Sunday, 30 June 2013


READING... the new issues of Bust and Bitch, after I treated myself to new subscriptions to them both.  I particularly enjoyed the new Bust, with none other than Courtney Love on the cover.  I adore her!

OPENING... my birthday cards and presents, finally!  This amazing Penguin Classics/Smiths album print from my brother was one of my favourite things; you can find them on Etsy from Standard Designs.

BUYING... a bargain £1.00 vintage glass bottle, perfect to display a peony from the bunch I bought from the market for an equally bargain £2.

GETTING... my hair done.  This is apparently what happens when you tell the hairdresser to on no condition cut it as short as chin length; yep, she cuts it a tad shorter.  Sob!  I'm pretty upset but keep telling myself it will grow.  On the up-side, I finally got the perfect shade of red (it has thus far always been too dark/burgundy toned and I kept asking for more orange).  I call it 'Angela-from-My-So-Called-Life Red', and it's the exact colour that I first dyed my (naturally blonde) hair at the age of 16.  I love it!

DRINKING.... far too much at a work's leaving do on Friday, leaving me rather tender of head all day yesterday, and putting a stop to most of my other weekend plans.  Oh well, a day in bed with the paper to keep me company and regular What's App messages from The Boy was rather pleasant in the end.

EATING... homemade tomato, red onion & lime salsa, homemade guacamole, fajitas... I'm still obsessed with Mexican food.

PLANNING... our trip to Macedonia, which is now less than two weeks away, eek.  And my bestie's hen weekend in Brussels, which is only three weeks away (and no L plates, willy hats or strippers to be seen, I promise Cara!).

June reads

1. Moranthology is a collection of pieces by controversial feminist, Times columist, and Tweeter-extraordinaire Caitlin Moran.  I laughed out loud a number of times, especially at the columns about her marriage; I nodded my head madly and grew increasingly angry at her pieces about poverty and the goverment's ignorance of everything outside their narrow scope of experience (e.g. Eton followed by Oxbridge).  A great read.

2. Two Whole Cakes was written by xojane editor and fatshion guru Lesley Kinzel.  Part-memoir, part-fat acceptance polemic, it was a quick and satisfying read.  If nothing else, it made me realise that I'm actually quite a long way along the road of body acceptance; the tag-line 'How to stop dieting and learn to love your body' didn't feel relevant to me as someone who has never dieted and does a (mostly) pretty good job of loving their body.  However, as a regular visitor to xojane pretty much since launch, I had already read a lot of the content of Two Whole Cakes, something I was unaware of when I got the book.

3. I loved Adorkable so much that I immediately ordered some of Sarra Manning's back catalogue from my local library. Nobody's Girl was the first to arrive and, while I didn't love it quite as much, it was still a cracking good read. 17 year old self-professed 'good girl' Bea disappears to Paris to try to discover who her father is, and along the way inevitably find both herself and the love of a good boy. So far, so formulaic, but Manning's characters are reliably engaging, her evocation of the settings is perfect, and her dialogue sparkling. 

4. The Mystery of Mercy Close wasn't my favourite ever Marian Keyes novel - and definitely not her best about the family of recurring characters, the Walshes, who appear in so many of her books - but it was, as with everything she writes, diverting, intelligent and had moments of real humour and warmth. 

5. I read The Girl On The Stairs in Berlin, where it's set, which added an extra layer of tension and excitement to the story.  Protagonist Jane moves to Berlin to be with her partner, Petra, but as she enters the late stages of pregnancy, Jane becomes increasingly isolated and haunted by the city's past.  Is the girl on the stairs - Jane and Petra's neighbour - a victim of abuse, or is Jane imagining things to be more sinister than they are?

6. Dancing Girls is a collection of Margaret Atwood's early short stories.  Some of her more recent collections - Moral Disorder especially - are among my favourite books, but I found this harder to get into, and ended up skipping the end of some of the stories.

7. Dead Ever After was the final book in the 13-volume Sookie Stackhouse series.  Some fans went absolutely apeshit about the conclusion, but I found it an appropriate end to Sookie's story.  The writing reaches a new nadir, though, with a particular highlight being a whole chapter where two characters are repeatedly described as "the thin man" and "the medium-sized man".  Makes Dan Brown look like a Booker winner.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Urban decay

On my recent walks around Leicester I've become really drawn to the decaying, disused, post-industrial landscapes that dot our cities but that are so easy to ignore.  By photographing it, I've realised what a strange beauty and brightness these graffitied walls and peeling railings add to the environment.


