Tag Archives: autumn

Recording Beautiful Things memories. Best Practise.

Although the last couple of gloomy days mean really dark or bizarrely flashlit photographs I’m quite enjoying the foggy grey days. Ida and I spend our afternoons very happily either side of the table.

I have my sewing machine or a glue gun and she has play dough or a paintbox. Occasionally we go around to the other’s side to look in admiration or help sort out a thorny problem like biscuits stuck to the table or how all the paintblocks have turned brown. It’s actually very good for my self-esteem – oh noes – problems solved in the blink of an eye.

It amazes me how long she can concentrate on something that interests her. I think she has better focus than me. We both get lots of happy satisfaction from this time. The cushion mountain is also growing..

 

 I’ve actually had this post sitting here for a couple of days nagging at my mental to-do list but wordpress doesn’t like my photos… well it doesn’t like my ancient browser. My PC is so old sometimes I feel like I should be pressing a treadle pedal to keep it going but we’re determined to squeeze every last drop of life out of it so on we trudge…

Today I’m determined to achieve a little so unrotated photo it is!

 The cushion pile has doubled  since then and I now have several markets lined up. I alternate between gloomful surety I won’t sell a thing and will have wasted the meagre amount of cash I have invested and deep sweat inducing fear that I have not made enough stuff which jerks me out of bed in the morning for an hour at the sewing machine before everyone else gets up.

Zeph and Ida are deeply interested in everything I produce. Zeph admires the cushions and offers up interesting plans for future makes. He seemed incredulous at first when people wanted to buy the wings but now seems pleased and proud of them. A lovely woman came to pick some up she’d ordered through my fb page yesterday and he jigged about afterwards saying incredulously – “a stranger!”  I could easily be slightly offended by this but I feel exactly the same so join in the jigging and finger the notes she paid as though they might turn back into oak leaves and flutter away.

Despite feeling under pressure the sense of achievement and boosted self-esteem is well worth it. With happy eyes BT’s are everywhere.

The kids seem quite harmonious – there’s a sense of all pulling together and Zeph has a real Ida taming knack. I love this photo from this years Children in Need day

Yes, yes – also unrotated…  I am adding ‘update browser’ to the to-do list. We had pea and ham soup for tea last night and there’s enough left for Ida and I to have for lunch. A small pleasures but a very greedy/happy one. My mum bought Ida a new dress last week. It’s a  scandi looking knitted tunic dress and brings both of us much pleasure. It suits my little blonde imp very well and every time my eye falls across it I feel happy and warmed by the love behind the gift as well as how beautiful she looks.

I’m also enjoying marvelling at her new scissor skills. She can spend a joyful hour snipping shapes out of paper. Not so thrilled about the multitude of tiny paper pieces that join the threads on my floor to be tracked all over the house but on balance it’s a price well worth paying!

My mum also arrived with a stack of plastic boxes to help impose order on the fabric mountain in the middle of our living area. Some people thought they could be put to better use…

but now they’re full of sorted assorted material, wools, wadding and ribbon. Stacked up they are a hugely Beautiful Thing.

Today the gorgeous low sun slants in through the steamed up windows and makes the room glimmer. I can bear struggling up out of my bed in the dark mornings when the walk to school is full of these bouncing electric sunrays. They make me thrum with happiness and skip with Ida through the puddles past our beloved bird’s-nest.

rotate damn you, rotate!

 She has dug out a leopard glove puppet from the toy box and as I sit here typing half an eye on the tottering stack of wings that need sewing I can hear her chuntering about chatting to him on her hand which I find very BT. I try to fix it in my mind for forever and have a sudden mental picture of all these fluttery fleeting fragments stretched out  like pinned butterflies on my mental corridor.

I’m going to choose to change that to a huge Victorian style conservatory, like the ones in Kew, filled with dancing live butterflies. As you walk through the clouds they kiss your upturned face with their impossibly delicately feathered wings and you get a tinglely jolt of the memory they hold.

No pins. Much nicer.

