The famed creator and puppeteer of the beloved 'Sesame Street' characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, Carroll Spinney, died at his home in Connecticut at the age of 85, Sesame Workshop said in a statement. "Caroll was an artistic genius whose kind and loving view of the world helped shape and define Sesame Street from its earliest days in 1969 through five decades," his colleagues said. "His enormous talent and outsized heart were perfectly suited to playing the larger-than-life yellow bird who brought joy to generations of children and countless fans of all ages around the world, and his lovably cantankerous grouch gave us all permission to be cranky once in a while." Spinney's death came after a long battle with the neural disorder dystonia. The timing was bittersweet as Sesame Street celebrates its 50th birthday and prepares on Sunday to receive one of the US' most prestigious arts awards at the Kennedy Center Honors. The show has already won 200 Emmys, several of which were … [Read more...] about Carroll Spinney, ‘Sesame Street’ puppeteer who brought Big Bird to life, dies
Big 5 test
Cheddars Co-op Irresistible Somerset Mature Cheddar, 340g, £3.10, coop.co.ukWow, punchy. Quite nutty with good creaminess. Immediately made me want to reach for the port. Waitrose Extra Mature Cornish Quartz Cheese, 300g, £4, waitrose.comNice appearance. Almost a bit of a parmesan-y crystal crunch through it, which I’m a bit of a sucker for. Tesco Finest Extra Mature English Cheddar, 350g, £3, tesco.comNutty with a creamy finish. There’s a slightly funny aftertaste, leaves a sort of residue on the palate. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Cave Aged Cheddar Truckle, 400g, £4, sainsburys.comIt’s strong. Really nice kick. This took a while to develop but does have good power. Looks a bit too yellow to me. Potted stiltons Morrisons The Best Baking Brie with Cranberries and Sloe Gin Drizzle, 590g, £6, morrisons.comI love the serving dish.The fruit looks appealing. Oh, heavens to Betsy! The cheese is pungent, it’s got a real punch – … [Read more...] about Christmas taste test: cheese and chocolate
Champagnes Waitrose Blanc de Noirs NV Champagne, 75cl, £23.99, waitrose.comLoads of bubbles. The smell has a balance between the fruity and the biscuity - reminiscent of an older champagne. Fresh, fragrant – I can drink another glass. Co-op Les Pionniers Non-Vintage Brut Champagne, 75cl, £18.99, coop.co.ukPear and creme patissiere coming through on the nose - pleasant. It’s taking me back to my grandma’s - she used to make this dessert. I’ve got her face in front of my brain now. Very fresh, very green. Fragrant, young and fruity. Tesco Finest NV Premier Cru Champagne, 75cl, £20, tesco.comFeels slightly older... It’s reminiscent of a vintage champagne, more biscuit and oak on the nose. Has some depth. Not my favourite style but well made. Morrisons The Best Premier Cru NV Champagne, 75cl, £21, morrissons.comActually, a very light nose. Very appley, very sharp. Too sharp. I don’t really like this. Urrgh… Sharp! Smoked salmon … [Read more...] about Christmas taste test: the best party food and booze
Traditonal panettones Morrisons The Best Classic Panettone, 750g, £7, morrisons.comThis one is really tasty. Moist and buttery, with that yellow-y inside. Feels homemade, or from a deli. Lots of amazing fruit. Really enjoyable. Vallebona Panettone, 500g, £17.50, vallebona.co.ukPretty. Soft and lovely. It feels a bit more brioche-y than the others. It’s squishy, soft and malleable; very tear-and-share. I don’t like the peel. Tesco Classic Fruited Panettone, 750g, £3.30, tesco.comGood amount of fruit. It’s not as moist as some. Has a kind of sharp smell, and there’s something lacking. Waitrose No.1 Nocciolato Panettone, 750g, £15, waitrose.comI like the sugary crust and there’s nice fruit, but it isn’t moist enough. It would make a lovely bread and butter pudding. Non-traditonal panettones Asda Extra Special Rum & Raisin Panettone, 500g, £5.50, asda.comNice and boozy, with good fruit. If anything, it’s almost too … [Read more...] about Christmas taste test: cakes, mince pies and panettone
Putting a tax on meat, ending the sale of petrol and diesel cars within a decade and upgrading the energy efficiency of every home in the UK are among the eye-catching green promises from the political parties fighting for voters’ backing in the general election. Others include zero-emission railways and a £640m Nature for Climate fund to restore the natural world and help fight the climate emergency. These pledges are in the answers given to a series of questions put to the main parties by the Guardian to draw them out on specific key issues. There was unanimity on just one of the questions posed: all parties said they would give financial support to rewilding projects to enable the recovery of wildlife. A recent report found populations of the UK’s most important wildlife have plummeted by an average of 60% since 1970. The Conservatives said they would set aside £640m for a Nature for Climate fund, suggesting some of the money would go to rewilding. Labour said … [Read more...] about Which party has the answer to the big green questions?