Archive for the ‘Robin Ellis’ Category

…not easy but I’m having a go!

It has been a hectic time–three weeks criss crossing the US for our book tour followed by a four-day cooking workshop.

We need a break.

The work ethic is a curse sometimes–what is this need always to be doing something?

Today I’m trying ignore itthat background whisper in your ear that something is pending and needs to be attended to.

Having some success.

(Though here I am writing this!)

I finish a brilliant read, the Booker-nominated His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet–but that is not a task, it’s a pleasure.

Allowed today!

Lunch and dinner will be left-overs–delicious bliss!

Sitting here in the kitchen looking at our neighbor chogging back and forth on his tractor is therapeutic.

Watching others at work, can be.

He’ll do this all day, only breaking for lunch.

The countryside has autumn written all over it; the harvests are in and the monster combine-harvesters have trundled back to base.

The fields of sunflowers, garlic, wheat and corn are now in transition; job done for another summer.

Soon they will be in newly-turned shades of brown heralding a short period of repose.

I’m awarding us a short period of repose.

There are lines to go over, with Meredith taking the roles of Demelza, George Warleggan and Ross Poldark– which she relishes (actrice manqué!)

But that is for later today or even tomorrow–the Spanish call it mañana.

We may go walnuting this afternoon but no pressure–tomorrow will do for that too.

Ben just came in at his usual trot for a brief munch, then he’ll be on his way.

His need to be “doing” is stronger than Beau’s.

Beau is a lesson to us all–and will be spotted putting in a hard afternoon’s lying around most days.


Ben busy in the background while Beau reposes.

What we can learn from cats!



Read Full Post »

The END!

Full circle.

East coast to West coast and back–three weeks “on the road” and here we are in Washington DC about to fly back home.


It has ended brilliantly with two memorable meals–both cooked by others.

For three weeks I’ve stayed out of the kitchen–apart from making four omelets in Palo Alto.


We have relied on the kindness of friends for places to stay–without their generosity this trip would not have been affordable.

New York City was the US launch and a lively pop-up event at a Scottish bar and restaurant called St. Andrews in the heart of the theatre district.




Enthusiastic POLDARK fans in the pub snug



An American version of Demelza!

Our friends Melanie and Bruce kindly lent us an apartment on West 22nd Street–a long stone’s throw from where the bomb went off last week.

Melanie sent us photos of the Malibu Diner where we had lunch together–now a crime scene.

Then on to Dallas–hosted by our friends Cindi and Jay.

It’s hot in Dallas–every day! Close to 100F–we duck in and out of air-conditioned buildings and cars.

Screening of the first episode of season two of POLDARK at a local cinema–over 200 in the audience and it looked fabulous up there on the BIG SCREEN.


Q & A afterwards with Bill Young–the Vice President in charge of programming at KERA, Dallas’ excellent PBS station.


Thanks, Bill, for your creativity, perseverance and organization.

Some of the Dallas folks had scrapbooks of my FIRST visit to Dallas with Angharad 39 years ago!




Poignant visit to Dealey Plaza and the Sixth Floor Museum in the Texas Book Depository, kindly hosted by the museum’s British executive director, Nicola Longford.

With Nicola Longford

With Nicola Longford


The Texas School Book Depository on Dealey Plaza. The museum inside is the second most-visited site in Texas after the Alamo.


Brilliant audio tour helps bring some understanding to the tragedy.

Breathless we fly to Los Angeles and arrive late at the lovely little house in Los Feliz of Christy, widow of TV director brother Peter–who died suddenly ten years ago of a heart attack.

Christy helped make the original contact with the flourishing bookstore in Larchmont Village, Chevaliers, where LA Times TV critic Robert Lloyd moderates beautifully the next evening.

With Robert Lloyd, TV critic for The Los Angeles Times

With Robert Lloyd, TV critic for The Los Angeles Times


Sold out of books!

The following day a visit SoCal (KOCE), the PBS station for Los Angeles to record some pledge material with Maura Phinney.



A short flight to San Francisco and on to Palo Alto I visit the Gates of Hell (!) in the Rodin Sculpture Garden on the Stanford University campus with our local host, Holly Brady.

The Gates of Hell do not dampen our enjoyment of the beautiful California day.

Big turn-out at Books Inc— our third visit to this remarkable bookstore opposite the Stanford campus.


They’ve hosted us for all three cookbook tours.



I demonstrate that a diagnosis of Diabetes is not the end of convivial eating and drinking–in moderation, of course!

We sell out of books again.

We fit in a private tour of LucasFilms HQ in the Presidio quarter of San Francisco, close to the Golden Gate Bridge, thanks to Hilary and Yves.


It’s here that cutting edge special effects in films and animation are created. The halls are lined with artifacts at every turn.





We head back east for the final event at Arlington Library last Sunday.

We stay with our friends, Irv and Iris. Irv, retired Washington correspondent for The New York Times, agreed to moderate the event at Arlington’s Central Library. A double act is born!

The sell-out audience (over 180) enjoyed it enough to buy us out of cookbooks.



A good finish to a whistle-stop, heads down, no-time-for-shopping tour.

We spend a blessed 24 hours with our friends Ray and Ann in their waterside house on Chesapeake Bay–where I learn to breathe again.

