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  • Clare Teal -
    on the potato plants as they d gone in late but to my surprise and delight on Sunday afternoon I noticed a tiny display of green blossoming from one of the Orla plants By Monday morning all the Orlas easy for you to say were peeping through and as I write our first Charlotte is emerging The flavoursome creamy skinned pale yellow fleshed Orlas are praised for their robust foliage and outstanding resistance to tuber blight ours are a first early variety apparently but as they were planted on 24th May does this now make them a mid season Now young Charlotte is a heavy cropper big on taste mostly hardy but susceptible to common scab and potato cyst nematode In addition to these irksome blights I m also on the look out for a striped beetle which I have been told to remove by hand rather than noxious chemicals frankly it depends how big said beetle is We ve been growing our potatoes in big round green bags I d noticed they all had 2 velcro flaps two thirds of the way down but no idea why until our friend Linda visiting from New Zealand explained it was so you could steal the early crop without pulling the plant up This way the poor thing continues to grow more potatoes On further investigation I find this is absolutely true the practice is known a bandicooting so named after the Australian rat like marsupial despaired of by all gardeners famed for it s foraging stealth and cunning Indeed to bandicoot means to steal with flair and panaché So if you d like to bandicoot your poor little spuds gently poke about in the soil before the plants flower I understand this is round the 12 week mark Apparently potatoes harvested

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/vegetable-magic/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    Muddy and the microwave have never been close they just seem to rub each other up the wrong way so after a few minutes of cursing Alison went to relieve Muddy of bread softening duties A shout of disbelief She s put em all in and the timer s set for 22 minutes was followed by a bout of laughter enjoyed by the assembled cast including Muddy Muddy made up for her technical disagreement by making slits diagonally across the slightly less dry torpedoes before whipping up a wonderful garlic and herb butter and slathering it over the bread including the necessary crevices We d run out of foil so Rosie a most talented cook cleverly wrapped them in greaseproof paper using the lesser known scrunching and rolling technique The resulting cooked garlic bread was incredible the bread was now very crispy but not tough this was due I think to the generally light and airy texture of a hotdog roll The herbs came from our badger proof allotment Our hero built a fabulous good and deep 8ft long raised planter for my birthday which was perfect to accommodate some of the many brilliant vegetable and salad seedlings given to us by friends Sue and David The rest including potatoes cabbages beetroot and spring onions had to go in big pots In a bid to keep our stripy friends away Muddy and I visited a builder s merchants a little adventure that deserves an entire column all its own where we eventually purchased two planks of treated wood and 3 ridiculously big and heavy concrete blocks Once wheelbarrowed into place we assembled them into two makeshift shelves and were thus able to safely house the aforementioned pots and so far touch wood our digging snuffling friends have left well alone

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/more-garden-stories/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    decided to go one step further and on the 9thMay The Clare Teal Big Band made it s debut at Cadogan Hall in London I perform with quite a few big bands which I very much enjoy Often big band singers don t have a great deal to do and are wheeled on and off at various points to give the trumpet players a rest This is because throughout history big bands have sounded so great on their own All the bands had a their own singers who they dotted about in their program of music here and there adding a singer here and there thus creating different textures After the demise of the swing era people like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald went on to make records and tour with big band accompaniment and that s just what I have always wanted to have a crack at One of my modern day heroes being Harry Connick Jr Here s a guy who sings brilliantly plays the piano brilliantly oh and writes his own big band and orchestral arrangements brilliantly too he tours regularly with his own large ensemble and his sound just keeps getting better and better For many years I have performed with my trio of incredible musicians our show encompasses many musical forms and flavours and because all the boys sing we can cover lots of different backing vocals and harmony styles It s been a long time ambition of mine to add a full big band sound to our small band show With the help of Grant who not only conducts the band but also writes fantastic arrangements this dream has now become a reality Big bands are very expensive to keep on the road as they consist of on average 18 people I m thrilled

