Friday, 29 July 2011

First Week Of The Holidays

In true holiday spirit , I left my old self behind and rushed blindly into new adventures . So no Weetabix or porridge for me . Oh no ! A colleague of mine is , as I write , wandering about the Andes ( yes , the same one that was wandering up and down The Great Wall of China last year ) , so I thought why not ? I'll venture off myself , albeit vicariously . Quinoa porridge ! After all , millions of South Americans and blogging vegetarians thrive on it . So 1 cup quinoa flakes , 1 cup water , 1/2 cup milk later and

If you've only ever eaten it as a grain , tasty with mushrooms and leeks for instance , you might be surprised by the dried pea/school soup porridgy version . I was . Oatmeal porridge or a boiled egg and soldiers in future , I think .
But I must say quinoa porridge is rib-sticking . And not just rib-sticking .... later on , I found a blob that had escaped and firmly glued itself to a kitchen cupboard door . And it did give me super-human strength later when investigating a strange smell round the 'fridge , that turned out to be coffee milk that Husband could vaguely remember having mislaid a while ago ( I do sometimes wonder if Husband's ever really going to get the hang of this living indoors business ) .
I can rest my chin on the top of our 'fridge but , well nourished, I manhandled it out of the corner and scraped and scrubbed underneath , before I manhandled it back . And was rewarded by finding a twenty Euro note wedged by the wall . Plus this old sketch of Juf Geraldine by a three year old girl with a talent for flattery.

The quilt fabric choice is nearly definite , after a request for more "things" . So I added fish and koalas to the birds and boats

At this rate he'll turn into Captain Cook .

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A spot of archeology


Spotted a fun and free activity in London over the weekend: a bit of archeology on the Thames foreshore courtesy of Thames Discovery. We joined a very long queue of children and adults, but saw we weren't that prepared (forgot Wellington boots!), though we had remembered a trowel and aplastic bag for finds. It was a hot day and some canoeists had already landed on the foreshore ahead of us.

As we waited to be allowed down the steps, slipping on the obligatory gloves as the Thames is polluted, we heard that yesterday someone found a Georgian coin. What would we find?

Trying to find a free bit of foreshore was challenging enough. But we were soon picking up bits of pottery, bones, oyster shells and, even, an old and interesting bottle top: a company called Brooke and Prudencio who bottled ginger beer and lemonade from 1890 to 1960s.

The tide was rising fast, so we had about an hour trawling under the Traitors Gate:

Someone found an old pilgrim badge and one woman did find another coin, because we saw her declare her treasure afterwards. Although we found nothing of value, and some distinctly spooky bones (that is an inside of a cow's leg, said the expert, and that is a sheep's tooth), we did collect some old pipe stems, and pits of pottery that ranged from the 16th century to the Victorian period (or so we were told and I will go along with that!)

Friday, 22 July 2011

Madrid again


That time of year again, when a quick trip to Madrid is needed: officially to visit library and buy books and DVDs (work related I hasten to add), but the library now closes at 6 in the hot afternoon so plenty of time to window shop. I think these sandals would go with a toga?

And, if one needed to make lots of classic references, how about This accessory? Worthy of any MadrileƱan Minerva out on the town.

Of course, eating also had to be done... And this Salpicon de Mariscos was so tasty !

We admired amazing street art, like this Monroe:

And this Mexican masked fighter:

Whilst we were there, the Murdoch scandal was in full flow, so couldn't resist this postcard: doesn't she look a little a certain person who recently resigned at News International?

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Greenery-Yallery , Flame Red ... Or Something In Between ?


What colour was your weekend ?

Last weekend here was a muted tasteful blue-grey with flecks of rust and the odd blush of old apricot .

But the weatherman seemed mildly optimistic about this weekend , so I hoped for something a bit jollier .

It started off well enough .

On Friday , after work , a wander through the local ceramic museum to look at the Chinese porcelain exhibition "10,000 x Happiness !" and a little detour to my favourite treasure , the C17 Spanish tiles , had just the warm glow I needed . And a pepper and tomato salad followed by strawberries completed the job .

On Saturday I'd wanted to visit a tiny house in a village nearby , filled with Ruurd Wiersmas's naive paintings but the clouds massed till the drizzle was unremitting . Not a day to cycle anywhere . Never mind . The term finally ends on Friday and it can't rain all summer , can it ? There'll be another chance to go .

Luckily all this rain is , at least , making the herbs grow in the back yard ..... though the tomatoes won't ripen till 2012 , at this rate .

So today I just listened to "The Wind In The Willows" being read by Derek Jacobi and assembled a stack of fabric for a quilt I'm planning for a little boy . I blame Mr. Jacobi for the Irish flag-ness of the final choice .... why did he give the otter an Irish accent ?

Thursday, 14 July 2011

New lick of paint


Our doors and windows were in a great need for a lick of paint, but the garden facing windows and doors are now a fresh green:

The front door is a bright and cheerful red:

We chose the door knocker in honour of our many urban foxes who wonder through our garden. And, finally, we have been able to name our house... though the decorator didn't quite place the tiles in the correct way, it still looks welcoming, don't you think?

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Baa-aa ......


Monday : Take a couple of playschools to the City Farm and suddenly you have 101 children being introduced to Real Animals and lots of pigs , goats and chickens being introduced to Real Children . An eye-opening experience all round .

But we all survived . Industrial amounts of coffee were poured for Accompanying Adults , I got RSI opening 6-packs of fruit juice , kilos of biscuits vanished like snow before the sun , icepops were dripped everywhere , loos were queued for , some goats ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches , the first aid kit remained untouched and it didn't rain .

The farm's ruthlessly efficient clean up team went into action and it was all declared a huge success .

Tuesday : This morning , maybe coincidentally , I just managed to side step as one of the youngest threw up at my feet . I don't know how the goats are faring .

Friday, 1 July 2011

It Can't Be Friday Again ?


Friday afternoon in Friesland :

For someone greedy married to ditto it means going to the market on the way home ... via the health and Turkish shops . Last stop is the stall that sells locally grown wonky , non-export quality sweet peppers etc.

Listen to loud altercation between cheerful stallholder and equally zesty 90 year-old Turkish woman over 50 cents . She eventually concedes and is given a bonus aubergine for her troubles . I meanwhile pack a huge plastic bag with strangely shaped red and yellow peppers , aubergines , courgettes and vicious chili peppers ."How much do I owe you ?", I ask , fishing a 5 Euro note out of my purse . "Less ", he says laconically .

Cycle on past a pretty , freshly painted crest

and assorted hollyhocks .

Balancing four bags of meat and veg. , I wait at the bridge in a bunch of thirty-odd cyclists , for three large yachts to go through . Feel quite proud of myself as I wobble carefully off without bumping into anyone ... till I see that the woman in front has an entire garden center of potted plants dangling from her handlebars and is talking on her mobile .

Get home , unpack and pedal to the supermarket . Get mugged by a goose . Same old , same old .

But one thing did make this week different . Grandson , two days after his fourth birthday , has demonstrated that he's learnt to read . Peering over his garden wall , he announced to his mother in a booming voice , "LOOK ! They've got lovely underpants ! ". Middle Daughter rushed over , wondering what he'd seen , let alone what he was going to bellow next . "LOOK! They've got stories on .That pair says "POW!"And that pair says "WHAM!" ".

And they did .