Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Feijoada: spicy comfort food from Portugal. Lundy Hole, Epphaven and Doyden Castle. South West Coast Path.

Joana relaxes after making her lovely meal

Feijoada- pronounced fazeshwada-  is a delicious one-pot casserole dish which originated in Portugal. Like paella it is eaten at midday. It has long been the national dish of Brazil. There are many variations: the Portuguese use butter beans whereas the Brazillians prefer black beans.

I had it for the first time last week in north Cornwall at a family gathering,  cooked by Joana Cânovas, from Madeira, who is au-pairing in England during her vacation.

Joana,19, is studying Speech and Language Therapy at the School of Health Technology in Porto. She could just as easily become a diplomat or a cook, and here is her recipe. She would have added add white wine to it had young children not been with us.  She also salted the pork belly or loin beforehand.

Feijoada, by Joana Cânovas

- onions
- garlic
- red peppers
- pork belly 
- chorizo
- butter beans 
- paprika (and piri piri if you like it hot)
- carrots
- potatoes
- cabbage
- tomatoes 
- bacon

You put olive oil, onions, tomatoes, garlic and peppers first with the salt and paprika. Then you put chopped bacon, meat (little cubes) and chorizo. Meanwhile you boil the potatoes (little cubes). 
Then you put the cabage (tiny bits) and carrots in and add hot water to it. When the carrots are almost ready you add the potatoes and beans and let them boil for a bit so they can absorb the sauce.
Keep tasting the sauce and checking if it's good. Keep adding paprika, salt, or even herbs till you think it tastes good! 
Serve with rice.

Lundy Hole is on the coastal path,
near Epphaven and Doyden Castle.
We walked there after the meal

Doyden Castle is owned by The National Trust,
it can be rented but is booked up for months in advance

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Matisse Cut-Outs exhibition at Tate Modern, reviewed by Cornish abstract artist Chris Billington. Lydia Delectorskaya. Starchild charity.

 It is always interesting to see what one artist makes of another's work, and I am delighted to be able to share the well-known Cornish abstract artist Chris Billington's excellent review of the exhibition at Tate Modern of Henri Matisse's Cut-Outs. He also took all but one of the excellent photographs.
Chris Billington has recently moved back to Truro, and has donated his latest painting Starchild for the forthcoming auction in Glasgow for the Starchild charity,  which was set up in 2012 to improve the lives of orphans in Uganda. 

Like Matisse, Chris goes back to the basics of form and colour in his paintings.

We Are All Made Of Stars (2014) – 24in X 30in – painted for Starchild ~ Chris Billington

Review by Chris Billington 

 Henri Matisse The Cut Outs ~ Painting With Scissors

This summer Matisse lights up the walls of the Tate Modern with a concord of colour and pattern.
Henri Matisse The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern 2014 ~ Chris Billington

This is an exhibition entirely given over to the Cut-Outs of Matisse.   Shapes cut from gouache painted sheets of paper, pinned and eventually glued to a support mostly completed during his latter years, with the help of various assistants, but mainly aided by Lydia Delectorskaya, his Russian lover and muse.

         Henri Matisse The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern 2014 ~ Chris Billington

The  Cut-Outs are arranged pretty much chronologically and demonstrate just how much cutting up Matisse carried out during his artistic career. These Cut-Outs were not merely a bookend, a whimsical diversion: his experiments with this process span decades and what is evident is how they progress and develop logically, charting the use of the cut out shapes and the cast off pieces there is a visible path of evolution from the earliest attempts.

Henri Matisse The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern 2014 ~ Chris Billington 

A short film, shot at the time, shows Lydia Delectorskaya at the side of Matisse while he is making circular motions in the air with a large pair of dressmaking scissors, cutting out paper shapes freehand. She is then seen arranging the shapes under the direction of Matisse, who is pointing to various positions on the wall with a long pole until he is happy that they are in the correct place. However, far from always being an instant process often the shapes were placed, and replaced, rotated and turned, pinned and unpinned, until the overall idea worked right. This could take many attempts and some even took several years before Matisse was entirely happy with the results, evidence of this has been identified by a myriad of tiny pin holes in some of the cut outs indicating that Matisse repositioned the shapes many times before arriving at the final composition.

