Gongxi facai everybody! Our Chinese New Year Banquet for the Year of the Rabbit included fried rice, fried noodles, sweet and sour pork, mushroom chicken, tea eggs, har gow, siu mai and jiaozi, with cheesecake for afters.
Admin2 has been reading She and Her Cat by Makoto Shinkai and Naruki Nagakawa, just to check it was OK before giving it to Audrey in her red packet. It was a comforting story about four lonely women whose lives improve when cats move in.
We scored 9 on the GSQ. Sad!


We missed the fabulous celebration of culture because none of the publicity reached us and we saw nothing from our western windows. But here is Christmas Lights Man always ready with his illuminated greenery to enlighten us.
Admin1 is reading Bleeding Heart Yard by Elly Griffiths (yet another tale of a schooldays murder and its repercussions in adult life) and Admin2 is reading A Heart Full of Headstones by Ian Rankin. Hearty reads all round.
[Update: a couple of days have gone by and nothing photogenic has presented itself, so just a note that we scored 10 (improvement) on the GSQ. Now reading new books so someone must do something tomorrow.]

Christmas Dinner 2.0

The table is set with a red bedsheet, flowers and napkins folded into Christmas trees (thanks Guida) and the cats are first up for the forthcoming feast of chicken, roast potatoes, Yorkshires, gravy and two veg, followed by trifle. Dave was too sick to participate except on the phone but we managed to score a creditable 12 on the last quiz of the year, bringing our average to 10.1730769230769 according to the spreadsheet. Gifts were exchanged, drinks were drunk and crackers (containing no plastic or useless metal things but impossible origami instead) were pulled and so that was Christmas.
Admin1 is reading A Heart Full of Headstones by Ian Rankin and Admin2 is reading Bournville by Jonathan Coe with great pleasure. Thanks us.

Oh, will your magic Christmas tree be shining gently all around?

So this is Christmas and most of those packages under the tree turned out to be books which was a great boon to both of us; thank you Admins 1 and 2.  And no duplicates!

Below is our simple dinner for two: roast pork, potatoes, Yorkshires, carrots, sprouts, cauliflower, stuffing, pigs in blankets, glasses of port and lashings of gravy followed by — after three attempts — a flaming gold-dusted gin and champagne Christmas pudding three years past its sell-by date and a bit fossilised but still tasty, served with clotted cream and brandy butter. How full we feel now!


Today all the newspapers are black and every electronic billboard has been switched to pics of the erstwhile queen. HMQ is queing in every bus shelter, hanging around the shops and looking down from high buildings. And it rained on and off all day so a very feeble rainbow arrived to cheer us all up.
Admin2 is reading Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris; those who signed the death warrant for Charles I get their comeuppance when Charles II ascends to the throne.

Happy Birthday

Admin1 celebrated his miscellaneous birthday today and was treated accordionly. What a surprise! He also got a load of books, a t-shirt, coffee for (and from) Africa and cups to drink it from. We ate emergency sandwiches (not expecting dinner guests) and yummy carrot cake.
Admin1 is now reading Bad Actors by Mick Herron. Enjoy! [Admin1: And I certainly did! Many thanks, also to GDA&B for the wonderful presents and a terrific birthday. I’ve just realised you could base a tune on their names…perhaps I could play it on an accordion 🙂 ]
Admin2 is reading Sea of Tranquility by Emily St John Mandel.

Street Party

After a gap of a couple of years, the street party on “The Green” is back, with even fewer people. Still it was a chance to show off the new gazebo and cool bench they blagged from a charity for use one day out of 365.
Admin1 is reading Bloody Genius by John Sandford. Admin2 is reading Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka; a terrifying farce involving dozens of murders on the Tokyo-Morioka Shinkansen.

What a Performance

A galaxy of mobile phones in the audience and a supernova on the stage

Two and a half years after buying their tickets, arty intellectuals Admins 1 and 2 finally got to see Pet Shop Boys from seats perched high on a vertiginous man-made cliff which had acrophobic Admin2 pouring with cold sweat until the lights finally dimmed and the music began.Suburbia opened the set, after two and half hours spent getting through airport-strength security and waiting for the arena to fill. There was a spectacular light show, with lots of computer animations:
The PSB catalogue is so extensive (and such consistently high quality) that our guesses for the opening number were all wrong (we both favoured West End Girls, which was near the end). Happily for Admin1, Being Boring was also played. And there were great versions of It’s a Sin, Heart, Domino Dancing, and a sadly Dusty-less What Have I Done to Deserve This. They missed out Shopping, though 🙂
All in all, a splendid time was had by all…
It was our first trip out of Yorkshire for two and a half years and we found Manchester as rainy as always, and the prices at the AO Arena extraordinarily exorbitant (£5 for a litre of water FFS, and an incredible £35 for a poor quality ‘official merchandise’ T-shirt).
Admin1 is rereading Spook Street by Mick Herron. Admin2 is reading Tragedy on the Branch Line by Edward Marston; a nineteenth-century railway policeman investigates a murder and meets Prime Minister Palmerston.

Ring a Ding Ding

Congratulations to Gez and Dave on their wedding day. Rings were given, words were said and they emerged into the daylight as a Mr and Mrs. Outside the Civic Hall, crowds demonstrated in their honour.
Admin1 is reading Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard. Admin2 is reading Inspector Chopra and the Million Dollar Motor Car, a special short easy book by Vassem Khan which took about 20 minutes to read but was enjoyable anyway.