'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mayonnaise Have Seen The Glory

Post film festival some measure of unhurried normality is returning to the life of a part-time rural IT consultant. At lunchtime today I found myself sadly out of mayonnaise. On impulse I decided that I'd make my own - something not done in years. Ten minutes of merrily beating egg yolk, vinegar, mustard, olive oil and seasoning later, I was pleasantly surprised to find I'd confected something that actually tasted, deliciously, of its proper ingredients - quite unlike the additive-packed jelly that slithers out of jars. More slow food please.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Another Country

Today I am in Glasgow visiting our Kibble Palace site. We are restoring the Victorian glass house - this is the webcam picture from the roof of the BBC. The picture changes 3 times a day. Clicking on it makes it bigger and shows the time and date (I think it works.. let me know if you have problems). We have been on the project for 2 years now and it is due to complete in October. The exciting bit is over I suppose but if you keep coming back here you should be able to see the progress as the wrought iron framework goes back up and the glazing completes. You should also be able to see the weather in Glasgow. I haven't been here for 6 months and I cannae onerstarnd a sungle worrd that oor local manager is saying. Hoots

Monday, February 20, 2006

Gene Blues- Cousins Jim 3

Those of you with memory can think back to Cousins Jim. You may remember my blood giving episode in the interests of gene pool mapping in West Cumbria. This week I met 2 fellow Cumbrians. We got to talking about cousins: " who was your father? do you remember so and so?..." I explained the gene mapping thing.
"How do you qualify to be able to participate" said one of the 'boys' (55 at least.. but we are boys forever (according to my mother)).
" You have to have 6 out of the 8 of your great grand parents born in West Cumbria. I had 8" I sez.
" Rules me in" was the response "I think I may have had 10 out 8.. there was some doubt about Great Grandads Arthur and George .. but the suspected boyfriends were both West Cumbrians, so it should be ok"
"Well I've got 7" said the other chap "Great Grandad George married Great Grandma Bella after Great Grandma Margaret buggered off with the next door neighbour. My dad married his second cousin but only found out last year. Great Grandma Margaret's Great Grand Daughter is also marrying my son next year"

The gene pool is shallower than we think.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Big Wednesday

It's about to happen: six months of planning and suddenly the Keswick Film Festival is 24 hours away. Big Wednesday: huge conflicted skies over the Solway, squalls of rain on the hills and columns of steam rising in shafts of light from the conifers on Lord's Seat. To Cockermouth to pick up banners from valued sponsor. Then Keswick, looking as if it's blissfully unaware of what's about to hit it. Install state-of-the-art £19.99 DVD player in hotel-room of major guest so that he can view entries in our young Cumbrian film-makers competition. There's no TV in the room. And I've forgotten the remote. Deliver banners to Official Worrier. They'll do nicely. Buy myself a sandwich & walk down to Lakeside where I sit for 15 minutes of serenity watching the light change over Catbells. Theatre Box Office say they've sold 130 weekend passes. Result! We've exceeded last year's sales & the Festival doesn't start for 24 hours. Home and start phoning local media to persuade them to come to our opening gala tomorrow. Border TV want to do a (second) story about us. Frantic calls to local sponsor find him on a platform at Manchester Piccadilly. Yes, he'll be delighted to talk us up on TV. Local paper wants to photograph Saturday morning animation workshop. Parental permission to be sought. Spend afternoon printing & collating last-minute press packs. Blizzard of emails from Festival Director about animation workshops. Valued sponsor calls: Yes, he is looking forward to opening gala very much. Breath out for what seems like first time in weeks. Pile Young Short Cumbrian DVDs, press packs, self & itinerary for Thursday into car & drive to Keswick. Arrive at Skiddaw Hotel to rendez-vous with star guest of opening gala, director Reza Bagher. Phone rings at reception. Festival Director's car has broken down, stranding her in Greystoke. Retire to bar & order stiff drink. Reza Bagher arrives. We sit down to dinner sadly short of a Director. Reza insists on ordering local delicacy from menu. Explain to him the truth about black pudding. Says he's looking forward to Cumberland Sausage at breakfast. Discover that TV & DVD in Reza's room don't actually work. Brief technical interlude establishes that we do actually know how to connect a DVD to a TV and make them work. Reflect that it's just as well I'm not employed as a projectionist. Club Chairman turns up. Outline plan for Thursday: realise that in 24 hours the Theatre By The Lake will be full of festival guests and film-goers and it really will all be happening. It's on!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Start Wearing Purple!

Another moment of lunatic ecstasy on the backroads of Cumbria late at night. Driving home from Keswick where I'd been chatting over dinner with the estimable Reza Bagher, just before Bothel the radio starts playing a group of (im)possibly Ukrainian New Yorkers calling themselves Gogol Bordello. Their instruction: Start. Wearing. Purple. For Me. Now.
You'd do well to heed their advice . . . .

An Apology To Our Reader(s)

When I started this blog I swore a solemn oath. I resolved that I would never ever post posts making excuses about how impossibly difficult it was to keep posting to this blog. And I'm going to keep that promise. So this post will say nothing about the constraints of the last three months. The Keswick Film Festival will go entirely unmentioned. Not a word spoken about interviewing genius of new American cinema Steve Mahone and the Duplass Brothers. Enigmatic silence will be maintained about elegant violinists from St Bees. Not a word breathed concerning the harmless drudgery of Chambers Dictionary, Chambers Dictionary of Science & Technology and the various educational IT projects by which I scrape an honest if maddening living. It's entirely possible that things may be about to return to normal. The Keswick Film Festival begins tomorrow. At some point in the next few days, I may even manage to post to this blog.

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe Malfunction

In the Red City on a cold February afternoon, the street-lamps just coming on and people about to journey home. The Intrepid Mountaineer & I were waiting amidst the elegance of Portland Square for a meeting with the heirarchs of our county's education system. Suddenly, our attention was drawn across the square by an apparition. A woman of a certain age tottered from the pavement. Above the waist she wore a shaggy Afghan coat. Below, she had been poured into a tight yet voluminous pair of jeans. Her calves were closely encased in brown leather boots elaborately laced to her knees. The Intrepid Mountaineer turned to me. 'Look', he said. 'It's Mr Tumnus!'. Errmm . . .

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Is this the end of blogging as we know it?

Is the honeymoon over? Blogging in the NFBTNW household has slowed to a trickle.
Last year we had almost 1 a day (see August?). But now (for the time being?) the muse has gone to ground. And so it goes for everyone or for me at least I must think about the house.