Monday, 13 February 2012

Christmas dinosaur

Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like a dinosaur egg in your stocking! I got one from Santa, so duly read the instructions, put it in a jar of water and stood back to watch it hatch. Three days later cracks started to appear in the shell, and something like a little foot showed. It took about a week until he emerged completely, and he was a bit newborn-slimy for the first couple of days, but not everyone can say they hatched their own baby dinosaur. I call him Reg.

Incidentally I bought another one for the North family.

Friday, 28 October 2011


I began my stay in England with a visit to my eldest sister Clare who lives in Somerset. The train stopped in Bath, and I could see some of the lovely old buildings. I commented on this to Clare and Pete, and that I'd never been there, so the next day we took a trip there. I don't know so much of the history, but the romans built a city there, and the baths they built are still intact. It was fashionable in Regency times to visit Bath to "take the waters" and Jane Austen refers to this in several of her novels. You could feel the atmostphere of history in the streets, mainly because things have not been allowed to change too much. There was a shopping precinct built in the sixties, but this has been pulled down, and a new one built in its place in lovely golden bath stone, with very discreet signing. MacDonalds have to make do with a wooden sign with foot-high orange "golden arches" carved into the wood. We found the city's oldest house, from 1482,(eat your heart out americans!) which is still a bakery/cafe, and still sells "Sally Lunns" - a cake that has been eaten for hundreds of years.
An elegant city, situated on the river, with a lovely public park (unfortunately closed and locked the day we were there ) I had a very enjoyable day there and hope to go back there again one day.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

My trip to England 9 - 18 October

My main reason for travelling to England was that my brother-in-law David was marrying Pat, the new love of his life. Earlier this year his daughter Susie (left) married her Steve, and in June his son Robert (right ) married Claire. Their daughter Sophie was bridesmaid in all three weddings! Susie's wedding was in Cuba, but she had a family party in England later, which Jeremy and I went to. Reidar, Tamsin, Nick, Espen and I all went to Robert's wedding. This time I went alone, and thouroughly enjoyed a very relaxed wedding with a fun reception in a pub. Lots of lovely food and drink, and a good jazz trio that played music to dance to, so a good time was had by all.

Sunday, 2 October 2011


I feel so rich! We have five giant sacks of lovely dry birch-wood, safely stored under tarpaulins near the back door, then Reidar's friend Arild came the other day with this and dumped it in the middle of the drive. We've enjoyed three days of lovely hot sunny weather, but today was forecast rain ( and rain it did!) so yesterday Mia and I tackled it. She loaded the wheelbarrow with logs and wheeled them round the house and tipped them on the lawn. I stacked them on the veranda. Easy to say, but a lot of work. I was so pleased and proud when we were finished, and I feel so rich with such a lot of lovely dry wood.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Apple pigs

Plenty of apples, delicious to eat,
juicy and crunchy, crisp and sweet.

The more we ate the more they grew.
We began to wonder what to do.

We ate apples for breakfast, sliced on toast.
We ate apples on Sunday, baked with the roast.

Apples for dinner, apples for tea -
too many apples, we all agreed.

We just couldn't eat them. Too mant we said.
So we stored them under the biggest bed.

And so on, and so on...

This was a book I used to read to Jeremy and Tamsin when they were small, and I was reminded when I noticed how our tree is weighed down. They don't keep well, so we need to enjoy them now. Where did I see that apple-cake recipe?

Monday, 12 September 2011


Earlier this summer we bought two cherry tomato plants, and planted them in a big pot which stood onthe veranda. We watered them faithfully and spoke encouragingly to them (at least I did) as well as dosing them with fertiliser. They shot up in all directions, and we didn't do anything to restrict them. Autumn storms blew the pot over, so we've had to bring them indoors. Our sitting-room has plenty of space, and big sunny windows, so there it stands -drunkenly propped up against a handy table -and grabs at anybody passing by. It's like a triffid, and I'm expecting any day to wake up dead, with its long green limbs wrapped tightly around my throat.
The fruit has started to ripen now, and we've eaten plenty of them. I'm happy to report that they're the sweetest little tomatoes I've ever tasted.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Harvest home

Today the corn in the field next to our house was harvested. We live in farm country, and farm machinery is part of our everyday life, but the sound of a combine harvester stll thrills me. As a child living on a farm, harvest-time was the highlight of the year. A stranger would appear one day with an enormous machine, and soon the neighbouring farmers would appear to help. (Later my father would take his turn to help them with their harvest). We were five children, and probably got in the way, but we begged for a ride to the field in the trailer that would soon carry the sacks of grain home. When the men took a break for lunch my mother would come out to the field with a huge basket, filled with sandwiches, cake and old mis-matched cups. She had a big enamel jug of strong, sweet tea, and sometimes a fizzy drink for us kids. This picnic was enjoyed by everyone, big and small. Later, when the straw was baled, we were sometimes allowed to ride home perched high on the top of the load.

My father was brought up Methodist, and we children went to Methodist sunday school. Harvest Festival meant that the chapel was decorated with corn, fruit and vegetables. Each child brought a decorated shoe-box filled with fruit, which was solemnly laid on the altar-ring and later given to local old pensioners. My father went to chapel once a year, and that was to Harvest Festival - but not a Connor Downs Lower Methodist chapel - he preferred to go to the tiny thatched chapel in Roseworthy, a place even smaller than Connor Downs. The chapel had a special smell - of corn, apples and the beautiful bread on the altar, baked in the shape of a sheaf of corn. The hymns were so cheerful, and my father sang them with enthusiasm :-

"...all is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin...", "We plough the fields and scatter the good seed on the land" , "Come ye thankful people, come..."and my favourite lines:-

"Bright robes of gold the fields adorn, the hills with joy are ringing,

The valleys stand so thick with corn that even they are singing".

On a perfectly ordinary Saturday afternoon, we were working in the garden in the sunshine when I heard the combine in the distance. At once the old feeling of excitement came to me, and I found myself humming the old and loved harvest hymns.Thank goodness the rain has stayed away long enough to get the corn safely home.