Henri Matisse The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern 2014 ~ Chris Billington

Much of this work was Matisse attempting to bring the exuberance of the garden into his studio when he was bedridden and infirm in his later years but it was by no means an end of life project, rather it was borne out of years of experimentation with Matisse perfecting the procedure over decades.

Henri Matisse The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern 2014 ~ Chris Billington

The exhibition takes us from his 1930s early experiments with scissors, pins and paper, through the complete process, including a look at some of the raw materials with which he worked. Complete with a rich complement of photographs and writings from the archive to enhance our understanding of the process, along with a selection of many of his early book illustrations and taking us right up to his work for the Dominican Chapel of the Rosary at Vence and his final pieces in the mid 1950′s prior to his death. However it was in his later years due to old age and infirmity that the process was to become dominant in his practice with Matisse even declaring that his new ideas were the beginning of the end of painting.

Henri Matisse The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern 2014 ~ Chris Billington
A proliferation of foliage and fauna bursts forth from the gallery walls as one moves from one room to the next, of which there are a suite of 14 in total which together showcase 120 dazzling works. Several books and magazines were illustrated by Matisse using the cut-out principle, but the stand-out publication was Jazz which was published in 1947 in a limited edition of 100 and one of the rooms is given over entirely to the subject and this room really held my attention for quite some time as there was so much information to take in.
Henri Matisse The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern 2014 ~ Chris Billington

The original edition of Jazz contains a portfolio of glorious stencil prints, each interspersed with pages of very large fluid text, handwritten by Matisse, much of which was in the room, including The Sword Swallower.
               Henri Matisse The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern 2014 ~ Chris Billington

All of the iconic works are present in the other 13 rooms, including ‘The Snail’ (1953), which actually belongs to The Tate, is shown alongside its sister work ‘Memory of Oceania’ also from 1953. The Four Blue Nudes, the first three of which came to Matisse effortlessly, like many other cut-outs, almost in an instant, but the fourth he struggled to form. It is noticeable how uneasy ‘Blue Nude iv’ sits alongside the previous three all the more remarkable in fact because ‘Blue Nude iv’ was actually the first of the four to be started and the last to be completed. Seen by millions on posters, postcards, greetings cards etc, now is the chance for many of us to see the real articles up close. From room to room the brilliance and scale is quite staggering, and the exhibition closes with the magnificent cut-out model on a Christmas theme and the resulting stained glass which was commissioned for the Time-Life Building in New York. Like his windows for the Vence Chapel, Christmas Eve conveys the spirit of religious expression without explicitly addressing religious subject matter. in the final room.

The Snail and Memory of Oceana are reunited in Henri Matisse 
                             The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern ~ Photo Tate

Matisse termed the process of making these intensely vivid and large scale works as “painting with scissors.”. And what these Cut-Outs or as the French refer to them, découpages, do is uphold to the very end of his years the reputation of Matisse as the ‘wild beast ‘ of colour.
             Henri Matisse The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern 2014 ~ Chris Billington

“I have worked for years in order that people might say, ‘it seems easy to do’”, said Matisse shortly before his death, and if this all seems like child’s play to the viewer he would probably be very happy, but whichever way you view it, by going back to the basics of form and colour, there is no denying that the Cut Outs dance on the walls, they vibrate with energy.
              Henri Matisse The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern 2014 ~ Chris Billington

This genuinely once in a lifetime exhibition revitalises the works that we know so well, even if we have never before seen the original pieces. That it does so admirably is testament to the skill of the curatorial team of Jodi Hauptman, Karl Buchberg, Samantha Friedman and Nicholas Cullinan under the most capable charge of Sir Nicholas Serota. In one broad sweep this exquisitely executed show seduces the senses and refashions our understanding of what Matisse achieved in the cut-outs. From now on we’ll see them not simply as a delightful postscript to his extraordinary artistic career, but the realisation of half a century of work … not merely decorative arrangements of shapes and colours but as works of art from a 20th century giant of modern art that continue to enliven the spirit through their powerful emotional presence.

