Wednesday, 23 June 2010

A pale sun poked impudent marmalade fingers through the grizzled lattice glass, and sent the shadows scurrying, like convent girls menaced by a tramp.

Having penned a poem or several, I am fascinated by the English language and there was no better conjurer of conversation, genius of gibberish and out and out acrobat of articulation than Vivian Stanshall!

Ian has been a huge fan of his for many years and, by 'osmosis', so am I. He's been quoting bits of 'Sir henry at Rawlinson End' to me for many moons and it was with a strange stroke of luck that he stumbled across the first performance of it on stage since it was performed by Stanshall

It was at The Unity theatre in Liverpool and performed by Mike Livesley and tickety boo it was too!!!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Chickening out.....

We collected 4 new chickens today. Ex battery hens.
Ex battery hens have well and truly stolen my heart and they are so deserving of the life they should have had from the start.
It always warms my cockles to see them beginning to enjoy being alive, rather than fighting to exist.
Our new girls; Maggie, Penny, Sadie and Rita....

Saturday, 12 June 2010

I crave MY indulgence!

Amongst those that know me, it's no secret that I'm a bit of a 'foodie'. Since getting our chickens back in 2007, growing some of our own fruit and veg and my new found interest (dare I call it skill?) in being creative in the kitchen, I (we) really care about good food and how it is produced and of course, how it tastes!

One of my food heroes is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, he of River Cottage, and I've had a hankering to visit that part of the world and eat at the River Cottage Canteen for some time.

So, what better excuse than my 40th birthday! As I've told you in my little profile..."I avoid parties..." hate them in fact and so, as I'm well on the way to wearing purple, I decided that I will do exactly what I want to do for my 40th and that meant NO party!

So, our little party of 4; me, Ian, mum and Molly, set off... with visions of cream teas, cider and seafood dancing in my head!

We stayed in a little holiday cottage in Bridport owned by a lady who I bumped into on the internet. I'm a bit vague (it was a while ago) as to how exactly I found Jade, but I think I was looking for something to do with VW camper vans on 'facebook' (back when we still had our van) and I stumbled across her blog
We seemed to have so much in common that I added her to my list of facebook 'friends'.

Some time later she bought a cottage in Dorset, moved there, bought the cottage next door, turned that into a holiday cottage and well...that's where I decided to base our stay!

And so, more about my fortieth festive foodie foray...forthwith!

And so, about that!

Well, we visited Weymouth, scene of childhood caravanning holidays...somehow it looked different, smaller, but then so was I last time I was there.

So much nicer than seaside resorts in the North West, clean and not a single 'fun' pub in sight. We walked on the beach, had fish and chips on the sea front and ice cream on the prom.

The sea was so clean and clear and the Punch and Judy man and the sand sculpture man are still there, it was good to see some things hadn't changed.

Afterwards, we drove up to Portland Bill lighthouse and there were stunning views of Chesil beach up there. 'On Chesil Beach' is supposed to be a good read, must get hold of a copy.....

Lyme Regis was very sweet but very hilly so we stuck to walking along the sea front towards The Cobb, that was after a delicious crab baguette that is.

There are some sweet little pastel painted beach huts along the promenade and Lyme was just simply charming.

and of course, I had to stand on the famous Cobb!

On the way to Lyme we stopped off at The Lyme Bay Winery and sampled several of their wares and came away with a bottle of elderflower wine, a bottle of mead and 4 bottles of apricot wine.

The apricot wine is mine!!!!! It is lovely and sweet and most definitely delicious.

So much more to tell but it will have to wait for another day....I have to tell you all about River Cottage yet :0)

Thursday, 3 June 2010

All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape.

All the best stories in the world are but one story in reality -- the story of escape. It is the only thing which interests us all and at all times, how to escape.
~ Arthur Christopher Benson ~

I couldn't agree more, the vicarious pleasures of a good story!

My favourite genre of book is either autobiography or travel memoir and I have just finished reading all of Annie Hawes books; 'Extra Virgin', 'Ripe For the Picking', 'Journey to the South' and 'A Handful of Honey' and adored and devoured every single page!

The first 2 titles are about her move to a small village in Northern Italy. Of buying a remote, delapidated house with its own olive grove and how she got to grips with renovating the property, local customs and living without many of the modern conveniences we take for granted.
The 3rd book is about a visit to Calabria in Southern Italy to meet the family of her boyfriend and attend a family funeral and the final book is about a journey across Northern Africa.

She paints such vivd pictures and brings these places and people to life with such witt and her tales are just utterly dripping with life and so absorbing!

I was so in love with Northern Africa, its sights, sounds, smells, people etc by the end of the last book that I turned to Amazon to find something similar and stumbled upon 'A House in Fez' by Suzanna Clarke, which has just arrived in the post.

And so, my escape begins anew...