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Nº1 CDA: Northcote

8 Sep

Hello, I’ve had a week or so off from blogging as I’ve been on holiday whist the boys had a decorator in.  Have I missed anything?  The boys have been off work as it was Simon’s birthday and their first wedding anniversary!  They went away a few times and visited a few places, I asked Mykie to keep notes for me…


If you’ve seen the Great British Menu in the last few years you will be familiar with Nigel Haworth and Lisa Allen (Nigel is a managing director, former head chef and Lisa is current head chef of Northcote).

It was Simon’s birthday so to kick start our week off we thought we would give Northcote a try.  After almost driving past it (even with sat-nav I am a cretin) we arrived at the manor.  Beautifully maintained architecture dripping with luscious flora, lovely gardens (including a quirky little walled herb garden) Northcote is a stunner.  You step inside into a lively, quite twenties environment with very friendly and accommodating staff.

Our room was a delight.  Spacious, overlooking the gardens, tasteful blue and copper-toned décor, Molton Brown toiletries and a bed wider than it was long…joy.

After a game of chess (the room has a selection of boardgames, Simon kicked my arse) our usual POA is to wander down to the lounge with a book, sit by the fire and take cream tea…this is where the popularity of Northcote becomes a bit of a negative.  It is really busy, and not just with other people quietly enjoying the surroundings.  There was a loud, uncouth family who had come for afternoon tea for somebodies leaving treat.  They were obnoxious and uncivilised to the point of bouncing mini Eccles cakes off a plate onto the floor whilst slurping “cosmos'”…it suffices to say I didn’t get far into my book.  I am being rather harsh as the other guests were courteous, polite and QUIET…but, with 70 covers for lunch and 40 evening I shouldn’t expect silence.

We went down for dinner and decided to have Lisa’s gourmet menu.  Those familiar with the Great British Menu will remember it from the show (will a few additions).  We went for the wine flight as we like experiencing well thought out wine matching with food.  The rabbit starter that got through to the banquet of GBM was lovely but the absolute star was THE DESSERT!  The dessert that Matthew, Prue and Oliver trashed to the point of Lisa changing it was fucking divine! Fruity, creamy and refreshing all at the same time, it was beautiful.  The matching dessert wine was also a highlight of the stay which was sweet, fruity with a slight fizzy taste (I will be buying gallons of the stuff);  We were however about five glasses in at this point so our judgement may be slightly impaired.

So Northcote, great food, lovely accommodation but not what we would describe as a “bolt-hole”.  We’ll definitely go back when we are in the mood for a delicious meal as its reputation for great food is very well deserved.

Do they serve cats I wonder…?


Five go up a Mountain: A tale of danger and drama

8 Aug

Nº1CDA: RHS Tatton-fleurfect day out!

25 Jul

Once again I was abandoned as the boys had booked tickets to the Tatton Flower Show…or what has been dubbed “invasion of the wheelie trolly” due to the hilarious amount of people with those crates on wheels for carting their purchases about…

So, we arrived bright and early at 10am, not bad when you live ten minutes down the road.  I’d been up since 4.30am as for some reason I had “Christmas excitement” and didn’t want to wake up Simon (he did wake up as he thought I’d fallen down the toilet or died in a corner somewhere).

We didn’t really know what to expect as we’d never bothered to go before…It was so enjoyable!

The gardens were mostly amazing!  There was the odd dull display and a few of the LHA and school type gardens were not really worth a look.  Most had a great theme, exquisite planting and beautiful design concepts.  Some of our favourites had “non floral queerness” such as this one featuring a man playing a flute type instrument all day…

I’m not sure when he got time for a natural break…but maybe that’s a little wooden toilet he’s sat on.

Things got decidedly more strange in the Visionary Gardens.  “A Matter of Time” which I have renamed “Alien with her vagina out lying in a giant bowl of lettuce”…

Continuing in the gynaecological vein…check out these carnivorous plants!  I’m no expert but I’m pretty sure this is what a womanly space looks like if you peel the lady off the outside…

Look how moist they look…I feel nauseated.  They were inside the National Plant Society and Floral Marquees…one of the absolute highlights of the day!  The most amazing, amazing specimens of flowers and vegetables we’ve ever seen!  Flowers so big, bright, colourful, beautiful that they didn’t look real.  Vegetables so large, bulbous and succulent you felt a bit naughty looking at them…

The best part of the day was definitely lunch in the Fortnum & Mason brasserie.  It was like a restaurant had just popped up in the middle of a field.  The food was divine as expected and really reasonably priced…we both had a three course lunch, a glass of vintage champers and a glass of wine for £120.

