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Showing posts from January, 2012


I get my first pair of specs at the age of 6. My father is an ophthalmologist, so I have my eyes tested for the hell of it, and he discovers that, not only am I astigmatic, but one of my eyes is mildly short-sighted and the other mildly long. This means they sort of cancel each other out, and I don't really need the glasses, not yet. Sometimes I lie on my bed and I hold the specs by their arms up above me, and I squint at the ceiling light through each lens in turn and I marvel at how the light appears fat and blurry in the right lens, and sharp and tiny in the left. But after a while, the long-sighted eye joins the other in its romp into myopia, and the astigmatism marches on. By the time I'm 10, I'm wearing specs full-time and in a way it seems appropriate as I am already the school spod. I let it pigeonhole me to some extent - I give up trying to be good at sports, although enforced activity means I regularly get a netball in my face anyway, and I retreat bookishly behin

A Question of Taste

Last night's food quiz was the third time that my impossibly round face has appeared on the television. The first time was in 2003 for University Challenge: the Professionals , and the second in 2005 as 'Er Indoors when my husband got to the final of BBC's End of Story (they showed me failing to catch a frisbee - they wanted to film us interacting, but decided Virtua Tennis 2 was too sedentary. Gits). So I have the rare privilege of having been grilled by both Newsnight anchors without being a politician which is pretty cool. It was so much fun to take part in and it just reinforced for me what a complete quiz nerd I am (and that I really like pressing buzzers). Presenter Kirsty Wark is one of the nicest "celebs" around, and Dictionary Corner's William Sitwell has met me five times now and failed to recognise me each time. Which is nice. By far the oddest thing about last night (apart from seeing myself with subtitles because my mum's hearing isn't

I probably should have said ...

They often say that a blog is a diary, a catalogue of events in one's life, although arguably a diary is more interesting to other people. I was always rubbish at keeping a diary though, and that's partly why I've failed to write about some events which I ought to have recorded. Take the picture at the top - this was the Scotch Egg Challenge at the Ship in Wandsworth. 36 contestants , 5 judges, one winner. Chef Mat Follas, celebrity baker Eric Lanlard, bloggers Chris Pople and David Constable and I chose the brilliant offering from the Devonshire Arms in Chiswick. The #ScotchEggChallenge as it was known on Twitter made the Evening Standard and the Guardian . A full account of the results on the Ship's blog here . At the start of last year, I took part in the Barbecoa Brawnoff. Food Urchin , Paul from How not to do a Food Blog , the Grubworm and I were each given a pig's head by the butchers at Barbecoa, Jamie Oliver's steakhouse in the City and challenged to

Things you ought to remember

They called a special assembly. We trooped in idly, wondering what was up. As we stood there, the wooden hall filled with the sound of clattering feet, then jostling and joking and the odd fart noise (both real and faked), then silence as we realised from the teachers' faces that it was something serious. " There was an incident ", said the headmaster, and he paused, reluctant to continue. Rohit Duggal, a couple of years above me. One of the cool kids, a bit mouthy, but generally well-liked (being a bod, I was intimidated by him). He'd gone with a mate to the chippy on Well Hall Road in Eltham; there'd been some kind of fracas with some other boys and they'd chased and attacked him. And now he was dead. Some of the pupils burst into tears; all of us were shocked. People our age didn't get killed in fights. Hell, up till then, the worst injury I'd come across was a dislocated shoulder from an over-enthusiastic rugby tackle. We filed out slowly