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Saturday, 29 September 2012

Ten things I'm going to do...

when I win the lottery.

1.    Remember where I put the ticket.

2.    I am going to employ a full-time (like every day of the week) permanent plucker.
Why?  Because each and every morning... 
my moustache and goatee have sprouted in the night. 

3.    I'm commissioning Grayson Perry to make me pots, muriels and frocks.

4.    My court jester and muse will be the irascible and curmudgeonly...
Alan Bennett.

5.    His 'son' (well, in my book he could so easily be!)
Nigel Slater will be my cook.
I will try with every fibre of my being, not to keep changing the 
numbers expected for dinner.
This has happened too many times to me in the past,
to think it is even vaguely acceptable!

6.    Victoria Beckham I will employ to design each season's
collection for my stick insects.

7.    I will also have a trainer who will stand in for me each morning
to do my physical jerks.
After they have changed and showered,
 I will expect them to serve me a full English breakfast

8.    I will take great delight in getting full publicity,
only so my lovely pal Viv 
can turn all the begging letters into magical 
works of art.  See her work if you don't believe me!

9.    Give, give, give, without worrying about whether it's tax deductible.

10.    Sign up for a crash course in modesty and decorum.

***

Excuse me while I delve ever deeper 
into the back of the sofa to find a quid for a ticket.

I wouldn't mind, but it's all a load of balls.



Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Let me tell you a story...

Yesterday afternoon at 4 pm I went up to close the
greenhouse.
Peering closely to see if any of my seeds had germinated I noticed a small bumble bee
in one of the pots.
I picked a battered cosmos flower, 
which I thought would yield him fuel for the journey home.
The next problem was where to put him; left in the greenhouse, he would never find
his way out and be home before dark.
I carefully placed the bee and the flower in the protection of the rhubarb plant residing in an old galvanised water tank.
Not even under a leaf, what was I thinking of?

This morning after an absolutely dreadful night of torrential rain I nipped up to see
if he had gone.

Imagine my horror at finding him very wet and bedraggled still 
endeavouring to gather nectar from the flower.

this is him indoors with a selection of
blooms to choose from

My heart was fit to bust.

"What have I done?'

You've always got to stick you oar in, haven't you Miss Goody Two Shoes!

Playing God of a Diva-kind!

Carefully I've carried him inside,
I gathered more flowers, all of which didn't suit, he was still valiantly trying to harvest
food from the original bloom.

The beekeeper in me clicked in, and I have now made a sugar solution
which I trickled onto folded kitchen roll.
The bee is now ensconced in a Bunnykins bowl
having a much needed all-day brekkie.




Where to go now that is the problem.

The bee is looking decidedly chipper.  Shall I wait for him to fly, and then release
him to hopefully find his way home.
It's still tricky as the weather is still more
showers than sun.

Oooooh!

The sugar syrup worked its magic and before long the bee had flown onto the curtains for a wash and brush up.




After his R & R and much discussion on our part as to the best way forward,
Ted and I, the bee, the Bunnykins dish, and a clear cover by way of a
plastic food container; trodged back up the soggy garden.
Our idea was to put him back in the protection of the rhubarb plant, with
sustenance and cover, in case of a sudden, all too familiar cloudburst.
I carefully arranged the palatial abode,Ted opened the container
and much to our delight the bee took to the sky.

A job well done.

This little tale reminds me of one in the year 2000;
  it involved a man, an insect and me.
Without a happy ending this time.

I had a pet spider, one who had taken up residence in my kitchen window.
For months we lived a happy co-existence,
Simon when cleaning the windows would be careful 
not to dislodge his web, the spider in return
was vigilant in catching flies.

Simon died in the study, he was ill for eleven weeks.
The spider and Lettice were my only companions at that sad time.
(see the post 'Lettice's birthday' on the sidebar)

The day after Simon died, I went to the sink to make my solitary cup of tea
on the first morning of the rest of my life.
 To my horror the spider lay dead in the sink,
His life had also drawn to a close.

When it comes to my time to rattle the
pearly gates, I will say...
'Don't forget the 26th September 2012 when
I earned a shed load of nectar points!'

The gates will clang shut as I step
jauntily through, eyeing up which cloud would best suit my
cherubic curves.








Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Nonchalantly knickerless...

Tracey Emin card...
thank you... Jo...Fiddlesticks

I've breezed through life.
Until now that is!
This morning, as if struck by thunder, I clutched for me 
drawers...
 Climbing into my clothes, made me realise how insidious ageing is.
If you ask me it's got a bare faced cheek because...
My first thought was...
KNICKERS...
followed hard-on by
SOCKS!

