Saturday, 30 November 2019

I’m on the...

cusp of becoming a total 100% fully paid up member of the...
roll of drums please...
sourdough appreciation society, 
can’t talk of anything else, evangelical, seen the light, had a visitation in the middle of the night from some other worldly ectoplasm in the form of squidge, more commonly known as starter.
My starter I love like a mother loves her ugly baby.  I well remember a woman I met in the maternity hospital who was there awaiting the birth of her baby.  When I next saw her I peered into the pram and almost fell back with shock as laid in the pram was quite the ugliest baby I had ever clapped eyes on. 
‘Oh what a characterful chap!’
I eventually said after a pregnant pause.
‘Isn’t he the most beautiful boy?’
Adoration shone from her eyes.  Now my son was the most beautiful boy without shadow of doubt!?!
So there you have it.  I am blind to the roll of eyes, the glazed look, as I endlessly crack on about the joys to all who cross my path.  Like a cow-catcher on the front of a train in the old mid West, I sweep all along in my enthusiasm.  No worries they are not in the least bit interested, I’m on a roll (white sourdough...naturally)
I can claim one scalp, my son a chef; when I mentioned to him in passing about my latest love, his eyes strange to say, rolled...
‘Who is the old girl’s latest squeeze now?’  As hubs says I do have previous!  This time the male of the species can rest easy in their beds as my sights are set firmly on squidge, a harmless obsession I might add!
My son poo-pooed the very idea... ‘Oh yes, we’ve tried it and didn’t have any success!’
He was on their last visit given THE treatment, the sourdough toast for brekkie, a demo, I haven’t cooked on the telly for nothing you know!?!
Sent home with detailed notes, and the starter in the Weck jar with fulsome feeding instructions.
He like a good son has not only grasped the baton but is steaming along in gold medal position.  
Err... only trouble now is I do NOT want him to upstage me.
I love him but not that much... my beautiful boy.

This is today’s loaf, photo’s sent naturally to my first convert.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Please tell me you...

Dress the Christmas table with lots of pretentious home made nicknacks.  I saw this week in a magazine a hanging for chair backs made out of tinfoil turkey trays cut into oak leaves then baked in the oven to age and dull them.  As I looked it occurred to me... does anyone actually go to all this faff?  My next thought was how uncomfortable they would be digging into your back as you sat next to great Auntie Grace and listened to her cracking on about concerts she had performed at.  Getting out of her capacious handbag a hank of her hair back in the day when she a) actually had some and b)the colour was then of  corn rippling in the warm summer sun, as opposed to the wiry badger’s bum grey she was sporting that Christmas day.

I must at this point put my hands up and confess to a little light pretentiousness back when I was style over substance and keen to ‘set the scene’ by strewing leaves, acorns, tangerines,  chocolate pennies, liqueur chocolates and the like across the festive table with gay abandon!  As I got older I would get himself to polish the candelabra, which for all his hard work I then cover up with ivy and tiny silver balls.   The silver plated surface has long gone and I love the dull pewter peeping through like a mouse deciding to brave the security of his house in order to harvest the dropped crumbs of Christmas pud, maybe a crispy bit of roast parsnip the dog has missed.  The fun for me is setting the scene, planning the menus, cooking the meal... the worst bit is the blooming guests, who always take up more space than you imagine they will.  Also since you last saw them have developed a gluten intolerance, oh and by the way  will only eat animals that not only are free range but have lived a long and fulfilled life, died naturally... naturally!  This I actually have had said to me in my past life as a chef!  How I stopped myself from embedding the cleaver into their empty head I will never know?

Being older and wiser I now think this little dish given to me by my son long ago sums up what sitting down to share food is all about.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

A funny few...

weeks!  A mixed bag of things.
We kicked the obedience classes into touch.  
Ellie is a total joy: she, since the day before yesterday is free to run. I plucked up the courage to drop her lead and let her go with the six foot long lead trailing behind.  Not many minutes later I un-clipped her, making sure that we had lots of treats to encourage her return.  She was joyous at being free, the sight was enough to swell your heart; just seeing her do what collies do...
run and jump with spring in her step.
Today, we weren’t long out of the car when bravely I once more took her lead off,  A few metres away she stopped looked back and realised the woods were there for her unfettered to explore,  She was off soonest on the trail of a squirrel.  That I must say gave me a qualm as she was single-mindedly  hot in pursuit.  I called, she came back eventually without too much of a problem.  I didn’t panic just stood still until the squirrel did what squirrels do... shot up a tree!
From then on it was superb to see her enjoying her first real taste of freedom.  
As the vet said she will be more
worried about losing us than us losing her!  And he was right! 
She does still pull on the lead, that I think over time we will sort.

My old boss being in the news is an interesting one?
Who do you believe these days?  The stories put out by folk in high places or politicians?  Personally, sad to say,I don’t believe a word any of them trot out!  That makes me sad to think maybe I am becoming cynical or
maybe just plain realistic?

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Any suggestions for...

a women’s group I could join?
Over the years I have given thousands of talks to WI groups, Townswomen's Guild, Probus, The Wrens (never been in the Navy!, Rotary, the Masons etc. 
Until now I have never had the desire to join any such groups.
My cousin has a picture of my only visit to the Brownies, there I am sat on the front row with arms crossed and my face a picture.  No one was surprised I never went back!
Now I suddenly have the desire to join something, is this a sign I am becoming old I idly wonder.
My trouble is I have the attention span of a knat  and get bored when folk waffle on endlessly about stuff.  At the mother and toddler groups I did occasionally grace with my presence I got so blooming hacked off with the talk of little Willy’s potty training that I would lob in an odd hand grenade of...
‘What do you think of the current political situation?’

