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Thursday, 28 February 2013

My winning recipe this year...

for not harvesting a bumper crop of...
cat crap.

Employ pricks.


Photo's taken yesterday of my veg plot.
Every year at this time I get a bustle on, I hoe, I dig, I weed.
I plan, I plant, I sow.
My spirits lift, I'm happy...
Well that is until I plunge my hands into the soil and
lucky dip like, I pull out...
no, not a plum... a poo.
My happy disposition then turns ugly; my thoughts flirt with choices of weapon.
Pop gun... I've got enough corks!
Lion dung (didn't really work).
Water pistol... high velocity...
trouble with that, as I know to my cost... 
by the time you've pumped the blooming thing up, 
the cat is wiggling its bum in another's garden.
The days of saying to Lettice
'Cats!' 
have long gone, due to her being deaf and doolally.
I bang on the window and look out menacingly, bristly and mean.
  Strolling off at speed, Cheshire cat-like they smile to themselves,
thinking under cover of darkness we'll help with the hoeing and fertilising.
And in fairness they do, they definitely do, do
in humongous amounts.



Holly that's the secret.



Sticks... No not to throw!



Rhubarb peeking out from its
Princess and the Pea depth of good honest home-grown compost.


My mini pond where last year I dug a large plastic pot into the ground and waited
like an old dear at a frog bus-stop.  And low and behold, like buses
two turned up together.

This year I await the quiver and wobble of frogspawn,
plus being the proud owner of a larger pond, I may even get newts.


Things sprouting in the propagator...
slow to germinate.



Not so the anemones, just about to bloom.

Every early Spring, when the garden for very little effort looks well
loved and cared for.  I vow this year will be different...
I WILL KEEP on top of it.
The slumbering slugs wake up and slither and slime over, under and round.
The Weald reverberates with my manic war-cry.
Of all God's creatures, slugs are the one's I wonder about the most...
Why?
Snails, okay they feed the thrushes and the French.
Slugs feed the blackbirds, trouble is I'd need four and twenty
to make an appreciable difference.
Forty thousand frogs might just wreak havoc.
 Then we've got the arrival of those brown slugs, 
the size of a babies arm, coming over looking for work. 

Now where did I put my secret Semtex supply?


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Well I don't mind admitting it was...

perishing.
The castle quivered in the cold.
The newbie volunteers stood around waiting for something to happen.
When eventually someone turned up saying
'You all okay?'
Guess who piped up
'Well no actually!'
Why, Oh Why is it always me?
Nothing like getting your new career off to a good start is there?
More hanging around while we waited for someone else to turn up.
By which time I was feeling decidedly crabby...
Am I doing the right thing, idly flitted through my mind and I ought to say
later in the day, the others admitted the same thoughts.

 I do have a tendency for straight talking, 
not that you'll have picked that up mind!
As I've got older I've got worse.
Ted often says after I've uttered a killer pronouncement...
"Think you should have taken a diplomacy tablet first Lin?'
My one word reply is usually something of the nature 
of mens' hairy hanging bits.
The grey matter then slowly, very slowly gurgles and wurgles, and into my 
lightly scrambled egg of a brain reluctantly I admit that he may have a point.
That fact never gets to see the light of day though.

What really annoys me is, in all walks of life,
telling the truth is the very last thing one should do.
Well that is until you're backed into a corner with a ruddy great
splintered oak stake up your arse... then it's okay...
'Well actually, er, that wasn't what happened, this is now my honest
account!'
We'll even offer to kiss it better and all will be forgotten...
or will it?

Alright we all know how easy it is to tell a fib,
why would you though?  Ultimately we know it will at some future date
appear out of the woodwork and bite you on the bum.
Easier to say it like it is: lose friends, votes, jobs, relationships.
Tough I know, however if you hadn't been less than truthful in the first place, you wouldn't be in the brown and smelly now.

Having said all that, I do have a problem being honest in a restaurant
when asked
'Is everything okay?'
With a wind-pain smile displaying the ravages of my teeth 
minced by tough steak... I lie.
I hate myself for doing it...
I'm a frigging cook for heavens sake.




Last night watching the news I thought
wouldn't it be newsworthy if someone actually said
'Yes I've made the most awful cock-up!'
That I would call... News.
All lying through your back teeth, not answering the question items, 
that are now featured as News could be axed, the vacant slots could then be filled with
far more interesting things on the telly; reality tv, soaps and
all the wonderful programmes that smack of the freak shows of yore.
Now that I would call progress.

