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Under The Plate of Fruit & Veg

Before the Second World War and right up to the late 1960s, most of the fresh fruit and vegetables consumed in this country were grown here and harvested seasonally. Strawberries appeared at this time of year just in time for Ascot and Wimbledon, ready to be doused in lashings of cream.

The asparagus season has always been short: it started in May and whilst featured on restaurant spring menus, asparagus slipped into our kitchens often to be over boiled, ending up rather mushy. Jersey Royals were anxiously awaited at the end of April and were greeted just as enthusiastically as the French welcome their Beaujolais Nouveau in November. Some produce such as potatoes and apples have long been safely stored to give almost year round availability Continue reading →

Michael Graves, 1934-2015

Four years ago this month, the architect, designer and academic, Professor Michael Graves died aged 80.

In Britain, he’s probably most famous for his iconic bird whistle kettle, made by Alessi with his signature mid blue handle and maroon red bird flying out of the spout. Designed in 1985, this has  consistently been one of Alessi’s best selling products for thirty years,. He had become Professor of Architecture at Princeton university in 1962 and held that post until 2001 and last year was honoured when the Michael Graves School of Architecture was established at Kean University in New Jersey. Continue reading →

In Or Out?

As the Brexit negotiations reach a climax, it’s a good idea to reflect on the way that “internationalism” has changed our everyday lives. Long gone are the days when virtually everything in our homes was made in Britain.  Continue reading →

Things That Go Beep In The Night

Anyone who has lived opposite a pelican crossing will tell you that the sudden “beep…beep…beep” that indicates that it is safe for a pedestrian to cross the road is highly disruptive to a good night’s sleep. This may be hugely beneficial to those who are blind and want to move safely from one side of the street to the other but this incessant yet erratic alarm pierces the night and pierces the ears.

Even more infuriating is the noise caused by neighbours.

Continue reading →

Do The Shoes Fit

Sooner or later, it happens to us all. You go into a shop, spot a pair of shoes and try them on. They look terrific and feel great. You walk around the store a few times, buy them and take them home. The very first time that you wear them to go out, they prove to be excruciatingly uncomfortable!

In a rage, you throw them into the back of a wardrobe. There they remain, gathering dust until it’s either spring cleaning time or you’re packing up to move. You try them on again, hoping that your feet have changed shape and willing them to be comfortable. They’re not! You toss them back in disgust! If they were a cheap pair of shoes, you realise that you’ve wasted your money: if they were expensive, you realise you’ve wasted a lot of your money.

Continue reading →

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