Monday 24 December 2012

Guess Who's Singing on Grafton Street?!

Yes, in what has become a tradition, yer man Bono has come to Grafton Street to busk with some mates Which included Glen Hansard, Damien Rice and Sinead O'Connor). Someone has got a video on YouTube up really quickly (ahh the joys of modern technology!) in which they sing Desire. Oh to be in Dublin now.... I'll add more/info videos if they emerge, enjoy! Happy Christmas!

Just added video of Greg Lake's I Believe in Father Christmas below, seems like great fun!

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Starling Show

I met up with my friends Dawn and Elfriede in nearby Annan today, a chance to catch up on news, have lunch and exchange Christmas gifts.  On my way home I stopped at the Gretna Gateway Outlet for a quick look, found myself an excellent bargain price top in Marks and Spencer's, love a bargain!  While I was at the Outlet something happened that had everyone looking up in wonder. Thousands and thousands of starlings were performing their amazing aerial dance prior to roosting. Their swoops, sinuous turns and waves were both mesmerising. From all directions smaller groups of birds joined the mass of birds and instantly became part of the whole. How these birds synchronise this en mass dance (which has the strange name of murmuration) who knows, nature is amazing, but it is stunning to watch.  I took this photo, which doesn't really do justice to the wonder of the sight.

You can read more about murmuration here. And apparently Gretna is one of the best places to witness this spectacle, you learn something every day! As I walked back to my car I could hear the racket of roosting starlings from trees near the shopping centre as they were settling for the night. When I got to my car I had to smile, as it had a large amount of bird droppings on it, ahh well, it's supposed to be good luck lol!  

Sunday 16 December 2012

Restaurant Review - Holme Bistro, Carlisle

Address:  Denton Street, Carlisle, Cumbria

Cuisine:  European

Ambience:  Modern, relaxed, good spacing between tables giving just the right amount of privacy

Food/Service:  We plumped for the Christmas menu, three courses plus coffee and mince pies for £19.95.  We were given delicious homemade rye bread with olive tampenade and balsamic vinegar with olive oil to munch on while we waited for the starter. I had smoked trout pate and salad with toasted rye bread, absolutely delicious.  My cousin Glen had the mushroom, stilton and white wine soup which she said was also very good.

We had found it hard to decide on what to have for our mains so I ordered a 10 ounce flat-iron steak with Brazilian marinade, pesto and fries. Glen ordered the confit of duck with garlic mash and port reduction, and then we halved the meals.  Both were excellent, the steak and duck were very, very tender, the duck fell off the bone, and the steak was cooked medium perfectly.

My Dessert of Dark Chocolate Tart with Raspberry Compote
For dessert we both had the dark chocolate tart with raspberry compote.  Sometimes I find that a chocolate tart can be a bit heavy, but this one was just perfect and well complimented with the compote.

The service throughout was attentive but not over-powering. The house red is excellent. They have a special from Tuesday - Thursday nights and have a Steak night (again three courses for £20) on Fridays.

Another plus is that it is easy to park close by. I have no hesitation in recommending Holme Bistro for a relaxing night out with excellent food.

Northern Star Rating:  *****

Wednesday 12 December 2012

RIP Patrick Moore

Sir Patrick Moore died the other day. He helped foster my love of astronomy through presenting The Sky at Night, a programme that I have watched since as far back as I can remember and still do today.  It was first aired in 1957 and Patrick presented every monthly programme except one from then until his death, making The Sky at Night the longest running programme presented by the same person in the world.

Patrick made astronomy accessible to me when I was very young, I even wanted to be an astronomer until I realised I was hopeless at maths and realised it wasn't for me! But I've never lost the wonder, the curiosity and fascination about the universe. We have amazing technology now which has shown us real space wonders so fabulous they could not be imagined, and God knows what still lies out there.

The Sky at Night, especially in the early days had very amateurish props, but that didn't matter, it all helped people to understand and was part of the charm of the programme. Patrick seemed to get more and more eccentric as the decades passed and he was very much part of the programme and it will never be the same, but I do hope it will continue.

One of the things on my bucket list is to look through a high magnitude telescope, I really must work on achieving that!