What you should watch in your night sky this evening!
Tonight is the perfect opportunity to catch the wonderment of starry night skies as the annual Lyrid Meteor Shower is set to peak. If the moon is not too bright, the sky will be lit by hundreds of shooting stars. Let's wrap up warm and rejoice between nightfall and dawn.
The Diaries of Adam and Eve by Mark Twain
"Stars are good too. I wish I could get some to put in my hair. But I suppose I never can. You would be surprised to find how
far off they are, for the do not look it. When they first showed, last night, I tried to knock some down with a pole, but it did not reach, which astonished me." (Twain, 2000, 101)
1. Love and War in the Apennines by Eric Newby
Recommended by John Gimlette (A wonderful friend of CG's and brilliant author of travel literature)
For sheer charm, there's nothing quite like Eric Newby's Love and War in the Apennines. I read it years ago, as a novice lawyer immersed in crime. Although my work didn't affect me particularly, this book did. At one level, it's a celebration of Italy, and the title says it all (Newby, a POW, escapes to the mountains and amidst many distractions, meets Wanda, and … well, you'll see).
At a more profound level, it's a beautifully philanthropic yet unsentimental work. However miserable the times and awkward the place, Newby's characters are usually endearing, often complex, and always worth the trouble. That's much how I feel about travel: that it's more about people than places (I'd hate the Antarctic).
2. Snow Geese by William Fiennes
Recommended by CG (Founder and flower fanatic)
My lovely friend Will followed the snow geese from Mexico to the Canadian Arctic - a story of homecoming and the gravity that home exerts. He weaves together autobiography and reportage with beautiful words and phrases. And celebrates the joy of life, and of his childhood in England living at the moated Broughton Castle.
I always like to think of his letters home from school to his mother, written in ink pen, that she would take out to her little boat on the moat to read.
One sunny morning the wind caught the letter and dipped it in the water... she watched the letters blur and wash away among the reeds quietly imaging what her son might have said!
Films & TV Series...
1. Martin Margiela: In his Own Words
Recommended by EVM (Showroom Assistant and peony lover)
Martin Margiela remains a mystery fashion designer to many. My own fascination with the designer dates back when pondering the streets of Paris with a couple of friends, we stumbled upon Margiela's store. Everything there was white, everyone in the store was wearing a white lab coat and the logo was nothing more than a plain three by eight grid showing the numbers 0 to 23. I was in love.
No official photograph of the Belgian born designer has ever been released and he has, until now, refused all interviews.
This utterly wonderful documentary, directed by Reiner Holzemer and narrated by Margiela's own voice, is an invitation into his studio and his mind. His face does not feature in the film, though his hands do - playing with objects from the archives and his childhood.
Recommended by EJL (Marketing Assistant and Earl Grey tea enthusiast)
Starring Nicola Walker as London police detective Cassie Stuart, Unforgotten uncovers historic cold cases involving missing people, murders and long-hidden secrets. When each case is initially discovered, there is a chance that everyone involved might be long dead.
However, DCI Stuart and her partner DI Kahn are determined to pursue the cases, unfolding other stories in the process.
With all three seasons on Netflix now, each focusing on a different case, there is plenty to get you gripped and find yourself trying to solve the cases in your mind.
Soundtracking with Edith Bowman
Recommended by SLW (Junior Showroom Assistant and Maltesers Addict)
For music and film lovers alike, this podcast, hosted by radio presenter Edith Bowman, explores the magic of film soundtracks and how they were paired with a film or series. Bowman interviews directors, writers, composers, actors and producers, usually with a focus on one specific film, asking them about their personal and professional relationship with music and how they came to choose a soundtrack to bring that film to life. My favourite episodes have included an interview with Quentin Tarantino on the music of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, Ol Parker and the music of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again and Greta Gerwig on the score of her latest film Little Women. You can find this podcast on most podcast apps including Spotify and the Apple Podcasts app.
1. A recipe for fruit compote - a delicious addition to your breakfast yoghurt, porridge or granola
Recommended by Steve Watts (A friend of Cassandra and brilliant chef - both love a good party!)
- 500g mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
- A dash of vanilla essence
- 50g caster sugar (or vanilla sugar if you have some)
- 1 piece of cinnamon stick
- 50ml water
- A small piece of root ginger peeled
- A piece of orange peel
If you are using fresh fruit, wash and drain the berries and discard any that are mouldy or damaged.
Put the water, sugar, vanilla, ginger, orange peel and cinnamon into a saucepan (large enough to hold the berries) and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat, add the berries and simmer gently for 5 minutes or until the berries have softened. Remove the saucepan from the heat and taste the syrup, you might wish to add some extra sugar if it is too sharp. Transfer the compote to a small bowl and put it into the fridge when cool. It will keep for 3 or 4 days in the fridge or could be frozen for future use.
2. The Quick Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iver
Recommended by JLG (Marketing Assistant and Dachshund devotee)
If you are looking for new and easy recipes, I highly recommend The Quick Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer. It is full of bright, vibrant and healthy meals that can all be cooked in one roasting tin. The cook book covers a range of easy to make recipes, from family favourites, weekend cooking, date night, to sweets and more.
A personal favourite recipe is the chilli peanut beef with red peppers, sweetcorn and spring onion, which has a zingy dressing that I have since used in other recipes. Her dishes can all be cooked in the oven within 30 minutes and while its cooking you have time to relax and do any number of things.
Music to make jewellery to...
A Night at the Opera
Recommended by SLW (Junior Showroom Assistant and Maltesers Addict)
For lovers of both classical music and opera, The Philharmonie Berlin and The Metropolitan Opera have got you covered. Both organisations have opened their *virtual* doors to the public and have given access to their digital archives of amazing previous performances.
Using the code BERLINPHIL, The Philharmonie Berlin offers a month's free subscription of access to more than 600 of its previous shows, whilst The Metropolitan Opera is streaming its series The Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD every night at 7:30pm ETD (the performance is available for 20 hours after). For those of you who have sadly had your opera tickets refunded, put on your black tie, pour yourself a glass of wine and you can still have your night at the opera! For a schedule of this week's performances, follow this link: https://www.metopera.org/user-information/nightly-met-opera-streams/week-5/.
My favourite things to savour in lockdown…
RZ (A devoted fan of CG with a life spent surrounded by exquisite art of the Middle East)
- Music: East of Melancholy - Music from the Steppes (performer Tara Kamangar); OR Bibi no Azaora - Riyuchi Sakamoto
- Books: Discourse on Love or the School of Life by Alain de Botton and Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ichiguro
- Novella: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
- Film: Baghdad Cafe or the fabulous series that is Big Little Lies (Netflix)
- Recipe: Vegan Pizza Crust from Waitrose topped with pancetta, Mozarella, one chopped up M&S chipolata & lots of rocket. 10 mins in oven!!