That was a WHOPPER... Sorry!



Gone off on a major strop... yesterday at the end of the session,
cold but oddly happy I made my way home.
I will return, the weather WILL improve 
and all will be sweetness and light in this little piece of
quietest Kent.

On the other hand...?











Tuesday, 26 February 2013

'I see it's formal' floats up the stairs...

as Ted stands at the bottom thinking he's about to see a
total eclipse, as I climb into my knicks.
Feeling strangely discombobulated I wistfully look at my
crumbled palazzo pants as I climb into proper trousers;
you know the ones, with a waistband and zip.
Well it is my first morning as a goddess of the garden.
Before I even think to ask, I take a backwards glance at my derriere and fall back at the sight of my bum looking like a clootie dumpling cosy in its cloth.


National Trussed that's me.

Crossly I've stumped and stamped my way through the morning.
'Why LL, Why?'
Every cotton-picking one knows all you really, really want to do is...
stay home and
write...
'Right?'
Every cotton-picking one knows...
you can't!
'I can!'
I want to be this highest village in Kent's answer to...
Daniel Day Lewis.
I want to just be me.
Alright, unlike him I don't have any desire for DIY,
making shoes maybe?
Hats definitely!
Two things in my many and various I haven't tried.

Look I can't sit around talking to you all day,
I've got a 'job' to go to.
Worse than that I've got to get the car out,
climb in and drive off down the hill.

On my return I will let you know how I got on,
or put another way, is the ancient relic still intact.
'No, not the castle, me Silly!'



Monday, 25 February 2013

As I sit atop the breaking wave...

of bedlinen left by the many and various,
large and small...
I felt for all the world like a Blackpool landlady.
Girding my corset-clad loins and hoisting my left bozoom in true
Les Dawson fashion I set to.
Washing machine in Next Generation warp factor 10.
Where to put the clean returning conquering heros that are the sheets?
On a dreary, dark and dreich day, the washing line's out of the question;
so here I sit amongst the drying linen. 
Look on the bright side LL, think of all the money you are saving by not having to plug the dehumidifier in.  Pores will perk, completion will glow as I sit in the fug.  Perhaps I'd better shoot out and buy one, and then I could quite rightly feel smug, by not using it.

***  

Surrounded by ageing nectarines in varying
stages of wrinkles and decay, the worry is... 
what to make before they are fast tracked to the compost heap.  
It is so tempting to make something deliciously fattening.
A nectarine and blueberry salad doesn't seem to quite get the old juices going...
I can't think why! (fib)
Plus we're still munching our way through the orange bread and butter pudding
I made yesterday; only to use up the left-over white bread we don't normally eat,
you understand? 
Plus it's fasting day tomorrow...
 life can be so cruel... especially when you're FAT.

As we plough through the left-overs this week, we can at least take comfort 
from the fact we won't have to take our 
IFA with us to Waitrose, to advise us as to the best way to pay.

***

Tomorrow I'm off for my first session as a garden guide at a local landmark.
Looking out of the window today makes me think, have I chosen right?
My thinking was... be out and about, get fresh air inside you...
MOVE!
Funny thing is...
now I'm not so sure!
Tucked up with the ancient relics as a Room Steward 
suddenly seems to have more appeal.
My thinking on definitely not wanting to be contained inside is...
there's no escape, you really must answer questions and be informative.
Outside, the minute anyone hoves into view, especially if you don't like to cut of their jib, or put another way, if they're not a thing of beauty, oozing handsomeness,
then a quick dive into the delphiniums would be in order.

Michelin-woman in biker boots...
not very National Trust...
National Truss more like.
Too much munching in Michelin starred restaurants (I wish!)
have worked their magic.  Well that and the
liberty bodice layers to ward off the cold.















Sunday, 24 February 2013

The march of the...

tablet.

Don't get me wrong I am very much...
'I want!'
especially if its Apple.
The fact I can only use a nanoiest, tiniest, teeniest, unseen by the naked eye,
strongest Hubble-type telescope can't even clock it fraction, is either here nor there.
'I want!'

We now have a Nexus tablet,
alright I know, it's the poor relation...
don't worry I'm working on it.
Temper tantrums, floor laying thrashing...
you get the picture.

After yesterday's exodus of the family my head is reeling.
Why?  Well we've been trained in the finer arts of recognising our offspring by the top of their heads.  The whole blooming kit-caboodle have their different apparatus,
which they must check at five second intervals in case the world has imploded
without their knowing.
The cottage roof has lifted with tweets, facebooking, pinning, games etc.
Not blogging cos I'm the only one (nearly) who does and I've been too flaming busy cooking.
Phones are strategically placed within reach in the vain hope that an invite to something more exciting will arrive.  Chargers are plugged into every available socket putting a strain on the National Grid.