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Wandering thoughts

I was obviously paying more attention to the television than I thought last night.

 It was on at one end of the room while I was sewing at the other. I woke up from a very specific dream about the Worcester sauce factory where there’d been a terrible industrial accident which had killed four people. Recounting the bizarreness to Steve, as we stumbled into clothes and attempted to dress Ida, I was laughing about the fact only those four people knew what went into the sauce so the recipe had been lost forever.

“Yes – that’s right.” he said tersely. “It was on Jamie’s cooking thing last night – only four people can add the ingredients – I think there’s only forty odd people working there all together…”

Really? I expect it’s written down somewhere though eh? I like to think of it in a chest at the end of some kind of Temple of Doom style labyrinth. Or a scroll sealed in a lead box then  hidden in the bottom of a barrel of fermenting anchovies.

What amuses me is how much goes in unnoticed. It’s also a bit alarming, especially when I bend my mind to subliminal advertising…

Lots of the trees around us are very near to leafless. I love the patterns the branches make against the blank skies. We are also loving all the secret bird nests that have been revealed. We walk through a sheltered housing courtyard on the way to school and the landscapers have recently been there pruning back all the hedges and bushes. One shrub’s haircut has revealed a tiny delicate nest near the top. If I lift Ida up we can peer in to the meticulous woven lining. Every time she checks  that a little bird made it, “with his beak and his toes?” and I say yes again, in the proper tones of wonder and respect. Today on the five minutes further walk home she told me a story about an Ida bird who had fallen out of her nest and a monster and a Daddy bird who lifts her up safely.

I’m still reeling from it. A whole proper story that started, once upon a time and ended with hurray and a triumphant jump in the air. For someone clinging to the idea she’s living in the moment, observing the everyday, how did I miss this? My beautiful golden baby walking around conducting invisible worlds. Of course I did know, because that’s what imaginary games are, children swimming through a landscape they’re constructing from behind those clever eyes.

But I’m still blown away by the recital. It has to be my favourite beautiful thing so far today. Although it’s vying with the careful setting by of two cashew nuts from Ida’s morning snack bowl. “In case we meet a squirrel..” The kitchen smells overwhelmingly fragrant as I’m cooking persian chicken for tea (marinated in garlic, sumac, allspice and paprika and stuffed with bulgar wheat and lamb mince studded with almonds,pine nuts and pistachios.)

Zeph was immensely cheered by the prospect of M&D coming for tea tonight as it means a “proper” meal and not rice soup or sardines on toast. Wednesdays really have become our version of sunday roast with the post meals constructed from left overs and the pre ones from stock cupboard staples.  

The yellow snail on the front gate and the smell of paint from a house being renovated we passed on the way home spring to mind as well. I love the smell of paint – it seems so hopeful to me.  

Ida is humming as she’s colouring and I’m about to do a bit of patchwork bag piecing which is my favourite bit. I feel pretty content and make the most of it – like when you get tired into a clean bed and stretch your toes out luxuriously.

Trees and dreaming

I see this tree twice a day on the school run. On difficult days it lifts my heart.

I haven’t captured how beautiful it is. The leaves are delicate and the most intense burnished mottled scarlet. They glow against the grey morning skies, arranged with careless grace on the knobbled black branches. I stand underneath it and pause to look up for ten seconds. The angular symmetry reminds me of japanese silk paintings. I half expect to disturb a crane and see him flap away awkwardly. Instead it’s me who is tugged insistently back into the morning’s pell mell progress.

One of my main internal resolutions this year was to try to pay more attention to the moment and celebrate the beauty all around me, in all things. Feeding the white wolf to attempt to balance stuff out a little as I fear my gray one is the size of Godzilla.

I think it’s working. It’s been a tough year in many ways. Anyone who’s spent anytime in therapy will recognise the adage that you go in expecting to be fixed and you come out prepared to live fully in whatever broken shape you are.  This week, taking a deep cold breath under the trees crimson benediction, I felt as though I could feel every of inch of skin. I felt like you’d get a static shock if you touched me, strumming as I was with happiness. Momentary and fragmented –  it passed but I hug the memory of it to me.