Tucking my shirt into my bloomers, it suddenly hit me between the eyes.

Feeling the cold... This must be me getting old?

Worse than that on Sunday night watching
The rapidly becoming 'Mills and Boom'
costume drama...
more commonly known as
Downton Abbey.
I turned to Ted and said
'Does the picture look out of focus to you?'
Always one to placant and soothe
(anything for a quiet life)
he replied.
'Yes some of it does!'
Bearing in mind we have a screen that Imax
can only dream of, his reply didn't seem very convincing.

I worried my 'pretty' head no more.

Until this morning that is...
Prone on the sofa, mug of tea in hand, 
I thought a little light reading might be in order, 
in view of the fact on fasting days no brekkie is allowed.

My eyes must be tired I thought as I continually blinked to focus.

The oak timbers trembled as my dulcet tones summoned 
he wot knows, just about everything.

'You know that.................
er.......

He waited patiently as I grappled with the word I was trying to
capture...
Eye shop; 
the minute I said it, the right word popped into my head.
Opticians, Optometrist
showing off now!

are they any good?'

I had my eyes tested a couple of years ago,
 I have one eye which is short-sighted and 
one eye long-sighted, which the optician said
means my sight is fine.
Sounded good to me and with a jaunty step
and a fuller purse than expected, I tripped off to the nearest clothes shop 
to spend the money I would have spent on specs.

No guesses as to where I'll be bound next week...
just wish the other bits were as easy to rectify.

To get back to my youth I would do anything in the world,
except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.
Oscar Wilde




Monday, 24 September 2012

I'm in a culinary cul-de-sac...

I'm bored!
Oh No.... Not AGAIN!

It is just so easy to get into the rut of cooking the tried and tested.

This weekend I decided to experiment.

The daily menial chores of farm life, eons ago, left my head free to fill of
the marriage of different foods and flavours; would they work? 
Visitors and helpers on the farm were amazed at the speed at which
I could knock-up a tasty meal.
The aroma of cows added unknown to me, a certain piquancy to the dish!

This was the start of the Masterchef, daytime telly, cookery book,
radio, Royals, talks and demo's chapter in my life.

The downside to all of this was, I discovered there was a life
not overlaid with hard, hard grind and cow muck.

I packed my bag and in my little 30's Austin 7
roared off into the sunset.

Before you jump to the wrong conclusion there was no man
in this particular recipe.

I digress...

This weekend as we'd been working hard all week,
I thought our taste buds needed a tickle.

Friday night I made us a dish of 
scallops, scallions and free range lardons
in a wine and creme fraiche reduction,
served on a bed of linguine.

Saturday we came in from the garden with stiff joints and
soil encrusted finger nails...
Comfort food...
in the form of
Oxtail cooked in port and five spice
awaited us in the slow cooker.
Served with creamy mash and cabbage quarters
gently steamed with pepper.
A starter of sweetcorn anointed with a suspicion of butter,
decided me not to make a pud!

Sunday...
After my too successful, some might say, naked rain dance,
we smugly, snugly tucked ourselves up.
Sunday papers, glasses of wine, nibbles and dips
were the order of the day.

Dinner was a crispy roasted duck stuffed with
clementine halves and enrobed in sticky
cherry in kirsch coat.
Potatoes roasted in duck fat - what could be better?
Organic broccoli and french beans all Abel and Cole of course!

The pud was a home-grown fig and toasted almond tarte tatin.
Now here's the rub...
I poached the figs in marsala with local honey...
all good you might think, however I now know why the lady I buy my honey from,
suggested I try before I buy.
Raw the honey tasted fine; different I'll admit, and before you ask, I can't for the life of me remember what the bees had been working.
Trouble was on cooking the honey, it now had the slight aroma and flavour of
varnish!


The only slight downer on a weekend well scoffed.

Just re-read this...

'Is it any wonder I'm so damn FAT?'





Sunday, 23 September 2012

One man went to sow...

went to sow a meadow.


Can you believe it has taken me most of the week
with a sore thumb, to get from jungle to desert?

With the weather set fair today,
it just leaves me time to sow my magical mixture  
for the rain expected from tomorrow onwards.

I started this post yesterday.  Today finds me
just like a kid up at sparrow fart on Christmas morning, excited waiting for the...
rain... Rain?  
Yes rain... worrying isn't it?

