What’s on my radar? I’m so glad you asked. They have this feature in, I think, the Observer Review and it's almost always unremittingly highbrow. No such issue with mine.
1. The Yorkshire Vet
I have become entirely obsessed with this Channel 5 show in which a nice man called Julian rummages around inside cows on various farms on the outskirts of Thirsk (fact: "Thirsk" is my favourite word to make French people say). In last week’s episode, Julian had to insert a sort of valve of the type you find on bicycle tyres in a cow to cure its bloat. The cow looked appalled and even the farmer’s wife was felled by the vile smell of cow effluent as it deflated. Other episodes have featured a murderous hairy Mangalitsa sow (I LOVE THESE PIGS), a vomiting pug, a llama with a low sperm count and a woman so in love with her chickens I believe it to be a diagnosable pathology. Highly recommended, particularly if, like me, your most cherished dream is to have a smallholding in North Yorkshire. The trailer for tonight's episode reads "Julian treats a bad-tempered goat." How can you possibly resist?
2. Doctor Foster
Some weeks after the rest of the world, I have finished watching this entirely preposterous BBC “is he, isn’t he” adultery drama in which the wonderful Suranne Jones was required to divide her time between: standing in doorways looking pensive in nice blouses, being the worst GP since Harold Shipton and saying lines like “I am a wolf now.” I am a bit ashamed I even saw it through to the end, but since I have no work, well, no, that's no excuse, I could have been reading Henry James or saving orphans or you know, FINDING SOME WORK.
3. Marks and Spencer’s cashmere jogging bottoms
I don’t need a reason and neither do you. We just all need a pair of these. There is a men’s version too, FYI.
4. Elvis Costello - Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink
The extract in the Guardian today from this memoir was brilliant and now I must have it.
Sloths are always on my radar, obviously, but since we met Edward the baby sloth at the weekend, I have been quite preoccupied with the wonder of him. He was an utterly calming, beady-eyed, presence.
We also met the coatis, who are ferociously funny and mugged their keeper for a pocketful of ferret food and F shared a cubing moment with a colobus monkey:
(This whole animal extravaganza was in aid of my father’s 70th birthday. He is notoriously hard to buy for, so we adopted him a Hero Rat and called it Sir John, which amused us, if not him).
6. The Heating
It is time. 4°C here today, let’s not kid ourselves. I even have the storage heater in my office on and the dog's geography teacher roll neck coat is coming out too. Time to wrestle with the winter weight duvet this weekend.
7. Picard spanakopita
Cook in about 5 minutes. Contain a vegetable, thus acceptable lunch food, AND the comforting flaky goodness of filo. If you require more vitamins with your lunch, the addition of Picard Velouté de Fèves aux Epinards also gets my vote.
8. Au Marché Noir
If I could afford it, I would get my lunch from here every damn day and would live forever with porcelain perfect skin and sparkling eyes. Basically, they do two cooked fresh, utterly healthy and delicious ready meals a day then tell you what they are on their Facebook page every day. There’s usually a non-meat one at €8 and a meaty or fishy one at €10.
I had this €8 beauty last week - pumpkin pancake, lentil salad, roasted aubergine and pepper, beautiful fresh tomatoes and wilted chard with some kind of insanely delicious sauce (“émulsion de basilic mauve”, apparently, though I could not have identified with a gun to my head). Sadly, I can only justify this about once a fortnight, so my skin remains grey and my eyes bloodshot and I still have a festering wound on my left knee where I fell over trying to avoid capture for not having a ticket in the tram (ndlr: the inspectors weren't chasing me, I should clarify, I just got off and walked because they were apparently in the area, then fell over my own legs). NB, obviously they aren't paying me to say this, because if they were I could probably afford more of their food.
9. Philips AirFloss
If you had any doubt over whether this is sponsored, hahahahaha. We got one of these fancy pants toothbrush things that spits water and air between your teeth in violent bursts about two months ago as a pathetically middle aged treat to ourselves, but within approximately 2 minutes of starting it up, it broke and we have been in a tedious cycle of consumer exchange purgatory ever since, with several calls to the "Helpline", some minutely specific and alarming instructions on how to return the package and following that, frequent wistful thoughts of whether we would ever get a functioning one back. It arrived on Friday and now I can start testing the bastard for real. Judgment is reserved but it is very much On My Radar.
Since Madevi found me this article about it. I am ready to meet my goat overlords.
What's on your radar? Also, did I actually dream that coffee KitKats were a thing? I am sure I had a conversation about them recently but can find no sign that they actually exist on the internet.