January is the no-man’s-land of the year. It has nothing to recommend it, being – at least here in the northern hemisphere – drab, cold and devoid of holidays. It takes forever to
get to February, when we can start to complain about and/or look forward to Valentine’s Day.
The first of January, on the other hand, comes around way too fast, especially if Continue reading →
The Oldest has a penchant for hunting horns. None of us hunt, or even ride for that matter, but the horns have come in handy for one very specific reason: when the kids are outside mucking around, and the noise of the river is drowning out all means of communication, we blow on one of the horns, which can be heard all over the valley. Within minutes, the kids come swarming in from the fields. It’s amazing how well this works, and that they respond at all, being, er, at a certain age of independence. Continue reading →
There’s a lot of OMG at my house these days. One teenager and two tweens leads me and The Author to OMG ourselves into a tizzy at various times of the week, and the children (can I still call them that, despite their protestations of adulthood?) are OMG-ing themselves about us on a regular basis.
Laundry — don’t get me started. Homework — who devised this torture for me? (Er, I mean my children, although one of them in particular ensures that I am as miserable as he is when it’s homework time.) Setting the table. Walking the dog. Emptying the dishwasher. Even watching the telly (or, to be more specific, not only the bickering over who gets to watch what, which has resulted in a rota, but also the time when we will let them watch it, which is only when all the above is done). Everything is fodder for a rolling of the eyes and a declaration of how hard their lives are. On a regular basis, The Author and I sigh and contemplate the liquor cabinet.
The family version, with blueberries from our bushes.
One of the many injustices of life is the over-the-top abundance of food from the garden –that you must attend to before it goes bad – which arrives when you would rather be whiling away the brief end-of-summer days by the sea, or a pool, or really anywhere but the kitchen. I love warm weather, and if I am deprived of any of it for the brief time it arrives on this little island, in this particularly rainy village, I get a little disgruntled.
Well, I say that, but I also happen to love the kitchen. Lucky for me that I can earn my living doing what I love, but even I can be a little daunted by 30 or 40 kilos of beetroot arriving in the college kitchen with the gardeners’ pleas to use it all up. My friend Ruth went to work making pickles and chutneys, and we both cracked on with the boiling, peeling, slicing and bagging of beetroot, ready to freeze and to be used later in the year, when the gardens have given up all their bounty for a long winter’s nap.
In amongst all this beetroot madness, we had a call for a birthday cake. I think you may see where I’m going with this. Continue reading →
Ten years ago, we lived in an old wooden farmhouse in Vermont. It sat at the top of a slope that rolled down to a lazy river, and in the middle of the slope was a huge and ancient apple tree, the variety of which we were never able to establish. Long before we had kids, on one of The Author’s birthdays, friends of ours shimmied up the tree and installed a swing for us to play on. The ropes of the swing were about 20 feet long, and because the tree was on a hill, when you swung even a little bit, you all of a sudden were about 8 feet in the air. If you pumped your legs vigorously, enough to get the swing so high that your toes could touch the dangling apples on the branches above, well, you were very high up indeed. It was thrilling, if not a bit terrifying. Continue reading →
Last night as The Author was preparing dinner, he said, “I don’t actually enjoy cooking anymore.”
I know how he feels.
Around our house, dinner can be a contentious time. The Author and I prefer a more continental dining time, and the kids prefer – well, I don’t actually know what they prefer half the time. When we try to get dinner on the table at a reasonable hour (that would be 7:30 for us), they complain that they don’t want to eat that early. When we lag behind and get dinner on the table late (sometimes as late as 9:00), they complain about the food.