Monday, July 26, 2010

Family Gathering

It's a tradition of my husband's mother's family to have an annual get-together, and it was our pleasure to host the event this year.  Present on Saturday were Auntie Gladys, aged ninety-two and Chloe, aged six weeks.

Gladys, a testament to the power of good genes, took up swimming at the age of eighty, even learning to dive, after a lifetime of fearing water.   More recently she has embarked on piano lessons, sustained by the occasional glass of red wine.  Sadly, she is only related to my husband by marriage.

The last few months have been a flurry of DIY and small repair jobs - all those pesky little tasks which have been in the queue for years, suddenly getting done under the deadline of the family do.   Now the house is so clean and tidy we barely recognise it.

Then, the testing of new dishes for the feast. I only have a limited repertoire and bread and butter pudding hardly meets the requirements of the buffet lunch.  So my husband and I were eating Delia's Key Lime pie at every meal for a while.  Very delicious it is too; simplicity itself to make and available on Delia's website.  Even simpler was the Banoffee Pie recipe offered as part of a dinner party menu in the "Times" by no less a personage than Katie Price.  A "Heart attack" menu, as she said.  But the pie, the main ingredient of which was a can of condensed milk boiled for four hours, was actually very lovely.


This week sees our tenth wedding anniverary, celebrated here by this beautiful card hand-made for us by my husband's aunt, Hilda Tye.  This is tatting in variegated crochet cottons.  One can't help but feel that a little rebranding of this craft might bring it new fans, since the results are so spectacular.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Mr Wabbit

Big drama in our village last week as smoke poured out of the roof of the centrally placed pub, The Cricketers.  Soon we were part of the gawping crowd as the gallant fire brigade used a massive cherry picker to access the roof-tiles.  Flames were seen at various points on the roof, breaking out in one section even as the hoses deluged another.

Word had it that the electrics were dodgy, which they might well have been, but now the local paper reports that arson has been confirmed.  The village is currently conducting a dating survey - of roof-timbers, not of social habits.  This pub, once the site of the House of Correction to which all unmarried mothers in Essex were sent, was said to contain some of the most historic beams, inaccessible in its loft.  What remains of them will be easy to dendro now, no doubt.

Itty-Bitty Toys
A blankie in chequerboard pattern and a white rabbit from Susan B. Anderson's book "Itty-bitty Toys."  Both of these are for a colleague's infant.  Recently, I was surprised to see another babe in arms, at five weeks, dressed in denim jeans and a brown kaftan top.

So much for the matinee jacket and all that knitted lace once de rigueur for babies of either sex.

 I thought to err on the side of plainness here, although I can't decide whether Mr Wabbit looks cute or like a rather sickly elderly gent.

We've taken some lovely walks recently, some along the reaches of the Essex Way around Good Easter.  Green lanes, field paths, jam and honey for sale in the village, and cream teas accompanied by a flautist in the church.  The head of Tesco may believe that village England is finished, but Good Easter would disagree.

Today, to the Boot Fair, in search of garden plants, notably two Gauras, one pink, one white.  But the lure of the boot fair is the serendipitous, and so it proved.  Two pounds for a Record Album containing eight 78s, previously owned by a person of very discriminating taste: Kathleen Ferrier, Peter Pears, Paul Robeson, Myra Hess and Pablo Casals.  My husband was in hogs' heaven.