Waving them all goodbye, with relief and a large drink to soothe,
I flop on the sofa.  Weakly I stretch out for my spotty-clad new bestest-ish
friend.  On opening up, I find apps have strung up like chickenpox pustules.

Well meaning I know, but I feel like we've been
cyber violated.



With all this info at my fingertips, I feel strangely artistically stymied.
My love of blogging is my random thoughts, without fear or favour, 
sprinkled with words I know aren't proper words, but to me, feel happily right.
A form of flashing without actually getting your kit off.
Since reading Hilary Mantel you will have noticed the 
proliferation (alright,I did look that one up!) of colons and semi-colons;
which I sprinkle like fairy dust through my prose.
My real concern is, if I get really hooked into this way of life, I will be tapping into the app that gives you ideas of 
'What to write about in your blog today'. 
'Is today is the day for the big pink knicks to clad your ageing bott?'
'Weather for Kent' instead of poking my head out of the window.
'How to encourage a hamster out of the back of the settee'
'Causes and Cures of Boils on the Bum'
'Tips on inane conversations at boring drinks parties'
'App to find the best app'
'How to live with your finger growing exponentially larger than the rest of your body, due to the over-use of your equipment'
I could go on.

My head's fit to explode, as it is, without more ideas filling it.
Blogging to me is a form of 'Good shit man!' with the added bonus... it's legal.
Well that is, until I really say what I think; then the water riven walls of the Tower might be my next source of material... Hilary again.



At least I'm oddly topical, usually my 'old dear' thoughts are fifty years of grey,
 behind the times.



Remains of the visit...
mini snowman
maxi empties...
Champagne.



Sunday, 17 February 2013

As I talked to the tangerine...

clad in Jaeger tartan trews and cashmere jumper: 
my eyes like Exocet missiles locked onto her orange face.
Iron grey helmet hair, brown bod, thick pan stick foundation
clinging for grim death into every crack and crevice.
Mesmerised was I by the only curly hair on her head, 
which sadly, resided on her chin.
Not a word of chat found their way into my brain,
as with every word the long hair jiggled and wiggled.
How I stopped myself from leaning across and with finger and thumb
plucking out the offending item.
Did she know, was she proud, did she care?

On arrival home, my stout legs thundered up to my cyber-eyrie;
with the full glare through the window in my MOD strength magnifying mirror. 
I inspected my visog.

Relief washed over me...
Not guilty!




If you meet me and you see an escapee
from my rigid plucking regime making a dash for freedom,
please what ever you do, don't be shy, draw my attention 
to the offending item.

I will be eternally grateful.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Whatever you do... don't...

ever read the 
'how to spend it'
in the F. T.



After reading this week's,
I fell back onto the sofa.
Well that's actually a lie, cos
I was already on the sofa...
I fell even deeper into the sofa and depression.
I got to thinking of the meaning of life...
Do ballet dancers have broad feet?
Do quails' wishbones constitute art?
Can I see a Lambretta petrol tank as the body of a beetle?
(Well actually... YES!)
Could I see myself trolling off to Aldi in De Beers finest?
No probably not!

Glass of Mateus (fib) in hand, suddenly I felt
madly, deeply discontent.
I hoover up every word of these 'rich' peoples' lives,
I crane my neck to see which books they have on their shelves.
In my mind I imagine what it must be like not to worry about money.
When I worked in a Royal household I often thought...
Oh, how I'd love to be a bitch:
knowing full well I'd inspire scorn in my staff, if I showed just the teensiest drop of human kindness!

The awful conclusion I've come to is...
I'm happy as I am: 
I don't have the fear of stepping out of the door without full warpaint;
walking into a pub, and people nudging each other as I order my pint of brown and mild.

In a nutshell...
life's pretty good without turning left on airplanes. 



Friday, 15 February 2013

Have polenta will travel...

This is positively the last time I will skirmish
with edible road grit more commonly known as
Polenta.
None of your quick cook flabby facial scrub type...
this is Mafia style pasta with machine-gun attitude.