I worked all day sieving, tilling and stamping (I'm especially good at that!)
And I can't really believe it of myself, I let Ted sow the seeds.

What?

For once, never to be repeated I hasten to add; I bowed to my better judgement
and very, very reluctantly agreed, that my heavy-handed approach, to just about every cotton-picking thing in life just wouldn't do.  The very precise
administering of wild flower seeds, would be far better in the hands of
someone who delights in doing a job as set down by the rules.
As opposed to my 'That'll do!' School of Life carry on.
He worked out the exact amount required per square metre,
even weighed the seed, I ask you!

He walked out one autumn afternoon,
sowing and looking for all the world 
like he'd just stepped out of a 
Thomas Hardy novel.

Yes, I know I'm mixing up me authors,
poetic licence innit.

I sneakily watched from the window,
quality control you understand.

The job was a goodun.

I'm up early in order not to frighten the neighbours
as I do a naked rain dance. 



Friday, 21 September 2012

Look I'm not asking for a lot...

all I really want, is to be...



pre-raphaelite pale and interesting,

instead of ruddy and rumbustious...



Not a big ask is it?

In the meantime I'm off up the garden
to 
Dig!

As I till the soil in readiness
for my wild flower meadow;
I will dream of wandering
fanny-high through the flowers.




Wednesday, 19 September 2012

B is for...

Brussels sprouts!



What!

For those of you that have just joined us, this is my

alphabetti spaghetti 
reminiscences
of a life well scoffed.

Cough, splutter, croak...

Sprouts?

I have developed over the years an
old Spanish custom of every
Christmas morning, taking great delight in 
floating up to the veg plot 
(read potager - it sounds so much better, what!)
 on a haze of Champagne bubbles.
Picking my sometimes frozen brussels I feel like a bucolic
Marie Antoinette...
'Let them eat sprouts!'

This year for the first time I've missed the boat.
Earlier in the year I didn't buy the plants,
what was I thinking about?
I can hardly say I was busy now can I?
I've never had any success with growing them from seed.
Although I've now rushed out and bought two packets in readiness
for the off next year.

The whole of September found me frequenting
garden centres, walled nurseries,
even B & Q ...
How the mighty have fallen.

I know thought I...
 order some from the Internet.
Brill idea LL, 
then if the order comes back out of stock I will then be 100%
sure that I've missed the boat - big time.
Ploughing through the pages I order loads of things I didn't really
want, just so I can save on postage and avail myself of the three free
snowdrop bulbs!
Seemed like a good idea at the time?
My order is accepted...
money snaffled.
Voila!  Success!
'It worked!'
I sit back in a glow of self-satisfied smugness at just
what a clever clued-up bod I am.

Idly (seem to be doing that a lot lately) I looked at the 
invoice...

Hold tight...

'Seeds and bulbs will arrive at separate times,
the plants will be with you some time in...

April 2013.'

Head in hands, I settle back into the clutches of my settle.
Seeing my dismay, Ted kindly offers to buy a stalk of sprouts,
and late on Christmas eve after his red suit is put away...
to 'plant' them in the garden.

'Nooo!  It won't be the same!'
I plaintively reply.





Tuesday, 18 September 2012

What has David Tennant got...

to do with Bette starlet-in-waiting?
see side-bar



Well, I'm going to tell you.

Last night, on putting my laptop to bed I happened to notice that...

Wait for it.....

Someone's only gone and put a bid in for
Bette.

With heavy heart I Little Billy Goat Gruffed
up the stairs.
Some might say I've mis-cast myself...
Troll might be more appropriate.

Stoically I fought back the tears.

Ted on seeing my brave battle
(not this time with the bulge - 'Later darling!?!)
said
'What's worrying you now my 'little' treacle?'

With lower lip a tremble,
I spluttered my worry at the loss of my much loved
Bette.

'Hold tight Lin, you never give her a second glance,
where forlornly she sits in the garage!'

'I know, but that doesn't mean I don't love her with all my heart!!!'

'What about David Tennant?'

'What about David Tennant?'

I angrily reply,
 knowing in every fibre of my being, where this conversation is going.

'Well every frigging time you see him on the telly,
you cry...

'Come back David, I loved you as Dr. Who!'

' I KNOW!'

'I wouldn't mind but you never even watched one episode
of him as the Dr!'

'That's not the point!'

Men just don't get it do they?

