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Archive for August, 2008

Messing about in boats

I have decided that commuting by boat has to be the way forward.  After a scenic taxi ride across Bristol harbour the other weekend (encouraging me to dub Bristol ‘England’s answer to Cape Town’), I also experienced the joys of the Clipper commuter boat in London yesterday.  I honestly can’t think of a less stressful way to commute in London than gliding past the houses of Parliament, the Globe Theatre, the Tate Modern, London Eye etc, all in comfort with a TV and coffee bar!  So it may not be practical for all locations (and is undoubtedly not the the most cost effective way of traveling) but it’s certainly fun for a day trip and beats walking along South Bank for miles during school holidays when you’ve already traipsed half way across the capital…

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Celebrity Wife Swap

I have just watched a fantastic piece of television – moving, funny, inspirational, entertaining and engaging. This is Sunday evening telly at its best.

I’m not talking about the latest American sit-com, the newest HBO series or even a big-budget costume drama, I’m talking about Celebrity Wife Swap. Stay with me.

Back in the day Wife Swap was a genius idea for trashy TV, where people could actually benefit and, even though arguments were almost always guaranteed due to the uncomfortable reality of a) having to face the ugly truth about your flaws, and b) having another woman living with your family for two weeks, the couples often walked away from the show having learned something and improved their life. However, over the course of time the series fell in to the same trap the other similar shows (Holiday Showdown, for example) have fallen in to – deliberately encouraging conflict and becoming pretty shoddy viewing.

However, this evening’s episode was a true gem – Jilly Goolden (charismatic wine critic) swapped homes with wife of soul ‘legend’ Alexander O’Neil and both lovely ladies made a genuine effort to understand and learn from their experiences, as well as managing to shake things up just enough to help the two (very different) men without bruising any egos.  It was truly touching, addictive viewing and everyone came out of the show looking good – that really is a first for Wife Swap!

You can probably watch it on Four On Demand (unless you dare to own a Mac, in which case you can’t use this facility yet. Channel Four; groundbreaking.)

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Loch Fyne, Reading

I ate at Loch Fyne last night with rather unpleasant digestive consequences.  I won’t go in to details, but I think there was something a little fishy in the soup – and I’m not talking clams.

However, the results weren’t disastrous so I will go on to give credit to the restaurant’s better points, for example the New England-esque decor (straight out of Dawson’s Creek – even though I guess it’s supposed to be Scottish), the cheap early bird menu (£11 for two courses and a glass of wine if you order by 6.45pm) and the wordsearch placemats (actually, that isn’t really something I’d credit it for, but if I win that trip to Scotland then I will retract all negative statements).  

The location is nice, the staff were fairly friendly and I don’t know of any other fish restaurants in Reading at the moment, so until there is more choice, it’ll do.  However, I am not the only one who has had slightly disappointing experiences with this chain – for example the one in Henley on Thames.

In any case, you won’t be missing out if you don’t go but you’ll probably have a ‘nice’ time if you do

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