On 3 June, a live film about the exhibition was broadcast in cinemas across the UK.
Matisse The Cut-Outs runs until September  2014 at Tate Modern

Portrait of Lydia Delectorskaya by Henri Matisse, 1947 
Hermitage, Saint Petersburg

Friday, 15 August 2014

The Red Arrows over Flushing.: 2014 Display dates and venues. Falmouth Week. BAE Systems Hawk T1. Rolls Royce Adour.

Red Arrows over Flushing

The Red Arrows over Falmouth Harbour 

Cross-over manoeuvres

The Red Arrows have just delighted crowds in Falmouth with an awesome display of precision flying. At first pilots from the elite RAF Aerobatic Team flew in what seemed like terrifyingly close formation then broke off for cross-over manoeuvres at top speeds before regrouping to form patterns in the sky with red, white and blue vapour trails.

Dual control BAE Systems Hawk T1 jets painted red are used.  Hawk jets are made in Britain, and can fly at speeds of 600 miles per hour powered by Rolls Royce Adour engines which produce 5,200lbs of thrust.  .

Displays by the Red Arrows in the UK and overseas showcase British skill and technology, which lead to increased business,  employment and exports. The Red Arrows raise money for charity and inspire many people to join the Royal Air Force. 

The Red Arrows team is now in its 50th year, and is based at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire. 

The Red Arrows' 2014 display dates and venues.

Displays by the Red Arrows are subject to weather and operational restrictions. For up to date information on timings for displays or for details about individual events please contact the show organisers by following the the web links listed below.

Sat 16 Aug
Eastbourne, East Sussex

Sun 17 Aug
Eastbourne, East Sussex

Sun 17 Aug
Sywell, Northants

Wed 20 Aug
Cromer, Norfolk

Wed 20 Aug
Weymouth, Dorset

Thu 21 Aug
Fowey, Cornwall

Fri 22 Aug
Clacton, Essex

Sat 23 Aug
Dawlish, Devon

Sat 23 Aug
Overton, Hants

Sun 24 Aug
Dunsfold Park, Surrey

Wed 27 Aug
TORBAY - 1800hrs

Thu 28 Aug
Bournemouth, Dorset

Fri 29 Aug
Bournemouth, Dorset

Fri 29 Aug
Dartmouth, Devon

Sat 30 Aug
Barry Island, Glamorgan

Sat 30 Aug
Bournemouth, Dorset

Sun 31 Aug
Bournemouth, Dorset

Sun 31 Aug
RHYL AIRSHOW - 1730hrs
Rhyl, Denbighshire

Mon 1 Sep
Fri 5 Sep
Pangbourne, Berks

Sat 6 Sep
AIR 14 - 1200hrs
Payerne, Switzerland

Sun 7 Sep
Great North Run Flypast

Sun 7 Sep
Air Waves Portrush - 1500hrs
Portrush, Coleraine

Thu 11 Sep
St Peter Port, Guernsey

Thu 11 Sep
St Aubin’s Bay, Jersey

Sat 13 Sep
Kleine Brogel, Belgium

Sun 14 Sep
Kleine Brogel, Belgium

Sun 14 Sep
Duxford, Cambs

Sat 20 Sep
Sun 21 Sep

Sun 21 Sep
Rennes, France

Mon 22 Sep
Mahon, Menorca

Thu 25 Sep
Athens, Greece

Sun 28 Sep
Luqa, Malta

Monday, 4 August 2014

4. Trafalgar Roundabout, Truro, marks WWI with poppies and delights drivers. Richard Budge, Parks Manager. Seagulls.

Trafalgar Roundabout  can now be called a magic roundabout, which is appropriately ablaze with poppies to mark the 100th anniversary of World War I. The poppy seeds were sown in May, and as usual prize-winning Parks Manager Richard Budge has come up with the goods. In 2012 he and his team won the South West in Bloom Award, with extra awards for the Most Meritorious Entry and the Portman Cup.

