5 Reasons why Prime Suspect 1973 is so good.

If it’s Thursday, it must be Prime Suspect 1973.

This week (so it says in the Radio Times) we’re getting:

a 1970s wedding

“all floaty Laura Ashley dresses and big hats” as Jane Tennison is her sister’s reluctant bridesmaid.

Meanwhile DI Bradfield is obsessing over the East End Bentley family

even though Jane tells him he’s got it all wrong.

The plot in this wonderful adaptation of Linda la Plante’s novel, “Tennison”, is stodgy and predictable so why is Prime Suspect 1973 the highlight of my viewing week?

1. Costumes

The costume designer is Amy Roberts who, according to the IMDb website, was nominated for an Olivier Award for best costumes for the 2009 stage production of The Misanthrope starring Damien Lewis and Keira Knightley. Well, Amy certainly deserves an award for the costumes in Prime Suspect 1973. She’s captured the spirit of the era beautifully and the series is worth watching for the costumes alone.

2. Music

The music draws on some of the more obscure pop and rock hits (and misses) of the period: songs I haven’t heard in decades plus a few of the better known efforts. Mixed in are some original pieces specially composed for the series which blend seamlessly with the authentic sounds of the 70s.

3. Lighting

The lighting is the ultimate stroke of genius in the series. A drab lighting pallette conveys the depressed nature of the economic state of the country and reflects the low tech quality of the TV camera work of the day. Brilliant!

4. Acting

A strong cast including a couple of veteran household names (Alun Armstrong and Ruth Sheen) bring real commitment to their roles. They’ve got the attitudes perfectly and the ensemble playing of the various groups within the cast is exemplary.

5. Attitudes

Every prejudice that manifested all day and every day in the early seventies is captured authentically in this production. The embryonic feminism displayed by Jane Tennison is tempered by the chauvinistic prevailing norms of the era. Shocking levels of racism and homophobia percolate the script presented head on with no compromise. If nothing else, this series is a celebration of progress. Yes, of course, there’s further to go and more to do. But compared with thirty years ago it’s encouraging that attitudes have changed so much.

If you want more blasts from the past check out Cabbage and Semolina, my memories of a 1950s childhood.

More porridge!

I think I’d better update you on the porridge and my cholesterol test.

To make sense of this post you need to read this one first.

Well, the good news is that my blood test results are back and the cholesterol level has gone down to 6.5 so, thankfully, no need to start taking statins. The GP said continue eating a healthy diet and you should be ok.

I’m still having a bowl of porridge for breakfast every day and I’m sure that helps. I’ve looked for more evidence about the beneficial effects of eating porridge and found this report on the NHS website  . This report is a bit more scientific than the reports I quoted the other day. And this article is interesting too although it’s loaded with advertising.

We ran out of Yockenthwaite oats and bought some more from the health food supplier, Suma. These oats are very good too but the fibre content is considerably less. 10% in Yockenthwaite compared with 6% in Suma.

I’ve started adding a tiny drizzle of Manuka honey to my bowl of porridge. I bet the three bears never had that! It’s very expensive  and is produced in Australia and New Zealand from the nectar of the mānuka tree. The honey is commonly sold as an alternative medicine. While a component found in mānuka honey has antibacterial properties there is no conclusive evidence of medicinal or dietary value other than as a sweetener but a friend of ours swears by it.

The other honey I add to my porridge, as an alternative to Manuka, is from a jar produced by Ryedale Honey. It has a much thicker texture and a creamy, cloudy appearance and costs about half the price of Manuka. The temptation with honey is to eat too much as it’s so delicious. As I said, just a tiny drizzle in the porridge: less than a quarter of a teaspoon. Except when one of us is getting a cold. Then, a teaspoon of honey dissolved in boiling water with a squeeze of lemon always seems to do some good! Or is that just an old tale used as an excuse to have a sweet drink when you’re feeling one degree under the weather?

Generally I avoid sugar and sweeteners. I don’t eat cake, chocolate or biscuits except as a rare treat. So my drizzle of honey is a lovely sugar burst at the start of the day. I stopped eating sugars, except as it occurs naturally in fruit, when I started trying to lose weight. Three years ago I was three stone overweight and I commenced a weight reduction programme and shifted all of the excess. I’ve managed to keep the weight off and currently my BMI is right in the middle of the chart. But, I don’t want to be smug. The temptation to eat too much is always there and I have a regular weigh-in to ensure that I’m keeping in the right zone.

Right, that’s all for today! I’m delighted with my blood test result and that the GP was so supportive. And thanks for being sufficiently interested to read this blogpost. If you’re a fan of porridge for breakfast, hope you’re enjoying yours as much as I am! You might also like my Cabbage and Semolina Blog which has got a couple of new posts this week. 🙂

5 Easy-to-Grow Perennials

My garden is quite small and more than half is covered in gravel. This is because our house was constructed about fifteen years ago on a brown-field site which was used by agricultural machine engineers for decades. Some parts of the site were solid concrete and just gravelled over.

The part of the garden which is soil is of poor quality and very chalky. As a fairly lazy gardener I keep things basic and simple. Last year I decided to re-plant one of the flower beds and I looked on gardening websites for plants which were easy to grow and would make a comeback each year.

I also wanted plants which were attractive to bees and butterflies.

