Sunday, 26 June 2011

Blazing June


According to the local forecast , we're about to enjoy tropical weather here ! I'm not sure which part of the tropics they mean ... Those mountains where the gorillas roam ? Yesterday , at breakfast , I noticed that Husband had a snowflake patterned jumper on . A thick jumper with a collar . Or perhaps they mean next weekend after Wimbledon ?

Anyway , staying firmly indoors , I was rummaging about in yet another box of ancient yellowing magazines and found a couple of "The Farmer's Home" , a supplement issued by the Farm And Stockbreeder And Farm , Field & Fireside . They were from February 1938 and full of splendid ideas for this June .

The Kne-Dri leggings are a must , the soups on the recipe pages sound rather grim but at least warming ( Boil a bit of cauliflower in stock from that catch-all stockpot on the back of the stove ... allowing two sprigs per person ) and , having loads more time than a pre-war farmer's wife , I've got a couple of months left to make cosy quilts before September .

But , tired of life in black and white , I stood outside in the drizzle last night , with a scarf wrapped twice round my neck and firmly tucked in , and admired my soggy flowers .

And cooked Nani's Mother's Mackerel ... a friend's recipe from many years ago in Andalucia .

And this morning the sun's shining .....

Saturday, 18 June 2011

A Family Legacy


I inherited a title from one of my grandmothers . I don't advertise it and most people would never have reason to know . But , at this time of year , I relinquish my anonimity and become , once more , The World's Most Unphotogenic Person .

Granny , in fact , was a very attractive young woman and there are many photos of her looking lovely , if somewhat reserved . But she never liked how she looked in later life so glowered at anyone rash enough to approach with a Kodak . Hat pulled down to match the corners of her mouth , she'd scowl into the sun in wedding photos or trips to the beach .

She was actually very funny , loved singing silly songs to us all , taught me to read when I was four by making it such fun , made me flower-printed dresses and took me to tea at Switzers where we would both eat too much cake . And her laugh was infectious .

And that's how we all remember her .... which is just as well , because there isn't a single photo prove this .

But now it's School Photo Time again and I'm forced to reveal my true self . Yes , though never a beauty , I've inherited the same dislike of how I've aged , the same inability to smile civilly at the camera . I , too , glare forbiddingly in every group photo .

But as I looked through old photos today , I saw that I couldn't have hoped to escape the curse . Look at my father and one of his sisters on the beach !

Luckily my daughters escaped this gene and look enchanting when captured on film .

Monday, 13 June 2011

Busy , Busy , Busy ... or ... Displacement Activity x 10


A long weekend and a half-year's report to write . So what do I do ?

Friday Afternoon :

Buy "new" secondhand bike as reserve , having had to walk to work once too often in the last couple of weeks . Learn how to turn key in padlock ( why is every bike lock temperamental.... in a different way ? ) .

Wrap multifarious small presents for Grandson's birthday . Post same .

Watch "Crazy In Alabama".


Build a kaleidoscope . Try to photograph inside said toy ... for an hour . Hunt for spare batteries for camera .

Read a book I've had since February , loving every page .


Just to prove I don't just read cookery books and sew small quilts , I bake a cake and read a book about sewing . " The Girl On The Wall . One Life's Rich Tapestry " by Jean Baggott

An Apricot and Coconut loaf from , very nice but VERY sweet . Husband eats 4 slices .


Assemble various files , notes and assorted flim-flam for report .

Tidy bedroom cupboard .

Make Broccoli soup . Consider making No Knead Bread . Pull myself together .

Write report .

Celebrate !

( A detail from a wine list by Edward Bawden 1933 )

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I Do Love Amsterdam , It's True


This graffiti on a loo door sums up what I feel about Amsterdam . After all , what's not to love ?

The market in Cuypstraat selling everything from cutprice flipflops and fresh sardines to wooden toys and Thai silk . Bazar , the best place for a cheap and delicious lunch . Chicken kebabs , salad and tabouleh , 11 Euros with a beer .

Wandering back up the Prinsengracht as the Friday summer evening boat "promenade" hots up . Little rose-smothered galleries and mural-clad cafes

Supper with Youngest Daughter in Duende , eating our weight in authentic tapas , chistorras and all . Strolling back along the canals in the evening sun , meeting old friends along the way .

Or Saturday in the Farmer's Market by the Noorderkerk . Sourdough bread and fresh herbs , Breton pancakes and crunchy apples .

And organic buttermilk by the glass from this cheese stall

Vintage clothes , antiques and klezmer music .

Roses everywhere in the Jordaan .

And the Slut Walk .... Well, admittedly , that was an accident . While I fully support the cause , I really needed to get to the station but somehow got caught up and swept along by the joyous banner-waving , scantily clad mob . I even had my photo taken by a press photographer , for Heaven's sake ! "Mary Whitehouse Thinks Again ?" before I could pop out the other side and rush up the street to meet Y.D. for a coffee in 1Klas , a very stylish cafe on platform 1 , complete with palm trees and a white parrot .

I showed Y.D. the photos I'd managed to grab of the demo .

"Oh look , there's Mario's friend ... oh , and Jennifer ... and What'shername " And no she wasn't pointing out young women friends . Jennifer's 6 foot 6 tall in gold wedge heels , a beard and an impressive decollete . Y.D.'s gone native .