Cornwall's patron saint, St Piran, is also remembered, with his cross on the bank, and the Cornish choughis below it . 

The two gulls which oddly chose to nest on the roundabout in May instead of up high are still there, and obviously approve of the place.

The Wst Briton's brilliant photograph, 30 May 2014

3 August 2014. M Oram
The ugly utility box has an additional function

Things have settled down nowadays after the £3.43 million scheme to expand the roundabout from two to three lanes for up to 40,000 vehicles a day and the coming Waitrose development at the top of Tregolls Road.

The traffic signals have been tweaked, the new bus lane is working well, long tailbacks are less frequent and Twitter complaints have died down. 

Nonetheless It is still very difficult to get out of Malpas Road to cross the roundabout to get to St Austell Street, and drivers coming from St Clement's Hill also have the devil of a job to get onto the inside lane to cross over

Before and after photographs of St Austell Street. 
The Catholic church is in the background

The flower bed was cut down to make an extra lane.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Physician-assisted suicide/ Assisted dying. Pastoral Letter from the Catholic Bishop of Plymouth, the Rt. Rev. Mark O'Toole. The Archbishop of Canterbury. Lord Carey. Lord Falconer.

Physician-assisted suicide or Assisted dying is contrary to the current law under the 1961 Suicide Act, which makes it an offence to encourage or assist a suicide or suicide attempt in England and Wales. Anyone doing so could face up to 14 years in prison.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby

This week Lord Falconer' s Assisted Dying Bill, allowing doctors to prescribe terminally ill patients a lethal dose of drugs, has its second reading in the House of Lords. The Church of England, the Catholic Church, other churches, most of the medical profession and many others are opposed to this. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, says the Assisted Dying Bill is "mistaken and dangerous", and calls for a Royal Commision of inquiry into the subject.

However, the former Archbishop of Canterbury (from 1991-2002) Lord Carey, has now caused consternation by going against the official line of the Church of England, saying he would back legislation to help the terminally ill in England and Wales end their lives. 

Bishop of Plymouth, the Rt. Rev. Mark O'Toole

This weekend an important and timely pastoral letter on Assisted Dying from the Catholic Bishop of Plymouth, the Rt. Rev. Mark O'Toole, was read out to all the parishes in the diocese. Bishop Mark was appointed bishop on 9 November 2013.

Lanherne Manor and chapel in St Mawgan were originally given by the Arundell family 
In 1794 to Carmelite nuns who had fled from Belgium during the French revolution. An enclosed community of Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculata, an Italian order, now live there.

The chaplain to the Lanherne convent in St Mawgan, the Reverend George Roth, read the pastoral letter out yesterday, and I am indebted to him for giving me a copy of it.

Diocese of Plymouth

From the Office of the Bishop 


My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The bishops of England and Wales agreed that we would write to our dioceses about a very important matter. Next Friday in the House of Lords there will be a debate about a proposed new law, tabled by Lord Falconer, This law would allow doctors to supply lethal drugs to people whom they have diagnosed as terminally ill, and whom they believe to have 6 months or less to live, so that these drugs can be used for purposes of suicide.  This is effectively physician-assisted suicide even if the supporters of the bill call it by the less shocking term "Assisted dying".

In today's reading from the letter to the Romans, St Paul speaks of the 'groaning' of the whole of creation, as "we wait for our bodies to be set free."  I have often thought of that text in accompanying those who aare dying.  St Paul also reminds us that the sufferings of this present life "can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us." Our experience of death and dying take place against our belief in a transcendent horizon; we believe that every person is made for God and called to be with Him forever.

Our faith teaches us that all human life is sacred.  Respecting life means that every person must be valued for as long as they live.  Whilst we believe every person should be given appropriate treatment in their suffering we do not always use extraordinary means to extend life at all costs.  At the same time it is not acceptable to deliberately put an end to the lives of the disabled, of the sick or of dying people.  The Catechism of the Church reminds us of this when it says, "It is God who remains the sovereign master of life.  We are the stewards, not owners of the life God has entrusted to us.  It is not ours to dispose of."