Monday, 24 June 2013

Adventures in Exmouth

I still haven't recovered from camp last week.  Averaging 4 hours sleep a night, constantly on duty (and constantly prey to the whined, "Miss..."), walking miles each day... it's always really bloody hard work, but it's also always ace.  And luckily, this year was no exception.

We visited the beach, we walked to Dawlish and back, we wandered around Exmouth (and I even got to go off for a little shopping expedition on my own), we ate far too much, I celebrated my birthday, we had a cheeky glass of wine once the kids were in bed, and, one drizzly day aside, the sun shone... what more can you ask for?

Colourful beach huts lining the seafront at Dawlish Warren.  Even on an overcast morning, they shone brightly.

My mum and her partner, Andrea, collect heart shaped stones for each other, which I've always thought was a cute tradition.  Who knows, maybe I'll give my heart to The Boy.  If he's lucky.

I also found an amazing shop in Exmouth called Inc. The kind of place where you want to buy everything. I ended up coming away with a couple of notebooks and a lunchbag, but what I really wanted - and couldn't justify spending £70 on - was an incredible print by London artist James Brown. Inc have an online shop here: do take a look.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Music memories

The final guest post for the week; here's Daire to introduce herself...
Hi! My name is Daire (pronounced Da-ra). I'm twenty-two years old, and currently juggling an English Literature degree, a full-time job and a slight blogging obsession. I started my blog a couple of years ago, as a way to chronicle my studies with the Open University... but since then it has morphed into a platform for me to talk about books, showcase my artistic experiments and occasionally just rant about life. Click to visit my BLOG / TWITTER / BLOGLOVIN
So there’s this thing that people do when they first meet you. They nod knowingly when you tell them what you do for a living and then they ask you the question that strikes fear in the heart of anyone who hears it…
What kind of music do you like?
The terror sets in. You mentally trawl through your iTunes. You frantically try to come up with an answer that’s original enough to be impressive, but not so off kilter that people start to back away slowly, with a grimace fixed on their faces. And what do you come out with?
Erm, all sorts.
Can you really summarise your taste in music into a line or two? I know I can’t.
Our lives are made up of hundreds or thousands of musical moments. The nursery rhymes you sang with Grandma. The theme tunes of TV shows you weren’t supposed to be watching. The hymns from assembly. Records your parents played after a class of wine or four. The Friday Night Disco. Those songs that describe the way you feel perfectly, when you can’t do it in your own words. The beats that help you cry then fight through a break up. The tunes you pound away to at the gym. The first dance at your wedding.
Nothing triggers a memory like the opening bars of a song. There’s something about music that can transport you to another time and place…every time I hear the first line of Love is All Around I’m three years old, doing my carefully choreographed dance on the stage we had in our living room. Yes, this may make me cringe (especially when certain family members bring it up in public…), but whether I like it or not, it’s part of me!
This may go without saying, but I’m known for my ‘terrible’taste in music. I’m never allowed to touch the playlist at a house party. People are constantly sending me links to ‘educate’ me. HOWEVER I’m kind of proud of my total randomness…
So today I’m going to share a sneak peek of the musical mayhem swirling around my brain. These are my top five most played songs of 2013. Apologies in advance:
Biloxi Parish by The Gaslight Anthem
Fast Car by Tracy Chapman (cover version by Boyce Avenue and Kina Grannis)
Girl all the Bad Guys Want by Bowling for Soup


I’ll Make a Man Out of You from Mulan


We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together by Taylor Swift


All are somewhat guilty pleasures… but hey ho!
Now I have two questions for you:
a) What is the first song you can remember listening to? (And for your sake I hope it’s better than my Wet, Wet, Wet!)
b) What are your five most played songs of the year?

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Happy birthday to me!

Since starting this blog I have had some lovely birthdays...

I celebrated my second blog birthday earlier this year, as important and notable an event for me as an actual birthday.

I had a busy birthday weekend for my 33rd, with my niece coming to visit and a trip to the park, amongst other things.

