Showing posts from January, 2008

Household tips? Are you serious?

The wonderful and entirely mad bodran (how many dogs have you now, is it just the ten?) has tagged me for 5 household tips. Mmmm, here we go: If you pick things up off the floor and clean it you can get away with a multitude of sins. A hoovered rug looks like you care and the dusty skirting boards don't seem to show. Lots of lamps and candles beat overhead light every time: better for wrinkles, better for dust and piles of stuff, warm, atmospheric and kindly. If in doubt, cook something. The smell of a roasting chicken or a lemon cake coming out of the oven makes a far bigger impact than a clean washbasin and you can eat it. From the age of about 9 children should look after their own rooms. Clearly this means that some rooms will be a bit clean and tidy and some will permanently look like a bomb has hit them. When a room is a disaster hold your nerve. Close the door firmly, get a job or an overwhelming interest and leave the room alone. It will not be tidied by the offend

A Day in the Life of...

My strangely split life is probably best represented by a Thursday, when, although I am not in London, I am working at home in the morning so here goes: I wake at about 7.30. If there is any sun at all the light will be flooding in through the window as we never close the curtains - there is nobody to overlook or to be overlooked by. The sun rises behind the hill at the far side of the valley and the sky this morning was palest blue, streaked with pink and gold. Perhaps because I am away from home a couple of times a week, I love waking here in my own bed on our quiet hillside. Ian will be on the verge of leaving for work or may have already gone, really early, without waking me. If he is still at home, he will bring me a cup of tea before he goes. I drink it slowly, cocooned in my warm bed, watching the sky change as the sun rises. The first commitment of the day is a regular nine o' clock conference call. I get up and pull my jeans and fleece on and go outside to let t

Comfort food

I read this lovely meme on geranium cat's blog and thought I would pass it on. Things to do with food are always appealing! What did you eat/drink today? For breakfast two of our own eggs, scrambled with a slice of Ian's bread, toasted, and a glass of orange juice. For lunch homemade soup using a variety of tired looking vegetables in the rack: onions, a single parsnip, one carrot, several potatoes beginning to sprout. Somehow and with the help of Marigold stock, lots of black pepper and cumin, they became a really good, slightly spicy soup with more homemade bread and butter and an apple to follow. For tea some butcher's sausages, cooked slowly in oven with jacket potato and buttered broccoli and sweetcorn followed by an orange. Somewhere in all of this I slipped in a slice of bread and jam, mugs and mugs of ludicrously weak tea and finished up with two glasses of red wine. It is becoming clear that there is a reason that I am not losing weight. What do you never eat/

Picking my way through the minefield

There has been an outpouring of comment today about Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's programme on free range chicken. Reading through the comments about the choices people make in the food they buy made my head reel: organic, free range, local or none of these. There are environmental issues and animal welfare issues as well as questions as to how much money and time you have. There are health issues and class issues and issues about how well travelled you are or wish to appear to be. It is a nightmare. So here is my attempt at what I do and why I do it, in the hopes that writing it down will help me to see the inconsistencies and that other people's comments will help me to work out whether I would like to do anything differently. I have bought only free range eggs for years and now we get about two eggs a day from our own chickens. There is no doubt that there is a difference in the freshness of using newlaid eggs and I love the fact that the chickens who are a pleasure to hav


I quite like the idea of New Year's Resolutions: new year, new start, taking stock, all that kind of thing. This year I think the important thing is not to resolve the same old, same old. I don't know for how many years I have been resolving to eat less, drink less, exercise more, so clearly I never do it or I wouldn't have to resolve it all over again. I suppose there is the possibility that if I never made the resolutions in the first place I would become huge, slow and utterly drunk, sliding inexorably into decadence like Julie Burchill at her worst. But I think not. So this is the year for some others. I have just been sorting magazines into piles so here is number one: I will stop buying new magazines and start rereading the ones I have got. Anything I am not prepared to reread must go to recycling. I'm always keeping them, especially gardening magazines. They accumulate in piles in various corners of the house. So read them or chuck them and don't i