Leontyne Price and memory lane

Stunning. Price was one of the great operatic sopranos of the 20th century, but listen to how halfway through she displays some rich, completely assured notes that any alto would be proud of. Even if you think opera isn’t your thing, this is worth 2 minutes of anyone’s time. Finally, if this puts you in the mood for more great singers, see if you can find Sean Rafferty’s interviews with Janet Baker and John Tomlinson on the bbc i-player from over Christmas.

Time for cake

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I don’t care if it’s January and we’re all meant to be eating mild broth and celery – if it’s cold and dark also, we still need cake. I like the look of this banana bread by Jasmine Helmsley, and can vouch for the cranberry and marzipan recipe by Magda’s Cauldron, after it provided comfort with mulled wine after a very icy, wet walk the afternoon before New Year’s Eve.

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Norwich

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After coming across the Cathedrals and Churches of Britain feed a few weeks previously, I was spurred on to finally get across to Norwich and the cathedral that I’d been wanting to see for some time.

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I went in on one those crisp, sunny, blue-sky winter days that are surely the perfect weather. The Close was looking like the most perfect Trollope/Elizabeth Goudge/ Catherine Fox literary fantasy, and the yew tree outside the cathedral was a rare corner of shade.

 

The cloisters – possibly my favourite part of any cathedral, as I tend to make a beeline for them – were beautiful.

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I wasn’t expecting Norwich Cathedral to be such an old foundation

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(there’s some wonderfully sturdy Norman columns underneath the lacy ceiling)

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and the cathedral was still in Christmas mood, looking extremely welcoming in the sunlight.

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In the side chapels was a mix of old stained glass (the Agincourt window) and more modern pieces.

I rather liked these two former bishops as well. Those were the days…

 

Afterwards I set off into the city, which was peppered with more churches, including this one on the main square with an excellent flying roof (so called because of the carved angels on the beams)

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London dispatches

The run up to Christmas is always a great time for some overhears on the street/Tube/canal paths of London. Every word is true and unadulterated…

“So when he turned up he was just palpitating”

“…Because we need time to prepare. Some of them need to go and put on clothes.”

“So I’m going to Montenegro.”

“You know there’s a wardrobe falling down the stairs?” “Yeah”

(Two coppers to each other) “I got her a sword to go with her two daggers. She’s so not girly.”

“But I did pay him for the drugs.”

“You can’t really drink one bottle at a time, because that would be a twenty year project”

“It’s like a cheese-filled condom”

“And then he said he’d been in a car crash but he’d bought me tickets for the gig too anyway and did I want to go. But it’s bollocks because he was never in a car crash anyway.”

“No I can’t unzip them, it’s my bunions.”

“It’s alright when she lies down, so it must be her neck, don’t you think?” “But it’s also ok when she talks.”

“Do you know anyone who know someone anything about the stock exchange?” “Well they seem to.”

Catnip

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The Instagram feed @churchescathedralsofbritain could have been drawn up just for me. After a childhood of summer holidays involving a hefty amount of church crawling, I really believe these are some of great most beautiful overlooked buildings in the U.K. All photos from the feed.