Ray cooks a delicious meal of crab cakes with the local catch and pork fillet with clams–bliss it is.

Back in the D.C. last night Iris cooks up a storm for us.

Salmon marinated in soy, ginger and garlic preceded by an intriguing cantaloupe melon soup served chilled.

First day of autumn passes.

The prospect of walnuts and wood fires.

A bientôt, America and thanks!









Read Full Post »


Read Full Post »

All these events are free.

If our paths cross, hope you’ll come say hello!


Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 1.53.28 PM


In New York City:


In Los Angeles:


In Palo Alto:


In Arlington, Virginia (Washington D.C. area):




Read Full Post »


May Day! 

Today, in the postbox, a letter from Prime Minister, Theresa May!

I sent her a copy of Mediterranean Cooking for Diabetics a few weeks ago.

She has Type 1 Diabetes and I’ve read that she is a keen cook–possessing over a hundred cookbooks!

(We have THAT in common!)

It could greatly benefit the campaign to fight the rise of Diabetes to have such a public figure as the new FEMALE Prime Minister of the UK,  declaring so publicly, that she is Type 1 diabetic.



Read Full Post »




Generated by IJG JPEG Library

On the face of it Ralph Bates and Usain Bolt have little in common.

For one thing Ralph died over 25 years ago and Usain is about to defend his Olympic titles at 100 and 200 metres.

So why on earth are they sharing the title of this post?

Ralph loved sport–but as a spectator. Together we once attended a Barry Macguigan boxing match at Queens Park Rangers Football ground and as a mover I never saw Ralph “bolt”. To the contrary, he swayed elegantly.

Well, he was half-French! The eminent scientist, Louis Pasteur, was his great-great uncle.

It’s a question of attitude.

The interview below reminded me of dear Ralph and his insouciant nature.

With his third Olympic Games coming up, Usain Bolt a.k.a. the Human Arrow–double 100 and 200 metros champion–says the key for him (about performing) is to actively avoid thinking too much.

I’m in good shape and I’ve done all the hard work in training I know I’ll be good.

“When you’re waiting there, minutes before the race starts, it’s easy to end up staring down the track and getting caught up in it all; but when you know you’re in good shape then the performances come. Everything clicks and you just run the perfect race. You don’t need to think too hard, just execute–you are focused and ready to perform.”

As I read this, my mind switched locations to an over-lit corridor outside a BBCTV studio in Birmingham, where we were about to record an episode of the second series of Poldark–circa May 1977.

I was pacing up and down, “actively thinking too much“, worried about the next two-and-half hours of filming.

Ralph, dressed as the suave George Warleggan, spotted me anxiously pacing and quietly tapped me on the shoulder.


“It’s only a play, Robin!”.

He might have added:

“You know you ‘re in good shape, you’ve done all the hard work in rehearsal and you know you’ll be good. You are focused and ready to perform!”

That’s what he meant with his reassuring pat on my shoulder.

Yesterday I learned that the Reverend Dr. Halse–that admirable, upstanding, pillar of the Cornish establishment–would be making another appearance in the third series of Poldark. which starts filming next month.

I’ll try to remember– It’s only a Play!


An unusually insouciant Dr Halse





Read Full Post »


Seeing this lift in our hotel transports me back to the forties and the residential hotels on the seafront at Eastbourne, where I used to visit my grandmother in the school holidays.

It has an open sided shaft so you can watch it ascend—looking up its skirts so to speak; and double hand-pulled filigree metal gates—that clunk satisfyingly shut.

It runs up the spine of the Fowey Hotel, built in 1881 to accommodate the new breed of holidaymakers arriving by train.

It also welcomed wounded soldiers for rest and recovery during the First World War.

It’s a period piece but manages to keep its dignity.

A testament to a time when the coming of the railways changed the face of Britain.


On the wall between the lift and the dining room there are framed letters written by Kenneth Grahame, author of Wind in the Willows, while on holiday, to his son, whom he addresses as “dearest Mouse“.


It is claimed that Kenneth Grahame made a boat trip up Lerryn Creek on the Fowey River with some friends and it became at the inspiration for the first chapter of The Wind in the Willows where the Rat and the Mole make a boat trip along the river for a picnic.

Wicker statues of the animal characters in the book guard the garden near the hotel.


Typical Toad–hogging the foreground!

We are in Fowey on Cornwall’s south coast, for the Fowey Festival of Arts and Literature where I’m invited to give the Daphne du Maurier memorial address which opens the festivities—wow!


The view from our window.

A week of wonderful cultural events unfolds in this unique setting.




Déjà vu is the order of the day.

I was in Fowey 40 years ago filming the rescue of Dwight Enys from a French prison for two quite uncomfortable weeks.

We filmed at sea for two days and up that same creek for the rest—me and my Merry Men all dressed in 18th century gear—doing our best to keep straight faces:

“Follow me, men!”  

“Keep your heads down–which way did they go?”

Fowey hasn’t changed much over 40 years–to its credit.


Though charming, it feels like a working place–not a cutesy-poo tourist attraction.

No pressure then–just the main keynote address and the following day a 45 minute talk about my books and how composing daily haikus helped me write them–and the “good luck” story of my diabetic journey.

Going up and down in that wonderful silent lift and soaking up the vista from our window–steadies my nerves!

More to follow…






Read Full Post »

Older Posts »