Being creative and making things fills me with satisfaction. Selling some of them has given me a much needed feeling of accomplishment and purpose and, possibly, more importantly paid the gas bill.

Shazam.

Of course the house is pretty chaotic – fabric stewn everywhere, bits and bobs balanced on the piano, golden wings hung on a doorknob. Last night Steve suggested if I ripped the mouldy cupboards out of the strange unused room on the way to the kitchen I could use it as a space for all my bits. It’s a DIY project I’ve been dodging and I’ll admit this substantial carrot has got me eyeing the room speclatively.

Picking my way through the islands of discarded fabric around the table I imagine shelves of jamjars filled with interesting bits and shelves of stacked fabric. I find myself wasting gobbets of time on pinboard looking at other people’s organisation. As if I didn’t have plenty of ways to waste time already…

Not that dreaming is ever wasteful.

 

Pastry crocodiles on pumpkin pie

Recently Ida and I made an apple pie…actually it’s something we’ve cooked quite often, after all it is apple season and we are rich in windfalls. We did a post about one with pictures along the way. During the process pastry crocodiles were made and devoured before I could record them for posterity. Which is a shame…because they were rather scrumptious…

Some lovely fellow bloggers, Rachel from Growing Things and Making Things and Sharyn from The Kale Chronicles mentioned it was a shame not to see them and since then I’ve been thinking of making a pumpkin pie topped with some.

I’m not sure why exactly – they just seemed to go together….

Well yesterday we finally got around to it and I remembered the camera at crucial points. Most of the pictures look very familiar as most as the process was the same as the applepie but I was particularly charmed by Ida’s firm grasp on the process. She actually remembered independently most of the stages which leads me to dream about sending her into the kitchen to whip up a pie while I have a little lie down and read or something else equally indulgent. (Exploitation? How dare you…)

We also wilfully ignored any other recipe and it turned out exactly as I hoped, deliciously spicy and toffeeish so I’m going to give you the recipe (ha! there’s no measurements so I suppose method would be less misleading…)

First off, it was a butternut squash, not a pumpkin. Ho hum. I was going to steam it but I wanted that slight caramel flavour you get at the edges of roasted veg so diced and slung in the oven.

I then pureed the bits with one of those hand-held blenders. It did make a very smooth purée but next time I may try just mashing them with a fork. 

We added, I think amounts really depend on the amount of purée you have, so add to taste;

ground ginger.

cinnamon.

ground mixed spice.

nutmeg.

sugar, I used molasses sugar which really added to the lovely toffeeish flavour.

a splash of  double cream.

We used my old shallow enamel dish so it was a shallow pie. Ida set to work buttering it.

We used short crust pastry and rolled out a disc for the bottom and smoothed it in.

Then filled it with the squash purée.

Then there was a lot of pleasurable flouring, rolling and crocodile cutting and shaping. This bit went on for a while…

and here they are

Ta da!

Then liberally brush with beaten egg,

 and finally and triumphantly –

Once again I meant to take a picture of a slice but we were all too busy eating and elbowing each other out of the way for seconds. Perfect autumn comfort eating.

wOwl…

Something has to be done with the leaves stacking up around here…

 This satisfying hour of sticking used up a few…

 I’m loving Ida’s intense concentration here – there was a certain amount of bossing from Zeph about correct leaf positioning and the markings of particular owls but he eventually accepted leaf medium restrictions.

 It really required very little effort on my part and wasn’t that messy… miraculous! I’m on this side of the table getting on with some sticking of my own in my feeble efforts to build up a bit of craft fair stock. It’s only looking at these pictures that I notice how out of hand the tottering piles of “stuff” on the piano is getting.

We have a lot of “stuff” here you know. Now including a happy array of owl leaf colleges.

 Just what I needed…

Just round the corner

The last few days have been the most perfect autumnal weather. Really bright and crisp, with intensely blue skies. They seem to arch up, further away than usual, laced with strings of vapour trails. There’s enough flaming trees and gleaming berry goodness even in my urban heaven to make my throat ache as we walk to school.