Don't ask me why, cos I know not.
Ever since having the most exquisite fried polenta
in a posh restaurant I've fallen madly, deeply in love.
Alright I know my not so secret passion is usually for men,
gay men, not to put too fine a point on it.
For ages after, at all dinners here I would serve baked polenta.
 Eons of stirring and ducking out of the way of the great
Pompeii-like gobs issuing out of the top of the pan.
(You try stirring while keeping your head below the parapet...
 Mr Chad's School of Cookery)
 The addition of mortgage inducing door stop size,finely grated organic, all-singing
Parmesan.
And still I didn't twig as head down at the table, I troughed back wodges.
Re frying it with brekkie; emptying three quarters of it into the brown bin
twig I did not!

Eventually the penny dropped.

Was the desire all mine?

I thought no more about my passion of a grainy Italian kind.
That is until before Christmas I saw a recipe for cornbread.
Aah!  My eyes lit up, give this a go LL.
As I slavishly followed the recipe, visions of
toasted cornbread for Christmas brekkie with crispy bacon 
and maple syrup swam before my eyes.
A new 'old Spanish custom' about to be cemented into family folk lore?
The telling word was cement.
Communion cornbread taken at the Altar of Greed was not to be.

Forget it LL!
Go back to gunge (fib)

If you're still with me (thank you, I do admire your fortitude)
you might be wondering why I'm telling you all this?
Well...
I'm sat with huge cup of coffee, small cafetieres worth,
waiting for my new cornbread recipe to come out of the oven.
Yes, I'm giving it one last chance.

I could see before I mixed the ingredients that one loaf tin wouldn't be big enough,
so the overspill I put into a smaller tin.

***
That's out of the oven and very good it looks too,
alright overlooking the fact it's only 1" deep it sits looking very chipper.

***
The large loaf is out and I've waited the required 5 minutes 
before turning out of the tin.
Errr... It's not cooked in the middle, I've had to put it back into the oven.




Bugger!

Post Valentine-glow brunch today won't be...
Crispy bacon bathed in maple syrup, pertly sat
on fresh out of the oven cornbread.

Double Bugger!!






Thursday, 14 February 2013

Fog curled around the horn as...

picking up the phone, from out of the ether the words hung in the heavy air...

'Got a queue out he door and down the hill have you Harley?'

'Fraid not!'

'Well, if this doesn't open peoples' eyes to not patronising their local butcher 
I don't know what will!'
 huffed the free-range, organic ogre!'

' I want steak for a red-hot Valentine date with Hubs: what's particularly good at the mo?'

Over the wires crackled...
'Sirloin!'
'Good Oh! please can you cut me two for tomorrow and my man will pick them up in the morning?'

'Will do!'

'Thank you!'

The line clicked and the job was a good un.

No names no pack drill!





Tuesday, 12 February 2013

I'm on my high horse...



I ought to warn you, you are entering a serious post from me.  
If you don't want to know the score look away now!

In fact I'm feeling so incensed, I'm scuttling off to the left-hand margin.

Let me tell you a story...  Back in the day I told a stonking great fib in the playground.  'I've got my own horse!'  Regular readers of my blog will know I flit from one mad-cap scheme to another.  Back then was no different, in fact it may even have been the dawn of my life long problem.  At the age of ten I fell 'deeply' in love with horses.  I think the word deeply is deeply flawed.  Bear with me, all will be revealed.

One Saturday morning, bright and early I took myself off to the nearest riding school in Bexley.  This was going to be my first experience of horse riding: a gentle trot around a ring on a leading rein was how I thought they'd break me in.  No chance: for reasons best known to themselves I was taken on an out ride.  Yes along roads, lanes and across fields.
My chubby bot went down as the horse's back came up... bump, bump, bump.  Not sure I like this, flitted idly across my mind.  From out of the large backside in front of me issued the command 
'I think we'll canter!'  
Off we shot, with me hanging on for grim death, my bum was hitting the poor old horse's back like hail on a tarmacked road.  

I fell off.  Reigning in with just a riderless horse on the end of her tape, the backside said
'Jump back on' in imperious tones.
With stiff legs and never having been shown how to, I did try, oh how I did try.  Trouble was, there was no one to give me a bunk up.  The girth strap had loosened and as I endeavoured to hoist myself aboard the saddle slipped.  My embarrassment knew no bounds.
That in a nutshell, is how my new found love withered and died in just the space of two hours, one cold and crisp Saturday morning.

Back in the playground I owned up, 'I lied, sorry!'

From that day to this I admit I have no great love of the equine kind however...

I'm sure you've guessed where this is going!  I do feel very strongly about the con in convenience food.  

Where did it all go so horribly wrong?

