A Child of Our Time – Proms

Last night the first Prom of the year was Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time.

It’s a piece I know quite well, having sung the spirituals as a treble and the whole thing as a bass, and I’ve always found it moving.

Last night though, it was wonderfully emotional. It seemed very appropriate timing, with lots of resonances with the London bombing – particularly the mother’s plea for peace – “How many mothers’ hearts shall be maimed?”.

The last ten minutes or so of the piece turns from a mood of sorrow and despair, to one of consolation and hope. As it ended with “Deep River”, one of the spirtuals, I was in tears, as I expect a lot of the audience were.

Fantastic Trip to London

We’ve just got back from a two night trip to London – more scorching hot weather!

We went down by train on Tuesday morning and were met at Kings Cross by David. Because of the bombing last week, bits of the tube are still not working, so we took the bus to the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square, where we were joined by Helen. David is great on journeys, because he can give a running commentary of detail on all the buildings and places of interest.

Tuesday evening, we went for a lovely meal at Jane’s. She’s a friend of Cindy’s
who used to go running with Cindy when they lived near each other in London. Haven’t seen her properly for ages, so it was really good to catch up.

On Wednesday, we went to Eltham Palace, which is absolutely beautiful – a Tudor great hall with amazing Art Deco house attached.

Unfortunately, during the day Cindy began to feel unwell, with a bit of a chest infection. So we went to H+D’s doctor and got some antibiotics. We had a good evening with H+D and C went to bed relatively early.

She woke up today feeling ok, still a bit fragile, but not worse. We had been intending to go to the V&A to see an Arts and Crafts exhibition, but after a leisurely morning, we met Jane and Andy for lunch (sushi – first time – yum) and got a train home at 3 o’clock. We arrived home to interrupt the children having tea with Mary and Lance, who had made the whole trip possible by looking after them.

Houses of Parliament Cleaners

I’ve just written to our MP about an article in today’s Guardian, about how most cleaners in the Houses of Parliament have very low pay and poor conditions of work.

I know there are a lot bigger things going on this week (G8, London Bomb), but I think if you can’t get these relatively small simple things done properly, you don’t have much hope with the bigger issues.

I used a fantastic service called Write to Them. You put your post code into their webpage, and it finds your Councillors, MP, MEPs, MSPs, or Welsh and London Assembly Members. You choose who you want to contact, then write (or paste) your letter into the next page, click and it sends it to the correct person. If they seem never to check their email, it sends it by fax instead, which is apparently still more widely used by MPs. Apparently in a fortnights time they will contact me to see if Hugh Bailey responds.

Fantastic free, open source, volunteer run service.

All Family OK

Jane and Katharine and partners/child are all ok, following the bomb in London today. Been exchanging phone calls and texts with them and friends in London today – all well with people we know.

Frightening. We’re intending to go down to London next week, I’m sure all will be clear by then, but we’ll have to wait and see.

The Tasting Room

Lunch today at The Tasting Room York. Here is Edward and my restaurant review. Tucked away in the ‘Latin Quater’ or behind Browns or near the expensive knicker shop – nice bustiier in the window this week!

Wine fabulous Dona Isidora Reisling 2003 very chilled light dry and not fruity something else that escapes my vocabulary, could have drunk another bottle!

We ordered a seared tuna salad and a pancetta with yorkshire blue salad. Both very respactable and delicious. Tuna by far the best buy; substantial and warm. Very generous on the olives and the feta cheese with the tuna worked really well. tuna moist and cooked beautifully. Croutons poor, too big and the bread too stale. The pancetta and yorkshire blue was a bit mean on both these ingredients which were both delicious and left you wanting more. The sweet potato was passed off as a garnish not appropriate given the lusty moorish nature of this lovely vegetable and one of the key ingredients listed in the menu description and so leading you to believe that it would feature quite prominantly. Salad leaves gorgeous and a good variety only hope they don’t come out of one of those bags held together by a plethora of gases and chemicals. E and I swapped our plates half way; I think he was reluctant to part with the seared tuna!!

The sweet menu was expensive and I could spot nothing that I hadn’t seen before so we gave that a miss. Coffee was excellent. E ordered a second cup that took ages to come, but then she didn’t charge him for it so fair doos. Tap water no problem and the waiteress was attentive to notice when we neede more.

Service was excellent and the waitresses very attractive (E’s comment !!!!) Have to say our waitress was wearing a beautiful dress that was certainly a cut above the average waitress garb. Does this kind of thing enhance the whole meal experience?

Decor; very expensive nicely done, but I couldn’t work out what all the coat hooks were for (not really positioned for coats) Wall paper particlarly good (although not matching at the corners can I believe I’m writing this particularly given how awful I proved to be on my one and only wall paper hanging experience).

Conclusion: really nice and will definitely give their evening menu a go.


Ted and I went for a walk in Farndale, in the North York Moors, today. We drove up there through Malton and Pickering after dropping children at their schools. We started from between Hutton le Hole and Gillamoor, just near Barmoor where we used to go on Meeting family weekends, walked up the valley, up the hill side, and back.

The rain held off, except for a shower while we were eating lunch, until we got back to the car – when it started to pour.

On the way back home we went past the Cropton Brewery, so we stopped for a quick half and some chips!