Mouths would open and close in unison as faces frown furrowed with...
‘What the hell is this strange personage on about? I ask you is there anything more important than teething, breast feeding and cackie nappies!?!’

So you see I have a bit of a problem!  Any ideas, suggestions gratefully received.

And before you suggest AA or SW  that would be pure hell as all they would do is sit and talk about booze and food... or maybe not?

Sunday, 10 November 2019

‘Give me...

your clicker!’ 
she sternly demanded.  In a sentence we were relegated to the bottom of the class.  Ellie sat under the chair as the other star pupils performed.
Sit, click, treat
Down, click, treat
Stand, click, treat.
Okay for thicko’s we both thought, we’re a world apart from these bozos.
‘Get the flavour of the treat in your hand, work in well so the dog can smell the treat, then swop hands!’  Ellie needless to say wasn’t having any of this Magic Circle mysticism.  She knew, just knew.
She looked at me with eyes that said 
‘You’re having a larf, pull the other one!  This game is for the mutts not for the aristo’s of the canine fraternity!’ 
Then went back under the seats feigning disinterest and complete and utter distain. Even when Boudicca tried to get her to stand she shuffled her bum along the floor in order to get the treat but to not actually do as requested... STAND.
‘Collie’s always do this!’ she said by way of her get out of jail free card.  Walking away to the more dozy do as you’re told dogs... click!
All in all not a rip roaring success.
We came away feeling washed out and in need of a drink.  I strongly suspect Boudicca is feeling the same; too pooped to even give the blades on her chariot a little light buff up with Brillo!?!

Saturday, 9 November 2019

My love...

for sourdough is growing at the same rate as my waist measurement.


There is something strangely addictive of the whole process.  The alchemy of harvesting the  natural yeasts that are there for the catching.  I plan to concoct an implement similar to a dream catcher.  A fairy wand in order for me to don my frou-frou floaty pointy shimmery dress.  Not forgetting my sparkly tiara of course.  With fleet of foot I will waft around the house waving my wand harnessing any passing interesting yeast spores.

Sound like a plan?

Friday, 8 November 2019

Slimmers club...

 nonchalantly she stepped on the scales, so chilled about the fact this was the first weigh in she decided to sit on them!
0.7 kg.... put on!
How could this have happened?  After a seismic reduction of portion sizes, only healthy snacks, no unhealthy fast food.
No worries therefore of what the scales might say.  How wrong could she have been to have ne’er a care?

What a joy to be a dog!

And seeing as you’re asking the training isn’t going okay.
On the night, she was fine after the initial problems of her shyness and fear.
The clicker training went well.  The whistle training went well-ish.
Problem was on the first day doing our homework the very first click frightened her so much, we haven’t gone near it since.  Even if she suspects I have it in my hand she won’t even get off her bed.
Sunday night we go back not having done one iota of homework.  The naughty step beckons, I can see it all now!  No difference really to my progress through school.

On her trip back for Doggie Fat club, the vet twice said he would have her like a shot.
My reply... 

‘On yer bike Sunshine!’

I have a way with words.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

I’m doing...

stuff, it’s one of those days.
The Christmas cards I sew for a few friends sit started but unlooked at, as I prepare for my first stint at the hospital tomorrow.

Me, as a craft teacher, that has to be the joke of the season!
I have prepared as a good teacher should; tomorrow I have decided 
to get the patients to make poppy badges.  I have been busy cutting out shapes, cobbling odds and ends together to give full rein to whoever wants to personalise their own poppy.  I have no idea if this is a good plan or not, it at least is topical.

Early dinner as tonight the three of us go to our first proper dog training assault course!
Who arrives home having gained the most will be an interesting one?
It is all strictly regulated, we wouldn’t have expected anything less from Boudicca’s class.  Our arrival is timed and we are to stay outside with our dogs until we are instructed to come in.  Whether she will be judging the dogs or us is a moot point?
I will return with a full debrief...

Saturday, 2 November 2019

A taste of my...

day (Saturday).
Wake at 6.45am, a habit we have got into,
weekdays and weekends.  Now we have Ellie it is important we get her out for her first squat of the day.
Tea in bed as we read the paper on our flat things i.e. iPads.
Breakfast the regulation weekend two (weekdays, one!) slices of homemade bread toast, one multigrain the other white sourdough, still holey, still delish!  For weekend brekkie we sit at the table, sometimes with the candles lit.  We always light the candles at supper-time.
I went food shopping while himself took Ellie around the field for her first walk of the day, tipping with rain, then the surprise of an appearance of sun.  Lunch was half a delicious locally made pork pie with the leftover couscous salad from last night’s dinner.  We wandered around the ‘Local to Ludlow’ market where I bought these twisted thingybobbies 

together with a peanut feeder from the same maker.  It is now hanging in the Wrenery.  No sight as yet of any birds as next door has a better class of feast for our  feathered friends.  A quick nip in to our favourite pub which we haven’t been to since we got Ellie as it is in the the heart of town.  The centre of Ludlow is too scary a place as yet for a country dog.  As she was at home on this occasion we thought it a good opportunity to show our faces to give them an update on the one paw forward, two back of our four legged member of the family.
Another three laps of the field with me this time.
Home then for me to make us a tomato and red onion tart, light the fire and hunker down on a wet and miserable evening.  Glass of wine and a good book... what better?

Life on the

allotment.  A flavour…   Ludlow town wall stands guard    No Dig is the way forward Charles Dowding