrot, an apple and a banana, so I’m feeling slightly more virtuous now. But I’m having to throw away most of the last two weeks’ veg boxes because it’s quietly rotting in the fridge.

Private cinema

I went to the Savoy Cinema on Sunday evening to see Oceans Thirteen.  Unable to find anyone else who wanted to see it who hadn’t seen it before, I went on my own.

The Savoy is in Lenton, a suburb of Nottingham near the University that these days is nearly entirely inhabited by students.  At this time of year, when the University term has finished, the area is almost entirely deserted.

I do like the Savoy, and haven’t been there for ages. It’s the only cinema left in Nottingham that was there during the war.  Their ads call it the only independent cinema in the city. The large screen has been subdivided, and ten years ago or so (it was after I moved here) they opened another screen in a small room, with only 50 seats.  It feels almost like a living room, but has a full size projector in the room behind.

And it’s that screen I was in on Sunday evening.  On my own.

The point of going there was to help send more money their way in their off-season.  Now I’m worrying I made them spend far more money to show a film just to me than I put over the counter.  There were a few other people there seeing other films, but probably between us, there were fewer punters than staff – they had a barman, a ticket collector, a projectionist and a box-office woman.

Still, they’re showing lots more films I still want to see, so I will probably go back.  Maybe even this evening.

Our new cuckoo clock

So, holidaying in Switzerland, I bought a cuckoo clock.

I’m not sure why. I went out saying it was the last thing I wanted to buy and as we went into the cuckoo clock shop, I forbade P from buying one.

We went to a shop in Montreux that boasted “the only cuckoo cave in the world” – it turned out to be a room in the back of the shop decked out to look like a cave with anything up to 200 clocks in it, all of them just a few minutes away from 12noon on their dials.

There was a huge variety, in varying degrees of tastefulness, from ‘almost’ to ‘OHMYGODMYEYES!’ in prices from just over 100CHF to nearly 4000, real mechanical ones and battery operated ones. There were even some that played tunes every hour, had dancing mannequins and turned themselves off at night.

The lady in the shop gave us a very detailed demonstration of lots of different types, and how they worked, and how much space you need. They need to be over 6′ off the ground to have enough drop for the pine-cone shaped weights that keep the mechanism going.

Here was my out! I could have said – there’s nowhere in my house with a six foot drop. Or even – the cats will play with the chains and pull the clock off the wall. Or even indeed, no, actually, I don’t want a cuckoo clock.

But somehow, I got suckered into buying one of them. The cheapest mechanical one, which came in three versions, tat, bling and BLING. We got the least bling one with tasteful birds etc around it. It cuckoos on the hour and the half hour, and also has a gong noise it makes at the same time:

So far, every time it sounds the hour, it makes P laugh. We haven’t forgotten to wind it and it actually keeps reasonably good time.

And the cats have been good, and not chased the chains. But I think they’re biding their time, and one day, the cuckoo will be catfood:

I'll get you, cuckoo I'll get you next time, cuckoo

PM Twittering

No, not the Prime Minister, I hope he’s too busy to keep fishing his mobile out and firing a few off to the Great British Public.

No, it’s Radio 4’s PM.  Now you can have the wonderful Eddie Mair in your pocket.

Sign up by texting subscribe eddiemair to +44 7624 801 423 or popping to this link on the web.

UPDATE:  Eddie Mair is twittering every five minutes.  With any luck, the novelty will wear off shortly.