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Showing posts from January, 2016

Making it feel like home

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It is grey and blowing today.  Eight o' clock in the morning.  The wind lashes the yew tree.  I look through my bedroom window at the rain blowing in rippling curtains across the valley.   Ian has gone to work.  The house is quiet, apart from the noise of the wind, and dark, too dark to see without the lights on.  I pad downstairs in my slippers and go round turning some lights on in the kitchen and the sitting room.  The dog greets me with a wagging tail.   Sadness snatches at me but I turn away from it.  Today is mine to make.  I hear my mother's voice "I think to myself, what can I do to make this a good day for Graham and for me, and then I do it".  So simple.  So complicated.

So how to claim the day, how to make it feel like home?  Breakfast first.  A cup of tea in my favourite mug and scrambled eggs.  The rhythm of making scrambled eggs is soothing.  I could do this in my sleep: the little pan on the hob with a knob of butter in it melting while I beat two eggs…

A domestic marmalade adventure

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Enough of all this deep stuff.  Time to make marmalade.  I had a cold after Christmas which could only be helped by copious amounts of whisky and hot lemon, which Ian duly supplied.  You can always tell I have a bad cold if I take to whisky, lemon and honey.  In normal times I don't even like whisky.  Ian bought lots of lemons (there must have a been a special offer on!) and when the cold had receded there were the lemons, about a kilo of them, still sitting in the fruit bowl looking as if they would like to be made into something.


Marmalade is a great thing to make if you are new to preserving because it sets easily.  I don't have much patience with the traditional chopping of oranges or lemons.  This way produces a very similar marmalade with a lot less work.

You need:
As ingredients: 1 kilo lemons, 2kg (or slightly more) granulated sugar, water.
As equipment: very large pan or preserving pan, sharp knife, food processor, twelve clean jam jars with lids, measuring jug, jam …

Reflection and adventure

Thank you so much to everyone who commented on my last blog about my father.  I hugely appreciate your kindness, your sensitivity, and your readiness to share your own experience of the loss of your parents or others whom you have loved.  It was good to be reminded that everyone will go through something like this at some time in their life and that, ulitmately, we all cope in our different ways.  It was also good to hear in your responses that you had understood what I was trying to say about my father.  I felt somehow that in reading and responding people were honouring him and his life.  Thank you.  It meant a lot to me.

And so here we are now in 2016.  I am not a great maker of New Year's Resolutions.  When I used to make resolutions, I would find that they were pretty much the same every year: the same losing weight, taking more exercise, eating well, drinking less.  Not a great advert for the efficacy of resolutions really.  Clearly if they worked, each year would bring new …