These are five of the plants I selected. They seemed to settle in well last Autumn and are already starting to show signs of growth.

1. Geranium



2. Astrantia


3. Echinacea


4. Gaura


5. Scabious


My colour theme for the flower bed is cream, white and shades of pink.

I planted:

4 pink Geraniums

3 cream Astrantia

3 dark pink Echinacea

3 white Echinaceas

3 white Gaura

3 dark pink Scabious

3 pale pink Scabious.

I bought the geraniums from a local farm shop and the others from an on-line plant supplier. They were delivered as well established plants in 9cm pots and all survived the journey as the packaging was very good.

Hopefully in the Summer there will be a good display of flowers and lots of bees and butterflies.

Thanks for reading my blog today.

If you have a few minutes to spare you might like to check out my publishing website too. It’s at http://www.spurwing-ebooks.com

Spring forward!

Hope you’ve remembered to put your clocks forward one hour.

Most of our time-pieces just moved on automatically:

mobile phone, land-line phone, iPad, laptop. We’ve only got four actual clocks: a watch each, the clock on the cooker and an old fashioned, battery operated carriage clock. They didn’t take long to alter!

I have an old 1930s mantelpiece clock

that belonged to my grandparents but that doesn’t work any more. Sometimes I think I’ll take it to the clock repairer in town and get it mended. But then I remember its loud tick-tock and church-bell chimes on every quarter plus the striking of the hour and I’m glad its silent. It has a lovely polished walnut case and although rather plain it’s quite attractive so I keep it on the window-sill for old times sake!

I love Spring flowers.

We went for a walk round the gardens of our local “big house” yesterday and the daffodils were glorious. Masses of primroses were out too and their dainty flowers and delicate creamy-yellow petals were beautiful. The flower beds had all been cleared of last-year’s growth and there were all the signs of burgeoning plant life. Scarlet miniature tulips in one of the main flower beds were a stunning new addition since last year. And the full size tulips were well developed and should be out into full flower soon.



Thanks for visiting my blog today.

Hope you’re enjoying the weekend.

image credits





Are you watching Prime Suspect 1973?

We watched all the episodes of Prime Suspect starring Helen Mirren in the 1990s.

This new series with Stefanie Martini as Jane Tennison is really good.

Prime Suspect 1973 tells the story of 22-year-old Jane Tennison’s first days in the police force. She has to endure blatant sexism from her colleagues but the storyline where she’s thrown in at the deep end with a murder enquiry is riveting.

It’s the fourth out of six episodes tonight and I can’t wait.

5 stars from me for this one!

Who’s been eating my porridge?

When I changed my GP I had to have a new patient screening at the surgery.

The practice nurse took a blood sample to test for Type 2 Diabetes and Cholesterol.

When the blood test results came back my  Cholesterol was 7.6 and apparently this is way too high and put me in the at-risk category for heart disease. So the nurse booked me in for a fasting blood test to get a more accurate and detailed reading.

I didn’t want to take Statins so I made some adjustments to my lifestyle to try and lower the Cholesterol level.

My biggest lifestyle change was starting to eat porridge every day.

Studies have suggested that the fibre contained in porridge can reduce cholesterol levels by as much as 23% according to the National Post and the Daily Mail reported lots more supporting evidence for the health benefits of eating porridge.

The practice nurse at the surgery agreed that it was a good idea to start the day with a bowl of porridge and she also recommended baked beans. I’m not a big fan of baked beans so I was hoping the porridge would do the job and contribute to a better blood test result.

I bought some really good oats from a local farm shop:

Yockenthwaite Real Oaty Porridge from Yorkshire.

The oats are more coarse than supermarket porridge oats. They make a really good porridge both for taste and texture and it only takes a few minutes to cook through.

This is how  I make porridge

For one person

Half a cup of oats

One and a half cups of milk and water mixed

Put the oats in a non-stick pan and stir in the liquid.

Bring the mixture to boiling point and lower the heat.

Simmer for about 10 minutes stirring frequently.

Serve with

a dash of milk

a tiny squirt of honey

or a few bits of fruit

and it’s lovely.

Fill the pan with cold water and afterwards the porridge will slide out of the pan easily for washing-up.

A bowl of porridge will set you up for the day and I’m finding that I’m not so hungry at lunchtime.

Some people like to make porridge in the microwave but I think it has a much better texture if you cook it on the stove.

And who’s been eating my porridge?

He-with-whom-I-share-my-life a.k.a Michael, my husband.

So, tomorrow I’ll have to double up the quantities and make enough porridge for two.

Thanks for visiting my blog today.

You might also like:

Another blogpost about porridge

Porridge and eucalyptus leaves from 1935

Book of the Day




First blog post

I’ve decided to have a lifestyle blog.

What at your age?

Yes. Why not?

Oldies have a lifestyle too, you know.

Well, what’s a lifestyle blog anyway?

A lifestyle blog is best defined as a digital content representation of its author’s everyday life and interests. A lifestyle blogger creates content inspired and curated from their personal interests and daily activities.

That’s according to Mediakix and they seem to know all about it.

So, what are you going to write about on this blog, then?


Places I visit

Healthy Eating


The Weather

TV and Films


and anything else I think you might be interested in sharing with me.

Right. Well I’ll call back another day and see how you’re getting on.

Okay. Fine.

Are you sure you don’t want another coffee?