I spent my 34th birthday camping with school.  My friends went out of their way to ensure I had a special day; decorating my tent with balloons and banners, buying me silly, fun and useful gifts, and generally spoiling me rotton.  Here on the blog, I mused about my favourite literary birthdays.  I will re-read the story of Eeyore's birthday this evening before bed, as is traditional, and laugh a bit and tear-up a bit (it's Eeyore's glee at his gifts that gets me every time).

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Who lives in a house like this?

Anyone else remember Through The Keyhole?  I always loved the chance to take a peek inside the homes of celebrities, oohing and aahing at their often terrible taste.  And now, one of my favourite kinds of blog posts to read are ones about other people's homes (although now I am more likely to be found oohing in admiration). 
E, who blogs at Make Do & Spend with B (from Monday's Q&A), very kindly offered to let us all have a nosey around her house for today's guest post...
Here are a few snaps from my little house in Leicester. Ok so I know I still haven't got around to getting the windows painted, much of the furniture has been begged and borrowed from family and friends (the sofa I've been intending to buy for a year and a half still remains in the shop window), and yes, the kitchen is in desperate need of an overhaul. Despite all this there is nowhere else I would rather have spent the last three years, much has happened during my time here. I joined a photography club where I made many new friends, one of whom was B who I started writing a blog with. I started a new job in a bakery and I met my Boyfriend C, who moved into the little house just before Christmas 2012, and we have recently had a little kitten called Truffle move in with us.
The house needed little decorating doing when I first moved in, C an I have attempted bits and bobs but really in terms of putting my own mark on the place this has come from the furnishings, collected pieces and of course the odd Ikea purchase!

My dressing table came from my grandmothers house, it looks out onto the street and now all the leaves have come out on the tree its a lovely calm place to sit in the morning to prepare for the day ahead.

The bedroom is the only room to have been decorated so far, C and I wallpapered the wall behind the bed ourselves, which was quite stressful, I don't think we would attempt this again! The most expensive piece of furniture I have bought for the house so far is an enormous wardrobe with sliding mirror doors, Before I used to have just a clothes rail so this is a little bit of luxury!
I have a photo wall in my Dining room, Collected paintings and drawings from over the years and photos of family and friends. This is still evolving, I have a few pieces still to add.
For Christmas last year my Aunt gave us all bunting made from fabrics that used to belong in my Grandmothers house, which was sold after she passed away in 2009. Little pieces of upcycled curtains and table cloths that still smell faintly of my Grandmother's house.

I have a large oil painting of my grandfather which I love, though It's not been hung yet as I'm not too certain where to put it to do it justice!
The kitchen, though fully functional is the room I would most like to update, I have dreams of a Belfast sink under the window and drawers, the kitchen is currently lacking in drawers which has always been a frustration! I store my baking ingredients in glass jars on the shelves, its cluttered but everything is easily accessible.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Music Monday: Q&A with B

Today's guest post comes courtesy of B, who blogs at Make Do & Spend.  She very kindly volunteered to answer my music Q&A, and also included a fab photograph of her record player.

What’s the first record (single or album) that you bought?
I genuinely can't remember the first single I bought. Every Saturday I used to go into the town centre and spend my pocket money on my favourite chart song - on tape if possibly, so I could listen to it on my Walkman.

What I do remember is the first time I went into a record shop to buy an album after hearing one of the tracks on television and tracking it down. It was REM's Automatic For The People, and I remember being so pleased when the guy who served me acknowledged that I'd made a great choice.

What was the first gig you went to?
I'm going to discount the gig I went to with my best friend's church club, where the frontman of the support band did a stage dive... into empty space... ouch!

So it could have been Daniel Bedingfield in concert (that guy had energy!), it could've been Tom Jones (I was largely surrounded by women in their 60s, but he was incredible) or it might have been Supergrass (which would probably give me the most street cred).

What song reminds you of being a teenager?
Mr Brightside by The Killers. I clearly remember hearing it for the first time, aged 17, turned up loud in a car full of my friends from my A Level drama group. It became the anthem of that summer.

How would you sum up your music tastes, in terms of genre? Have your tastes changed over the years?
I'm not sure I can - I sort of just like what I like! My tastes have changed though, or developed at least.

