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Brian the Cat

Brian the Cat at Somerset Cricket Club - caught (on camera) on the boundary.

Cricket & cats - a purrfect night out

17 July 2017

This isn’t so much a blog, as a photo with a caption (cat-tion?).

I went to watch the England v South Africa T20 cricket match at Taunton recently and parked myself at the boundary fence in one of the areas for disabled spectators (my sister Lesley uses a wheelchair).

The match hadn’t been under way long when we had a visitor. 

I went to alert one of the Somerset Cricket Club stewards that we had an 'intruder' and said I was a bit worried about his safety. He replied: “Oh, that’s Brian the cat, he comes to most of our games. He likes people so he’s fine with all the crowds and the noise.”

Brian decided to sit with us for much of the game - he clearly knows a cat lover when he sees one!

I've since discovered he's got his own Twitter page. Howzat for a lovely story? :-)

Nut roast

My nut roast trial run. 

A welcome return to the table 
21 November 2016 

I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Or savoury, actually.

This year I’ve written features about family-owned Thai, Italian and Nepalese restaurants and all of them are big on using recipes passed on by their mothers and grandmothers.

So, with Christmas approaching, I thought I’d give my mum’s nut roast a trial run. After some intensive sifting, I eventually managed to locate her recipe in amongst all her other vegetarian recipes.

And here’s the result. I admit it doesn't look like restaurant material, but It tastes nice and it tastes just the same, which is the main thing. Sometimes it's the simple things, isn't it? I'm hoping it’s a not beginner’s luck because I’ll be doing it for real in a month’s time.

Last Christmas was the first time the vegetarians (and meat-eaters, who like to tuck in too) in our family didn’t have mum’s nut roast. This year, it will again be taking its place at the table :-) 

Plymouth Gin

Plymouth Gin Gimlet cocktail.

Raising a glass to our very own Plymouth Gin
July 2016 

This summer I started writing blogs for the One Plymouth social media team and will be sharing a selection on my own blog page here. This one is from July 2016.

Plymouth. There are some words that sit just right beside the name: Plymouth Hoe, Plymouth Argyle, and, famously, Plymouth Gin. Established in 1793 and still a thriving distillery on the Barbican’s Southside Street, it’s part and parcel of the city’s history. It’s also renowned as one of THE legendary drink brands in the world.

So when the email arrived to say: “We’re launching a new cocktail menu at the distillery’s Refectory Bar and we’d like to invite you to our launch party,” I typed “ooh yes please” and pushed the ‘send’ button without even having to engage brain.

Raising a glass to our very own Plymouth Gin - read the blog here >>>


High Tea at Duke of Cornwall

Sandwiches at the tower at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel

Where high tea really IS high!
July 2016 

Fancy a treat? Not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill bog-standard treat, but a real, proper, full-on treat?

You’ll have to earn it first, by climbing up 47 stairs, the final 27 of them narrow, winding ones. But when you get to the top, wow, just look at those 360 degree views! And, the cherry on the cake (had to say it, please refer to pic) is the chilled bubbly and high tea that’s awaiting you.

Any local worth their salt will have guessed it by now; yes, we’re at the Tower at the Duke of Cornwall Hotel to sample their summer Tea at the Top. I know, it’s tough, but someone has to do it.

Where high tea really IS high - read the blog here >>>


Samphire Bush seafood

Seafood at the Samphire Bush restaurant in Plymouth. 

A taste of Plymouth
June 2016 

I love Plymouth. I’m not actually from Plymouth (I was born just up the coast in Torquay) but I’ve lived here for 14 years and very much regard it as my home town now. 

And here’s just some of the reasons why the city has captured my heart: the people are funny and friendly; it has a stunning, seemingly endless waterfront – is there a better one anywhere in the UK?; and when it comes to eating out, which is one of my favourite things to do, it takes some beating.

A Taste of Plymouth - read the blog here >>> 

Cherry blossom

Spring blossom on one of my cherry trees. 

A fruitful new hobby (hopefully)

31 May 2016 


After years of banging on about how I'd love to create my very own 'mini orchard', I've finally got round to doing it. This spring, I became the proud owner of three apple trees, all English varieties, and two Morello cherry trees.

I didn't realise how worrying it could be, growing things. Every day I've been out there to check that everything was developing as it should be. It's not all been plain sailing. In what must be a case of beginner's bad luck, I've already had to deal with an aphid attack.

Aphid. Now there's a creature I'd never of heard before, up until a couple of weeks ago. I know all about them now though, I've Googled them to death. And ants. They've stormed my trees too, like little armies on the march. I don't use pesticides, so I've used a gentler method to encourage them to toddle off and find somewhere else to settle.

Despite these setbacks, I love the new additions to my garden and so do the butterlfies and the bees.

My latest venture is a small herb garden. It's still early days but I can report that the thyme, parsley, rosemary, coriander, chives and mint are all thriving, but I won't be bothering with basil again.

Even if my attempt at the Good Life proves fruitless (sorry, had to be done), I can think of worse ways of spending my time (thyme!) than being outdoors, surrounded by nature.

Come back soon for an update on how, green fingers crossed, I'll be putting the herbs to culinary use.


Plymouth waterfront

I wonder what keeps bringing me back to take photos at this spot in Plymouth ... 

Science, and my small part in it
Wednesday 17 February 2016

I've just taken part in a scientific study. It all started over on Twitter when I spotted a little tweet saying something along the lines of "how do you fancy taking part in some research which is looking at how virtual or video environments affect your mood and physiology?" 

"Ooh," I thought, "that sounds interesting, tell me more." So I messaged the Tweeter, researcher Lizzi from Going Coastal, and before long I found that I'd signed up to 30 minutes in a lab at Plymouth University. 

The Uni and other organisations including the Cornwall-based European Centre for Environment and Human Health, are hoping the study will bring the answers to questions such as: Are some environments better for our health than others? Specifically, does the 'Blue' environment have health benefits? 

I can't say too much about what happened inside the lab because it'd give the game away for others who've signed up to the research this month. All I'll say is that it's not every day that I get plugged in. 

I have my own opinion on all of this as you know because every time I get the chance, I head down to the waterfront. Hopefully I'll have played my own little part in proving scientifically what many of us already think: that living beside the sea (or anywhere watery) is good for us :-)

Jacka Bakery

Jacka Bakery in Southside Street, Plymouth.