Writing about things I love and things I didn't know - oh and things I want to eat and cook

Monday, 8 February 2016

Dickens, Faith a Bit of Kung Fu Panda and Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick

I am going through a bit of a vile time - I know it will come good and I will get through it but what I hate is the collateral damage - harm, distress and worry caused to those I love. 

Like Helen in The Archers I have been railroaded by a sociopath - anyway - it gives one a lot to think about and looking at it academically which I do makes it sort of interesting in a Mary Shelley kind of way. 

These people are identified in various different ways - in fact it was a dear friend  - yes you D - who clocked mine - he speaks from experience and 'tapped' me on the shoulder as he recognised certain behavioural patterns. 

That's enough for now but I will write more as it helps. 

Still all over Chinese New Year :

The thing I have found is that when I quiet my mind ( I am shit at meditation so I do it in the small hours ) I just KNOW everything is going to be ok. I think this must be faith.

I have thought long and hard about my faith and I realise now how much it means to me and what strength it gives me - when one is up against wrong just think 'good will out.'

My beloved sister just had a REALLY BIG OPERATION and has come out the other side an utter champion. Extraordinary and inspiring. We went to a Carol Service at Ely and the wonderful Canon gave her a kiss on the cheek and she later told me she knew everything was going to be ok.

I am going to give myself some advice - step away from the problem, deep breaths, look at it with distance and it's a bit like riding a horse in a tough race - it's the final fence that matters even if you take a whack or two getting there.

Good will out. 

If by any chance you follow Apollo Magazine on twitter you will come across the most beautiful painting of Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick whose collection is in the British Museum and Wallace Collection. Amazing chap. I'll post the painting next time. 

I just bought this. When I am fed up I want to be in France and when I am in France I think about the influence Elizabeth David had on me as a young cook.

Ps. The definer of the sociopath is a total lack of empathy. There are people who really are without goodness in them. Sadly. My dear friend D suggested an iPhone app so we could scan for them and know in advance. 

I go back to Dickens 'Never take a mean advantage of anyone in any transaction.'


It is the year of the Monkey - Kung Hei Fat Choy.

I am a monkey. Just found out that Dickens was too. Happy days.

I literally love dim sum for breakfast so I had a word with Jamie  - YUM. 

Sunday, 7 February 2016

A Letter from Dickens to his youngest son 'Plorn' in Australia

My Dearest Plorn
 I write this note to-day because your going away is much upon my mind, and because I want you to have a few parting words from me to think of now and then at quiet times. I need not tell you that I love you dearly, and am very, very sorry in my heart to part with you. But this life is half made up of partings, and these pains must be borne. It is my comfort and my sincere conviction that you are going to try the life for which you are best fitted. I think its freedom and wildness more suited to you than any experiment in a study or office would ever have been; and without that training, you could have followed no other suitable occupation.
What you have already wanted until now has been a set, steady, constant purpose. I therefore exhort you to persevere in a thorough determination to do whatever you have to do as well as you can do it. I was not so old as you are now when I first had to win my food, and do this out of this determination, and I have never slackened in it since.
Never take a mean advantage of anyone in any transaction, and never be hard upon people who are in your power. Try to do to others, as you would have them do to you, and do not be discouraged if they fail sometimes. It is much better for you that they should fail in obeying the greatest rule laid down by our Saviour, than that you should.
I put a New Testament among your books, for the very same reasons, and with the very same hopes that made me write an easy account of it for you, when you were a little child; because it is the best book that ever was or will be known in the world, and because it teaches you the best lessons by which any human creature who tries to be truthful and faithful to duty can possibly be guided. As your brothers have gone away, one by one, I have written to each such words as I am now writing to you, and have entreated them all to guide themselves by this book, putting aside the interpretations and inventions of men.
You will remember that you have never at home been wearied about religious observances or mere formalities. I have always been anxious not to weary my children with such things before they are old enough to form opinions respecting them. You will therefore understand the better that I now most solemnly impress upon you the truth and beauty of the Christian religion, as it came from Christ Himself, and the impossibility of your going far wrong if you humbly but heartily respect it.
Only one thing more on this head. The more we are in earnest as to feeling it, the less we are disposed to hold forth about it. Never abandon the wholesome practice of saying your own private prayers, night and morning. I have never abandoned it myself, and I know the comfort of it.
I hope you will always be able to say in after life, that you had a kind father. You cannot show your affection for him so well, or make him so happy, as by doing your duty.
Your affectionate Father.


I loved every minute of the London Olympic opening ceremony - the Queen as Bond and Daniel Craig 'coughing' to get her attention. The chimneys  - a wonderful representation of our great industrial might - taking this little island from agricultural to world superpower.

The Great Ormond Street bit - you all KNOW I am sure J.M.Barrie made a bequest that the profits from Peter Pan would go to Great Ormond Street.

I loved Tim Berners Smith, Brunel all of it.

I cried with pride the whole time. Joy. One little tiny thing I might have included - a certain Charles Dickens.

Ugh some say. Not so happy experiences of wading through Bleak House at school. I get it. Revisit.

My life wouldn't be the same without this extraordinary man.

I want to start my own school and call it 'Fezziwig's'. School motto : 'Eat cake and dance.'

Dickens is so many things. Consider in his life he was not only prodigiously productive but also hugely commercially successful. He had the sense to 'tap into' the popularity of his work in America and undertake a reading tour.

He has the most wonderful, idiosyncratic no doubt difficult childhood. He had great humour - if you visit the Dickens Museum - now refurbished thanks I believe to lottery funding - you will see from his correspondence what a laugh he was.

His sister in law died sadly in her sleep at Doughty Street - perhaps from here derives his ( and my ) lifelong fascination with ghosts.

I'm totally biased bit looks like he had really good hair too.

Even if you find him unreadable everyone knows who Scrooge is. Probably Oliver Twist too.

I can't really write this very well because I can't really think straight as all I can think of is the wonderful gifts he has given me and all of us.

Quite often us Brits don't celebrate what we have - I have only just discovered ( yes I know ) James Corden and his carpool karaoke which is legendary. I talk about The Great Exhibition of 1851 virtually every day. Our great industrialists too.

Do one thing - I guarantee in most houses in the UK there is a copy of Dickens lurking. Have a look. Failing that google him. Even Dickens quotes.

I'm spending most of today with Little Dorrit.

I leave you with this from Mr Bumble, a reassurance that it is ok to cry. 

It opens the lungs, washes the countenance, exercises the eyes, and softens down the temper, said Mr. Bumble. So cry away.”

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

World Cancer Day - THAT'S THAT

This one is hard for me to write though also a privilege. I have two family members fighting cancer - like most families I suspect.

I would say if you come across anything remotely suspicious in your mouth, cheek or tongue get it looked at sharpish. Not to be alarmist just safe.

Elizabeth Blackwell was born on February the 3rd 1821 - the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States and the first woman to be admitted to the UK Medical Register.


If you have ever wondered why the Hayward Gallery has it's name have a look at my link. Isaac Hayward. I have always loved the South Bank  - the theatres - I was lucky enough to see Anthony Hopkins playing Lear. Took the edge off the trauma of Little Shop of Horrors. 

Go to the supermarket or cancer research website please and buy a bracelet. I say this with humility and all gratitude - doctors, surgeons, nurses - all medical staff are literally performing miracles every single hour of every single day. 

David Bowie and Alan Rickman were felled by the same cancer as my late daddy. 

If you are on Twitter please follow this :

Couldn't resist this from the marvellous Rachel Khoo. Be healthy and THANK YOU to everyone who has looked after those I love.