Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Planning A Night Of Perfection

There's a big celebration planned for Saturday when eight friends are joining us for a party to celebrate daughter in law Josephine's success in devising and developing the hit BBC2 show Perfection. The show, hosted by Nick Knowles, is a great quiz which brings up fascinating statements that the contestants have to decide are true or false. I've learnt some very interesting facts since the show launched (eg it is true that Sam Cameron has a dolphin tattoo on her ankle). The evening will start at 5pm with champagne and canapes and when we have broken the ice we will watch one game from the show. We're then going to have a great dinner which has been planned to perfection by Marion and we will be watching more games between courses. We've got some good little prizes for anybody who completes a final round with a perfect score and we're hoping to get Josephine to make an appearance by Skype if she's not too shy.

Wines have been provided by the excellent Whalley Wine Shop. This wonderful off license is over twenty miles away from here but it's well worth the journey as it is highly unlikely that on describing each course to the assistants at Tesco we would get the perfect recommendations that you get from the trained sommeliers in Whalley. We've got an excellent Perrier Jouet champagne, a super Chateau Ste Michelle Pinot Gris for the starter and a hearty Brolio Barone Ricasoli Chianti to accompany the main course. We've nothing for the dessert as last time we all got together I ended up flat on my back and this time I need my wits about me for Perfection as I've deliberately not watched some episodes so that I can join in the fun although being a family member I'm barred from winning a prize (just like my thwarted appearance in Antiques Master).

My retirement reading spree continues and I'm flying through the novels. Yesterday I finished What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn. This was Catherine's debut novel and I loved her original style. The book rotates twenty years in the past with the present and centres around life at Green Oaks, a modern shopping mall. I loved the opening where ten year old Kate Meaney sets herself up as a detective carrying out surveillance at the shopping centre a little like the kids in the Secret Seven books (albeit more streetwise and savvy than Blyton's children). In fact I could see the character continuing the story into a full blown children's novel but before I got the chance we were taken to the future where life at the Mall is dark and bleak for security guard Kurt and store manager Lisa. Although ultimately tinged with poignancy, the book has a good deal of humour and is an excellent read. I particularly enjoyed the unusual vignettes in italics that ended a number of chapters. Running to a little over a page each, each was a self contained short story which, though parallel to the plot, developed the atmosphere of  Green Oaks in an unusual and highly effective way.

What to read next is the big question. I'm just starting a novel that my mum gave me which should fill the next few days but although our IKEA Billy bookcases are sagging under the weight of books piled two deep on some shelves I've not got many left unread. Any ideas? We could do with going to one of those book swaps we keep reading about on @meandmybigmouth's Twitter feed (see blog link to the right) but they are in Windsor and the cost of the fuel would somewhat outweigh the benefit.

I'll leave you today with French prankster Remi Gaillard. I've not heard of him before but it seems that he is France's very own Dom Jolly.