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Saturday, 30 November 2013

Back in the land of Richard III

Remember this scene?

Wednesday 12th September 2012...the scene in the Guildhall in Leicester as the archaeology team from the University of Leicester announced the discovery of a skeleton at the Greyfriars dig.

I can still oh so vividly recall the delicious tingle as I heard the evidence so far about their find.

You can see the back of my head in shot on the left hand side looks as if the TV camera is resting on my shoulder....

Well, since then , millions of words have been written about the discovery of Richard III in newspapers and journals across the world, but I'm pleased to say that the two leading archaeologists involved have now written a book about the startling series of events before and after the discovery.

Their book "Richard III, the King under the Car Park" was launched two weeks ago yesterday at the University of Leicester, and books were literally being grabbed off the tables , money being thrown at the university bookshop sales and assistants, and the authors must have been getting cramp from all the copies they were signing.

One of the authors is the unassuming Mathew Morris, I remember meeting him first thing in the morning at the dig  the day the first announcement was made. I was with the radio car doing live broadcasts, he was quietly checking the site...and there was a security guard. Just the three of us...and it really was the calm before the storm...

It was great to see Mathew last Friday, enjoying the drinks and the canap├ęs, yet finding time to talk to everyone.


And of course Richard Buckley was there too...the project director and lead archaeologist for the Greyfriars project, as well as being the co director of the University of Leicester Archaeological Services team. I can't remember how many times I've interviewed Richard, yet he always finds something fresh and interesting to say and he still hasn't lost a  genuine sense of wonder about the whole discovery.


And here's the book!


What I like about this is the way both Mathew and Richard have managed to straddle the difficulty of producing a book which satisfies their peers and yet makes this archaeological find so accessible to everyone. At a very affordable price and published by the University of Leicester, it's the first to tell the story from those who actually found the King, sharing  what happened at the dig, the mood there, and putting the find into context with mediaeval Leicester.

Luckily I managed to fight off others and buy some copies from a quickly dwindling pile on the night and get them signed.

Meanwhile in other Richard III news, the University of Leicester has received royal recognition for the excellence of the work on the discovery of the King, with the award of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. 
And there's more good news....yesterday,  the University of Leicester was also awarded "Research Project of the Year" at this year's Times Higher Education Awards for it's work on the discovery of Richard III.
But, and here's a big but, everything is not hunky dory in Richard III land here in Leicester. The legal battle over where his remains should be buried was adjourned at the High Court on Wednesday.

It's all getting very complicated. A judicial review will now judge whether the procedure which led to his bones being excavated here in the city was done correctly .

Before the dig even began, a licence to carry out the dig, issued by the Ministry of Justice, gave the authority to decide where to rebury the king to the university.

The latest hoo ha  still involves the Plantaganet Alliance...whose members want Richard buried in York Minister, and who are challenging the Justice Secretary's decision not to consult further before granting a licence to the University of Leicester to excavate the King's remains.

 They were given permission to bring  judicial review proceedings against both the Justice Secretary and the University of Leicester a while back by a High Court judge.....but now an adjournment has been declared so that the Leicester City Council can play a role too in the decision regarding what happens to the remains. (It was in their car park that the King was found.)

Well, I did warn you it was getting very complicated and long winded and it looks as if this is one story which just keeps running.

Meanwhile, this song has been running through my head as I've been writing this.....Finders Keepers by the Chairman of the Board from 1973 ....

And as far as I and thousands of other people, in this city and beyond, are concerned, Richard was found here, and should be kept here....





Saturday, 16 November 2013

A what a bargain day

I nipped out at lunchtime the other day to buy some salad stuff from the market...the usual lettuce, tomatoes, some crisp celery, that sort of thing. That was all.

But as I walked away from the stall, I caught sight of a big mound of limes.....nine for 50 pence. Nine? For how much? Why were they so cheap? After all, in my local supermarket they are selling for thirty five pence each.  I took a few paces back, closely gave them the once over yet they were all perfect apart from one which was fine but a little yellow.

Two minutes later they were in my basket, despite the fact that I'd had no intention of buying a lime at all, let alone nine of them.

As I walked back to work, I began to plan some pork and lime adaptation of a delicious Nigel Slater recipe, but what to do with the remaining eight limes...?

