Sunday, 22 August 2010

Country Pursuits


I must strongly refute any suggestion that I didn't enjoy our weekend camping at Wing Hall in Rutland .
I had a marvellous time !

How could I not love a campsite with excellent wine and homemade cakes in the bar

a farm shop full of delicious treats and , as they said , very free range eggs

Showers like this

with a resident frog like this ( he was no bigger than my thumbnail ) .

And sitting out in the evening under a sky like this with something delicious on the barbecue

The weekend also include an antique fair at Grimsthorpe Castle on Saturday

and a Fete , Flower and Produce event at Uppingham on Sunday , which included a very entertaining Dog Show

More cakes

impressive veg

and lovely flowers

I loved every minute of it !!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Singing in the rain with a three year old


Ah, for those who felt sorry for Sonata's sojourn in a tent in the drizzle! It pelted down with rain at the music festival in Cropredy, and there was even a mini-tornado in one of the fields (luckily our family encampment survived). Look at that menacing sky:

But we campers (four adults and 1 child) put on our raincoats and wellington boots, and stoically trugged from tent/campervan to music field and back again (I came to envy my nephew's all-in-one rainsuit, even if he looked like a worker in a nuclear reactor or an abatoir).

Said nephew (age 3) stomped in puddles whenever he could, and once declared: "Now this is what I call a muddy track". It was hard to disagree really.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Everything From Sharks To Knitting ( Not Mine , Though )

The entire clan has been on the move . Smitonius and Middle Daughter , just back from the Isle of Man , are at a music Festival with their partners and Grandson .
Grandson probably won't be wearing his Sargeant Pepper red jacket , lovingly sewn for him by his mother for last year , any more than he did then , but will probably be wearing his new and much loved raincoat . He even ate breakfast in it while I was staying with them .

Mind you , since it's permanently threatening rain , he might be right .

I'm just back from an extended tour of England , courtesy of eldest daughters , who kindly put me up ( put up with me ? ) and fed me royally .

I think I've been everywhere and seen everything . Hammerhead sharks in Birmingham , spooky grafitti in Brighton

crafty statues in Leicester

and Jamie Oliver's parents' pub in between

( yes , I know there's goat's cheese on that plate . V. nice it was too with spinach . But it's alright . I've repented and won't do it again till the next time I go) .

I've shared a shower with a tiny frog and camped with chickens in Lincolnshire

been to a village fĂȘte in Rutland and bought a scarf in a Buddhist Charity Shop .

I know a lot more about aliens and dinosaurs and have a new friend .... a robot called Gloria . I can transform a Transformer in under 15 minutes and , virtue of mini Lego , have made a speedboat into a rocket and vice-versa ( which persuaded me that a visit to the optician's was overdue )

I've got loads of photos and will bore you with my adventures in the weeks to come .

But now Youngest Daughter is on her way home for a belated birthday dinner . 29 !! Dear Heaven .

Friday, 6 August 2010

Madrid: how to keep cool, well fed and learned


There are two great incentives to working hard at the national library in Madrid:

the first is, the place is air conditioned and given that it reached about 40 degrees at mid day this was welcome.

Of course, should one be forced to pound the torrid streets, there are always shops selling these:

Or cafe terraces with these vintage style water spray fans - so effective, when accompanied by a cool beer.

the second is the canteen. An average menu del dia comprises of the following:

First course could be: Gazpacho OR Arroz a la Cubana (white rice, tomato sauce and a fried egg) OR Paella OR salad (various - e.g. 'Russian salad')

Second course could be: Magro con Tomate (pork cooked in tomato sauce) OR Sardines OR Fillete (beef steak) OR Roast Chicken OR Escalope - with either green salad OR chips

Pudding could be: fresh fruit (a slice of watermelon, for example) OR baked apple OR flan OR rice pudding

In addition, there is bread and wine OR beer OR water - all for just over 7 Euros.

Did I make you hungry? One fares equally well in the outside world though, look at this gorgeous plate of Salmonetes (little red mullets) with Pimientos de Padron (these were hot little so and so's.... have you ever had them?):

And, yes, I did find what I was looking for in the library as well!