When I was at primary school my favourite artists were Simon and Garfunkel. I just didn't get why the other girls were crazy for Take That (now I do - it's good pop!). I'd been brought up on a diet of pure vinyl. My dad is a passionate collector. I knew far more than the average 10 year old about 1960s prog rock labels. Which was obviously a hit in the playground.

Somewhere in high school I suddenly developed a taste for chart music, and later discovered live music and indie bands - helped along by new friends, radio shows and chance encounters. But I still definitely share a love of many artists with my dad, and this has only developed over time. I've even have my own (growing!) record collection now.

Like olives, wine and coffee, a taste for some music does develop with age. Dad loves to recount to people the time, as a child, I told him to turn Bob Dylan off because 'he can't sing'. And now, aged 26, I've not only seen him live twice, there's a picture of Dylan hanging on my living room wall!

Which songs will always get you on the dance floor?
Anything Beyonce has ever done. I wish I could move like her - I do my very best, but it's not a cool look. Aside from her music being incredibly catchy, she comes across as a really genuine person and I think she's a strong female role model.

I also can't help but leap onto the dance floor for The Rolling Stones' Paint It Black - I think that's more one from my indie club days. I was much less self-conscious dancing there. It largely involved jumping around and copying other peoples' comic moves.

What song makes you cry?
Abide With Me - it instantly takes me back to the funerals of my grandparents

What are your top five favourite albums or artists of all time?
A tough one! But off the top of my head...

Elbow - Leaders of the Free World
Paul Simon - Graceland
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks
Fleetwood Mac - Rumours

And a cheeky extra: Alt J

Do you have any guilty pleasures when it comes to music?
I think there's quite a few elements of my music collection that certain friends think I should be embarrassed by. But the only music I probably turn down in the car when I stop at the lights is musical soundtracks - but that's mainly because I can't help but sing along to them...!

If you could sum yourself up in one song or lyric, what would it be?
This is an incredibly good but difficult question!

So, after much thought, I'm going to act like a politician and slightly side-step what I'm actually being asked to tell you about my favourite lyricist. Guy Garvey, lead singer of Elbow.

He is the most incredible wordsmith - his lyrics are just magical. Here's just a sample...

"And we made the moon our mirrorball
The streets, an empty stage
The city sirens violins
Everything has changed

When out of a doorway the tentacles stretch
Of a song that I know and the world moves in slow-mo
Straight to my head like the first cigarette of the day."

Sunday, 16 June 2013


READING the new issue of Oh Comely, which appeared on my doormat last week.  One of my favourite indulgences is to settle down with a magazine and a cup of tea, and Oh Comely is always a good read.

ADMIRING my beautiful new bicycle.  I was given money to buy one for my birthday last year, so it's pretty bad that only last Wednesday (exactly a week before this year's birthday) did I finally get round to having it built (it had been sitting in its box since November).  With its classic cruiser shape, leather saddle and handlebars, and wicker basket, it is a total hipster-blogger cliche of a bike; and I love it!

WRITING letters and postcards to friends, but very little for the blog.  The Boy was visiting earlier this week, then a couple of days after he left, my brother, Richard, arrived for a visit.  Once I'm back from Year 8 camp, I promise I'll start writing more again.

BUYING tickets to see Wolf Hall at the RSC next year.  I am SO excited about seeing one of my favourite novels adapted for the stage (although I'm incredibly pissed off with the RSC's terrible accessibility for deaf customers... more on that later).

LISTENING to lots of 6Music as I potter in my kitchen.  In fact, I'm listening to Huey Morgan's show as I type and he really is rocking it this afternoon.  On what other radio station can you go from listening to Pearl Jam to classic Motown girl groups in the space of two minutes?

WALKING up to Old John, a strange folly in Bradgate Park at the top of one of the only hills in Leicestershire.  Richard, a Yorkshire man, even approved it as "a real hill".

DRINKING cider with my brother in an early birthday celebration.

EATING a  picnic in the park with The Boy; a yummy birthday meal with the girls; jammy doughnuts with Richard.

All in all, a good couple of weeks and a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Birthday wishes

I still get childishly excited about birthdays.  Like, annoyingly, stupidly excited.  I also sulk when things don't go my way.  Unbelievably, I will be turning 35 next week and yet I am no more mature when it comes to my birthday than I was at 12.

