This year we celebrated Thanksgiving with my family in Lima, OH. Unfortunately my younger son (forgot his passport in Kingston!) and my older brother and his family (lives in NJ and their Thanksgiving is in November) could not be part of the celebration. However, the weather was spectacular - over 80F on both the Saturday and Sunday! Then of course my younger brother's family (including dog Coco) was there, my older son, sister and some delish food. Ample drink too!

Like most of my acquaintances, we (I in particular) have much for which to be thankful. Unfortunately some misfortune is what brings this to mind. So I am truly thankful for many, many blessings and so as not to bore you will not list them!

However, a few outstanding memories from the weekend I will. First of all on Sunday a lovely walk on a beautiful fall day, in the park with my sister and sister-in-law and yes little Coco who got tuckered out and needed a little rest! Around the reservoir, winding path mostly unpopulated and gorgeous colours. Que bueno!

Then, a small visit with my sister to visit my father and mother's grave. Yes, it is one; my mother was cremated and then her ashes buried here (well, in Lima, OH where she was last) and in Amritsar in the same cemetary as her mother. My father was cremated too, a small amount of his ashes were buried at the same site as my mother in Lima and the rest we took to Coorg in India for his last rites. So, it was a beautiful day on Saturday, my sister and I had tea and then went to the gravesite. We sat on the grass beside the grave; there were two new graves not far and the grave (we noticed for the first time!) of a 25 year old boy with the most poignant inscription on the gravestone. Some things defy reason and are unnatural at any time, like the death of a child before the parents. We should have taken our tea and had it with Mummy and Papa, Monju!

Then, the dinner itself on Sunday evening, perdoname I seem to be jumping between days. My sister (it is a common ailment in our family) was afraid we would run out of food; so we had 2 full pomfret (fish) that my son cooked to perfection on the BBQ, 2 roasted chickens, roasted root veggies, green beans (courtesy of a friend), masala mashed potatoes, all after a lovely endive salad. Yum - and needless to say no-one went hungry and then, we had volcano cupcakes and mithai (Indian sweetmeats from my older brother). Sated to the point of bursting! Maybe we'll try tandoori BBq chicken next time.

Until next year...oh yes, Tinkers, I really enjoyed. Extremely well crafted though I do have friends who did not like it at all!! Also wonderful is Vassanji's the Assasin's Song and The Glass Room by Simon Mawer - I don't want it to end! But have half a dozen others that are unread on my beside table!

Any advice on the Togo? iBook or is it iPad? Carrying 12 books to read while travelling because I never want to be without, when there is this option seems silly. So bring on the advice.

This is the second time I was an understudy. The first was for Rice Boy and didn't get on stage at all. And recently I was understudy for My Granny, the Goldfish. Granny in both cases, except for the latter I was hired specifically to do three nights! The actor they had for the role was offered a recording with Dave Brubeck, clearly an honour and chance of a lifetime so she was released.

Am glad in rectrospect that I accepted, though at the beginning of the process I was questioning my sanity. It was a wonderful opportunity but was also the lead with reams of text! To top it all there were exactly 6 days of rehearsal with dress and tech the afternoon of. As I said during the process I was very overwhelmed, but am so very pleased to have had the opportunity to work with a wonderful director Rosemary Dunsmore and a very supportive and accepting cast not to mention crew. First of all much of the credit goes to my director who had (I felt) implicit faith that I could pull it off, gave me permission to make the role my own and despite my feeling lack of depth for the character gave me some excellent pointers to ground my performance. I actually enjoyed being on stage and performing on the last evening. Guess it showed, we got two curtain calls and a standing ovation - our first I understand from the cast! So feel very pleased and gratified.

Unfortunately I did not post or advertise this as widely as I would have liked because to be honest wasn't certain of the outcome. But the pure adrenalin rush from working hard and getting it on its feet was worthwhile. So all in all an excellent experience and the reason there was no divan this past Saturday, March 31st.

Looking forward to welcoming and hosting you at a divan in the near future.

So first of all full disclosure. I am not a wine authority of any kind except that I like it; like it a lot! And enjoy it with my food. Whereas I feel there are no rules except that the two should taste good together, perhaps a few pointers would help. Your palate is the ultimate test.

First of all without question I feel beer and cold Indian beer really serves Indian food best. I feel that lighter reds without a lot of tannins work better than heavier reds, with Indian food; like Malbec and lamb, a Spanish Rioja goes well with goat, as does Shiraz and Pinot Noir. You might like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Cabernet Franc.

I particularly like a Savignon Blanc which is citric and astringent and not too oaky. Non-oaked wines seem to work well with the spices in Indian food because they are not bitter. A few to try would be Torrontes, German Reisling, Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris. I have also had a Rose on a summer day with much success; sparkling wines can mate well too. Generally something hot needs a little sweetness in the wine to cool it, Acidity will enhance the heat.

Of course one can never err with champagne I feel! Ultimately, there is no substitute for trial and error.

Now where are those samosas and my Sauvignon Blanc? Yummm