To celebrate I have splashed out on a new cardigan. Whoo hoo. I am yet to wash (and inevitably ruin) it so for now am still stroking the sleeves with immense pleasure when I put it on. We’ve washed all the scarves and hats and wind ourselves up like homespun mummies in woolly pleasure before we venture out.

I realise I talk about my grey patch sometimes as though it’s an industrial wasteland.  I still see a lot of loveliness in these places but actually Gloucester is a very small city, never that far from green loveliness. My neighbourhood has a sense of community I really value and plenty of thriving, amazing community projects. This week we’ve visited two of my favourites.

The first is just round the corner and is the Gloucestershire Resource Centre. It’s based in CityWorks which is a transformed old industrial site. Zeph went to an amazing afterschool playscheme based here when I was working, Cool Runnings, and there are plenty of other innovative and inclusive projects going on that make me feel glad and happy about stuff. The resource centre itself used to be restricted to companies and community projects but has recently started a family membership scheme. It’s five pounds for a year and you get to visit everyday if you wish and fill a bag from their cavern of treasures for £3.00.  We, (Ida and I) spent a contented hour at least rummaging through foam shapes, bottle tops, intriguing remainders, misprinted sweetie wrappers in rolls, teabag material, old frames, lino offcuts, industrial sized cotton reels, bits of circuit board, reels of plastic and twine to mention but a few. A truly inspirational example of one persons rubbish being another’s treasure.

So far we’ve built a kind of steampunk techo octopus from some of the bits we brought home, played an endlessly amusing game of pirates with a couple of the huge cotton reels as very convincing telescopes and Zeph is constructing a pretty convincing robot with all the fuses and circuit board stuff. Brilliant. Being able all to produce all this raw material made me feel a bit like a post apocalyptic Mr Maker. Very satisfying.

We don’t homeschool, we know people who do but it wasn’t a choice I was happy with for Zeph. Not to say I wouldn’t consider it but it always amuses me that people seem to think it’s an either or situation. I attended a variety of schools on and off but looking back we were always learning stuff at home. Kids just soak stuff up don’t they? One of the things I like most about blogging is all the inspiration out there. Of course sometimes it makes me feel like a worm and as though we don’t do much but mostly I think – oooh, we could do that..and sometimes we do.

The other soulwarming experience this week was the  City Farm. We’re lucky to live five minutes away from this one. I was working for the council when it opened about fourteen years ago and I remember the fuss and headlines in the local paper. Suggestions that the local community would raid the place after hours and string the livestock over bonfires to supply debauched nightly feasts was the best of what was said..” I mean they eat a lot of goat don’t they..”  Honestly.

How do they stay upright?

It’s gone from strength to strength – growing in size, animal population and school involvement. Originally funded by the City council  it looked like it may have to close due to recent cuts. Luckily, thanks to the passion and commitment of the staff who run it the council were persuaded to gift it to a local charity who’ve secured funding for the next year as well as some more expansion.

Which means we can hang out with the chickens a bit more.

It’s very easy to see Beautiful Things here which is one of the reasons it’s so important. As usual I’m soothed and restored by a bit of duck action. I particularly enjoyed Steve’s howls at the vigorous devouring of his hand.

Even though I don’t always blog about them I’m still noticing my BT’s every day. Some days are easier than others but they are alway there. Today I’m enjoying the whole house smelling of chocolate thanks to a couple of trays of brownies. Zeph is always miserable about his birthday falling in the half term and after some questioning I pinned it down to not being able to distribute cakes with lordly extravagance like other kids do. Easily solved with a box of cake on the last day of term.  One of my other BT’s is watching Ida’s joy in carefully sprinkling purple glimmer sugar all over the top of them. I’m struck, as always, at the intense concentration toddlers bring to a task they enjoy. 

Other Bt’s include the steamy clouds of our breath in the frosty mornings, picking buttons from the tin to finish a present project, fairy lights on a grey overcast day.