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/big-band-kicks-off/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    checked several times and it all adds up I don t have a problem entering this new decade I have a fantastic home life and I love the work I do I just can t believe where the last 39 years 51 weeks and 6 days have gone Born in Airedale General Hospital at 1am on the 14th of May 1973 mum who was a midwife at the hospital was very much hoping for another boy and had planned to call me Andrew Legend has it the other midwives decorated my cot with flowers borrowed from various patients around the ward before gently placing me in mother s loving arms and whispering I m sorry Mary it s a little girl Of course being entirely adorable I soon won my parents round and they kindly changed my name from Andrew to Clare after St Clare of Assisi the patron saint of television Now that I m officially a grown up I should find comfort in the advice of others Ann Landers wrote At age 20 we worry about what others think of us At 40 we don t care what they think of us At 60 we discover they haven t been thinking of us at all The great comedienne Lucille Ball said The secret to staying young is to live honestly eat slowly and lie about your age A wise unknown commented The best years of a woman s life the ten years between 39 and 40 Although to Helen Rowland Life begins at 40 but so do fallen arches rheumatism faulty eyesight and the tendency to tell a story to the same person three or four times Libby Reid adds The I just woke up face of your 30 s is the all day long face of your

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/life-begins-at/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    Ellis Each week he devoted his 30 minute show to highlighting the greatness of a particular singer and that week he chose Deanna Durbin I d previously never heard of the Canadian singer but bizarrely just a few days later I saw her first feature film Three Smart Girls from 1936 Deanna had a beautiful bell like quality to her voice rich dexterous and warm but not affected The fact this fully formed soprano voice came hurtling out of a little girl made it all the more impressive My speedily procured Deanna Durbin cassette sat next to my taped copy of Ella sings the Cole Porter Songbook for many years I wrote to Mr Ellis on my best pastel notepaper asking how I could find out more information about this Deanna Durbin He sent my letter to the Deanna Durbin Appreciation Society and I started to receive letters from DD admirers worldwide although this really wasn t what I d envisaged as it played havoc with my limited stationary supplies it was exciting to receive lots of letters One sunny morning a letter arrived from France I ripped it open and out fell a black and white photograph of a young Ms Durbin signed in blue felt pen by an older Ms Durbin with it a letter from Deanna saying she d received a copy of my letter I was totally and utterly gobsmacked For a couple of years we corresponded regularly I wrote from Keighley library what I thought to be hugely entertaining letters rich with anecdotes of my wildly exciting 12 year old existence repeatedly asking why she d retired at 28 when her voice was years from its peak She would politely and wittily reply but never explained why she d suddenly walked away from her huge

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/deanna-durbin/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    suggested I see their physiotherapist and osteopath Within a few days I d received letters from both I telephoned the osteopath and was promptly booked in for 4 sessions starting next month bosh bosh bosh When I eventually got through to the physio chaps I was asked did I wish to have my consultation in person or over the phone Er I don t mind whatever s easier for you The physio rang a few days later promptly at the agreed time and asked a lot of detailed questions it was when she asked Can you move your head up and down And to the left And to the right I was forced to laugh There I was in the study moving my head around thinking if she can t see me how on earth do you know if I m doing this right I had my calendar to hand to book in the first appointment and so was surprised when she said Right well very nice to talk to you I ll photocopy some back exercises and put them in the post for you today Er ok will that include exercises for my neck Your neck There s nothing on your paperwork about a neck you ll have to go back to the doctor s again and get another referral The exercises have arrived If I don t feel better in a few months I m entitled to call them again likewise if I damage myself whilst attempting said exercises they recommend I should get in touch Although I admit I m a little uneasy about the process I will give the given course of treatment ie photocopied exercises my best shot maybe this is the future of public health I won t knock it till I ve tried

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/back-off/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    was an all ensemble cast recording of The 12 days of Christmas In Britain and America we take it for granted that everyone knows this song inside out it s in our DNA but of course in Germany they ve never heard of it and watching the many and various expressions wash over the faces of the German singers musicians and engineer during the session was an absolute picture Wandering round a very quiet Cologne airport Muddy and I had dinner to kill a bit of time There wasn t much on the menu so we plumped for baked potato served with sour cream there wasn t an alternative to sour cream We also ordered a bockwurst to share this came with potato salad the waitress suggested as we were already having potato might we prefer a side of bread instead Good idea Tinned potatoes have a very distinct taste and I must confess I ve never experienced the delights of a tinned baked potato before however the watery sour cream aided in its palatability The 15 inch bockwurst arrived hanging over both sides of a dinner plate On closer inspection we discovered the one very small bread roll so proceeded to make a hot dog of epic wrong proportions The beer of course was nothing short of magnificent Kölsch is a local specialty beer brewed in Cologne and served in an infuriatingly small 0 2 litre glass known as a Stange pole or Reagenzglas test tube there is even a 0 1 litre glass called Stößchen meaning little push the brewers say in order to preserve the delicate taste the beer must be quaffed from these thimbles or fingerhuts Our flight was uneventful save for landing at the wrong terminal It took a full twenty minutes to walk to

