Reindeer on the pier

Jane, and hot chocolate

This year the Pier has ice skating, reindeer and general seasonal cheer. In an unexpected twist, the ice was fake (plastic tiles, boo!), but the reindeer were real. And very cute they are too. A sign reassured us that it was all OKed by the RSPCA, and indeed, 18 month old “number 015” looked happy enough.

It was lovely and sunny, so we wandered back along the sea-front mulling the unnatural combination of reindeer and piers….

Round the Horne… revisited 2

Inside Theatre Royal, Brighton, for Round The Horne 2

Last Christmas Rachel, Steve and the kids gave us a set of Ticketmaster vouchers, and we decided we’d cash them in on something we wouldn’t normally go to see. We picked Round the Horne…Revisited 2, based on the following “logic“: (i) we knew it was a famous ’60s radio comedy series; (ii) we love lots of other radio comedy; ergo, we would like this.

And we did. The show was two episodes of the radio show on stage, with some new work thrown in. The audience were clearly tuned in to certain characters which were over our heads, but we soon got the hang of looking forward Fiona & Charles or Julian & Sandy (surely the roots of Ken & Kenneth). Time to go away and listen to some of the
original radio series.

Last month Cayne and

Waiting for a train to Lewes

Last month Cayne and Frauke visited. We’d not seen Cayne since 2001, and it was was the first time we’d met Frauke, so that was all just lovely. Their trip coincided with the Lewes Bonfire celebrations, and as it was on a Saturday we managed to drag the New Scientist posse out too. Photos are available.

I’ll leave it to Cayne or Frauke to mention “the incident” if they want to sometime.

First mince pie of the year

Sainsbury SO mince pie

As a test of will power I’ve been holding off the mince pies until December the first. And now here we are and, with possibly too much excitement, I’m ready to dive in to a Sainsbury’s “SO” organic mince pie (pack of six, but I’m just going to start with one).

The packaging is much as you’d expect for a modern shop-bought pie. A standard (non-recycled) glossy cardboard box reveals a thin plastic tray. The pies are pleasing to the eye, with around the right amount of toasting to the short crust pastry. The sprinkling of sugar only cheapens the appearance. Removing the pie from the tin case reveals a firm shell, with no sagging or signs of filling leakage. So far so good.

Biting into the pie produces moderate-to-high crumb fall, and the initial taste is disappointingly of bland pastry only, despite the filling reasonably occupying the inner space, with no glaring gaps. On further tasting, the fruit filling is light but importantly succulent, with a hint of spices, and the dominant tone is that of raisins and sultanas.

In summary, a good fruit content, producing an easy-eating pie, certainly suitable for those who do not like their mince pies to be too spicy or looking for a pie to go with a light red wine. Let down only by the pastry, although there may be room for improvement here if heated in an oven at home.

This review was based on a sampling of one pie, eaten cold with coffee. It is possible to warm the pie in the oven for 8-12 minutes. Not suitable to those with nut allergies.