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  • Clare Teal -
    thing ever going hungry Back over the pond British birds can get a bit peckish round these times Dad loved to feed the birds He said it was best in Winter to put out food and water twice a day and not let any uneaten food mount up else you ll encourage other less welcome visitors When I m stressed and the world is all a bit much I sit by the kitchen window sometimes with a cup of tea sometimes with glass of something stronger and watch the birds Since being a small child I ve always been fascinated by them Every Christmas from about the age of 8 our old next door neighbour Susan bought me membership to the Young Ornithologists Club initially I was a bit perturbed as she usually gave me swiss chocolate but soon enough I looked forward to the monthly magazine I was too shy scared to go on any of the trips It was hard enough being a jazz fan who went to ballroom dance classes 3 times a week yikes if anyone had found out I liked bird watching too I d have had to change schools You can make your own bird cake using good quality bird seed dried fruit currants or raisins peanuts grated cheese lard or suet Squish it all together with your hands and shove into a receptacle of your choice ie yoghurt pot coconut tupperware bowl Sit back and enjoy Some smaller birds need to eat nearly a third of their own body weight every day so bird cakes can really help During the cold winter months expect to see Robins Blue and Great Tits Blackbirds Chaffinch Goldfinch and Greenfinch Dunnocks Collared Doves and Sparrows I can t wait till we have a garden to put up

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/birding/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    a bag of chocolate truffles and a box of Jammy Dodgers To be honest I was more excited about seeing Simon himself as he was also starring in the production as one of a troupe of wandering minstrels performing contemporary pop songs poorly translated into Romanian whilst wearing shell suit bottoms and a big mustache I still have nightmares about the Shakespeare we had to study at school Hamlet Macbeth Twelfth Night whatever I just didn t get it The language was too hard to understand and I lost interest within seconds Simon had reassured me that this wouldn t be the case Why are the actors not speaking in Shakespeare ish Er no it s definitely ye olde English Oh Fully convinced that within half an hour I would be asleep I asked Muddy to prod me whenever Simon appeared on stage I wasn t counting on the fact we had front row seats So with dozing now a non option I had a double espresso and bought some winegums as they re significantly quieter than crisps Sure enough the play started and I didn t understand a flippin word until suddenly I sort of did The characters came alive and I became engrossed in the plot which wasn t unlike Eastenders or Corrie the actors just used bigger words Lenny Henry was magnificent as were all the cast including our Simon I didn t even mind being occasionally spat on inevitable with front row seats Muddy and I were so very proud to see him up there on the big stage and genuinely thought he sang played and acted brilliantly The theatre was absolutely packed surprising for a midweek matinee I thought but apparently it s been pretty much sold out since the start of the run Comedy

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/comedy-of-errors/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    already a snaking throng of 300 people politely standing in line When Muddy arrived having parked the car I went off in search of breakfast and returned shortly with two generous cartons of porridge which as the temperature was just above freezing proved most welcome General queue behaviour is fascinating to observe We had been warned by the gallery staff the wait would be approx 3 and half hours Some people pulled funny faces without realising to pass the time others performed their own little get warm dances some crazy people gave up after as long as 2 hours In the final hour one woman for some strange reason suddenly refused to move up and stood stationary for at least 13 minutes and as the gap in front of her increased so did the tempers of the people behind When we eventually got into the gallery at 11 45 we finally managed to buy our tickets to discover the earliest time we could view the exhibition was 4 30pm Who on earth could be worth queuing and hanging around for that amount of time Leonardo da Vinci that s who I don t profess to be an art lover BUT even I could appreciate just what an incredible painter he was We were lucky enough to see the largest collection of his original works ever assembled in one place and my goodness it was worth the wait ingold Da Vinci was a remarkable man a true innovator who introduced the world to a whole new way of capturing images on paper I say paper I couldn t understand why such an incredible artist would use such tiny scraps of funny shaped paper not only that but every inch of it was covered with sketches it took me a while to

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/da-vinci/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    calmly and efficiently BUT NOW we re having problems with Royal Mai sorry the national delivery service that rhymes with Boiled Whale Three months ago we finally noticed that yet again the volume of mail from our PO Box had come to a shuddering halt Megan opener of brown envelopes and general finance rang them to ascertain what the problem was and to make sure our account hadn t been cancelled again Boiled Whale were utterly oblivious and promised to ring the Bath office immediately Another month passed Megan enquired as to whether we d received the card she sent We hadn t Yes hello it s still no mail here did you ring the Bath office Yes madam we did they told us your account had been cancelled So of course you told them that it shouldn t have been cancelled and reinstated it there and then Er no madam we didn t we assumed you must have rung the Bath office to cancel your account But there is no direct number for the Bath office available to the public anymore is there Er no long pause I ll ring them back now and sort it out December came but Megan s Christmas card didn t and venues were ringing to say their contracts had been returned address un known Hell hath no fury like a Megan scorned Now listen you its still no mail here again again Please tell me you rang the Bath office and everything is sorted Yes madam we did ring the Bath office they told us your account had been cancelled as requested Is there anything else I can help you with You have to laugh Which leads me on to the postie s silent knock I ve been in all day I check