  

Monday, 17 September 2012

alphabetti spaghetti of my...

foodie life.






is for Anchovy.
A pokey little fish with attitude
I absolutely adore

My semi final menu on Masterchef was a starter of
Spinach and Anchovy pate with 
wholemeal soldiers.

50g tin or jar complete with oil, fizzled in a pan to a paste,
added to 350g of wilted, drained and chopped spinach leaves.
allow to cool.  Mix with
100g cream cheese and freshly squeezed
orange juice to taste and a grind of pepper.

Serve in a ramekin garnished 
with orange slices and parsley.
Accompanied by wholemeal soldiers.

***

A certain important person of my acquaintance
told me of his dislike of anchovies and commanded I not serve them.
'No Sir!' 
*I bobbed my reply.

*That bit's a fib - Sorry!

However, he did thoroughly enjoy my Caesar salad
with the dressing made of the aforementioned no no,
whizzed together with Parmesan, extra virgin! 
balsamic vinegar, freshly ground pepper and
a dash of Worcestershire sauce.




Sunday, 16 September 2012

Where to next LL...

for the life of me, I'm stumped.

Wracking my brains, three cells worth...
I've drawn...
a blank.

Think girl, what are you good at?

Er.........
.......
.....
...

Food!

There's one small problem...

I'm only really, really good at

Eating!

Alright I know I've been a finalist,
that's right... got to the final of
Masterchef
1992 admittedly!


 This was me...
have the twenty years...
been kind?

Nooooo!

Cooked for three years for some members
of the 'Royle' family.

And yes, with all the furore of Kate's
holiday snaps in the papers...
I do know, that they can't even sneeze in the house 
without all the staff knowing.

A double edged meat cleaver...
wealth and privilege/
gilded cage.

Take your pick,
I know which I would choose.



Saturday, 15 September 2012

A face to launch a thousand...

shi*s...



The Saturday sofa found me perusing the
F.T's 
'a passion for fashion'...
how to spend it special fashion edition.

Look, don't get me wrong...
I'm no oil painting; applying the primer, under-coat, top-coat
and sealer each and every morning to my ageing visage gives me the
heebeejeebees.
So who am I to talk,
however... 
this I think, is taking the proverbials.

I ask you would this ad, make you beat a path to the door of 
your local Lidl, 
oops sorry...
Lanvin store?

In my book, it's on a par with the ghastly
Lloyds TSB advertisements on the television.
The pointy-nosed pretend folk turn my stomach;
as if I don't hold bankers in low enough esteem as it is. 
This just confirms my worst fears.

Now, I'm all for unlovely, fat old codgers to be featured in
ad's; could there be another career for me,
I idly wonder?

HOWEVER...
(I do love this word)

even if I had the spondolicks
every fibre in my bod cries out
LL... don't go there; be associated with beauty and light,
not 'plain as a pike-staff' clobber!

Friday, 14 September 2012

With hazel eyes and an air of corduroy, he...

held the door for me to totter through.

Me, looking for all the world like Mr Chad,
over the Pisa pile of boxes I was carrying.
Our eyes met, with not a flicker of recognition on my part.
I felt weak at the knees, not from my burden of craft paraphernalia.

An Adonis with a beard, and mane of blond hair flopping in his eyes.
Lithe legs clad in brown corduroy transported me back in time...
Michael, my brown eyed handsome man, I wonder where you are?

Setting up my stall on a bitterly cold winter's day, I thought no more, 
busy in my own middle-aged way.

A shadow fell across my stall...
'Hello Linda!'
I looked up to see Ben peering down at me with a smile
which played a fluttering tune on my heartstrings.

Looking vague (not uncommon on my part) I quizzically
lost myself in the deep pools of his beautiful eyes.

'It's Ben, don't you remember me?'

How could I forget?

'Sorry no I don't Ben!' I replied wracking my brains 
and kicking myself at the same time
(not an easy feat in anyones book).

'It was in Westerham, where you were the cook
and I came in after school to wash up.'

My mind skidded back...

to the boy with his arms deep in suds,
always willing, chatty and helpful.

"NO!'

I couldn't believe it.  Such a lovely lad,
grown into a magnificient man.

He was at the fair with his radiant 
girlfriend Victoria,

Their makes just blew me away.

I spent more on their wares than my takings allowed.
I didn't care.  


Magical mini works of art.

Just wished I'd kept Victoria's cards 
instead of sending them to folk who may not appreciate or love them.

It was a wicked Winter day in a marquee, the sky heavy with snow.
Condensation dripped on our backs, chilling all, to the marrow.
There was one ancient bod that was aglow however...