Tuesday, June 05, 2007

WHAT A FORTNIGHT I'VE HAD, IT HAS BEEN FULL-ON, HENCE THE LONG DELAY IN BLOG POSTING, FOR WHICH I APOLOGISE. I've had old friends from South Africa staying with me, my DH turned 60 and I held a picnic party for him, and there has been a whole lot of new legislation which has needed training sessions. Not excusing myself - just explaining.


A week or so back I read about the Theakstons Old Peculiar Prize for Crime Novel of the Year, and flicked through the books that had made it on to the longlist. This one, Little Face by Sophie Hannah caught my eye and so I borrowed it from the local library.

Anna Fancourt goes out for a short break, leaving her two-week old daughter Florence at home with her husband. It is the first time she has been apart from her baby and when she returns she is convinced that her baby has been abducted and another baby has been left in her place. Almost hysterical with fear and confusion she insists in calling the police but when a local detective arrives to start investigating her husband is adamant that the infant is their baby and that she is delusional. Given that there is no evidence of a baby missing, and the likelihood of post-natal depression there seems to be no reason to start an investigation, but all changes a few days later when both Anna and the baby vanish. When the police realise that Simon Fancourt’s first wife was violently murdered a few years previously, they take Anna’s disappearance very seriously indeed.

Anna tells her own side of the story and in parallel the police investigation is told as a 3rd person narrative. The plot is complex with many strands and a cast of rather clich├ęd characters – a controlling mother and her over dependent son with his victimised wife; a police detective who has emotional problems which he sublimates in his work. However as a study of obsessive love with extremely sinister undertones the book carried me along and there is a dramatic twist at the very end which left me rather surprised.

Rated 3.5*


Why is it that folk who believe in the literal truth of the Bible are so desperate for everybody else to believe it too? Is it because they have a deep unconscious fear that their beliefs maybe built on myth so they need to reassure themselves by convincing others of the veracity of their faith?

Personally I couldn’t give a toss what they believe, but I do care when they try to make everyone conform to their way of thinking.

Last week a new museum opened; a museum which has cost $29 million for the building and exhibits. That is a lot of money and it is all to “prove” the truth of the Creation as set out in the book of Genesis, and to “disprove” the Theory of Evolution. The museum is in Tennessee -it just would be, wouldn’t it?

The people behind the development of this museum, which is mainly aimed at kids by the look of it, are an organisation called 'Answers in Genesis' or AiG. And boy do they take it upon themselves to answer some weird questions such as:Are black people the result of a curse on Ham? and Were there dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark?

I’ve some questions for them – if there were Dinosaurs on Noah’s Ark together with fleas, bushbabies, rats, cats and elephants (not to mention all the rest of the myriad of species which populate our world) how did Noah stop them all attacking each other? Who provided the appropriate foodstuffs for such a diversity of creatures ( a few bales of hay wouldn’t cut the mustard). How did Noah and Co deal with the tons of animal poo and urine that must have made the Ark very, very smelly? How did they prevent termites and other wood-boring insects from eating holes in the Ark and sinking it? Did they practice incest in order to repopulate the earth?…..you get my point.

It’s a lovely folk tale but it ain’t the truth. What a load of misguided fools.


Last Sunday was the DH's 60th birthday, and I decided to hold a picnic lunch on Hampstead Heath to celebrate. Typically, I got a bit carried away, and before I knew it the numbers had escalated to 80 guests - yikes! It was a situation which called for military planning, cooking industrial quantities of food, what seemed like the entire output of a small vineyard to drink plus of course a fleet of cars to transport everything there and back. I decided that the opening icebreaker would be a choice of Bucks Fizz or Bloody Mary, and started looking up proper Bloody Mary recipes in order to calculate quantities . Forgive me if I am teaching grandmothers to suck eggs, but this is what I eventually devised. This may seem a rather odd recipe as most people don't think of heating up the ingredients to make the BM mix, but believe me it makes all the difference. First though, a word of explanation. My husband is a Scot and so the picnic was an alternative Highland Games and everything had a Scottish theme, hence my adaptation of the recipe in order to make :


6-8 servings

2 Litres tomato juice

½ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons ready prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons garlic puree
Freshly ground black pepper

Several hefty dashes Worcestershire Sauce
Several hefty dashes Tabasco or similar chilli sauce

2 cups vodka

½ cup whiskey

Put the vodka in the freezer to chill right down (don’t worry, it won’t freeze solid).

Combine everything except the vodka and whiskey in a large saucepan. Heat to simmering point and simmer for 5-6 minutes. Let it cool. Pour into a jug or carafe and chill in the fridge over night.

When ready to serve, add the vodka and whiskey to the BM mixture, stir well, put ice cubes into tall glasses and pour the BMQS into the glasses; garnish with wedges of lemon and a sprig of fresh Basil.

Variations on a Bloody Mary theme are:

Mexican Maria: Use Tequila not vodka and omit the whiskey

Hong Kong Mary: Add ¼ cup soy sauce and 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger and omit the whiskey


Ashleigh said...

The picnic sounds wonderful! I'm getting to your meme - just taking me longer than I thought!

Around My Kitchen Table said...

I love Bloody Marys and your recipe looks just divine! I have responded to your tag (see my latest posting)but haven't yet tagged anyone else - like Ashleigh, I'm getting round to it!
In response (or is it retaliation!) I have chosen you to receive The Thinking Blogger Award (details on my latest posting). You don't have to do anything except nominate five other people. You can then display the award on your website.

a.book.in.the.life said...

The book Little Face sounds good, I will be looking out for that one!

Jeanne said...

80 people?? Lord, you are braver than me!! Sounds wonderful though - highland games on Hampstead Heath. Inspired. I will save the recipe for *my* DH who adores Bloody Marys...