It isn't horses, cattle, pigs, hens, dogs, cats... it is us... human beings... you know... 
the ones with greater intelligence?  One word - Greed.

In the eighties I lived a self-sufficient life up on the NW coast of Scotland.  Living a totally self reliant life is hard, bloody hard, invigorating, fulfilling but tough for all that.
Friends would come up on holiday and see me raising pet lambs given to me by the crofters who didn't have time to raise them.




'How can you bear to kill your pets and eat them?'  was a question often posed.

'Very easily when I know they've lived a happy life on the hill, grazing the heather and
being selective about what they eat.  Then a short trip half a mile down to the croft where they are dispatched with dignity and speed!  Can you say the same about where your meat has come from?'

'Well... No!  When I buy joints and meat ready prepared I don't then have to associate it with the animal!'

Don't get me wrong I can see where they're coming from.  The problem I have is, who are they conning... themselves by turning a blind eye?

Turning a blind eye, insisting on cheap food, has opened the way to unscrupulous folk to shaft us.

I've always been an oddity, CND secretary of my local branch, into whole food, free-range, organic, vegetarianism for seven years.  I'm anti sweeteners, margarine, you name it, if its not as nature intended, I as a matter of course don't like it.  Don't ask me why, cos I've no idea that's just me.

Man never ceases to amaze me, where did we get the idea we know best?

Two little sad stories.

I was married to a dairy farmer.  One evening as a 'special treat' we got the milking done early and took ourselves off for a night out.  A meeting paid for by a feed stuff company,
a presentation, drinks and buffet.

Presentation over.
  
'Any questions?'
Up shot my arm, like I knew the way to Amarillo?

'Can you tell me why some of the feed stuff has hens carcasses, feathers and shit in it?
To my knowledge cows are herbivores!  Am I wrong?'

The audience started to shuffle, with thoughts only on the beer and pork pies.

Needless to say my question went unanswered.  

The other occasion was when I got to know some folk that kept hens.  Having long ago left the Highlands I always had a yen for a newly laid egg.

'Are your hens free range?'

Falling back in horror the indignant little lady said

'Oh no!  I could never eat an egg that free range hens had laid!'

'Why?'

'Well, they eat disgusting things like worms and slugs!'

I turned away with the thought,  Don't go there Linda, perhaps it's you that has skewered thinking?  Humans know better than hens?  Yes in maths and physics and many things I grant you, but diet and nutrition, I don't think so!

By now you probably have a shrewd idea where this is going?

We've all been conned into buying cheap. Suddenly we don't want to know the provenance of our food, just as long as it's cheap.  Along the way we've inadvertently shafted our fellow man.  If we'd all stuck to buying good wholesome food produced here, (less food miles) from local butchers and shops, then British farmers and producers wouldn't have been going out of business at speed.  The ever greedy big boys in the guise of supermarkets, large manufacturing companies, con us into thinking they're giving us what we want.  Now lets be clear, they're giving themselves what they want.  Bigger profits, larger pat on the back bonuses, smug share holders: all laughing their way to the bank.  

All I ask is vote with your purse, learn the joy of cooking and making delicious meals out of very little.  And please don't say I haven't got the time, you've managed to find the time to be conned into buying crap.  Think of the growing bones of the next generation, yes, your children, grandchildren and for God's sake stop and think before it's too late.










Monday, 11 February 2013

Check list of...

things I want to do before I die...

Sit on the front row of a major couture house
in my size 20 M&S elasticated waist palazzo pants




Find a perfume I really like, that suits me,
and doesn't have all the dogs of the neighbourhood following me down the street




Say and do exactly what I want without fear of giving offence

Not get my knickers in a twist about the state of the world

Not give a flying fig if folk think I'm rough

Show I care without thinking its a chink in my armour

Look in the mirror and appreciate the me that looks back




Open my mouth and put both feet in

Say 'Can you lend me a hand'

Admit I'm not super woman and I have feet of clay

Not feel guilty when I swear in a totally inappropriate situation




Celebrate who I actually am, as opposed to who I'd like you to think I am

Not always try to show people a good time

Flop around all day in my jim-jams without fear of folks thinking I'm a slut




Not think... 'I wish I hadn't said that!'

Look at girls going out in the winter with hardly a stitch on
and not think 'Your muff will catch a chill'




Not instinctively pull my tummy in when a handsome bloke hoves into view

Kick the strong work ethic into touch, by not being on the rack of guilt
when flopped on the sofa

Try to live by this maxim...


Sew pockets in my shroud,
in order to get the first round in on arrival.