The new bill marks a very serious moment for our country.  It raises serious questions about what sort of society we want to be.  Especially of concern is whether we will continue to promote a proper care of the dying, and of those who are vulnerable through disability or age.

If this bill were to become law, it would change our society dreamatically.  We need only look at the meteoric rise in deaths from euthanasia and assisted dying in countries like Belgium and the Netherlands, which introduced this legislation several years ago.  Belgium has peioneered the taking of organs from those who have died in this way and more recently demanded that the law be changed to allow voluntary euthanasia of children as well as adults.  It has seen some extraordinary individual cases - euthanasia for anorexia nervosa, euthanasia for someone who regretted gender reassignment, euthanasia of twin brothers who feared losing their sight.

Supporters of the bill will say that these cases are not possible under the proposed law in our country.  Yet the history of such legislation shows that once permission is given for one set of circumstances it will soon be extended.  We should not only be concerned about this "slippery slope" in the proposed law.  Nor should supporters of the bill try to see our opposition as a merely religious matter.  The deeper question is the inherent dignity of every person, especially in relation to those who are disabled, elderly and vulnerable.  If, as a society, we facilitate suicide for certain categories of people - in this case those who are terminally ill - but seek to prevent suicide of others - the healthy and the young - then what were are ultimately saying is that some lives are less worthy than others.

Those who argue for a change in the law say it is about dying not about other vulnerable people.  However in framing their arguments, they appeal not to the reality of someone's approaching death.  They speak rather about the alleged indignity of being being dependant on another, or of reduced mental capacity, or the fear of being a practical  or financial burden on family and friends.  But to say, as a society, that these are intolerable would ultimately be to condemn every disabled, elderly and vulnerable person.  It would open the flood gates and put huge pressure on these individuals, too, to seek such 'assisted dying'.  It would open the flood gates and put huge pressure on these individuals, too, to seek such 'assisted dying'.  It would make many of us feel insecure about our future and whether we, too, would be pressured not to be a burden.

This country has such a rich tradition of care for the dying.  We should invest more in such care.  Thankfully modern medicine, too, can deal with most forms of physical pain and distress.  We all have the greatest compassion for someone in mental anguish who takes their own life.  The law already has the discretion to deal compassionately and sensitively with the difficult case where someone, after repeated pleading, has reluctantly helped a loved one to end his or her life.  That is a totally different situation from a state-sponsored licensing system for assisted dying.

The proposed legislation poses real threats to the equality of all people and the ongoing need of end-of-life care in our society.  It is good to see that those opposed to a change in the law includes a diverse group of medical professionals (especially but not only from the field of palliative care), disability rights organisations, pro-life groups and faith communities, as well as individual activists, researchers, carers and a range of other concerned people.

We must work with such individuals to promote a culture of life rather than in promoting a sense of hopelessness for people in very difficult circumstances.  Always we must seek to protect those who are most vulnerable, especially the terminally ill, the disabled and the elderly.  We must treasure and value these individuals among us.  If you felt able I would be grateful if you wrote to your loal MP or to a Member of the House of Lords, expressing your concern about the proposed bill.  Especially I ask for your prayer at this time that we will show, as a society, that we cherish life in all its vulnerablility by rejecting this proposed ligislation.

I thank you for your attention and I ask you to remember me in your prayers.

Yours devotedly,

Mark O'Toole

Rt Rev Mark O'Toole
Bishop of Plymouth

Please write to your MP or a member of the House of Lords if you are against the Bill.

Suggested points to make in your letter come from Care Not Killing

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Abraham Lincoln and Jack Kennedy - some eerie similarities. Ron Kurtus and School for Champions. Hotel du Golf, les Arcs.