Actually my top Beautiful Things this week have been the awarding of a Leibster by Round the World in Eighty Bakes – a wonderfully funny and inspirational new baking blog and Kate on Thin Ice, who I love, listing me in her listography this week. My next post is properly about that but I felt like I couldn’t post without mentioning how they made my heart sing this week. Thanks guys.

I am good at more than crazy

When I brush my teeth in the morning I like to open my mouldy 50’s frosted window and look out at the patchwork green of the back gardens of my block. At the moment my eye almost always rest first on a quince tree about 5 gardens away. It’s a big old one and at the moment it is laden with clusters of fruit. 

In the slanting morning light, against the usually grey sky they glow, golden, as though illuminated. My morning tooth brushing routine is quite long and complicated (another tooth is leaving me…) so I’m stood gazing at this tree for ten to fifteen minutes.

One of the things crossing my mind is how I stand looking out at the same scene yet my feelings differ enormously. I’m the only thing new to the party yet I go from feeling hugely in tune with my world and elated at the beauty in it to this morning where I was reduced to tears.

Actually reading that back makes me wonder if I’d be better served googling bi-polar in my spare moments rather than toothless wonder and carve your own dentures from driftwood.

I know I’ve written before about how we filter perception of events and surrounding through our prevailing mood and mindset. I work hard at this stuff. Trying to re-educate my not always kind inner voice. Today I was wondering if anyone else looked at how beautiful they were, if anyone would pick them or if they’d just ripen, fall and rot and I was the only one who’d notice them. The tears came at the waste, futility and pointlessness. Now as I write it down it sounds ridiculous, not wasted for all the birds and insects and I’m also wondering why I don’t think I’m valuable enough for a display of beauty. So what if only I see them – maybe they were meant for me. Don’t I deserve that kind of bounty?

I also don’t want to give the impression I retired devastated back to my bed, weeping. I rinsed my mouth, closed the window, wiped the tears away with the towel and plunged back into the headless chicken morning routine.

We’re walking more and more without the pushchair. Yesterday Ida walked all the way to my G’mas and back again to pick Zeph up from school. It’s quite a long way with small legs. We had taken the pushcair, just in case ,which proved to be more trouble than it was worth as the wheel comes off roughly every twenty metres. Walking back we pass lots of lovely trees so collected a bounty of golden and scarlet leaves, some tiny fairy pinecones and the most perfect acorn either of us had ever seen, it really was picture book perfect.

At the top of the hill there’s a busy road junction with three different traffic light buttons to press. The green man doesn’t stay long so once they’re aligned you have to hurry. Halfway across we realise in her excitement to press the button Ida had dropped the acorn on the far side. With an eye on the lights and my watch as we were rushing for the hometime bell I urged her onwards. After all we have, literally at least a hundred collected acorns at home in her autumny things basket. Safely over the roads she tugged urgently at my hand and I bent down to her. 

“but Mummy – I am saaaaaad.” 

She looks up, her brow is furrowed and her lip out. I assess it and know I could jolly her over this pretty easily. Redirect her attention to something else, remind her about all the acorns waiting at home, promise some painting time if we hurry. Mums do this all the time; negotiation, suggestion, redirection. Derrren Brown has nothing on a time pressed mother, balancing children and a millionlong to-do list. 

Something about her hand in my mind. That small confiding plump paw. The way she was just standing, waiting. That she wasn’t demanding, that she had just told me what she was feeling and trusting me for a satisfactorary response made me turn us around, press the button again to retrace our steps back across the road to rescue the acorn then turn, press and stand again, waiting for Mr Green.

The incredulous man on a pushbike who’d crossed with us shook his head in disbelief. “You’re a muggins – you are.” he says as he pedals ponderously off down the hill.

It doesn’t matter that the acorn is now indistinguishable in the pile on the piano. It is that I want Ida to know that the things that matter to her matter to me. That I listen to her. More than that – more than mummy stuff, I want to be the kind of person who can see that the things that matter to people matter to them. That I can respect that, regardless of whether I give a tinkers damn about it myself.  

