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  • Clare Teal -
    colony of elephant seals The largest bull elephant seal on record measured 22 feet long and weighed 11 000 lb We saw thousands flipping sand on the beach bellowing through their big old proboscis These guys can hold their breath under water for more than an hour and forty minutes They are seriously grumpy and on land they can move faster than an average human Driving the 90 miles of mountainous wondrous and sparse Big Sur was a real highlight until the fuel light came on Picture the relief 15 minutes later as we limped into the forecourt of Big Sur s one and only gas station 21 Mar Jazzers and folk can be mixed Having waited over half an hour for our dinner to arrive I was too hungry to point out that they d actually brought us the wrong food Luckily I think it turned out to be better than the dish I had originally ordered Why do the people who design these vast trendy yet vacuous wine bars assume that the customers in them have no desire to hear a single word the person next to them is saying Not content with ripping up carpets and removing any trace of soft furnishing that might soak up a bit of the babble they then put blaring speakers above every table or is it just whatever one I happen to sit at Muddy and I speedily woofed our somebody elses dinner as we didn t want to be late for the annual Radio 2 Folk Awards We ve never been before and really didn t know what to expect although being jazzers I thought alarms might go off as we entered the building The folk glitterati assemble from every corner of the country to celebrate their art form at this increasingly prestigious event creating a wonderfully warm atmosphere in the process I have little knowledge of folk music and although I was very much looking forward to watching performances by some of the best musicians in the land I wondered if there might be some stuff that perhaps I wouldn t necessarily want to hear again NOT THE CASE I more than enjoyed everything I heard from Bellowhead to Laura Marling to Barnsley nightingale Kate Rusby to Chris Wood to Donnovan to Barbara Dickson to The Fisherman s Friends to the Levellers It was a magical evening which is bound to see my record collection grow Folk it seems like Jazz can very easily fall foul of listener s preconceived ideas ie people decide they don t like the music before they even hear it I sat next to DJ Jo Whiley I was surprised to learn that she was a big folk fan having been brought up going to festivals like Sidmouth from a very early age Just across the way very much within prodding distance was rock god Roger Daltrey of the Who He made a great speech from which I can conclude that he loves folk music and has very neat hair Thou shalt not commit a Daltrey I wanted to shout at a particularly persistent woman and her camera 21 Mar Sunshine coast s birds of a feather tick all the right boxes Throughout our 10 days on the sunshine coast we never missed a sunrise an upside to jetlag From Malibu 85 F we journeyed 233 miles north on Pacific Coast Highway CA1 past the Channel Islands where bald eagles have recently been successfully reintroduced there are so many birds of prey swooping about over there that we bought a chart so that we could tick them off We lunched in the perfect and quaint Santa Barbara Raymond Chandler who called La Jolla a nice place for old people and their parents clearly had never had the pleasure of visiting the town Ronald Reagan once called home But don t let that put you off It s a beautiful place and the food Muddy lived in LA for some time as a teenager and has a real penchant for Mexican food She ordered us both Tostadas For this you will need a huge deep fried tortilla which you fill with crisp salad refried beans salsa tender spiced grilled chicken and lashings of guacamole and sour cream accompanied by root beer imagine fizzy Benylin We attempted to walk it off wandering round what we assumed to be a typically massive American supermarket It was in fact a typical American chemist Onwards we wended our way through the Santa Ynez Mountains to Lompoc the flower seed growing capital of the world We pulled into San Simeon as the sun was setting A complimentary upgrade resulted in an enormous room with patio doors leading to a view of a significantly wilder side of the Pacific Ocean In a corner of the room stood a huge wood burner Being in the throes of winter we were encouraged to light a fire and use as much wood as we wanted Within minutes a hearty blaze roared in the hearth We spent the next two hours sitting outside in T shirts waiting for the room to cool down Tired and still full from lunch we had the contents of the mini bar for dinner this included a bag of most abysmal biscuits in Christendom they tasted how I would imagine a dish washer tablet might leaving a rancid chemically overtone on the pallet which diminished slightly after the eighth or ninth go 21 Mar Magic moments before a date with margarita in Malibu It s good to be home although I d be lying if I said I wasn t missing the California sun The weather was just glorious as was the venue built for the event over an ornate outdoor swimming pool said pool became the glass bottomed dance floor and a whole new building erected over and around it Pristine white including the piano mic stands and music stands the walls were covered with thousands of enormous hand

