Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Well Ashton has moved into his new place, although we still have quite a bit of his stuff to transfer the abode. He has an amazing collection of Hi-Fi, Video and computer equipment from recent and not so recent decades. Some of it even works! Anyway it all went pretty well on Sunday, we only got caught in the rain when we were unloading his stuff, so we could not really complain.

I still remember the strange feeling that moving into our house gave me. The house had been rented out for a while before we moved in, consequently it had a slightly unloved and unkempt feel to it for quite a while. Gradually we were able to put our own slightly confused stamp on the place, famously described as “hotchpotch” by Orynthia’s sister. 10 years on we still have one room, which has not been decorated, and have things stored in completely the wrong room because we thought at one time that the room would be used for a purpose which it is not used for now. I’m always really torn by a love of the brilliant clean and modernist look of The Bauhaus style houses and the knowledge that we keep buying books, magazines, pictures and records which constantly threatens to overwhelm the place. Today I’ve been trying to put away some of the CD’s, which are scattered, around the house and also looking to thin out some of the undoubted dead wood in the collection, the trouble is I hate chucking anything out. I managed to get about 15 things ready to either give to charity shops or sell in the shop, time to work on the books now, it really feels like a good time to simplify the stuff that surrounds us.

Friday, June 25, 2004

So a year ago we were down at the Glastonbury festival dodging those 1st day rain showers and hoping for a good time. Well we were really lucky with the weather and had an absolute blast, not enough though to tempt us back into a tent for this year’s festival. Loads of our friends have gone, so we hope that the promised storms for tomorrow don’t drop their load over the festival site. We will be watching it from the comfort of our front room, with the joy of having a nice bed to climb into at the end of the evening.

Talking of music, Wednesday evening on BBC radio 2 saw the start of what sounds like an excellent 4 part series on the Bristol music scene. Rather than start with Massive Attack and Portishead as most of this type of thing normally does, the show took the uber cool club funk scene of the mid 70’s as starting point. It then went on to show how many of these people got involved in the punk and post punk movements, which laid the foundations for the success of bands from this region later in the decade. The show is called “Way Out West: The Bristol Underground” and you can still catch the 1st show on the BBC radio player via the web.

I was sad to read yesterday about the death of Joel Dean, one of the founders of the amazing Dean & DeLuca food store in New York. It is always a favourite destination for Orynthia and I when we are lucky enough to be in that wonderful city.

So England are out of Euro 2004, of course it had to be via a penalty shoot-out, the fourth time we have been knocked out that way since 1990. Have to say that on the night Portugal were the better team. Oh well, I’m still looking forward to the rest of the competition, especially the chance to see the wonderful Czech side in action again.

It’s been a big day for Orynthia’s brother Ashton, after months and months of having around he has finally completed on the purchase of his first flat. I sometimes think that we are more excited about it than he is, anyway Sunday is going to be spent moving his stuff into his new place. Once again I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good weather.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Sorry about the lack of updates, blame it on the ever more exciting Euro 2004. Some great games this weekend kept us fully involved. More soon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

So Euro 2004 is well underway, necessitating an early dash home from work in order to catch the 1st game each evening. With every team having played one game, the tournament now starts to get interesting, many teams England amongst them, know that they can’t afford any more slip-up’s if they wish to stay in the competition.

The two games a night schedule for the 1st week does not leave much time for anything, but we did manage to nip over to Bath on Saturday evening to see the really rather wonderful Divine Comedy in action. This time they played as a 3 piece – Guitar, Piano and Cello and it all worked very well indeed.

Interesting comment from my blog friend Kelpie from Washington USA for the entry below, regarding Mrs Thatcher. To my mind she was one of the most damaging and divisive political figures this country has seen. Leading us into an unnecessary war with Argentina, setting the British people against themselves twice (The miners strike and the poll tax riots), starting the crazy inflation of house prices by insisting the council housing be sold off, without letting the money be used to build more homes for poorer families, the whole “No such thing as society” attitude which she fostered and just her complete disregard for the fact that sometimes people and communities need help and support, rather than being left to “market forces”. Still it is easy to look at political figures from afar and think that they are wonderful, I well remember going to Russia when Mikael Gorbachev was the leader. At the time everyone in the west thought that he was fantastic (indeed I still that hold that opinion), so it was a real shock to discover that he was loathed by millions of his own people. So I don’t criticize Kelpie when I disagree with her, I just think that it’s an interesting observation. Interesting to wonder what the world perception of Tony Blair is at the moment, when his popularity levels in England has fallen through the floor.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Berlin, well worth a visit for anyone I’d suggest. Lads to see and do, given the incredible history of the city, how could it fail to provide a fascinating and thought provoking experience? Once again we were lucky enough to find superb accommodation, we went with Jon and Katja, each couple had large rooms with kitchen facilities and private bathrooms plus use of the lovely garden (which you can see via the photo link in my last entry) where we had breakfast every morning. There was an underground stop at the end of the road and a supermarket across the road from that, so really nothing could wrong. Amazingly this fantastic place only cost us £33 pounds a night (Jon + Katja paid a little less as they had no cooker in their room), an absolutely bargain.

Berlin keeps on hitting you with hammer blows reminders of the relatively recent past, and also leaves you amazed at the amount of construction work going on all over the town as it attempts to make up for all those “lost” years. The contrasts between the old East and West are disappearing rapidly, but can still be found if you look hard enough. Loads of amazing architecture is spread around the huge city, which meant that we had to give the public transport a pretty vigorous workout, still at only £16 each for a week of unlimited travel on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, Bus and Tram links that proved to be no problem at all.

A few highlights – The day in Potsdam, including the wonderful Einsteinturm and the grounds of Schloss Sanssouci. The amazing views of The Olympic Stadium and surrounding areas from The Glockenturm. The meal in the revolving restaurant of the huge TV tower, which dominates the city. The wonderful little Art Deco splendour of the Brohan Museum. A great meal at Monsieur Vuongs Indochinna Caffe. Best of all the stunning trip to the roof of The Richstag at night, what a wonderful reconstruction of this building, absolutely spellbinding.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Well we had a fine time. I will write more about the trip soon, for now you can see some pictures here.

Delighted to to come back to find Mark Radcliffe back in his correct late evening timeslot thanks to those nice people at BBC Radio 2. Heard his show last night, fantastic!

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

OK we are off to Berlin now. See you all in about a week.