There were shops and stalls and music and entertainment, lot’s to see and do, but we had seen most things by mid afternoon.  We’d recommend  a visit especially if you are in need of anything garden or plant related…we got a nice weather day, it would probably be a lot less fun in the rain.  If you have kids there is a crèche but the loud speaker man kept announcing there was a maximum stay of two hours…don’t know what happened then, I think they threw overdue children in the wood chipper…Whilst we’re on that subject, some parents encouraged their horrid offspring to cross a fence for a picture sat on a lounger in one of the display gardens!  I was shocked and disgusted!  I am penning a letter to the RHS right now! “Rant, rant, rant, yours sincerely, “appalled in Altrincham”.

I guess the boys had a good time, Mykie is now annoying everyone going on about being an apiarist but he’ll be out of my hair for a few hours at least planting his new “Ladybird Poppy” seeds…

Ice Cream Saviours!

20 Jul

I’m only allowed to eat my special Persian food as it is good for me…ok I get the odd treat of nori or duck liver and champagne pâté.  I don’t mind, I don’t really have a sweet tooth.  The boys do though! Mykie’s big thing is ice cream…it’s the only food that inspires sounds otherwise reserved for carnal indulgences.

This weekend we found ambrosia!  Thank you Waitrose!

Delightful!  They were substantial in size and tasted acceptably chocolatey and…less than 2% fat and typically 82 calories per stick!

These weren’t as good…they were smaller, had more calories and tasted a bit like cork…they were nice on a plate with some raspberries from the garden…on the whole…a bit shit…but each sandwich typically contains 101 calories and 2.8g of fat.

So it was Ice Cream Bonanza this weekend!  Simon had a slight problem as he thought the new finds were full of shit and chemical badness…

Then, like lightning, a memory, childhood summers, delicious dairy goodness, dildos…


Only 30 kcals per dildo…and still as delicious as ever…like sucking on nostalgia!

So no longer will ice cream be limited to the occasional treat in this house…frozen, milky phalluses for all!!!!

Quintessentially English vs Quintessentially Gay

29 Jun

As my food bowl was filled to capacity and two extra water bowls were placed on the floor I knew the boys where neglecting me yet again and going away over night…They were off to Stratford for a culture based weekend…was it worth the trip when Manchester packs quite a cultural punch?  More importantly, to what degree did the planned quintessentially English trip become a big gay away?

over to Mykie…

As we were over packing our suitcase Saturday morning (QG) and trying to squeeze my second toiletry bag into the luggage (QG) the post man delivered Simon’s pre-ordered “Kylie: all the lovers pack” (QG) which became the anthem of the road trip (QG)…picked up the in-laws and we were on our way!

We arrived in Shakespeare Land and spent a lei surly afternoon eating ice-cream by the river (QE), visiting Shakespeare’s house (QE) (well we looked at it…there was a big queue), and, on the hottest day of the year, shopping for Christmas ornaments in an all-year wonderland with faux snow and everything (QG)!  
We also spent a large portion of the day wondering how hot the living statues were in the heat and paint (QE).  The statues in Stratford are all gold and Shakespearian, much more impressive than the dull, grey scary ones in Manchester…win for Stratford!

In the evening we walked to the theatre to see “Morte d’Arthur” (QE).  The RSC is amazing!  The Royal Exchange Manchester is decent but this was something else!  Flying angels, horses made of people, tranny-devil and even a noteworthy shirtless man episode (QG).  The acting was top drawer, Arthur aged from a twatty imbecile to an ageing, wizened monarch seamlessly…Mordred was a deformed Geordie who brought a great touch of comedy.  It was a fast paced, fly by the seat of your pants tour of the whole of Arthur’s rein (for four hours! a 25 minute interval and a 5 minute pause (piss) I can’t sit still through a Dr Who usually but I was enthralled).  Great production! Bravo RSC (QE)!  As I was sweating like a whore and we were at the theatre, darlings…we needed a little razz-ma-tazz…that’s my explanation for purchasing a pink hand-fan which I spent the weekend wafting myself with (QG, so very QG).