Last year I was away with school on year 8 camp in Exmouth and I had a gorgeous sunny day full of birthday greetings from pupils, a tent decorated with balloons, and some lovely surprise presents from colleagues.  This year I will once again have my birthday on camp (although this time I have to share it with a pupil who has his on the same day; how rude!). 

My birthday wishes include...

... some nice sunshine in Devon next week;
... yummy food & drink and happy times with friends and family during the four different weekends on which I'll be properly celebrating;
... for The Boy to not be 300 miles away, although this is one birthday wish that can't come true :(

And if I opened up any of these on the 19th, I would be very happy...

1. I might have already bought this amazing book/tea print as an early birthday gift to myself.  That's totally a thing, right; giving yourself a present?
2. 'Reading is sexy' t-shirt;
3. There is a light... song lyric bracelet;
5. 'Just be you' print.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Living room makeover


When I went to South Africa last summer, in amongst the hordes of goodies I brought home were this small wooden sign and a pile of batik-print fabric. Between them, they cost the equivalent of about £6, but they've led to me spending quite a lot more money.
I'd been feeling a bit bored with the purple-and-red colour scheme in my living room and had begun to think I'd like something a bit more modern (not an easy task in a Victorian house).  The grey of the sign and the blue of the fabric were what provided the inspiration for a full-scale makeover, which took my living room from this...

To this...
I'm well chuffed with my new-look living room, which seems so much lighter and brighter.  I'd like to find an alternative to the old Ikea side table currently serving as a TV unit, but other than that I love everything.  I'm especially taken with the bargain mid-century modern coffee table that I found in an antiques warehouse near my mum's, and - of course - with my lovingly handmade cushion covers.  I love how traditional African batik techniques have been used to make a modern circle & spot print; they make me happy every time I see them.
The sofa cover was the biggest expense, at £169 (gulp - but Bemz covers are excellent quality, and it's still cheaper than buying a new sofa!).  Other than that, I spent £107.10 on new accessories, pictures and the coffee table. I didn't even have to redecorate, because pretty much all the walls in my house are white.  What do you think?

  Grey sofa cover, £169 Bemz;
Green cushion covers, £12.99 each (bought with Nectar points) Sainsburys;
Blue cushion covers, homemade using African fabric, Mnandi Textiles, Cape Town;
Blue & white throw, £16.99 TK Maxx;
Coffee table, £35 vintage from The Antique Mill, Heckmondwike;
Penguin Classics postcards in an Ikea  Ribba frame £7;
Life Is Either A Daring Adventure... print, £16.13 Etsy;
String of blue/green ball lights, £22.99 Cable & Cotton.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Guest posts wanted!

And it's that time of year again.  In a couple of weeks I'm off to sunny (I hope) Exmouth for a school residential with year 8. Living in a field for a week with 140 13 year olds - oh joy. 

I'd love to have some guest posts scheduled for that week, ideally on one of the following topics:
1. Who lives in a house like this? Because I'm incurably nosy, I'd like a few 'Through the Keyhole'-style posts about your favourite room or space in your house.
2. Best recent reads.
3. Music Q&A or music memories: tell us about a song that means a lot to you, and why it does.
3. Summer festival memories or festival guide to upcoming events.
Last year my guest posters were Laura, who showed us around the convent she calls home (spoiler alert: she's not a nun); Sarah, who mused on selling houses (and funnily enough, is now trying to sell hers), and Jenny, who took us round her Cape Town garden: who will it be this year?
Deadline for submissions is Sunday 16th June, as I'll be packing my bags first thing on Monday 17th. 
Send ideas/posts/pictures to and include a link to your own blog, if you have one. I look forward to reading them!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Seen & heard May


1. I am still not quite sure what I thought of Ruby Sparks, about a young novelist with writer's block who invents a character, Ruby, who then comes to life as the seemingly perfect girlfriend.  In parts it was funny, but it wasn't as clever as it thought it was (I thought the Will Ferrell film Stranger Than Fiction did a better job of a similar premise) and some parts were downright disturbing and misogynistic.