Then I thought of Lucy Cufflin's coconut, ginger and lime cake....which is an old stalwart from the time when we were both on a British Red Cross committee consisting of about ten women of all ages.  Every summer, some very generous people would open their garden in aid of the Red Cross, and we would provide the teas and sell cakes etc.

Lucy's cakes were always absolutely wonderful to look at and pretty tasty too. No wonder , as she is a cordon bleu trained chef, has her own food business and has written a cookbook, called Lucy's Food. so I'm going to make that cake later.

But what to do with the remaining seven limes?

Well, one or two of them will be used up tonight. In a delightful concoction. In a jug, with mint and alcohol.  Well, mint is still growing in the garden so I might as well use some....  

But what am I going to do with the remaining five limes?

I'd really like your suggestions please, so what are your favourite lime based recipes? I'd love to try out some of your suggestions.

And have you ever frozen lime juice? Does it taste good when thawed?

Today's track is by Jack Penate, which I've been singing along to at the top of my voice in the kitchen this afternoon. Boo and Winnie shot me withering glances. They don't appreciate my singing, but I'm sure you will love this song which is "Be the one"


Monday, 11 November 2013

Days of Remembrance

A very last minute post today....

Remembrance Sunday has affected me more than usual this year. It's always been a time to remember all those who fought in wars and conflicts since the days of the First Word War, and I've very personal reasons to remember especially those who fought and fell in Flanders...

Being immersed in the  world of the First World war for the last six weeks now at work, I'm finding some wonderful stories of heroism, such poignant stories which have been making me cry, and other stories of duty and devotion that just you just couldn't make up.

Yesterday I went to Coalville for the memorial service there, and it was a beautiful morning with the sun shining brightly and a good turnout to honour those who have fought and died .

There were veterans from every conflict and war since the Second World War...

The Gurkas marched too....

The long procession made its way to the town's very tall memorial

And as we sang, red paper poppies cascaded through the sky from the very top

And the band played carefully and reverently as different groups lay their wreaths....

What was so humbling that I knew as we stood there and remembered, this scene was being played out in locations all around the country, Europe and the world we all remembered those who we loved and lost.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Days when Winnie comes to stay....

I hear you've already been told about the new whipper snapper called Winnie - the puppy who's joined the family.
See here  When we met Winnie

Well, I've seen quite a bit of her since she arrived three or four weeks ago. She even came for a sleepover during the first week, and she'd only been here about five minutes before she was trying to find something to eat in my bowl! I'm calling her Princess Pushy from now on........

Anyway, the first time her owners left her with us, I thought she might be slightly frightened...after all she was only eight weeks old. So I tried to jolly her along with a bit of a game....and she went bananas. Playing, jumping, biting my ears, and pulling on my beard....which was the last straw. I retreated for a while, but she was like a Duracell battery...she just kept on going.

Mrs Thinking of the Days decided that enough was enough , and sat us both on the sofa, and eventually Winnie and I went to sleep. Well, it was X Factor on the telly....

When it was time for bed, she was put in her cage, and I sat on my chair, but it was so strange to have another dog in my kitchen at night time, especially one that cried.

Still, she's here every weekend now....and I have to say Winnie is growing on me. But when we play, even though I've shown her that we don't really bite or hurt people,  she forgets, and as she has the sharpest little teeth, I sometimes have to growl at her.

However, what really gets my goat, is how she invades my space. Nowhere is sacred...even my computer chair, where I sit right beside Bridget when she's tip tapping away at the computer.  I make my displeasure known of course but Winnie takes no notice and just goes to sleep.

And sometimes I have to give in otherwise I wouldn't get a moments peace.

She doesn't sleep for long though, and although she's become sort of house trained, she still leaves quite a few puddles on the floor. I'm calling her Wee Winnie at the moment....

And the other week, she had the audacity to pull down my hand knitted blanket, a gift to me from Mama, onto the floor and dragged it under the table, on the edge of one of those puddles, and sit there like Lady Muck. I was just about to tell Winnie her fortune (and it wasn't a good one) when I was stopped by Bridget. You can tell I'm not happy though, can't you?


These sleepovers seem to  becoming a regular thing....which I'm quite enjoying now....especially on a Saturday night in front of the telly.

I wonder whether Winnie is coming this weekend?

 Here's a video of Winnie and I - you see what I'm having to put up with?