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/eau-de-cologne/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    if I sat here long enough somebody would turn up for a chat Thankfully he wasn t a lunatic just a friendly chap stranded in the snow From Derby to Worcester where we partook of our regular gig day time wasting activity namely loitering in Boots We finished joyously at The Capitol Theatre in Horsham near Gatwick After weeks of too many late nights and hours and hours of driving I was so looking forward to a lie in The phone rang at 8 30am just as I was somewhere between deep sleep and coma Ah well Have a wonderful Easter everyone may your chocolate be endless 21 Mar Plums the word Having lived in a top floor flat for the last fifteen years gardening is still a bit of a novelty The bottom part of the garden being home to 3 fruit trees has been known affectionately as the orchard It has also been home to whacking great clumps of hogweed nettles and approx 25 tons of turfed over rubble and a mountain of garden rubbish Since January we ve been on a mission clearing areas by painstakingly digging up bits of brick and stone the weeds now run a mile as soon as they see our hero marching toward them with his petrol strimmer and thanks to a terrifically successful bonfire Mount Debris has vanished Much of this activity is down to Muddy and also to Mr A an acoustic gardener no power tools who has recently come on board to help us After surveying the area he suggested we plant a proper orchard and staked out plots for 9 more fruit trees We all then gathered round the laptop to choose some trees from the legendary Adam s Apples Mr Apples certainly knows his onions as does Mr A who counseled us on the pros and cons of various fruit breeds In the end we plumbed pardon the pun for six apple trees including an Exeter Cross the love child pip of a Worcester Pearmain and a Beauty of Bath dating back to 1924 which I understand will kick off our apple season future Augusts On planting day I broke the news to Mr A that only one tree had turned up and showed him the slim yet tall parcel He laughed and explained that as our trees were as yet not very big that this parcel most likely contained all of them On planting our James Grieve Mr A commented that it wasn t a great apple Why is it in OUR orchard then Turns out Jimmy Pollen is the king of pollinators and is situated bottom right to take advantage of the South Westerly winds In addition to the various apple trees we ve invested in two Victoria Plums and a Williams Pear We re also thinking about getting a peach or nectarine tree to plant in a big pot on the patio will this work Answers on a postcard please After all that now we just have to sit and wait for about four years to enjoy the fruits of our labour 13 Mar The Worst Day Friday started off in spectacular fashion with the unexpected arrival of two goldfinches and much as I would have loved to stay home and watch them all day Muddy and I not wanting to disappoint the music loving public of Clacton on Sea promptly departed having left more than enough time to travel the 222 miles in Friday traffic and arrive by 5pm although it would most likely be 4pm Three and a half hours into the journey and having been parked on the M25 for nearly two hours I got word to the venue before ringing rest of the band who were all travelling individually to say we were going to be a bit late They were all making excellent progress and kindly said not to worry they would sort the soundcheck in my absence We ran out of water and sugar free mints the wrong side of Clacket Lane services so I decided to write the set list It could be worse at least you haven t forgotten the music Joked Muddy At exactly that point the terrifying realisation that I had taken the charts from Grant last Friday and had now indeed forgotten ALL the music crept over my entire body like a wave of tiny mocking icicles But jazz is improvised I hear you cry Yes it is but mostly at specific junctures within the confines of complex and meticulously noted arrangements written by MD Grant I felt sick to my teeth and nervously broke the news to the chaps there was a moment of silence before Grant assured me all would be fine Muddy and I finally got off the M25 only to find the A12 even worse then to add insult to injury road works further impeded our efforts We eventually arrived at the West Cliff Theatre at 7 22 the show was due to start at 7 30 I hurriedly got changed whilst Grant checked my microphone and with a bite of ham sandwich and a slurp of coffee on we went at which point one side of the entire sound system went down it was rectified very quickly and the rest of the evening proceeded without further cause for concern The audience were most understanding and cheery The following evening we played a stunning little venue in Maidenhead called Norden Farm We arrived at three two hours earlier than necessary just in case 07 Mar Liza with a POW The Royal Festival Hall on London s Southbank opened in 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain It looks flipping massive from the stage which is where we found ourselves sound checking on Friday afternoon in a state of excitement The fabulous Liza Minnelli had approved us to perform in her support spot for a second time I ll admit I wasn t sure what reaction we d get

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/category/clares-blog/page/11/ (2016-02-15)
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