And that sometimes there is five minutes to spare. That’s is okay to like stuff about yourself and celebrate it. That we’re all calibrated differently so sometimes it’s meaningless to measure yourself up against others.

I also hope fervently that she’ll remember the stuff like this as well as how I growl, “don’t touch my face” in the mornings when she climbs into bed with us and that I can be found crying at trees with a toothbrush in my mouth.

Membrillo

It’s another making something post. Blame the season, it is fruitful and hence, so are we.

My Mum and Dad have the most beautiful quince tree in their garden. I’m quite jealous and keep looking round our titchy plot for a place to squeeze one in. In spring they’re covered in delicate tissue paper blossom and in autumn the branches are weighed down with the fragrant furry golden fruit.

There are lots of things you can do with them. At the very least put them in a bowl in your house and enjoy the perfume. I wanted to make better use of the ones my M&D kindly brought round though so thought I’d give membrillo another go.

Basically it’s a quince fruit cheese. I made some last year which despite a few technical difficulties was delicious. We ate it pretty quickly with cheese and cold meats mostly.

I found a different recipe this year to try so Ida and I set to.

First we scrubbed the quinces removing the fluff on them which gives them a slight flocked fruit feel. Then I just chopped them up and slung them in a pan pips, skin and all

Ida helped with the scrubbing but not the chopping as one of the special features of quinces is flesh as hard as iron. Really. Last year I assumed it would be quicker to peel and core the quinces than push the purée through a sieve. Reader – I was wrong. Having done it both ways it’s sieve all the way. Anything than attempt to peel another quince.

Anyway add water to your fruit, not too much, barely covering it and some lemon juice (I used half a lemon)  and simmer until mushy (technical term there) then mash  (I used a potato masher) and leave to cool.

Due to my various bad time planning and an unexpected toddler disasters I left the pulp overnight to cool which did it no harm at all. If you wanted to make jelly you’d leave it to strain overnight and boil up the liquid but I want all the fruit pulp so need to push it through a sieve with a wooden spoon.

I’d still take this over peeling any day but it does give your arm a workout. Ida was very eager but  ineffective. Zeph was pretty good at it but easily distracted. An hour’s stop-and-starting  resulted in this;

We measured it in a jug and it was just under two pints. My recipe said we should add 450g of granulated sugar for every 450ml of fruit pulp. I only had a bag so that’s what I added. I seemed to have got a lot more pulp than the recipe seemed to think I would have. Possible due to over vigorous sieving. Hmmm. The book also recommended using the sugar you can get with added pectin. I just added the juice from the other lemon half.

Then stir until the sugar has dissolved, bring to the boil then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for at least an hour.

This was slightly complicated by me trying to cook a roast chicken dinner around the process which involved the pot coming off the heat occasionally then going back on. You need the purée to darken and thicken considerably. You do need to keep an eye on it and keep stirring to check it’s not sticking at the bottom.

Eventually mine looked like this;

It still seemed a lot wetter than the photo in the book but I was just tired of the whole thing and wanted to get on. It coated my spoon really thickly and set on a saucer so I figured it might set okay.

I had sterilized some small bowls and an shallow dish in a warm oven and oiled them lightly. Then I ladled gloop everywhere – trying to be even-handed and tidy.

 Then leave it overnight to cool and set. This is another place this years recipe differed from last years where I left the trays of fruit cheese in a very low oven overnight.

The next day we tipped out the bowls and wrapped the gleaming jellies in parchment paper parcels.

 Now I’ve piled the packages into a shoebox and put it somewhere dry (essential this bit – in my mouldy house) where it’s supposed to mature for 6/8 weeks. If it works out okay I’m hoping to maybe use some as Christmas presents. Of course that does mean not eating it all.

We’ll see. It is a big hit in this house…

Easy peasy apple pie

Have you been watching the Bake off on the BBC?

