Category: Uncategorized

The Seafood Bar

The Seafood Bar, Amsterdam   We passed the restaurant in the morning near Vondelpark, while walking along Van Baerlestraat towards the Van Gogh Museum. What we could see of the pristine, white tiled interior looked promising, and the empty plastic crates stacked outside boded well, even on a Monday. Returning at lunchtime, we had to […]

Continue Reading

Hockney & Van Gogh, or ‘The Vince and Dave Show’, plus All the Rembrandts

To give the exhibition its official title: “Hockney – Van Gogh, The Joy of Nature”.   It opens with David Hockney on film, talking to camera about his own work, Van Gogh, and the exhibition. “It’s a good title – better than ‘The Vince & Dave Show’,” he says with a mischievous twinkle. Wearing a […]

Continue Reading

Just a quiet Monday night in Amsterdam

Caffè Toscanini, Amsterdam   Arriving early for our reservation, we asked if we could have an aperitif at the bar. I could see we were in safe hands, they stocked all the right brands. I ordered an Americano from the drinks list; equal parts Bèrto Bitter and white vermouth, with a (mere) splash of Fevertree […]

Continue Reading

First lobster of the year, and the Norfolk pub crawl resumes

Rocky Bottoms reopens for 2019….   Rocky Bottoms reopened after their winter break, on a gloriously sunny Monday. Yes, it was windswept on the clifftops at West Runton, but this is Norfolk after all.     The heap of lobster pots outside boded well for lunch. The owner catches crab and lobster off nearby Weybourne […]

Continue Reading

Thudding in the Norfolk woods

If you’re ever in Norfolk and fancy having a go at archery, there’s a patch of woodland opposite Voewood House in High Kelling, east of Holt. On most days there’s a sign at the roadside advertising archery; it’s a tight turn, but you can drive in through the gate.   The woods are owned by […]

Continue Reading

Best gig of the year, and it was only February!

I’m often asked when to open a bottle of wine that’s been gathering dust in somebody’s rack – “will it still be any good?” My advice?   “Open it without expectations, and hope to be pleasantly surprised”. Sometimes I take a similar approach when the programme from Ronnie Scott’s appears in my inbox. Pick a […]

Continue Reading

Indonesia comes to London Book Fair

17,000 Islands of Imagination at London Book Fair Indonesia will be London Book Fair’s Market Focus for 2019, introducing the country’s “17,000 Islands of Imagination” to the international public, “symbolising the intellectual and artistic richness of this incredibly diverse and multi-religious nation”. London Book Fair, 12 – 14 March 2019, at Olympia. https://www.londonbookfair.co.uk/en/Whats-On/Market-Focus—main-page/Indonesia/   General de Gaulle […]

Continue Reading

Sargent in Stockholm

I’ve always enjoyed grand portraits by the great artists: Van Dyck, Velazquez, Gainsborough, you know the list. I came late to John Singer Sargent. I first encountered his work at an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 2015. Two years later I was enchanted by the intimacy of his watercolours at the Dulwich Picture […]

Continue Reading

Swedish Food, Part Two: my quest for a meatball

First, a waterborne Smörgåsbord on the Steamship Stockholm. Invited to the city of Stockholm for a birthday celebration, we were instructed by our generous hosts to be ready to board ship at 11.30 on Sunday for a prompt departure at midday. The captain, they told us, would not wait for latecomers.       The […]

Continue Reading

Swedish food, Part One: “what have the Swedes ever done for us?”

In her Reith Lecture in 2018, Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan said this about the Swedish people:   “Think of the Swedes” “I mean we think of the Swedes now today as making expeditions to Ikea, assembling furniture quietly, not getting cross at it. We think of them going to the woods and picking berries. I mean […]

Continue Reading