Curtains!

Since returning to Devon I haven’t let the grass grow under my feet and instantly set about making some curtains for the back bedroom, now that Hyw has painted the window. They were much needed as the curtains that were in there previously had been made from an Ikea curtain that I had bought for 50p in their remnant box, many years ago! These too, are Ikea, but a bit jollier.

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I had two presents awaiting me on my return from Bath. A Bradley Wiggins T shirt for in bed and a Tom Kitchin cook book.

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Tom Kitchin. Kitchin Suppers. Quadrille Publishing.

Having eaten at The Kitchin, I was naturally intrigued to see the cookbook which is devoted to home cooking, rather than restaurant cooking. It does not disappoint, although some of the recipes do require more than the average store cupboard, they are at least obtainable with a bit of planning, and the Smoked Salmon, Pea and Red Onion Frittata is definitely on my list. The Breads and Savoury Nibbles section is especially welcome and there are some new recipes ( to me ) for Panisse and also Dried Fruit and Walnut Bread. Lots of good ideas both for tried and tested old favourites and more innovative recipes.

Laura Edwards makes all the dishes look absolutely delicious with her photography and I particularly liked the tweed and plaid backgrounds that she uses to set off some of the dishes.

Even if you don’t intend to cook the recipes it should give plenty of inspiration and is a lovely way to spend an evening, just browsing with a Whisky in hand!

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Mahler, When is a Bargain, not a Bargain, and an Autumn Clear Out

On Sunday we saw Mahler’s 8 symphony at the Great Hall of Exeter University. It is some time since I was last up there so I was pleasantly surprised to see the improvements they have made both inside and outside the hall. The concert was very well attended, I suspect partly because it was a community choir/ orchestra production. It was a valiant effort and enthusiastically played. There were several people I knew in the orchestra as well as in the audience.

Since returning from Munich I have been very busy. I went for a very pleasant walk around Exeter with Qin, the sun was shining and so we started our promenade down by the quay, dipping in and out of shops. We then cut up to the town and had a brief look at the museum before a trip to the library and a visit to the Real McCoy to see if they had any suitable suits (can you say that?) for her son. Sadly they didn’t but it was good to have someone to go round the shops with. Next time we shall go out for lunch.

On Wednesday we went for an evening meal up at Woolacombe. It was much further than we usually go but we had bought vouchers from Travelzoo and were determined to see if they were as good a deal as they seemed. The long and short of it was that it wasn’t. The place, which I shall not name, was shabby, understaffed, I don’t know if there was a cook (I won’t call him/ her a chef) but if there was, their last job must have been serving up school meals in 1954! We compared notes with two elderly dames who had the misfortune to have booked a week there and it was clear that the meals had not improved whilst they had been staying there. We ate what we could and had left the place by 8.30! The meal was half price but even that was too much in my book.

On Thursday I went to see initforthehoney. I was going to be helping her organise her workspace. It turned out to be a mammoth task but we had fun and spent 4 hours in Ikea looking and buying storage solutions. We ate out in the evenings, being far too tired to cook, and had pizza the first night, Chinese the second night and the third night we treated ourselves to standby tickets at the theatre. We saw Felicity Kendal in an Alan Ayckbourn play at the Theatre Royal, in “Relatively Speaking”. It was a light farce, and just what we needed after another busy day that had started with a trip to the Farmers Market and had ended with carrying boxes of rubbish down 3 flights of stairs, ready for loading into the car the next day. Sadly the good weather came to an end this morning with light rain but it didn’t really matter and in fact, worked to our advantage as it was much less crowded and there was no problem parking outside to load up the rubbish. I left Vee at about 12.45 and had a good journey home, via the tip.

The Last Day

For our last day the sun shone so we were up bright and early for our final sightseeing. First of all we walked to Odeonplatz and had a coffee in Starbucks and caught up on our e-mails, the only trouble was Hyw couldn’t remember his password so he couldn’t, despite the fact that he had been suffering from withdrawl, I ask you! We went to the Residenze building and stowed our bags very handily before looking at the Egyptian collection in the Staatliches Museum Agyptischer. We had the museum to ourselves and were able to really take our time looking at the displays. We then went to the Cuvillies Theatre, which was amazing. I would love to see a production there, it was almost as overthetop as the Assam Kirche. We decided to leave the residenze itself for another visit and strolled across the gardens of the Hofgarten to have an early lunch, under the trees before heading out to the airport. We had a plate of mixed meats (antipasto) and a big glass of white wine.

The journey to the airport was uneventful but the changeover at Schipole was very tight, we only had 10 minutes before they closed the plane doors for take off, then the stewardess announced that we would be arriving in Edinburgh! It turned out to be a slip of the tongue but nevertheless I was getting used to the idea of some extra sightseeing. We had had to walk miles at Schipole airport so it was quite a relief to arrive in Bristol, nice and sunny, for the drive home.

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Food, Glorious Food!