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/boiled-whale-2/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    As you know I get very excited about food and eating in general I ve rooted out my January trousers in readiness for the inevitable weight gain The calories I fear will start to gather momentum around Christmas Eve Dinner is Di s melt in the mouth homemade steak and kidney pudding Christmas Day will be a full turkey works avalanche with nutmeg sprouts roast parsnips potatoes red cabbage and Yorkshire puddings followed by homemade Christmas pudding brandy butter and custard Boxing day will see a leisurely pick of Cyril bits bubble and squeak pork pie chips and lots of liquid socializing So I m thinking I the days that follow we ll be needing something a little lighter Cue this year s culinary experiment Beetroot stained salmon gravadlax Gravad lax is Swedish for cured salmon Back in the day Swedish fishermen would preserve their catch by burying it in the salty sand Much as it would by fun to build my own beach I have opted to follow Rosie Buck s recipe You will need a big fillet of salmon about 1 5 lbs with the skin still on equal amounts of salt and caster sugar about 3 4 ounces The zest of one Christmas y orange 2 tablespoons of fresh dill chopped up and 8oz of fresh grated beetroot Find a fish length dish receptacle mix up the salt sugar dill and zest and spread half on the bottom of the dish lay Freddie fish on top sprinkle the rest lovingly all over him now plonk culinary term the beetroot on top of the salty sugary stuff good and thick Cover in cling film and find something heavy to put directly onto the fish to weigh it down perhaps a small child joke Shove it in the fridge

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/a-belated-merry-christmas/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    cost less and it s 40 times faster we finally agreed to let them in A chap came round to wire up the new router extolling the virtues of Infinity and beyond Watch HD TV online say goodbye to buffering whatever that is It seemed the connection speed would now be so speedy that emails would reach their destination before I d even written them All was fine for a while except the broadband would drop every time anyone used the phone Not good After 10 minutes wading through the company s phone menu press 17 if you want fries with that I reported the problem Following much insinuation that said problem was at our end a representative finally got back to us to inform me there was indeed a fault on the line A young man rang the next day to monitor any improvement No it s just as bad Hmm we re going to have to send another engineer out Are you in tomorrow I can be around in the morning what time shall I put the kettle on Between 8am 1pm I m sorry love you re going to have to narrow your window a bit what about 8am 10am No we re unable to do that But this is entirely your fault everything was fine till you badgered us into upgrading I think the least you can do is be more accommodating on the call out time This particular area of our rather epic exchange went round in circles for some time before I went in for the kill Can I speak to your manager please No I m afraid you can t What s your name young man It s Len What s your surname Len We don t give out surnames What like the

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/infinity-and-beyond/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    a period of 40 years not unlike our new kitchen Muddy and I once climbed the 325 steps of the tower and my calf muscles have never been the same since I can t began to imagine how the Normans built such an enormous breathtakingly beautiful edifice with such primitive means but they certainly did it well and as Muddy and I walked up the path bent double battling last week s howling gales and sheet rain I got the feeling the sturdy old girl had suffered far worse over her 900 plus years and wasn t planning on letting a bit of a breeze ruffle her feathers The cathedral was packed to capacity for a spectacular evening of entertainment under the banner Carols of Light In aid of the Durham Cathedral Music Endowment Fund and the SAFC a registered charity of Sunderland Football club who work hard to encourage local kids to stay in school and achieve good qualifications the event was organised by SAFC trustee Sir Tim Rice sporting his red and white Sunderland tie He d assembled a wonderful array of readers including The Countess of Wessex Kate Adie Steve Cram and David Milliband to slot in amongst musical contributions from Rik Wakeman Barbara Dickson Alan Price Sir Thomas Allen Kathryn Tickell Joe McElderry myself and a whole host of children s choirs from Sunderland Suitably beautiful backing was provided by The Salvation Army Band Durham Cathedral Choir and the cathedral organist I ll be honest I hadn t fully appreciated what a gifted singer young Joe McElderry is He won the 748th series of X Factor in 2009 and although he had a number one record I get the feeling he was chewed up by the Simon Cowall machine and spat out bruised and battered a

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/durham-cathedral/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    bands were massively innovative inspirational and always controversial and his arrangements were frequently difficult with awkward key changes hence the cussing Born in Wichita in December 1911 Kenton studied piano as a child After cutting his teeth on the ivories of other people s ensembles Stan formed his first band in 1941 It took a few years to get going but by the mid 40 s his style became known as The Wall of Sound a tag later borrowed by fruit loop record producer Phil Spector Last Friday the BBC Big Band performed an epic celebration of Stan Kenton s Centenary at Birmingham s beautiful Town Hall American trombonist leader and educator Jiggs Whigham conducted the concert Jiggs had the great fortune to be part of Stan s extraordinary Mellophonium Band of 1960 1963 Mellophones are like French horns but the bell faces front rather than to the side they were designed for use in American marching bands the fact that Stan used them at all is a demonstration of his never ending quest for new sounds and ideas I talked at length with Jiggs about the astonishing list of jazz royalty that passed through Kenton s various bands including Art Pepper Stan Getz Kai Winding Shelly Manne Conte Candoli Zoot Simms Anita O Day June Christy not to mention the top class arrangers Pete Rugelo Gerry Mulligan Marty Paich and Bill Holman Stan encouraged every musician in his band to be a leader and indeed many like Jiggs went on to front their own bands Jiggs was only 19 when he joined the Kenton band at a time in the 60 s when many big bands had folded due to changes in musical tastes and the sheer cost of keeping 18 musicians on the road Incredibly in 1950 Stan

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/stan-the-man/ (2016-02-15)
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web-archive-uk.com, 2017-12-18