Saturday 24 May 2008

Bears and Belgrade

What a fun and surreal day I've just had... thankfully no small part of it has spent reading, so perhaps The Block has disappeared. Nearly finished an excellent book I was sent to review by Flame Books, who published Neil Grimmett's The Bestowing Sun, about which I raved a while ago, and which I heard recently will become part of a trilogy. The other book which has brought me back to readerdom is Pride and Prejudice - I forget how wonderful Jane Austen is until I read her. For a hopeful author, it is almost discouraging to see how brilliant a writer can be (especially with dialogue) that it's almost not worth putting pen to paper anymore. I don't think I quite trust anyone who's read Austen and doesn't admire her.

The most fun and unusual activity I took part in today was... actually, both activities qualify for those adjectives, so I'll just list them in chronological order. My friend Charley celebrated her 24th birthday,
and as she is known as Bear (not sure why) she had a Teddy Bears' Picnic. Bring food and teddy bear. So, I made some coconut rock cakes (since Our Vicar and The Carbon Copy hate coconut, I put it in everything I make that they're unlikely to eat) - tip: sprinkle muscovado sugar on top before baking - and took David with me to the picnic. We went on the bus, but he snuck into my bag, and didn't pay for a seat. He even brought his own marmalade with him - seen in the picture - and made some new friends. Patch and Fido had their own Teddy Dogs' Picnic at home...

Later on, I attended a Eurovision Song Contest party... perhaps that means nothing to my non-European visitors, but everyone else will have smiled and rolled their eyes. An annual competition, European countries submit a song as daft and tuneless as possible, and then vote based entirely on which countries share borders with them, eventually crowning someone the winner. Costume changes are encouraged, as are cross-dressing and pirate outfits. Bizarre rock, cheesy pop and overly-ambitious operatics are all welcomed. The UK - especially since the invasion of Afghanistan - perform spectacularly badly. This year we triumphed with joint-last place, and Russia took the crown - with an admittedly acceptable entry. Terry Wogan provides hilarious commentary, especially during the announcement of the votes, wherein he gets increasingly indignant/inebriated. A fun evening with some friends, all wielding scorecards with the categories 'Song, Performance, Dance Routine, Outfits' - we declared Armenia the winners, and they managed a respectable second or fourth or similar. Spain were unquestionably the worst, but did quite well nonetheless. Roll on next year; I can't wait.


  1. Hurray for Jane Austen.

    What a mixed day you had! I hope didn't rain for the Teddy Bears Picnic - was it down in the woods?

    Oh the Eurovision Song(?) Contest! I watched bits of it and managed to catch the Spanish entry - truly dreadful. I can't think why I watched any of it but as you say Terry Wogan provides hilarious commentary, and he gets better every year.

  2. I hadn't realised it was Eurovision this Saturday. How on earth did I miss that?

  3. I watched the Eurovision and marvelled at the unutterable direness of most of the entries. My husband wonders whether all European female singers can possibly be that scary or whether there is simply a special Song Contest strand. But I have to give up watching at the voting time because it's so maddening, all that partisan voting.

  4. Good to see you putting the Latvian entry front and centre in your post. They were the first one to get my vote...since the UK gave them 10 points it seems I'm not the only person with a weird sense of humour...

  5. Surely Terry doesn't get inebriated? He has no need of alcohol to assist the enjoyment of Eurovision.The BBC wouldn't allow such a thing and Terry would be most offended.Retract this instant :-)

  6. Simon, I have to say that I'm surprised at you allowing David marmalade. You do know, don't you, that as far as Bears are concerned, it is the equivalent of a Class A drug? When I read that in Jasper FForde's 'The Fourth Bear' I immediately got rid of all the marmalade in the house (as Elaine from Random Jottings will confirm) even though I am very fond of it myself. If David is done for possession I'm afraid you will only have yourself to blame.

  7. The only 'inebriation' available to Mr Wogan was, I'm sure you'll agree, the highly charged atmosphere of the competition, culminating in the amazingly nail-biting 'scores' section. Who wouldn't get high on such excitement?! Well done again Mr W.


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