Just off the Marienplatz, tucked in behind the back, is the market known as the Viktualienmarkt. To describe it as a market gives the wrong impression as rather than stalls the goods are for sale in shops, much as the meat market in Barnstaple, and semi-permanent shed like structures. There are some stalls, but these are on the top edge of the market. As well as being the place to go to buy your shopping, its also the place to go for a meal and/or drink. I only wish we had discovered it before lunch rather than after, still we did stop for cakes and for a talk with a little person suspended in mid-air!

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Day 3, More beer!

Today was dry and fairly bright, just right for sight seeing, so after a light breakfast of coffee and a panini in the Odeonplatz, we set off to see the design and modern art museum. It was in the same place as the other two museums but even I draw the line at 3 museums a day! It was well worth the visit and the design history bit was really good however the painting bit was even better with some lovely paintings by Matisse, Beckmann, Kandinsky and Picasso, to name but a few. We had several stops for coffee and then caught the bus to Kongsplatz to see the neoclassical facades of the museums there, but did not go in as by now we were in danger of museum overload. We walked back into town and after a bit of window shopping, had lunch at another famous beer keller, the Augustiner. Not quite a big as yesterday, and not as noisy but it was lunchtime so that’s probably why. I had a wheat beer again and roast pork and dumpling. It was delicious. Again, the service was very prompt and good humoured.

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After lunch we carried on through the shopping precincts, stopping off to visit the St Michael Kirche and the Cathedral. We then were back at Marienneplatz and the Rathaus so took a rickshaw ride to see the Assam Kirche which was quite magnificent.

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After that we had a look around the food market, for which I will do a separate post. We eventually went back to our hotel but only to wash and change as it was soon time to go out to the beer keller again! This time we went one stop on the underground from Lehel, across the river, to a suburb, where there was another Hofbrau Haus, but this time catering for the local trade, rather than tourists. It was just as busy and big as the other two we had visited, but not quite so noisy. We got a table and I had a green wine (young wine) of gargantuan proportion. They obviously aren’t bothered by units over there. I had a pork snitzel, chips and salad, another wine and apple fritters and ice cream, scrumptious although not what you would call fine dining! After supper we had a brief stroll around the area before heading back to the hotel. On the way we stopped off for another expresso in the area around Lehel, where we had stopped for a drink on our first day. Two very full people staggered up to bed.

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Day 2, The Hofbrau Haus

After a very warm night we awoke to drizzly rain. We weren’t deterred though as today we were going to the museum side of town (bus 100 ) to visit the Neue Pinakothek and the Alte Pinakothek. We went to the Alte museum first and saw many fine pictures including the Durer self portrait, some Breughel, Rembrandt, Titian, some Leonardo, Fillipi Lippi etc. We had refreshments in the museum and then hotfooted it across the road to visit my favourite which was the Neue gallery. They had loads of stuff there, almost too numerous to mention but including: Degas, Gauguin, Hodler, Van Gogh, and Monet. We had a very good lunch in the museum, I had prawns and a variety of fish in a salad, and a glass of wine.

In the evening we went to the Hofbrau Haus which is a beer cellar which serves food. It was the grandaddy of all beer cellars, seating in excess of 200 people I should think. The waitresses and waiters were dressed in traditional garb, dirndl dresses for the women, and were strong enough to carry about 5 litre glasses of beer in each hand! It was incredibly noisy, with an oompah band, and you just sat at a table where you could. There were a couple of girls at our table and we had a merry exchange of views with them. One was from Hanover and the other Polish, and it was their first visit to such a place also. I had a ragout of veal with spatzle and apple strudel. The service was very prompt and friendly. We left about 9.30 pm, having got there soon after 7, as the noise was a bit oppressive after a bit. The Germans seem to start eating very early in the evening so a 7 pm arrival at the restaurant meant it was already full to overflowing, mind you, they were still arriving when we left! I’m not surprised that the girls all wore trainers on their feet.

In case you are wondering about the surfing pictures that are on my first post, they are surfing on a weir just below our bus stop! The river is forced into a tunnel, under the road and where it comes out local surf enthusiasts meet to perfect their style. Its great because you have the same wave every time.

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A September break in Munich

I shall do this post over several entries as I sometimes seem to lose the information when I do a long one, so this is the first day only!

We left home at 6am for a 9am flight to Munich, via Amsterdam. It was the first time I had flown KLM so I was interested to compare them with other airlines. I was favourably impressed but we had to walk for miles at Amsterdam when changing planes and on the way home we very nearly missed our connection because of this, and the stringent security checks we had to go through.

We had left in sunshine so it was rather dispiriting to see the heavy rain in Amsterdam but by the time we got to Munich the clear blue skies were with us again and it was about 25 degrees. We found our hotel without too much trouble, dumped our bags and had a quick freshen up, and headed out to see the sights and for Hyw to buy a shirt as he had inexplicably only packed two!

In the evening we went to a local Bavarian pub, just around the corner. It was rather a long wait for our food but we spent the time happily sampling the local brew! I didn’t really know what I was ordering except it had chicken in it. It was sort of a general fry up of sautéed potatoes, chicken breasts, mushroom, bacon etc – it was very tasty and not really as I have described it.

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