In comparison to last week, this one was very calm. I had some houseguests staying with me on Monday. I cooked them a lasagne (a dish I love but have never made myself before). If anyone ever tries to tell you that it’s an easy dish to make, don’t believe them: they are lying (or using a cheat’s recipe). It was super when we ate it, but by Heavens this one made a mess of every dish, pot and pan, not to mention my worktops. I also made my friends a strawberry and mascarpone tart, which, like the main course, went down well. The only problem was that the recipe for the pâte sucrée (a sweet shortcrust pastry) was for an 8-inch tin, whereas I could only find a 10-inch fluted tart tin. Manchester really could do with a decent cooks’ shop. That said, I have just found out that Lakeland Plastics have a store 27 minutes away from me, so I shall be heading off there tomorrow to while away the Bank Holiday (yes, I have checked they’re open).

The Strawberry Tart

My guests left on Tuesday morning, and I headed off to the BBC in Manchester to first record the second in a series of etiquette lessons with Matt White (@mattyfwhite). Each episode goes out monthly on a Friday night; this month’s focussed on protocol and customs in foreign countries. After recording that I then moved studios to do a live interview with the morning show host, Heather Stott, about Twitter etiquette.

Wednesday was a very quiet day – I didn’t even have to leave the house. I spent the day updating The English Manner’s website, doing some other admin-type jobs and cleaning.

That evening I watched The Junior Apprentice on BBC1. Good programme, but my word the contestants really have no sense of dress or style. I felt suitably moved to write a few hundred words for The English Manner’s blog. You can view the piece by clicking here.

Friday I did a telephone interview for Jonathan Vernon-Smith on BBC Three Counties radio. This time, about caravanning! It made a nice change to talk about something different – I have covered some topics in my time, but never caravanning! I should point out that I have never been caravanning; Jonathan wanted me to be anti it, and so I performed on request.

Later that evening I met up with a group of friends for a birthday dinner for a friend, Imogen, who then made us all go and watch the new Sex and the City film. Now, I have never watched either the television series or the first film, but I have to say, I quite enjoyed it. The plot is that the girlfriends go off to the Middle East for a holiday; they then cause all sorts of faux pas that Westerners would be prone to committing (if one hadn’t done the basic background research before going to a country with a different culture). Ironically, I then came back from the film to turn on the radio to hear the piece I had pre-recorded on Tuesday (about holiday etiquette) go out. I think perhaps the girls from New York could have done with hearing my tips before they went away!

Finally, on Saturday I hosted a tea party for Imogen’s birthday. I made her, on request, a carrot cake, and also did some spontaneous lemon curd and coconut muffins, which went down very well, despite my apprehensions about the latter.

That evening, after the guests had gone, I sat down to enjoy this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which is always a highlight. Graham Norton did a wonderful job in commentating – it wouldn’t be worth watching if we didn’t have the acerbic observations of Graham (or Sir Terry, before him).

Next week I am in Essex (yes, again) and London. This week, as I said at the start, has been quite quiet, so I apologise that this week’s blog wasn’t quite as action-packed as the last, but, yet again, we can’t expect pearls every time.