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/category/clares-blog/page/21/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    studio on Great Titchfield St is the famed Scandinavian Kitchen Oh my if you are partial to exquisite freshly made open sandwiches and joyous tasty titbits this is the place for you Wednesday I was back at Radio 2 recording my radio shows in Ken Bruce s studio I could see Chris Tarrant along the way he had tellies in his room I borrowed Bob Harris s headphones and had just nicely settled when a familiar face came into view Sir Terry Wogan popped in to say hello with Pudsey the bear It s just not like this when we record in Birmingham 04 May Hey Ho Beryl comes clean and finds new life on the road DRIVING through the beautiful Brecon Beacons one sunny morning last week we finally noticed that our poor little car Beryl the Chav 4 was absolutely filthy caked in mud with a thick layer of splattered and deceased insects on the windscreen A few months earlier we thought we were going to have to replace her but no good old Beryl has pulled through and now feels like a new woman Mind you I m not surprised virtually every bit of her has been rebuilt or replaced over the last three years The following day she was going in for her 160 000 mile service quite an occasion for an old broad In order to uphold Beryl s dignity we thought the least we could do was put her through the car wash and Abergavenny seemed as good a place as any We gave her the works wheels undercarriage and all She emerged through the spinny chamois leather things looking all shiny and fab The next morning we drove Beryl over to the garage and arranged to pick her up at 11 30 We stressed the importance of letting us know if there was any change to the time as we had to be in Birmingham at 2pm me to record the radio shows and Muddy to buy me something to wear for our appearance on this Friday s This Morning with lovely Eamonn and Ruth If you can t do it by 11 30 just let us know and we ll go on the train Don t worry we ll have your car ready on time laydeeez Muddy and Beryl got back at 12 41pm It was by now too late to catch the train Why didn t they call us They said they didn t know why they hadn t called us They were very apologetic though so much so that they ve washed the car for us Beryl fairly blinded the oncoming traffic such was her double buffed lustre as we whizzed up the M5 Once in the studio producer Bob announced that after 389 years he d commissioned a new sig tune for Big Band Special It only took an hour to get the opening link to sit within the time frame of the music Clare Teal s new album Hey Ho is released on Monday 27 Apr Inside out as the big cleanup comes to nothing YOU may recall last week found us in a cleaning frenzy getting the house ready for one of the Sunday papers to photograph Imagine our surprise when the journalist and photographer arrived to discover it wasn t a feature about the interior of the flat but a feature about selling the flat our flat They took lots of photos but it seems the one they ll most likely use is an exterior shot all that cleaning In reality this is actually quite exciting As you may know we have ambitions to build our own house and though I d envisioned this happening a few years from now it seems it may well be happening a lot sooner The next day we left our ridiculously tidy flat and excitedly headed for the big smoke We have a friend who works for Radio 2 as a security guard If you need to know anything about the comings and goings of the station he s your man He s also worked for some of the most famous rock stars on the planet and if you catch him on a good day you hear stories that turn your eyes into saucers Quite a few months ago I was presenting a live broadcast when he pulled me to one side and said k d lang s just been booked to do a live concert for Radio 2 on April 20 thought you might want to know k d lang is without doubt the voice of her generation Her range style and vocal ability is quite extraordinary and I never miss the opportunity to see her sing live Last Wednesday s concert was incredible she was on top form performing songs from the new record Her new band the Siss Boom Bang didn t disappoint either We sat next to lovely Alex Lester and just along from the equally lovely Graham Norton Great singing continued to be the theme of the week as friends Chris and Al came to stay for Easter Chris While has one of the most glorious voices I ve ever heard She s big news on the folk scene If you re not a folk head but like great songs beautifully sung I guarantee she ll be big news on your scene too And so the perfect Bank Holiday was spent drinking wine singing songs and eating chocolate into the early hours 26 Apr Coming clean about a love of clutter and hoarding I M sure I didn t have this many CDs when we first moved in here but over the years they ve multiplied to cover every possible surface of the study We must be getting on for 2 000 plus and that s not including the four big boxes I packed away last year I m not complaining I love being surrounded by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald Sarah Vaughan and Elbow

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/page/22/?page_id=2 (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    kofta kebabs with pistachios and sumac the other night They were very nice but I left them under the grill a fraction too long and the lamb went very dry They were only in for a few minutes so I might use a hair dryer to cook them next time As I write I m looking forward to trying out a new pancake filling I heard about on the wireless The Archbishop of York John Sentamu put forward a lime juice maple syrup and raw cane sugar combo that sounds delicious We ve got a lot on today so have gone for the pancake mix option I can t believe we ve handed over good money for a plastic bottle with a bit of flour at the bottom Ours is empty love I told the cashier But no apparently you fill to the line with water and shake the bottle not generally But by the time you read this Pancake Day was yesterday s news Now as some of you know Muddy s mum and keeper of the tortoise is called Di Her friend Audrey slipped her a hand typed recipe the other week Try these they won t disappoint I ve looked on line unsuccessfully to see if I could find the origin of this recipe so as to credit the creator So world get ready as I share with you the magic that is Audrey s Cheesy Sausage Rolls In Bread Take eight slices of medium bread crusts removed and roll them out thinly Mix together in a bowl 4oz tasty grated cheese 2oz of softened butter and a level teaspoon of mustard Divide the mixture and spread over the bread Get a packet of eight skinless chipolata sausages and place one at the bottom of each slice