Hotel du Golf, Les Arcs

During a skiing holiday last year, twelve-year old Amy Mustard came down to the jazz bar at the Hotel du Golf in Les Arcs (a great hotel frequented by the French with terrific food) to show us these eerie comparisons made by Ron Kurtus, from, a useful site for students.

Skiers wanting a good hotel convenient to the slopes will find the Hotel du Golf in Les Arcs fits the bill. Although it only has three stars it has three restaurants, a spa, swimming pools and conference facilities. The bar has great decor and a roaring fire.

Abraham Lincoln 1809-1869
Jack Kennedy 1917-1963
Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846
Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946
He was elected President in 1860
He was elected President in 1960
His wife lost a child while living in the White House
His wife lost a child while living in the White House
He was directly concerned with Civil Rights
He was directly concerned with Civil Rights
Lincoln was shot in the back of the head in the presence of his wife
Kennedy was shot in the back of the head in the presence of his wife
Lincoln was shot in the Ford Theatre
Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln, made by Ford
He was shot on a Friday
He was shot on a Friday
The assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was known by three names, comprised of fifteen letters
The assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was known by three names, comprised of fifteen letters
Booth was killed before being brought to trial
Oswald was killed before being brought to trial
There were theories that Booth was part of a greater conspiracy
There were theories that Oswald was part of a greater conspiracy
Lincoln's successor was Andrew Johnson, born in 1808
Kennedy's successor was Lyndon Johnson, born in 1908

Ribollita Soup by Jamie Oliver. Italian peasant food.

Despite the excellent eateries in Cornwall, like Nathan Outlaw, Jamie Oliver and  Rick Stein, I haven't seen this on their menus,.and didn't know anything about it.  (Rick is having an oriental kick at the moment on his menus). 

I enjoyed ribollita recently with family in patrician Bath. 

Try it in these days of hardship.

Ribollita Soup by Jamie Oliver, 
from Jamie's Italy


310 g zolfini or cannellini beans, fresh, or dried and soaked overnight
1 bay leaf
1 tomato, squashed
1 small potato, peeled
2 small red onions, peeled
2 carrots, peeled
3 sticks celery, trimmed
3 cloves garlic, peeled
olive oil
1 pinch ground fennel seeds
1 pinch dried red chilli
400 g good-quality tinned plum tomatoes
310 g cavolo nero, leaves and stalks finely sliced
2 large handfuls good-quality stale bread, torn into chunks
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil


There's often confusion as to what ribollita should actually be like. It's not like minestrone, as it isn't brothy and it has no pasta in it. It's actually more like pappa al pomodoro, as it's thick and based on bread. It's very much Italian 'peasant food' and would have been eaten a lot in the days of no central heating and lots of hard manual labour. I think this recipe embraces the heart and soul of what peasant cooking is all about – cheap, tasty power food. Please do make it and reheat it the next day – you'll find the flavours intensify.

Add your fresh or dried and soaked beans to a pan of water with the bay leaf, tomato and potato – this will help to flavour the beans and soften their skins. Cook until tender – taste one to check they're nice and soft. Dried beans can take up to an hour, but check fresh ones after 25 minutes. Drain (reserving about half a glass of the cooking water), and discard the bay leaf, tomato and potato.

Finely chop your onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Heat a saucepan with a splash of olive oil and add the vegetables to the pan with the ground fennel seeds and chilli. Sweat very slowly on a low heat with the lid just ajar for around 15 to 20 minutes until soft, but not brown. Add the tomatoes and bring to a gentle simmer for a few minutes.

Add the cooked and drained beans with a little of the water they were cooked in, and bring back to the boil. Stir in the sliced cavolo (it will look like loads, but don't worry as it will cook down), then moisten the bread with a little of the cooking water and stir it in too. The soup should be thick but not dry, so add a little more cooking water if you need to loosen it. Continue cooking for about 30 minutes – you want to achieve a silky, thick soup.

Season the ribollita with salt and pepper and stir in 4 good lugs of good-quality Tuscan extra virgin olive oil before serving to give it a glossy velvety texture. Serve on a cold winter's day with lots and lots of Chianti