God love Mary Berry. Cake as well – thank everything for cake and meringues and pies. Which leads me to this easy-to-do-with-a-wo-year-old Apple Pie. The enamel pie dish was my Granny’s. As is the not-really- recipe method.

Peel some apples. These are from G’ma’s tree and are a sharp eater so they don’t need much sugar.

Then slice them up, you’re aiming for even flat slices you’ll be able to fan out…

it doesn’t really matter though and cooking with small people is all about going with the flow. Then butter your dish;

Next it’s pastry. Now today we happen to have spotted a packet of ready-made ready rolled short crust for the bargain price of 50p in the reduced food fridge which does make the pie making truly easy peasy but home made shortcrust pastry isn’t that hard and it’s definitely cheaper and less additive ridden. You just need to do this bit ahead so it can rest in the fridge.

You need half fat to flour. Plain flour and I use half butter and half veg lard. Dice up the fat mix it loosely into the flour and put the bowl in the freezer for ten minutes (ish) with a glass of water. Take out, rub until it resembles breadcrumbs then mix together with the cold water, bit at a time until it comes together. Work until you have a nice fat smooth ball (not too much) then wrap in clingfilm and stick in the fridge to rest (maybe an hour) Ta da pastry.

Or, if you’re like us today, lazy and lavish, undo the packet, slap on a bit of flour (because there still is rolling to do despite what it says on the packet…)

I’m really fond of this roller. I find it makes rolling stuff out in small places easier and since I’m not blessed with acres of worktop I’m very grateful for that. It’s easier for small hands as well.

Drape the half of pastry you’ve rolled out over your plate. If you’ve got holes, patch them with a bit from the edge. It didna matter.

Fill with your apple pieces, you’re trying for an even layer…

Sprinkle with sugar, you don’t need much but add to your own taste. (if you’re using cooking apples you will need more)

Then some cinnamon, this bit will probably need a joint effort as you want it everywhere not just in one place.

Mmmm, cinnamon smells so good! Then roll out your other half and drape over the top. Lots of overhang is good – trim it off then use a fork to press the edge.

We use all these lovely trimming to make decorations; (and small pastry crocodiles.)

 Going with all the autumn love in this house at the moment we went for various leaves..and an acorn…and *cough*  a worm.

 Then paint the top with beaten egg.

 then sprinkle with sugar and bake in a medium oven till it’s golden and smells delicious. 

 It really is easy peasy and you can tell that because voices were not raised and tempers were not lost. Miraculous no? 

My M&D are coming for tea tonight and we’re having this for pudding. We made a special stop off at the shop for cream on the way home from school.

The excitement levels are high. I’ll try and remember to take a picture although I suspect I’ll have to be quick.

Arachnid autumn

Ooooh. It’s very hot.

I’m all in a muddle as I recently stirred myself to sort out Ida’s heap of clothes passing on all the smaller (summer) stuff and looking through my bags of hand-on for larger more wintery items, (that actually fitted.)

It is very unlike me to be so organised and look how it’s paid off – summer is back. I was actually forced into action by none of Ida’s clothes fitting but still…

It is still autumn though. The garden is festooned with gravid garden spiders. I’m quite sensible about spiders and not too squealy but I can’t stand the feel of these hitting your neck when you accidentally walk through a web. It makes my skin crawl so for now I surrender the garden to them. I’ll go in and cut stuff down and dig about after the first frost that’ll send them packing.

When we stand on my paved patch outside the back door picking some herbs for stuffing we can see about a thousand spiders suspended in their airy webs. Ida backs back into the house and I follow.

On the way home from picking Z up from school we find four glistening webs lined up in a row between some bushes. Ida peers through them at me. We try to catch it in a picture

 As we walk away hand in hand, Ida clutching her obligatory handful of yellow and red leaves I say that the spiders are very pretty. She hmms and agrees but she still doesn’t want them “on” her. Now do our views agree or have I passed this on to her?

 If it is my doing then I’m very sorry blameless, pretty spiders.

I’d still prefer it if you could avoid touching me though.