Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Time To Dust Myself Down

O.K.  While not going overboard , I've done the mumpy bit and  it's time to do something that involves less sighing ... so tiring ...

 Given that Mrs. Laxmi Devi hasn't suddenly appeared outside my front door , rolling up her umbrella à la Mary Poppins , we've just been eating cottage pie or chicken fillets , slightly cheered by the last of the Dutch strawberries for pud. I've stoically eaten the last leaden Polenta Muffin and I've got Yotam Ottolenghi's  "Plenty" out of the library to see if it can inspire me to cook something a bit more inspiring  . I like his recipes ... so unjudgemental and very comforting . And  I do like aubergines .

The trip to the library helped in another way , too . At last I'd managed to creep towards the end of  "Incredibly Loud etc."  and returned it , glad to have read it but in need of something more relaxing . And I found Kate Atkinson's "Life after Life" on the New Book shelves ( English books take a while to get up here ) . "Oh , " said the librarian , "you'll love it ! " ,  And I did .

I finally got a haircut that doesn't make me look like an elderly Milly Molly Mandy

But more Christopher Robin-ish , which is an improvement ... I think .

 And today we visited a Care Farm

that Husband liked and seems happy to go to one day a week . Chickens and cows , loads of cats and a beautiful Friesian horse , not too many people and the freedom to help out or just to sit in the conservatory admiring the view . It's beautifully and imaginitively run by a couple who watched their small farm become steadily less viable , while looking for a friendly day care place for a relation , and decided to kill two birds with one stone . The prospect of feeding the calves and the presence of a pair of very fat pigs clinched the deal . He goes for a trial day next week . His clogs and Benny-from-Crossroads wooly hat are ready and waiting . I could see the farmer looking at them with approval .

Thursday, 14 August 2014

What I'm Doing After My Holiday

The same as I did before , really ... without the football avoidance .

 Admiring the boats as they chug past , especially the huge ones whose masts tower above our three-storey building . Cycling through town , down Maria Luisa street and Button street to the gym and the odd desultory bit of exercise . Googling anything and everything ... pig gelatine and what  it's doing in Becel Light , for instance . Cooking rather badly ( does anyone else have spells when they just can't cook anything edible , or is it just me ? ) and sewing something rather uninspired that will end up in the scrap box .
Having a post-holiday dip , in other words .
Luckily I haven't forgotten how to read . At the moment , I'm reading Jonathan Safran Foer's  Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close in tiny bites ... it's Incredibly In Your Face and too sad and weird to read in one go . I've worked with quite a few autistic and ADHD children and  tend to get sucked in , perhaps  . But , while I can't say I'm enjoying it , I'm fascinated .
And , perforce , I'm plunking food on the table , edible or not . Çooking blight notwithstanding , I've found a chaas formula I like ( can't call it a recipe , really , since it's just buttermilk with spices and herbs , but wonderfully refreshing and good for you ) and , unexpectedly , a Cold Cure which I must share with you . In a little book titled Nepalese Kitchen , a Mrs. Laxmi Devi writes
 "Doctor Turmeric ! For instant relief of cold , add 1/2 tsp. turmeric to a glass of hot milk and drink it ." 
Not being fond of yellow milk I probably won't , but do let me know if it helps . She's obviously a splendid woman to have around ... her hiccup cure sounds failsafe , if less technicolour .
"Roast some peppercorns and breathe in deeply" .
 She would probably whip me and my saucepans into shape in a trice  . 

Sunday, 3 August 2014

August ! Already ? !!

It can't be .
 I mean , I know we've been lolling about in blazing sunshine for weeks now , but there are lots of things I haven't done yet . Haven't had a picnic for instance , or got a suntan. I haven't gone swimming ... not that I ever do , if I think about it ... or gone to the beach ( ditto ) , or a barbecue

BUT I have encountered spacemen ,

 seen the odd swan ,

been found wanting by squirrels,

 seen lots of graffiti ,

gone on a guided city walk ,


 eaten bruschetta in a field with half of England's middle-aged middle class ,

(*  No , I didn't do it twice . Blogger's just repeated the photo )

I've been taught how to avoid being annihilated by the Joker ( this wasn't a wild success , the multitasking needed to play Batman 2 on Wii proved to be too much for me . "Never mind , Granny" . You tried ". )  and was taught by a two year-old the best way to deal with a condescending waiter ( you must turn right round in your chair to face him , pause , smile and repeat your order in exactly the same voice you used the first time ... well , it worked for Small Grandson , anyway . Might have been the smile ) .

 I've eaten fish and chips , watched a waiters' Champagne race in Soho ,

 eaten a fish cake at Muriel's ,  a gingerbread lady in Southwark

and a chicken wrap in MacDonald's .And gone to lots of exhibitions ...

 And it's still only August , which gives me loads of sunlight hours to read , sew , eat tomatoes , find the right chaas recipe and to give the evil eye to whistling neighbour .... or even go for a picnic .