Sunday, after being interrupted mid coitus by Mama Dotsy knocking on our hotel room door (QG), we had a lovely full English (QE). I had cereal as I had eaten so much the previous day I was feeling very Gabourey Sidibe so went for a low-fat breakfast (QG) (and I’d just eaten a sausage).  There was a woman, unfortunately, screaming at the hotel staff about her “boyfriend” not being able to find a parking spot and he had “a very expensive car”…this turned out to be an over-tanned, mid 50s, “long hairs are more hairs” man in a Z4 who proceeded to reverse 50 meters down the pavement…they obviously thought they were the Zeta-Douglas’ but they were just common, trashy scum…vile (is Jezza Kyle QE? I hope not)!

We strolled down the river late morning (QE) (OK, I had found a craft market so Simon sat on a bench whilst I rummaged (QG)).  I rowed my husband down the Avon in a row-boat (QE sort of).  Simon was steering, I was rowing…we crashed into a pile of trees trying to turn around (QG) (This was so Simon’s fault not that he admits it).  A brief trip to Anne Hathaway’s house and garden (QE)…(no, not that one QG) who I’m guessing didn’t have a gift shop attached when she resided there.  It sold pink quills and ink (QG) I wasn’t allowed any as I had my fan (QG).

Ended a perfectly delightful weekend bombing home down “28 days later motorways” as the football was on which we didn’t give a small rat crap about (QG).

This England never did, nor never shall,
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror.

William Shakespeare, “King John”

(Sorry football fans)

It seems Stratford is worth a visit if you enjoy a nice, quiet weekend and excellent theatre…It also appears that Mykie can’t even get through a play without buying a gay piece of tat.  Manchester theatres are great but if you really want a treat, get yourself some RSC tickets…hope next season has some good shows because I enjoyed having the house to myself!

Review time-Dominion

4 Jun

Simy as the king of all things game related has reviewed a board game for me…We played over the weekend with Mr Adam.  Simy is the only once qualified enough to offer anything more than “oh it’s a nice fun game” as he has all the games.


by Rio Grande Games

If you’re one of the many people weened away from rainy afternoons playing cluedo, monopoly (and the extended verion of nothining-else-to-do-so-keep-playing-after-you’re-bankrupt monopoly) and taken your first faltering steps into the wider world of boardgames dipping your toe into the resource development of Settlers of Catan or Carcassonne, then Dominion may be your next step into the darker recesses of proper gaming.

See, if you’re already a gaming nerd it’s simple to explain: you build your deck like in Magic: The Gathering but do it as part of the game itself and compete for points. If you’re not a nerd, well….it’s a card game, where each round you purchase cards that form your own playing deck-each turn your draw cards from this personal playing deck to purchase more cards and ultimately buy the all important resource cards.

Now what makes the game’s replay level really high is that the cards you can purchase each game can be varied, the basic boxed set comes with enough choice and expansions add more. It’s pretty awesome as an overall game, and really shows with simple rules and the classic easy to learn difficult to master tag-line how far boardgames have come- chuck out your Game of Life and join the modern boardgame gang.

Improvements? 10 or so games in it’s… well its fantastic, but it’s still hard to see how much the balance between the choices you make in selecting your cards for your deck influence the result- extreme deck design (ala Magic) is brilliant (more often awful), do the nuances of your middle-of-the-road choice make a difference? Time will tell.


Design  10

Social     8

Replay  10

Overall 9.3

CURRENT SOLAR SYSTEM-Astrologers, stick that up Uranus!

7 Jul

The Solar System has gone few a few changes in the last few years…additions, re-classifications and so on…

I thought I’d give a little overview…









  • EARTH-1 moon

  • MARS-2 moons (demios, phobos)


  • JUPITER-63 moons (largest are Ganymede, Callisto, Io and Europa)

  • SATURN-60 moons (Titan and Enceladus are geologically active)

  • URANUS-27 moons (largest are Titania, Oberon, Umbriel, Ariel and Miranda)

  • NEPTUNE-13 moons (The largest, Triton, is geologically active)



(farther out than Neptune)

  • PLUTO-1 moon (Charon), 2 moons orbit both Pluto and Charon (Nix, Hydra)

  • HAUMEA-egg shaped-2 moons (Hi’iaka, Namaka)


  • ERIS-1 moon (dysnomia)


Asteroid Belt

(between inner and outer planets)




With all this stuff going on…how can astrologers possibly use the planets to predict anything?…my feline intuition suspects maybe it’s all just made up.

When astrologers tried previously to account for changes in the known solar system (the hypothesised planet VULCAN) and asigned influences preempting a discovery…

WHOOPS! Vulcan didn’t exist…I bet they felt silly!