Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bank holiday bliss, with my tin snips, margarine tubs and wood primer, fashioning a little bit of shabby garden chic.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Flavours of France

Week two in France. Five bodies in a small tin chalet. Spectacular thunderstorms. By far the closest experience I’ve had to being sautéed in a saucepan with tight fitting lid. The saving grace of the week, (apart from the sunny spells and dreamy sunsets) was a plastic bag of damp, grey salt... and not because we’d left it outside on the barbeque... because it had been freshly harvested from the Île de Noirmoutier salt marshes. Crystallised by the Vendée sun, rich in minerals, simply raked up and bagged. I had no idea salt could be so delicious, just a pinch and I’m back at the coast, lungs full of bracing sea air.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Holiday Romance

Shocking, I know, after 20 years of marriage, but when we casually offered to baby-sit some friends’ pigs in France this summer I honestly had no idea where it would lead.

Swapping rural Suffolk for rural France seemed almost like home from home and we were confident we could cope with 2 dozen chickens, 4 pigs, an orphaned cat, a voluptuous “potager”, and 20 shutters to close each time we left the house.  Thoughtfully, Jo and Rob took their 5 children away on holiday with them.
On arrival we were treated to delicious roast pork, from last years pigs.  After much conversation over dinner about butchering the carcasses we were relieved we had been spared the black pudding and chitterlings.
Badger, Splodge, Guinness and Babe are also destined for the freezer but are being reared affectionately... by all and sundry.  Each morning a passing neighbour would leave bag of wilted lettuce and fermenting melon skins swinging from the gate post; friends called by with sacks of windfall apples and by mid afternoon the builder was already salivating at the thought of home made sausages on the barbeque that night.
It didn’t take long for the pigs to work their magic on me.  I loved their excited squeals as they saw me picking my way over thistles towards their field and the greedy smacking of lips as I tossed them bruised pears. Tit-bits devoured, they lined up, fixing me with their intelligent eyes, necks craning and noses dangerously close to my white linen shorts, begging me to scratch their backs. Smitten, I don’t know who was grinning more.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Here's a glimpse of my afternoon in the garden.  Armed with a very long "to do" list I have been flitting around, like a delirious butterfly, from flower to flower, starting numerous jobs... and not quite finishing most.  I've lifted the onions and shallots, some of the dahlias are staked and the top heavy cardoons are tied up with a pair of tights that a) I wore at my wedding and b) my daughter laddered in a dance show twenty years later. Frankly they're much more use in the garden than ever they were hibernating in a drawer. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Taxi-ing my daughter and her friends to the beach for the afternoon has its compensations, Aldeburgh always delivers the perfect mix of peeling paint, pretty stones... and fresh fish for supper.