2. Appropriately, I thought that The Great Gatsby was a triumph of style over substance. A visual feast for sure, but I wasn't wholly captivated by the performances and was disappointed that the much-hyped soundtrack wasn't more prominent. 

3. The Boy and I watched Goodbye Lenin in preparation for our trip to Berlin, and it was a great introduction to the city's recent history.  Dealing with the days immediately before, and then the months after, the end of the DDR and the fall of the Wall, it was a funny and moving film about a son's quest to recreate life under communism for his ailing mother after she wakes up from a coma.


I've been listening to summery tunes from Metronomy and Tame Impala, I'm still obsessed with Beach House's Bloom, and have rediscovered Joan As Policewoman's gorgeous album of love songs, To Survive.  Plus I'm still listening to the Bleached album a lot, and enjoying Tegan & Sara's sexy, electronica-tinged recent single, Closer.

Sunday, 2 June 2013


READING an actual paper copy of The Guardian, for the first time in a few weeks.  Oh how I miss it when I'm out of the country!  And I bought Moranthology today and spent the afternoon reading it and honking with laughter (which garnered me some strange looks in the pub, I can tell you).

BUYING some amazing 'mum' sandals.  "Wherefore are they mum sandals?" I hear you ask.  Well, not only do they look exactly like something my mum would have worn circa 1979, but they are from Marks & Spencers' 'comfort fit' range.  Yes, I am so rock & roll.  Also a mint condition copy of Claire Tomalin's biography of Dickens for the bargain price of £1.50. 

WEARING skinny jeans, a lot.  And not many dresses.  I know, it's weird.  I'm totally in love with New Look's supersoft skinnies, and in this 'too warm for tights/too cold for bare legs' weather, they're a perfect medium.  I also dressed up as Janet from the Secret Seven (my creativity truly knows no bounds) for book character day at school and no-one realised I was in costume.  I guess 1940s schoolgirl chic is my thing, when I'm not wearing skinny jeans and a Breton top anyway.

ENJOYING the sunshine at last!  I even got the legs out today, so it must be summer.

POTTERING in the garden, which I have pretty much given over to the wildflowers* this summer.  * Euphemism for weeds.

WATCHING Made In Chelsea.  Oh my gosh, I am obsessed.  Especially with Binky: how good is she?!  The rest I would happily punch (well, maybe not Cheska and Ollie), but therein lies the entertainment value.

MAKING ... erm... nothing.  Again.  I missed both craft clubs this month and haven't had the time or the inclincation to get crafty at home.  I really need to get my make back on.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Street art, vegan food & the Cold War... it can only be Berlin

And my year of travels continued, with an end-of-May trip to Berlin.
The Boy and I spent four days pounding the streets, avoiding thunderstorms, hunting out cider, eating amazing vegan food, discovering the Cold War history of the city, getting on and off seemingly infinite U- and S-Bahn trains, walking in the Mauer (Wall) Park in the sunshine, finding lovely brew-pubs, visiting the Mauer Memorial in the pouring rain, enjoying the DDR Museum despite the hordes of tourists crammed in, and exploring the bars, shops and restaurants of Prenzlauer Berg, where we were staying.
I had expected Berlin to be a sort of European Portland, and I wasn't much disappointed.  It's a fascinating city with thriving sub-cultures (in fact, counter-cultures seemed to be the foremost cultural forces, at least in the east of the city.  Can they still be considered sub- or counter-cultures if they are the dominant ones?!).  I didn't immediately fall in love with the city - it's too vast, too colourful, too scrappy - but I can imagine going back again to discover more.  In four days, we barely scratched the surface.

The Boy sneakily took a photograph of me while I was photographing the graffiti at the East Side Gallery: a stretch of the Berlin Wall which has been retained as a gallery of street art .

Marx & Engels, both looking very serious.  I think The Boy had beard envy.

At the Stasi Museum - on the site of their former headquarters in Friedrichshain - I was most taken with the propaganda posters and an insight into the bureaucratic face of a dictatorship, while The Boy admired the retro 60s fittings and furniture.  His dream is now to renovate a house to look just like the offices.  Because who wouldn't want to live somewhere redolent of the Stasi?!
And we found cider!  Sheltering from the rain in the Mauersegler Beer Garden, we fortuitously stumbled upon a local Berlin-brewed cider.  And very tasty it was too.