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Showing posts from May, 2020

Life can be a Dream

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The Beloved and I became civil partners in 2006. We were amongst the first people to do so, within a few months of the law changing. Because it was such a new thing, there were no established conventions or traditions for what should happen at such a celebration. In many ways, it was nice to build our day from scratch. We kept the invitation list short, just immediate family, and treated everyone to lunch afterwards. Obviously, it was important to us to serve an aperitif before lunch, but what to have? Both sherry and Champagne seemed more formal than the atmosphere we wanted to create for our day. I can't remember which of us first suggested the Dream cocktail, but as soon as it was mentioned we both knew it was the perfect aperitif for us.

We had encountered the Dream cocktail the previous summer, in Salvatore Calabrese's Classic Summer Cocktails, and we fell for it immediately. It combines one of my favourite cocktail ingredients - Dubonnet - with citrus flavours and Champ…

Diana Dors, my Grandma & Me

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To people of my generation, the name of Diana Dors conjures up images from 1970s comedies: a buxom, glamorous lady a little past her prime, camping it up as the dictator in a sketch serial from The Two Ronnies' TV programme, or as Adam Ant's fairy godmother in the Prince Charming video. For those a little older, she was the genuinely sexy star of British cinema of the 1950s and 60s, sold as Britain's answer to Marilyn Monroe and equally used and abused by those around her. Readers may remember salacious tales of sex parties and gangland connections, cheap, titillating films, drink and drugs.

She was hardly the kind of person my Grandmother would emulate. Grandma was quiet, domesticated, deeply faithful to her religion and not keen on people drinking. She loved family and loved to bake for us. Every week, we would visit and be provided with scones, custard tart, lemon curd cake, apple pie. You name it, she baked it for us. She once told me I baked a better cake than she di…