Showing posts from 2014

Autumn is here!

Memory Walk to raise awareness

This has been a beautiful weekend in Southsea. On Saturday I joined the gentle 3K Memory Walk organised by the Alzheimer Society. A couple of hundreds of people walked together to raise awareness of Dementia. Some came with a group of friends, some with their family and then there were people like me, who were there singly, but each has a story to tell of life touched by Dementia.

We started the morning with some warm up Zumba and the Hokey Kokey!

Many generations took part, celebrating the life of various members of family touched by Dementia.

It was a quite contemplative morning and a humbling experience to learn how many people are affected by this condition and how much is still needed to be done to raise awareness.

I've vowed to walk and go to the theatre more often...want to join me?

Lamb marinated in orange and honey sauce

My favourite dish if you can find some juicy lamb rump steak.


2 lamb rump steaks about 150g each
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp clear honey/maple syrup

Marinate for about an hour and then grill for 5-7 minutes on each sides.

Best eaten with couscous:
75g couscous 'fluffed' in boiling water for 5 minutes (in a covered dish)
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tbsp vegetable oil for frying
1 medium red pepper, sliced

Fry the onion in the oil for about 15 minutes until the onion is caramelised and then add the pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add the remainder of the marinade juice to the pan, cook for 3 minutes and then add the couscous.

This is one of the quickest dishes you can cook and it's the most delicious!

Purity of Voice

The Tallis Scholars performed at Portsmouth Cathedral last Friday night. I changed my mind several times over the course of the concert. Each piece proceeded with one more beautiful than the last.

The opening piece, Monody's L'Homme Arme, impressed with the unity of the starting and ending and purity of the voices.

The Tallis Scholars sang each piece with such great voices, resounding in the beautiful setting of the  Cathedral.

The programme selection, some played at royal funerals past, made me think of what I might like played in my own funeral. Some of the pieces were so beautiful and fast paced that it sounded as though death is something joyful.

Overall, I thought both the Victoria's pieces were the best and certainly the Tallis Scholar ended the concert stunningly with the Libera me from Missa pro Defunctis.

Review: The Tallis Scholars, Friday 20 June, 7.30pm at Portsmouth Cathedral

PS: I looked up Victoria, whose full name is Tom├ís Luis de Victoria and I lift this…

Portsmouth Festivities opened with a fanfare

Portsmouth Festivities opened with a great fanfare, literally, courtesy of John Sampson. He was part of a duet with poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. Carol said The Queen gave him to her, which was greeted with laughter and that very much set the tone for the next hour.

First, Portsmouth Poet Laureate, Sam Cox, read her newly penned poem Pages of Possibilities. I love her sing song delivery and phrasing.  In this poem I love the line 'tapestry of people colliding' and I thought this is the poem that would inspire people to want to write their own.

Carol Ann Duffy read from her book The World's Wife, which was published in 1999. This was a collection inspired by stories she heard in her childhood. She gave a voice to the women involved in the stories.

The first she read was from Midas' wife, who recoiled from his great gift, afraid to be immortalised into a gold statue and finally assigning him to a motor home.

I was delighted by the twist in the ending of her poem about…

Look after your well-being

The university where I work has just launched its new series of customer service training with a session on ‘The Art of Being Brilliant’ which was run by a man from Derby called Andy Cope.

He suggested that by changing your way of thinking, even one little bit, you will feel differently about your life.

Andy suggested we wake up each morning and be thankful that we don't have a toothache. I know it seems a small step, but by being grateful that my health is good, it makes me feel positive about the rest of my day. It worked!

After that session on being brilliant, I went to a conference about science communication and in one of the discussion sessions, the topic was ‘wellbeing’.

So why did we talk about wellbeing in a science communication conference? Apparently wellbeing is very important in science. Our government takes it very seriously because if the population is well, there will be less cost to healthcare. Healthy people are also happier.

So, if you are interested, the five…

Spring in the City

In Portsmouth we mark the beginning of Spring with a series of cultural events across the city. 
As we lost an hour to our day, we add a new festival to our calendar. The Lost Hour has proved to be a popular event in the city and long may it continues.

