Friday, 20 November 2015

November days

The rain, at times, has sounded like hail - icy fingernails tapping on the kitchen windows. The sky darkens and then, after the shower, sudden sunshine as though it had never rained at all. Today with the rain blowing on and off I made apple jelly. We'd been gifted a couple of kilos of apples and they sat for a while in a bowl until I could bear it no longer. So this morning I turned them into Fireside Jelly - apples and cloves with cinnamon and ginger... I have to admit I am proud of my morning's effort. I've tried jam making in the past and have had various results ranging from runny-jam to set-like-concrete jam, so I wasn't holding my breath. But this time it worked! And now the kitchen smells of buttery toast as I ate toast with apple jelly, for once not minding the squally rain outside.

November days are brown and squelchy underfoot. The leaves have mostly been blown off the trees and now we're left with browns and greys, muddy tracks and the birds rattling in the hedges. Still the dogs and I enjoy our walks, so long as it's not too wet.

Sunday, 15 November 2015


Scenes from home this weekend:
Late breakfast by candlelight due to the incessant rain and gloom. Scones and coffee.
The paperwhites Will and I planted are shooting up.
A bit of portrait painting. He made me look like a dodgy super-hero and I made him look like a young, scared Princess Di...
It rained all weekend. On Sunday there was nothing for it - we had to leave the house and have a walk, even though it was um, raining. We chose the beach at high tide (just to increase the wet factor) and it was fantastic. The waves were crashing and the wind was whipping but there's nothing like a bit of seaside to make one happy. Follow it with a trip to the BrownHound Cafe and a browse in the bookshop and, contended sigh, you have one very happy dodgy super-hero mummy...

Friday, 13 November 2015

to the lighthouse

painting by John Knapp Fisher

We have had the crashing wind and the endless rain for days now. The trees in the garden are almost completely leafless and if you stand outside in the dusky half light the noise of the wind in the branches is almost sea-like. I miss the sea. And so, even though it's November and not exactly a holiday time of year, I'd love to be packing my bags and heading away for a night or two. I even know where I'd a lighthouse where I could hear, smell and see the sea and it's endless variations. And being in my lighthouse I'd also know I'd be totally safe no matter how wild the weather became. I could read Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse or, more likely, The Lighthouse Keeper's Christmas by Ronda and David Armitage
I would, quite possibly, only eat the nicest of food and drink the nicest of drinks and sleep with the sound of the waves and the crying of seabirds and maybe the Shipping Forecast would be on in the background. I would wake at first light and after coffee and bacon and eggs, or maybe pancakes and maple syrup, I'd walk along the cliffs and if it got a bit squally I'd scuttle back to the stout safe lighthouse and light some candles and the fire and read for a bit and then perhaps unpack that picnic hamper of goodies that I would have remembered to have packed and then who knows, maybe a snooze, maybe a glass of wine...Instead, of course, I'll stand in the garden and listen to the wind in the trees and pretend.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

before and after

We found another good use for the chocolate spread we made during the week... melt some in a bowl, dip freshly made buns into the warm chocolate and then into coconut...

Thursday, 5 November 2015

this week let's...

Last week the boys and I really enjoyed making and doing and baking, so this week I put another list on the fridge for us to try. I finally bought some Paperwhite bulbs so they'll be planted today and yesterday we made flapjacks and chocolate spread (I know gratuitous sugar use). Other things we're trying this week:

* drawing together

* leaf painting (see Artemis' gorgeous sparkling leaves here)

* trip to the library

* portrait painting 

Happy autumn!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

November reading

This month I'm reading plenty (just finishing Steve Silberman's Neurotribes which has just won the Samuel Johnson prize and looks at the history of autism. It is fascinating and is written in an engaging, storytelling way. It also focuses on the positives, which is so important for those whose lives are affected by their child's or their own autism). I'm also trying desperately to inject a little something into my daily cooking. I have fallen into the 'oh no, what will we eat today' trap and find myself making the same ten things for dinner and rotating them over the week - yawn. I spotted Limoncello and Linen Water by Tessa Kiros and thought 'help me pretty lady with the nice book titles!' Limoncello is all about celebrating Italian cooking and Tessa's writing weaves a nostalgic whimsical story into each recipe. So basically I'm hoping that she will save me from myself. Not much to ask for now, is it?

*** joining in with Laura's The Year in Books***

Tuesday, 3 November 2015


First of November
Inside: Table in the dining room with toys and book from William's birthday party on Friday, a nearly finished glass of wine, candles and flowers.
Outside: Fog creeping across the fields, through the garden, to the front door.