Tuesday 30 September 2014

Contingency plans

I rang to get the weekly shopping list
from two nonagenarians.

Could you get me one of those very tiny bottles of wine?
Merlot. Sainsbury's do them.
When the curate came round last week to give Communion
 he found that his bottle of consecrated wine was empty.

A walk recently found us stumbling unexpectedly through a vast vineyard.

Gusbourne Estate grows Pinot Noir,
Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.

They have followed the tradition of planting roses at the end of each row,
this supposedly acting as an early warning system because
grape vines and roses are susceptible to the same diseases,
such as powdery mildew and downy mildew.

The wine rack is empty and
we have an anniversary coming up.

I don't think they do very tiny bottles.

Monday 29 September 2014

Friday 26 September 2014

Waiting to be real*

Big Bear introduces himself.

Miss Maggie Rabbit.
One of Alicia's kits.
Waiting to be real, like the Velveteen Rabbit.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

In which I say 'Fie' to the makers of iphone sleeves*

Take one (sadly) felted sock.

Cut toe off and close with blanket stitch.

* I'll still need a case though.
I haven't dropped it yet,
but it's only a matter of time.

Sunday 21 September 2014

Feeling my age

Trafalgar Square has hosted A Place Called Home
during the London Design Festival.
I am discomfited by the installations.
Two flickering screens in Ilse Crawford's house,
What Does Home Mean To You? were as difficult to focus on
as those banks of television sets in a department store.
You were invited to Tweet your impressions
which were added to a further scrolling display.
140 characters didn't seem to offer enough scope for my feelings.
Also I don't have a Twitter account.
Also I had a headache brought on by Swivel Eye Syndrome.

It smelt nice though. She had commissioned Azzi Glasser to develop
a scent to waft around the space because,
'every home has its own distinctive smell.' 
My home smells of Sunday lunch at present
and faintly of drying oil paint.

A pigeon themed house from Jasper Morrison.
Witty at least.
Sadly the actual pigeons have been banish├ęd from Trafalgar Square.
I say sadly, but actually I was terrified as a child
when they landed on my head.
This was a popular photo opportunity
for those with a Box Brownie.

I'd intended to walk to The Design Museum near Tower Bridge.

The River Bus was an entertaining and more direct alternative.
It was also a chance for a sit down.
My Freedom Pass was accepted,
but she wanted to see it first.
Which was nice.

A sobering sight. So many poppies.
So many deaths.

The Design Museum had this pop-up exhibition.
I was not impressed by the £12.40 entrance fee.
'No age-related concessions,' said the girl at the desk
a tad presumptuously.
(I hadn't asked for one.)
One of the displays was a tray of Lego with some half-made models on a table.
A guard had been positioned near it to bark at people who believed
they had been invited to play with it.
Elsewhere the exhibitions were interactive 
so they were naturally confused.

I looked for an i-phone cover in the shop.
Not finding one, I interrupted a conversation behind the till
to ask if they stocked any.
It was as though I had asked for a Union Jack place mat with
'I heart London' on it.
I walked back to London Bridge feeling thoroughly deflated by it all.
Rather longing for more of this:

No entrance fee.
All ages welcome.

Thursday 18 September 2014

Backward glance at blackberries

I can hardly bear to tear myself away from the warmth of the garden
but I fear I am getting behind, what with cleaning up post builders, 
redecorating the new window walls
and baby cuddling.
Blackberries must be recorded before it is too late
and we have all moved on to autumn leaves.

Baby bunting.

Cake. This Ottolenghi recipe Raspberry and Oat Bars,
somewhat like Nigella's Dream Bars, could have been made with
blackberry jam if I had made any.
I used the blackcurrant jam and some fresh raspberries instead.

Friday 12 September 2014

The Playdough Basket

My mother gave me this basket when I was little.
Originally it was lined with a piece of quilted dressing gown
and filled with sewing things.
Somewhere along the way it lost its contents
and became the Playdough basket.

I still have the recipe for homemade playdough.

2 tbsps oil
2 cups plain flour
1 cup salt (that's the preservative
and makes it unpalatable)
2 cups water
4 tsps cream of tartar
food colouring

Cook gently for a few minutes.

I love playing with playdough.
I just need someone to play with.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Kitchen tour under cover

I am lucky to have a sizeable kitchen.
Size isn't everything though.
The work triangle is abysmal. 
The huge window is to blame.
Glorious though it is to have it centred on the best view of the garden,
it makes a U-shaped layout impossible
and as a galley it is too wide.
It is cold too being NW facing.
So cold, that we have belatedly bitten the bullet
and decided to get double glazed windows.
To the right of the window is a fridge and plastic box 
and baking tin cupboard.
Above the fridge is the inaccessible cupboard for
biscuits, crisps, chocolate and cakes.
The 'children' can all access this with ease now.
I still have to stand on a chair, which is just as well.

There is normally a butcher's block under the window.
It blocks the heat from the radiator.

The range stove (not an AGA, I've never wanted one) 
is in the chimney breast
and the sink unit is to the right of it.

Here are the crockery and glass cupboards, 
with a dropped level work surface for pastry and bread making.
The liquidiser, kettle and coffee machine all stand out on top.
I don't have a food processor since it went 'phut'.

 This is where we eat.
The shelf normally houses various plates, jugs and Poole Pottery jam pots.
The picture above I wrote about here and here and here.
Twenty years ago I had a bench made to store toys.
The Play Doh basket is still in there.
It may be needed again.

The tiles are very warming.
The butcher's hooks hold my utensils.
The mantleshelf above that holds yet more jugs and vases.

The sink unit has three cupboards above
which hold all the spices, oils, vinegars
and miscellaneous bottles and jars.

The three shelves hold a selection of the newly culled cookery books
presently in favour.
Fruit bowls stand on the corner unit and saucepans beneath.
The door to the left goes into the utility room.
Everything is in there being covered in a fine layer of dust.
The mess is indescribable.
I know the men are doing their best but there is hammering of masonry
and drilling of plaster and none of it can be avoided.
I am sitting upstairs and am also
covered in a fine layer of dust.
The men speak a very rare version of Farsi Blokeish.
They are from Afghanistan.

Now go and visit Sue.
She has a lovely new red floor.