Nora Batty’s seriously wrinkled stockings

15 12 2012

So if you’ve no idea who Nora Batty is, firstly check out a few classic episodes of Last of the Summer Wine. It’s based in Holmfirth, a lovely little place in West Yorkshire.

Kathy Staff as Nora Batty. Source Jane, over on Noisy Shoes

Anyway, apart from the inherent value attributed to it simply because it’s a mention of Yorkshire, the reference is entirely irrelevant. If you’ve already been and checked out Last Of the Summer Wine – I apologise. It’s not very funny, is it? But the scenery is worth it. I have no idea how they found so many non-raining days to film the series!! I can attest that a great way of upsetting your spousal partner is to frequently interject with “I’ve been there”. It works wonders at whittling away marital stability it seems.

Anyway, now we’re safely back from that cul-de-sac (Literally “bag’s bum” in French), on to the real tale…

I often have lunch at Murchie’s in Richmond, near my office. It’s actually their distribution centre, but they have a little café on the side which sells lovely salads and of course their luxuriant range of tea. The lovely serving wenches there (I jest – no comments thank-you. I wouldn’t DARE call them wenches to their faces. Or bottoms, for that matter) are very friendly and pleasant. To the extent that the whole point of having a salad at lunch seems lost on them. I often have a serving so large that it cascades apologetically over the tub (designed to standardise the portions!) and onto the paper plate added to the ensemble for the purpose. I always have Russian Caravan to drink. I am reportedly the only person to have it, yet am teased frequently with questions of whether I’m having “my usual green tea” or the Earl Grey.

Anyway, where was I? Holmfirth, Murchie’s, tea, ah yes…

So Murchie’s often have the radio going just to add a little ambiance to the otherwise rather stark room. They’ve done their best with the addition of a (non-functional) pot-bellied stove and some half-hearted Welsh dresser thing as a display cabinet, but when all’s said and done… it’s an industrial unit. And it looks like it!

But the music helps. I’m normally trying to read some book or other, and the music helps set the mood. Usually it’s Sirius satellite radio (why do North Americans pronounce it “serious”?!) The time of day I’m there, it’s some acoustic programme, and they often have classic songs being re-imagined either by the original artist or someone covering it. There’s no commentary (cheap radio production), but thanks to Shazam, I can usually figure out who is singing any songs I like, and I can acquire a version when I get home.

There was one tune on pretty frequent rotation, and it really hooked me. I used Shazam, and it turned out to be Norah Jones – Say Goodbye, from her brand new album Little Broken Hearts.

Bring me back the good old days,
When you let me misbehave.
Always knew, it wouldn’t last,
But if you ask, I’d go again.
Yeah, I’d go again.

Here she is performing it live

So anyway, I duly ended up getting the whole album, which is moody and opulent. There’s some boppy yet thoughtful tunes like Happy Pills

And the downright creepy Miriam. Ms Jones is plainly not someone to cross in matters of love!

Anyway, I now listen to this album on rotation in my car, alongside Regina Spektor, Coldplay, Mother Mother, Lloyd Cole (who was VERY cool and personally messaged me the other day!) and a bunch of other equally eclectic tunesmiths. And then I hear the other day that Ravi Shankar has died.

Wikipedia: Ravi Shankar

I confess that I was only vaguely aware of his work, and that was strictly in the orbit of George Harrison and the Beatles. A tiny fraction of his work and influence. And those two threads might have stayed forever blowing independently in the breeze until this evening. This evening (after watching Life of Pi), Mrs E casually mentioned that Norah Jones was his daughter! Turns out her full name is Geethali Norah Jones Shankar. Her half-sister Anoushka Shankar took after their dad and is an accomplished sitar player too.

Music it seems really does flow through your blood!





Mrs Malaprop and the Aussie birds

24 03 2012

So I recently finished reading Sheridan’s “The Rivals“. That snippet of information has only tangential relevance to anything that follows, but I did tell kathryningrid I was about to read it, and I just wanted to show I was sincere.

We just got back from walking the dog around Campbell Valley Park, and she was pretty well knackered. We had a good friend coming round for dinner, so I suggested a quick diversion to the local Murchie’s to see if they sold Russian Caravan – a favourite morning beverage – to enjoy the calm before the storm. Unfortunately they did not sell it for consumption at this branch, and it turns out that “Queen Victoria” (though smoked) was not in the same ballpark at all. Anyway, whilst walking up to the shopping centre, Mrs Elephant suddenly said I should look out for the Galahs.

Having travelled to Australia several times on business, I am familiar with these birds which fly free – rather like starlings do in the UK or crows in BC. The first time one sees them in the wild it’s a bit weird, as previously they’re strictly the things of aviaries and zoos. To see them lined up on a fence is pretty jaw-dropping.

Wikipedia: Galah

OK, so the more astute amongst you will have gathered that galahs are not in fact native to BC, and so this statement had me stopping dead and searching the trees for swooping parrots. Presumably escaped from some nearby condo. It took a few more seconds to join the dots and realise my long suffering other ‘arf was in fact referring to the broken bottle lying on the pavement ahead of us.

You see, in Yorkshire, “glass” rhymes with “ass”, whereas in the South of the UK, from whence she originally hails, “glass” rhymes instead with “arse”. Ignoring for a moment that a UK arse is the same as a North American ass, you perhaps begin to see the issue. The galahs were in fact glass. Not Dale Chihuly organic works, but a plain old vandalised bottle.

Lydia Languish would be amused…