Tuesday, 13 October 2015

On my radar

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.

5. Sloths
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.

10. Anguila
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.


Katy said...

Coffee kitkats exist. I have seen one in a newsagent on the Caledonian Road.

Waffle said...


Taxmom said...

I am gong to curl up in a ball during the winter holidays with books by Elvis Costello and Patti Smith. And probably the Keith Richards book too, since I haven't read that yet either. Looking so forward to it.

Seren said...

I believe they referred to themselves as mocha flavoured (insomuch as a biscuit can refer to itself as anything) which might explain why you couldn't find them on t'internet. I actually ate one!

(Lovely to see you back blogging by the way. I am a long time lurking fan and am extremely excited at the prospect of more book reviews on here since I, for one, Hoover up all your recommendations. By which I mean, add them to my Goodreads to-read shelf. And then spend so much time reading blogs to actually get round to books).

CJ said...

The idea of putting a valve into the side of a cow and releasing a large amount of gas will stay with me for the rest of the day, and very likely far beyond. I imagine it's quite satisfying for the cow. Do coffee Kitkats have dark chocolate? They should. Love the sloth, I have a particular affinity with sloths. I feel we are not very far apart genetically. Grey skin here too, lunch is always a rather a repetitive affair. Putting together something different for an evening meal every day is about all I can manage. CJ xx

Betty M said...

I've always fancied a goat or two. Anguilla is clearly the place for me. thank you for directing us to that article. Although a life with goats would make cashmere leggings a bit de trop for the environs I reckon.

tigerbaps said...

Pecha Kucha is very much on my radar today. It's on my radar because of my big mouth. I've been asked to deliver a presentation in the style of Pecha Kucha at our team meeting after blabbing about how much I hate team meetings and PowerPoint. Have I prepared it? Have I buggery. It is due to happen in T minus three hours, yet here I lie, unwashed and unPechakucha'd.
Also that film with I want to say Charlotte Rampling is on my radar this evening. Husband. Dead girlfriend. Found in an iceberg. Something something.

blackbird said...

Pecha Kucha is one of those things I'd never head of and now, in two weeks, is everywhere. Youngest son had to prepare one on something so obscure I cannot even name it. Apparently he did well. I am presently in Germany where the DM is on my radar. God, I love the DM.
(Also a very long time lurker who hangs upon your every word.)

Anonymous said...

on my radar is "all change at longleat"(bbc1) - if you haven't seen, it is super, mind-soothing watching. ancient crazy-hippy lord bath with his obscene murals, sloaney-glam son and daughter in law with silver cross pram, PLUS! stories from the safari park with sweet elephant etc. also on my radar is the library. specifically the many books and cds that we should have returned long ago. but are unfindable beneath heaps of dusty legos, socks etc. i feel sick just thinking about them...

Waffle said...

Anon - Oh, I LOVED All Change at Longleat! It was marvellous, completely gripping, the old lord in his squalor! The hippos! The American Christian estate manager!

Jane in SF said...

I'm commenting before I've even read this to say how glad I am that you're back. Now to your post!

ellen kirkendall said...

Yorkshire Vet sounds right up my alley. All thd charm, none of the work. Patti Smith's book sounds good. She's making the rounds selling it on TV this werk.

Anonymous said...

yes - the smiling, crocodiley estate manager! the resentful miniature train driver! and the old lord's very curious accent... and did you see the very clean-looking goats being brought in as friends for the elephant? i hope they liked each other. i do wish there were more than 3 episodes ...

Patsy said...

Lovely the waffle is at it again. I live in Australia so everything in on my radar about three months after yours. Will watch out for top telly pics. Except summer which is deliciously about to kick in, as I pack away electric blankets, ugly heaters and tights for the next six months. Mother in law is also worrying on my radar about to arrive from England and to demand intravenous gin and tonics by the pool, woe.

T said...

My local Sainsbury's had coffee KitKats. Mocha, they call them. I wouldn't have paid any attention if it hadn't been for your enquiry. Now I had to buy one (for research). I suspect I'll have to eat it (for research). And then of course someone had already confirmed their existence. Dangerous business, research.

Kate O'Dea said...

Nice to read you again. Ik ben ook met nederlandse lessen. Hopeless but great fun
Happy Birthday to your Dad. 70! I can't believe it. I'm not far behind.
If you want to see sloths, go and visit Aaron.
Kate xxx

Anonymous said...

Dear Waffle, your blog is a joy. Two posts! :)
Sloths are the very best creatures of all. Having had a close encounter with them in the jungle this summer, I am absolutely convinced of that. They give excellent hugs. I will never forget holding one in my arms. Highlight of the year (or the decade, maybe?)
Yay for lovely lunches. We need to support the businesses that make lovely lunches so it's an entirely justifiable expense.
Down with mathematics!. It's a perfectly good subject to study but tends to involve difficulties when exams come along. My similarly aged daughter finds Maths quite tedious and is finding it hard to break the cycle of poor grades in tests, despite understanding and being able to do all her work during the year. Nerves get in the way in tests and her grade doesn't reflect what she knows. She gets increasingly nervous every time, her mind goes blank and she makes silly mistakes. It is very discouraging, to say the least, and there are many more years of Maths left. I'm at a loss as to how to help, aside from trying to boost her confidence. The teaching overlords are not concerned with morale, they don't acknowledge her good performance generally and place a lot of emphasis on test grades. They also love putting problems in the exams, so kids have to decipher a text and apply what they know to solving it instead of just doing the various operations they've been doing in class. Some of the problems would be hard enough if they had an entire class to devote to them, but no, they are expected to solve them at the drop of a hat in the exams. It really annoys me that this kind of problems are only ever given in tests/ exams and they don't have regular practice in solving them. Apparently it helps the teachers to identify the most talented kids in maths (to hell with the rest of them, then, who end up being demoralised?). I have enlisted the help of a cheerful maths-loving teenager a couple of evenings a week so she gets more practice at working under exam conditions in a relaxed atmosphere, I figure it's best to remove myself from the equation. However, mathematical morale is at an all-time low.
Anyway, that was some tangent! ;) I'll see myself out....