Loaves and Fishes

fish

London Aquarium

hand

Emily and fish

Helen and Emily

yellow snow

Yesterday I met up with my dear friend Helen and her daughter (and my adopted niece) Emily, for a visit to see the ‘fishes’ at the London Aquarium. It was wonderful to see them both, and as is always the case, Emily had grown up beyond all recognition and kept me in constant fits of giggles with her exclamations of ‘oh no’ at the sight of anything untoward,  and was a lovely reminder of how amazing a place the world is when you have only 2 years worth of experience, and aren’t yet 3ft tall. The shock of the sensation of touching ice was enough to provoke tears, but a hug from Mum was all that was necessary to put everything to right again. These girls have a very beautiful relationship and friendship, and it was great to be part of their world for a day.

Sadly, however, not m/any snaps of our trip were in focus owing to the lack of light, a ban on flash photography, and the adventures of someone who is two, but this is of course by-the-by, and the good news is that no one was tempted by the yellow snow.

I have become a bit obsessed by bread blogs lately. I haven’t yet pursued this avenue of baking, but I am doing a fair amount of research with thoughts to entering a loaf into the Tilehurst Horticultural Association’s annual show. I fear I will face stiff competition owing to last years offerings, but I hope that 3 months of practice will hold me in good stead.

If not, I will be accepting ideas for a ‘garden on a plate‘ – this year’s theme being ‘The Olympics’. I consider that there is more than one way of being creative with a spring onion…

Random Friday post

candles

We have a family friend that sporadically pops in to see us for no reason in particular, but often present us with some peculiar find from one of the many car boot sales he frequents. It is often a bit of a challenge to decide what to do with these things, especially on the odd occasion we can’t actually make out what our latest present is, but this week I definitely knew they were candles. They’re a bit naff, but make surprisingly good company, and are working a treat to cover the wafts emanating from last night’s fajitas venture. Even though I washed up and everything.

Please excuse the tiles too. Previous house owners taste. There is no accounting for it…

Sewing machining outside is more difficult than you would think, a washed tissue stuck in your pocket isn’t always the disaster that you think it is, especially when your pen leaks, and cats really don’t like being spritzed. Particularly of note in drought areas.

Don’t say I don’t teach you things.

Happy weekend people x

A crisis of confidence

view from Basildon Park

stableyard clock

flower

leaves

Basildon Park

sky

ducks

bench

Urgh.

I have always envied people who have gone their own way and done their own thing. Now ‘the plan’ this year has taken a diversion, I have been handed an amazing opportunity to have a go at it for myself. It is thrilling, all consuming and ultimately terrifying. Every once in a while I am slightly overtaken by a crisis in confidence – is it all going to turn out ok? Am I doing the right thing? Is this what I’m meant to be doing?

The solution I have found is to take myself off for an hour and quite literally air everything. I’m also really lucky that around here, there are so many beautiful places to go.

Basildon Park, my second most favourite place on earth. I am having an affair with the copper beech on the front lawn. In the war when the house was commandeered as an Officers Station, a nurse would meet her true love underneath the tree, and later read his letters there when he was posted to Lyon. When sadly he didn’t return home, she stayed on at the house as a domestic servant to begin with, and then as a volunteer steward for the National Trust, never wanting to let go of what she had left of her fella. I met her in the grand hall where she shared her memories with me. She died last year.

You see, apart from being exquisitely beautiful, it’s not just a tree.

When I go, I’ve decided I want to come back as a bench. They always seem to get the best views.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

I have always loved Easter. Possibly even a little bit more than Christmas, and I’m trying to decide why.

Maybe it’s because Easter isn’t quite as commercialised as Christmas, and there isn’t the requisite amount of shopping involved. Also things are open at Easter – including the curry buffet.

Additionally, this time of year sees a proliferation in the amount of cute fluffy things to cuddle. Sometimes Neil stands still long enough to let me.

Indeed, the world just feels like a lighter, brighter more positive place to live in, AND you get to eat Chocolate for breakfast! I also like that the people who make chocolate at Easter are more puritan in their methods, and are less likely to poison this heavenly substance with anything obscene like Turkish Delight or marzipan, as is so often the way at Christmas.

Indeed there are many reasons to rejoice at this time of year, and so today will largely see me light of heart, with a giddy smile, and what might appear to slightly brown tinted lipstick…

Happy Easter everyone x

Cooking the books

Going to the libraryI must share with you something amazing! There is a place about a mile from where I live, and in exchange for your details you get a little plastic card, and with that card they let you walk out of the building with up to 24 books/talking CDs/DVDs for period of three weeks (or more). And you haven’t heard the best bit yet….

…it’s all for free!

I know!

Along with marmalade, Radio 2, and David Dimbleby, the library is by far one of my best re-discoveries, and I can’t believe that it has taken me so long to re-enter this magical literary emporium, albeit with a slightly misguided 70′s exterior. It brings back incredibly fond memories of being little and cuddling up with the giant crocodile in the corner of the children’s section, catching up on the latest adventures of Topsy and Tim, or finding a new ‘Judy Blume’ in my teenage years and giggling at the ‘rude bit’ which could be easily navigated by the most thumbed page.

My journey back hasn’t disappointed. The same musty smell fills the building, a combination of carpet tiles and decaying paper, and the same lady librarian with the bejewelled spectacles, and the nervous one who takes ages preparing the stamp. There are the same red edged shelves neatly marked with catalogue numbers, the same green and yellow draylon chair that we used to fight for possession of, being much comfier than any of the other plastic offerings, and I was heartened to find that even the old BBC computer still remained in the corner by the wonky blind on which to look up a required title.

This week is a slightly busy one and so I have been forced to limit my account to ‘Brilliant Business Plan’, ‘Bags, Bags, Bags’, ’101 ways with felt’ and ‘The Grown Up Gap Year’, all of which are proving most inspirational, although I am still grappling with the notion of ‘fabric mixology’ in one of them. Liquid mixology on the other hand appears to be second nature, so I am encouraged that it will come in time.

Or maybe I could combine the two and write a book of my own…

The Vyne

The Vyne - drive

The Vyne

green

face on a tree

host of golden daffodils

chicken

gardening

Today I put on some tweed, and thereafter felt a sudden need to plan a day ahead that would match my outfit. As luck would have it, a free range mother came wondering past as inspiration struck, and we thus bundled ourselves into my little ‘blue bullet’ and headed for ‘The Vyne’, (a National Trust property near to Basingstoke for those who aren’t familiar), that is both magnificent and magnificently tranquil.

I watched that chicken dig that hole and then hide three worms down it. She then surreptitiously stood in front of said hole with the passing of other hens.

It made me fall in love with her.

And feel very guilty about what we’re having for dinner.

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