At the moment, students are enjoying their Easter Break and probably thinking about how many chocolate eggs they can eat in one sitting. While there are Easter egg hunts organised in woods and gardens, churches spring into wonderful concert venues.

Florilegium who played at the last Music in the Round concert has their diaries full of concerts, the biggest being the St Matthew's Passion at the Royal Festival Hall. Historically, the church used to be a big patron of music and that is why some of the greatest compositions are of church music.

For me, I'm still hunting for the Golden Egg; the how do we tell the world about the treasure trove of culture we have in Portsmouth?

My hunt, so far has led to a meeting with our Creative Techno…

Tournedos Rossini

Have we all had enough chocolates? I have not had a single chocolate Easter Egg. But that's fine, because I ate other chocolates in other shapes.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Easter break after what seems such a long three months since the Christmas break. Life seems busier than ever and I have not had much chance in indulging in my passion for cooking.

But since a couple of weekends ago, the cooking fairy has returned and I've tried a couple of recipes I really like. Tournedos Rossini was a great success, especially if you live near a good butcher. The cooking is simple, but the taste mile is long.

120-170g of beef fillet per person
a slice of bread about the same width as the meat each
50g of duck liver pate per person
25g of butter

250g of fresh spinach
1 clove of garlic
25 g butter

1 medium onion sliced
250 ml beef stock
300 ml Madeira
25g butter
a sprig of thyme

Slice the onion and fry in pan with 25g butter until translucent (about 5 minutes) then add a sprig of thyme, the M…

National Science and Engineering Week 2014

Celebrates National Science & Engineering Week with an array of events for all ages to amaze, engage and inspire people with science. Come and join in the fun!

The National Science & Engineering Week is organised nationwide by the British Science Association.

Bohunt School S.T.E.M. Festival Saturday 15 March 2013, 10:30am – 4:00pm
Bohunt School in Liphook, Hampshire GU30 7NY

Meet our engineering students who will be at this fantastic, interactive day featuring shows, workshops and hands-on displays for Primary pupils, Secondary students, parents and the local community is coming true thanks to all of the wonderful companies that are joining us on the day - it is going to be a really amazing event!
A free event for the whole community, just turn up on the day

Seeing inside the Body with Ultrasound Tuesday 18 March 2014, 5.15pm to 7.30pm
James Watson (West), University of Portsmouth, 2 King Richard 1 Road, Portsmouth PO1 2FR

The School of Health Sciences and Social Work at the Universit…

Learn something new

Last Friday I learnt something new. Nonets by Spohr and Martinu. They were really enjoyable. The pieces are not often programmed and so it was a real treat to hear Ensemble 360 playing both at their Portsmouth Chamber Music concert in the Third Floor Arts Centre.

Six times a year, Portsmouth is visited by world class chamber musicians who play in the series, which started off as the Music in the Round series. It changed its name two years ago with the inclusion of a couple of concerts by musicians from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra playing in chamber groups.

The concerts are enjoyable as they are more relaxed and the musicians more approachable. They talk about the music and sometimes share jokes with the audience. At the end of the evening there is also an audience question time and we go deeper into the musician's life, playing or the music they have chosen.

Last Friday we heard how young composer Charlie Piper approached his commission to write With Stolen Fire to mark the…

Let music be the food of love

I think it is apt to have the next Portsmouth Chamber Music concert on Valentine's Day.

On Friday 14 February, Music in the Round resident group Ensemble 360 will come in full force, with a rather exciting programme of music.

JANACEK Mladi for wind sextet CHARLIE PIPER With Stolen Fire for string quintet and wind quintet

Spohr's high-spirited Nonet and Janacek's energetic Mladi are the perfect frame for Martinu's more nostalgic work.

Charlie Piper's With Stolen Fire was originally conceived for Music in the Round’s 2013 May Festival with accompanying film from the BFI archives. Premiered in Sheffield's Showroom Cinema the piece celebrates Britain’s industrial heritage marking the centenary since the discovery of the process of making stainless steel.

There will be a post-concert Q&A with members of Ensemble 360 & composer Charlie Piper, which would be the best part as people can quiz them about their playing, their choice of music an…