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/cooking-up-a-treat-with-audreys-sausage-rolls/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    its actual name The fastest on the draw wins A few weeks ago we went to dinner with friends Holly is a very very good cook The things she can do with a chicken would frankly surprise a chicken We were on pudding duty Muddy decided to make a deep filled lemon tart as we d enjoyed one just the other week at a different dinner party In my role as sous chef I juiced and grated the rind off six lemons and a finger while Muddy made the pastry After resting in the fridge for 30 mins the pastry not Muddy she rolled it out and put it in the loose based flan dish It was at this point that I had a flashback to mum s kitchen circa 1979 It s a shame we haven t got any of those things you put on the greaseproof paper that weigh down the pastry isn t it Oh you mean those thingies Oh they re called what are they called Minutes later it came to me clear as day pastry pot peas Muddy looked blank apparently they weren t called that in her house Apparently they aren t called that

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/beans-mean-the-answer-to-a-baking-day-puzzle/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    fictional and that Ocean Boulevard had only borrowed the title to appeal to tourists None the less swept up in the whole romance of the Salinas landscape I felt the need to reacquaint myself with Mack and the boys Doc and Lee Chong Get this nowhere on Cannery Row nay Monterey can you buy a copy of Cannery Row You can buy inconceivable numbers of T shirts with Monterey written on the front or stuffed furry sea otters or T shirts emblazoned with Monterey depicting frolicking sea otters but no books Our hotel was right by the water s edge and we spent many hours on the balcony watching the antics of the impossibly cute sea otters and seals We planned a few days of activities starting with whale watching As someone with a lifelong fear of water I was surprised to find myself riding 12ft waves in a little boat looking for 50ft grey whales Not two minutes after I d taken my sea sickness pill the guide announced it was going to be a little choppy out there today after 90 minutes of frankly terrifying manoeuvres little progress had been made whale wise although we had seen three

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/driving-south-for-a-whale-of-a-time-on-cannery-row/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    to anyone A crisp crystal clear Sunday morning started with another American breakfast oh dear which having survived the previous evening solely on the contents of the mini bar we were in desperate need of It took a while to click but finally we observed that average normal sized people in America eat only half the food put in front of them whilst others doggedly persist till every scrap has gone my mind set entirely Having been brought up to clear my plate and not waste food it made me cross that I was put in the uncomfortable position of eating to absolute excess or wasting half my food I didn t want to take my leftovers away in a little bag to ripen under hot sun in the car for hours on end Our first stop that day was a visit to one of America s National Historic Landmarks In 1915 newspaper tycoon Randolph Hearst approached architect Julia Morgan stating I would like to build something upon the hill at San Simeon I get tired of going up there and camping in tents I m getting a little too old for that I d like to get something that would be a little more comfortable Work began on the bungalow in 1919 and was finished some 28 years later Hearst Castle is fascinating a real mish mash of historic European architecture priceless artworks and artifacts It sort of works and sort of doesn t but is definitely worth a look as your passing through Onwards to hang a while with San Simeon s colony of elephant seals The largest bull elephant seal on record measured 22 feet long and weighed 11 000 lb We saw thousands flipping sand on the beach bellowing through their big old proboscis These guys

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/big-sur-for-sure-and-seals-of-approval/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    in the perfect and quaint Santa Barbara Raymond Chandler who called La Jolla a nice place for old people and their parents clearly had never had the pleasure of visiting the town Ronald Reagan once called home But don t let that put you off It s a beautiful place and the food Muddy lived in LA for some time as a teenager and has a real penchant for Mexican food She ordered us both Tostadas For this you will need a huge deep fried tortilla which you fill with crisp salad refried beans salsa tender spiced grilled chicken and lashings of guacamole and sour cream accompanied by root beer imagine fizzy Benylin We attempted to walk it off wandering round what we assumed to be a typically massive American supermarket It was in fact a typical American chemist Onwards we wended our way through the Santa Ynez Mountains to Lompoc the flower seed growing capital of the world We pulled into San Simeon as the sun was setting A complimentary upgrade resulted in an enormous room with patio doors leading to a view of a significantly wilder side of the Pacific Ocean In a corner of the room stood

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/sunshine-coasts-birds-of-a-feather-tick-all-the-right-boxes/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Clare Teal -
    enormous hand made paper flowers Beautiful chandeliers hung over the rose petal bedecked tables and tres chic Perspex chairs Banks of lights were hidden in the walls among the paper flowers The look when lit was mind blowing as the settings changed with every song It was a truly magical evening Afterwards at the hotel we chomped on late night burgers reluctantly made by night porter Anastasio who told us in no uncertain terms that fries were not an option as the chip pan was unplugged at 11pm I can t honestly say that microwaved crisps have the same appeal but it was a nice gesture The next day the boys all left Grant for New York Benny and Simon back to England and it was here that our holiday began We opted for a fruit breakfast at Codys that morning as the old trousers were feeling a little snug around the waist area On to the car hire where they were clearly out of Nissan Micras giving us a 4 4 that could easily have eaten two Land Rovers for breakfast with a side order of Micra Getting the thing out of the tiny underground car park was a

    Original URL path: http://www.clareteal.co.uk/index.php/magic-moments-before-a-date-with-margarita-in-malibu/ (2016-02-15)
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