Wednesday, 27 August 2014


I've been having a culinary cull.
Any book with fewer than a dozen well loved recipes,
which I have photocopied, hits the charity shop pile.


Particularly irritating that one with its cast of thousands ingredients list
and unhygenic painted wooden serving platters.

With a little sigh of regret because really I want to go and eat there
not cook from her book, but owning it was the closest I am likely to get
to this iconic restaurant.


This one was a present.
A lifestyle book (the lifestyle now defunct as they no longer run
their 'boutique guest-house')


And then, in the midst of this pleasurable exercise -
I heard a small pop and a fizz from the worktop behind me.
Nothing untoward met my first glance.
The food processor was sitting there.
I had chopped some onion and celery in it earlier.
The fizzing sound seemed to be coming from it.
So too did the curling wisps of smoke.
I unplugged it and ran to the front door,
holding it by the spindle at arm's length.
Was that foolish?
I don't know. I just wanted it out of the house.

Gone after 30 years.
My Kenwood Cuisine food processor Model A537.


Tuesday, 26 August 2014


Here comes Freddie.

He's a Harlequin Great Dane.

Hip height to a short adult (me).
I was a little apprehensive.

But he was more interested in this horse than me.
We've never seen grazing horses here before
and we've never seen a Harlequin Great Dane.
We talked to his owner while he stood a little way off
surveying his surroundings.
Freddie has a tumour and has already outlived the vet's prognosis
of fifteen months survival.They decided against invasive treatment
and so he is enjoying leisurely walks in the late summer sun.

My camera had done this strange thing as he and his owner loped off.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Plums on a tray

Destined for a tray bake plum cake.
Riveting stuff.
I blame my broken glasses.
Someone sat on them.

What were they doing in your pocket you ask?
Well sometimes I would rather look unframed about me
 with a compromised focus
than look clearly 
in a restricted field.
So I put them in my coat pocket.
Then I take the coat off and put it on the bench
and someone sits on the coat.

That'll be £60 to mend the snapped bridge, says the optician.
So compromised focus it is for the time being.
I have an assortment of old glasses to press into service
until I'm due for another eye test.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Things on my plate(s)

some of them figgy,

some of them rosy,

some of them lemony.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

'Elementary,' said he.

Do you know what's going on up there?

It is my business to know what other people don't know.

 Let's take a closer look.
That allotment never used to be there did it?

You see but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.

You know my method. It is founded on the observation of trifles.

Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?

That shed has only three walls and there's a ruddy big white plastic sheet on the grass.

And a lot of tripoddy things standing about.
I think this is a film set.

It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.
Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories,
instead of theories to suit facts.

And look! A funny bit of wall with dead potted plants round it.

Data! Data! Data!. . . I can't make bricks without clay!

Well someone's made a stone wall without stones,

This one's made of polystyrene.

There is nothing like first hand evidence.
but also
There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.

I bet this is where they are filming 'Mr Holmes' with Sir Ian McKellen.

Nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person.

I confess that I have been as blind as a mole,
but it is better to learn wisdom late than never to learn it all.*

* All quotes from Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Monday, 11 August 2014

A round up

I haven't been around lately.
I've been round and about.
The first five pictures are from Kettle's Yard in Cambridge.
The bench is in Bateman's Garden, Rudyard Kipling's home.
The jelly fish was narrowly avoided underfoot

while paddling.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Peace restored

The flowery mead in late July.
The rest of the garden is virtually flowerless
now that I have pulled up all the sprawling geraniums.
I'm minded to extend this patch next year,
it has been such good value.

'Terra' has just told me that this is Coreopsis
and it means 'always cheerful'.
It links in rather well with this post too.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Bill 2

Just came home from Waitrose*
to find an armed police raid in full swing next door.
Not what one expects.

And to think, only hours earlier
I had been sitting on the swing seat with a Magnum.
By which I mean one of these

lest there be any confusion in your minds.

I was reminded of the joke about the Peter Jones*
department store being where you should go in the event
of a nuclear attack, as nothing bad can ever happen there.

Surely I couldn't be expected to unpack Waitrose hummus
with plain clothes officers swarming about the place.

This must qualify me for inclusion here.

* Peter Jones and Waitrose are operated by the John Lewis Partnership

Monday, 28 July 2014

The cook is (briefly) back in town

Andalusian soup salad,
artichokes and aioli,
tomato bruschetta

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Returning to the nest

Hot news.
The seagull has landed.
O. is home from his year in Japan.
Just got to get through baggage reclaim.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Weather event

This metallic blue plant
was ripped out of the ground by an unholy storm last Friday night.
 Cauliflower clouds built and swirled and involuted
as if on a sped up film just a little way off and so low
they seemed scarcely higher than the fence.
I called to people to come inside.
Then from nowhere; from  a standing start;
a hot wind rushed across the garden from the south.
The trees twisted and convulsed, flowers were trampelled 
as if by invisible hooves.
There was no rain, some sheet lightning,
but the wind was the main event.
It was like being in the path of a monstrous steam engine.
It roared and churned and battered the earth.
Then it passed and all was quiet again.
I have never seen anything like it.

The thunderstorm that followed in the night
was a non-event by comparison.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Something you may not know about me

Some people like shopping for clothes,
some people like shopping for shoes.
Let me loose in a specialist horticultural, arboricultural and forestry outlet
on an out of the way light industrial estate
and I'm in my element.

Admittedly I have to dust off my Blokeish,
but look what I got.

It's an extendable pole lopper with a twelve foot reach.
Just the job.

Here's where it all started.

Or perhaps it lurks even further back in the blood.
My maternal grandfather (after a stint as a teenager, opal mining in Australia)
studied forestry in Germany and then joined the Indian Forestry Service
and served at Chatrapur, Berhampore and Parlikimedia
in the north of Madras Presidency.
Me, I'm controlling brambles, ash and sycamores
in the south of England Residency.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Work in progress

Looks like you're trying to make a quilt Lucille.
Need any help?

No thank you. I have read all the blogs.
I have the rotary cutter and the special ruler and the self-healing board.
I have the fat quarters and the pins.
What can possibly go wrong?

Do not click to enlarge to see the mismatched corners.

I said don't.

Anyway, look at this.
I've washed an old tablecloth to use as 
the backing material.

It's bleaching in the sun.
It will look as though I have hand embroidered the back.

If the child asks one day,
'Granny did you embroider the back?'
I will have to say,
'My dear, it was all I could do
to make the squares line up properly.
But I did it as carefully as I could
on a very hot day in July 2014 while we were waiting
for you to arrive.'