Category Archives: Food

Days 83-90


Sunday 3rd June 2012

Our journey began pleasantly. The first CD was in place…Stepen Fry’s hypnotizing voice was soon drawing us into ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’. We have found that a Harry Potter is a must on all family holidays. Everyone enjoys listening to the story, even Roo. The first 50 miles disappeared quickly, as leaving so early meant there was no traffic on the road.

As the CD drew to a close however, my enjoyment melted away with te realisation that I was the only one awake, the rest of the CD’s were at DH’s feet and he was snoring in te seat next to me.

‘I’ll put the radio on instead’, I thought. Curses…..folk hour! Nothing against it- just not my taste. Will it keep me awake? No!

Press onwards.

I gave up after 137 mile. DH took over….next HP in place. The world was at peace again. In fact it was me who was at peace. I woke myself up with a snore 20 miles down the road. (Well at least I wasn’t drooling!)

At Portsmouth, the Rooster awoke. According to him we were going to Paris apparently to stay in a hotel. I asked if it was the George V; he said it was. (Yippee!) DH feigned sleep.

……….and so began our holiday!

Every time I go on holiday I write a diary of our adventures. I suppose you could say that this was a fore-runner to blogging. As you have probably noticed I like to bring humour into my writing. The reality is very different…so you could say that these diaries, and in fact this blog is to a certain extent a work of fiction- or just trying to look at the funny side of life and human nature! The above extract is from day two of this years epic.

I’m sure that Auntie M will approve of the decoration on the front of this years cover, and I hope that she has finished her latest make so I can put it on the ‘Your makes’ page. Then you will see why she will approve.

I am including this epic in my makes for the last week too. It takes a lot of effort to keep up with this writing everyday…especially when you are on holiday. I do love writing it down, rather than typing. Pen in hand, my notebook came everywhere with me. I have always written….not to the extent of Cousin Nat who wrote everyday in her diary, but writing is something that I feel confident about, and I enjoy re-reading about our antics and saying ‘Oh yeah! I forgot we did that!’

We were staying in a very quiet caravan site in St John de Monts, in the Vendee. This is a great area to go to this time of year as the weather is better than Brittany. The site is perfect for families, and is nestled in a pine forest. As the bank holiday had been pushed back a week, we also missed the French and German bank holidays so the site was quieter than usual. We were missing the Jubilee celebrations however, and so we decided to take our celebration over to France.

I think the French were amused by this quaint patriotism. We were not away to escape the celebrations like some were. We raised a glass or two of the local cider to her Majesty, and had a special tea on Monday night. We spent the night of the concert however, sitting in a French bar watching their equivalent of Dragon’s Den with the sound off. I hope they produce a video!

Being unable to exert myself too much, meant that swimming was out of the question, as was cycling. So I amused myself in other ways.

I know this is cheating slightly, as I have made these and shown them to you so many times before…but I have never made a strawberry hat sitting on a beach in France before. This is for a friend who wants the next size up for her growing strawberry. And this is where I sat and stitched…….

Gorgeous isn’t it! This is a place that we discovered on our first visit to this area ten years ago. It is on Noirmoutier, and Island joined to the mainland by a causeway and bridge. It comes in handy having a husband who speaks French so well he is mistaken for a local. He gets in with the locals and finds out the best places in the area! This little place being one of them. Imagine our horror when we opened the Sunday Telegraph on the ferry yesterday and discovered that our place had been reviewed in the holiday section! It is all it says in the article…..of the tourist trail, mainly used by the locals and beautifully picturesque. I love it.

On return we stopped at the local fishmongers and bought freshly caught mackerel for tea. The book I always read in this part of the world….Coastliners, by Joanne Harris, is set on an imaginary island off Noirmoutier. She writes about eating fresh mackerel…and we tried to capture the dish ourselves.

 I know they are on a barbecue…but they do look like happy fish don’t they!

They were delicious and in true French style, (and mine) we made a celebration of it…..

Lots of Faff….Father, Mother and Sister in law will be pleased that I took my faff with me! Can you spot what else I took?

We had good days. We had bad. We had rainy ones. We had sunny. It wasn’t so much of a riot as we have had in past years, no running here and there, site-seeing; but the GP was right. It was just what I needed.


Time to sleep. Time to play with my children. Time to talk to DH. Time to read. Time to think. Time to laugh….something I have not done much of lately.

Regretably, this time soon came to an end. We packed up the car in a monsoon, and set off home.

Makes packed up too. The  strawberry, journal and ‘blast it’ cardigan. (Unfortunately I may have to give up on the cardigan as I just can’t make it work) We returned home to the rolling hills, dreaming of next year.

See you tomorrow.






Day 71- Pottering


Good evening.

What a gorgeous day we have had today. I am pleased that grumbly tummies have been behaving themselves today, and so we had to catch up on everything that we hadn’t done yesterday!

It’s funny to think that only six short weeks ago this was the scene from the conservatory window.

Today however we have had a heat haze over the rolling hills……

…see what I mean!

I felt really sorry for my colleagues who were sweating it out in the classroom or offices, while I was able to cool off in the garden. So what did I do today? Well I pottered!

It was soon very apparent that it was too hot to sew in the conservatory. So I…….

……painted pegs………

….sewed jubilee brooches…………..and…….

…..made gingerbread with Roo! (Recipe is available if you want it!)

A good day!

See you tomorrow.


Day 64- A change from the stitching.


Good evening! I can tell you are coming home from work and settling down, as my stats for the day have suddenly gone up!

Good Morning/ afternoon to the USA too. I will say good evening to Iceland too, as you have been back over the past two nights….how rude of me to ignore you yesterday.

As you will have guessed by now I absolutely love geography! I loving looking at maps and plans, so the stats map is a big draw everytime I log on. I had a dilemma when I was working out what I was going to do at university, textile design or geography? Geography won! I often regret my decision, wondering what path my life would have taken if I had studied design. You can’t dwell too long on the ifs and buts of decisions. I did what I did.I have always dipped back into the design world however. I designed and made my own wedding dress for instance. I have loved having this time to really experiment with my other love, otherwise it is stolen hours on a Saturday afternoon that all to quickly comes to an end.

Today however, I have not done any stitching for my make, although I have done a little bit on the cardigan that I am making. (How decadent! Something for myself!)

I have taken lots of photos about what I have done today. One of my other ‘loves’ is gardening; growing my own in fact. I have been growing fruit and vegetables for about 10 years now. In fact Boo was really fed up last year that nothing grew in our garden unless we could eat it! Being out of action since the op, as I wasn’t allowed to do any heavy lifting, and then the monsoon season came, the garden has been looking a bit forlorn.

I decided I would get out there this week and fettle. Of course then it started raining again! I have been dipping in and out however, and brought something in today that I usually have had at least one crop of already. Here is my first for this year……

Rhubarb! Freshly cut ready for the pot!

Now what to do with it?

…we need to add apple; chopped!

Chop the rhubarb and put it into a very big pan!

Add a special kind of sugar plus some granulated sugar to the big pan, and some sort of spice. (Have you guessed what it is yet?)

Place over heat to melt the sugar and soften the fruit.

Bring to a rolling boil….check after 4 minutes to see if the mixture will set. If it does………

Place in sterilised jars, place a wax disk on the top. Leave to cool before for a while before placing the lid. Write Rhubarb, apple and ginger jam on labels and enjoy with toast at breakfast!

Hurrah! Can’t wait!

DH is very pleased his jam pan anniversary gift is being used again. The monsters are pleased because they love this jam and have not had some for a very long time. Smiley faces all round!

See you tomorrow.