Exhibit a. 

Ladies and gentlemen I give you exhibit a.  It may well look harmless and innocuous with it’s recycled jam jar plumage – but it’s not.  Herein lies the tale of this year’s Christmas mincemeat.    Let me set the scene………..it all started well – currants, raisins, sultanas, candied peel, apricots, muscavado sugar, honey, spices etc. all sittting comfortably overnight in the pantry, with a dash or ten of Somerset cider apple brandy (the last in the bottle).  The jars were scrubbed and sterilised and I ahem ‘checked’ the brandy was ok.  The potion was then cooked slowly in the oven for three hours, I checked the brandy was still ok, the mixture was then stirred every 15 minutes whilst cooling to prevent coagulation (I actually used the kitchen timer so I didn’t forget to do this regularly – no one is enticed by jars of mincemeat that look like fat balls for birds).  More brandy was added (after carefully checking it again) along with some white port for excitement.  This was then put into jars ready for use.  

Sounds ok doesn’t it? It was definitely not ok!  I’d put vegetarian suet and cooking apples on the shopping list, I found the suet in the pantry but thought it funny that Andrew hadn’t picked up any apples.  Off I went in the dark and the wind and the rain and the knee high grass to find the last few apples.  As I opened the suet I thought ‘phew, that smells a little plasticy – must be because it’s veg suet’.  As the operation progressed the smell increased; ‘dam those children and their vegeterianismsmsmsm’.  I continued to add more booze, more spices, more honey but still couldn’t shift the smell.  I was then ready to send a strongly worded missive to Mr Atora.    I went to bed and I swear I the smell followed me.  

Whilst at work today I asked Andrew to fish the packet out of the bin, to check the date.  Seems I do not need to post a missive to Atora brothers …….  Andrew hadn’t picked up any suet and the stuff I used should have been gracefully retired two years ago.

Here’s a picture of something I got right this week.

I keep thinking about the apple brandy – it was the last in the bottle. 

Getting back on the horse.

I haven’t written a blog post for quite a while and you may know that it’s because I’ve been tied up with (not tied up by) Mr W.  Following a major op on 1 July, he is now embarking on a six month course of chemotherapy.  I know that many people find writing to be quite cathartic, but I feel like I haven’t had the time.  I thought I’d better get back on the horse, otherwise I am at risk of loosing my appearance in the next series of Kardashians (though I suspect a lack of spandex/Lycra/bandage clothing may have put pay to that).

We did Glastonbury 

I knitted at Gastonbury 

Mr W did Glastonbury (though to be fair his op was pushed back a week to enable him to attend)

Mr Williams found that he didn’t quite fit into the toilets

18 minutes into the Squeeze set you can see him in that knobby hat, right at the front.  That’s his festival hat – apparently.   I wore flowers and glitter and had a large moustache and a goatee painted on my face in luminous paint.  Mr W made the tragic mistake of letting the firstborn paint his face and then spent the weekend with the work c**ck painted on his forehead; thus the wearing of the hat.

If you look carefully in all the photos there isn’t one smiley face (with the exception of my husband taking in the fresh air of the long-drops).  The entire escapade deserves a post all of it’s own.  The music, people, food etc was world class but the lack of hospitality and care for the poor sods living in the mud was poor. 

If you like quiet swearing and bowel habit talk, then you may wish to go to meandmycolon.com to catch up with Mr W.

Making a feature of the sewerage pipe

This post has been along time coming ( or in the pipeline if you like).  So much has gone on here in the past few weeks some of which we expected and some we clearly didn’t see coming.  In Friday the 13th (most apt) we were in a little room in Musgove Park hospital hearing the words that no one wishes to hear – “we are so very sorry but..” We then spent 10 days worrying that Mr W would not be here for Christmas; but now know that he can be operated on and will be around to annoy me for many years to come. If you’ve a strong stomach or enjoy medical dramas go over to ‘meandmycolon.com’ for the up to date details on Mr W’s pipeline. 

The pipeline of the title refer’s not to Mr W’s colon but to Clevedon.  One Wednesday had been particularly onerous for Andrew so to make the day more positive we headed off to Clevedon, me with my sketch pad and Mr W with cameras, tripods, filters, Kendal mint cake etc.  This is his excellent image.  The image below is mine.

 He has clearly omitted the sewage outlet pipe – let’s face it, you know you are at the British seaside when you can see an outlet pipe- usually with some toddlers playing in the aqueous drippings . I think I’ve captured the pipe most beautifully. 

On a positive note we also went, via a hired charabanc to a gathering of the clans in Dorset for a family wedding.

I’ve been to London to meet up with Mary, whom I hadn’t see for a few years.  We were pals whilst at school, me at the local comp, she at the local public school for gels.  She did go to King Alfs for one year before her horrified parents removed her to ‘La Retraite’, a convent school.  Why didn’t my parents do that?  I was very horrified for most of the time I was at King Alfred’s. Mary got her face ‘done’ at Bobbi Brown’s in Harrods and I ‘Venusssssed’ myself in the giant Botticelli shell at the V and A. There is a joke somewhere in the giant Botticelli vicinity but I’m not going there.

All the other visitors to the museum did variations on the traditional Venus pose, not me, I ‘owned’ that shell, I totally ‘worked’ it.  Obviously offers of modelling jobs have come flooding in but I’m going to stay at home and keep it ‘real’. Note that I’m so up with the young people that I can use all the jargon. Mary and I opted for the ‘Britain 1500 to 1900 tour – V & A tours are great and free, plus there are usually very few  people on them.  I fancied the ‘Brief history of underwear’ exhibition but Mary didn’t seem to be as interested in other people’s knickers as me.

This was the highlight of the tour for me.  So small that the guide had to illuminate her with a torch, so small that most visitors pass her by without knowing she’s there and so small  that Holbein painted her with squirrel hair using a magnifying glass.  To be fair to Hoblein he painted what he saw, a good, kind and warm person.  Much better to finish with Anne of Cleves in miniature, rather than me shell (not so miniature) .

Consider the woodlouse

My lovely friend Linda (and her husband Keith) furnished me with a very large bundle of their carefully forced rhubarb. Huzzah thought I, I will make some rhubarb jam.  I’ve never been a fan of rhubarb, when I was growing up there was never enough sugar with it and consequently it forced the human face into a myriad of contortions.  However… if I make jam, the problem is solved as there is plenty of sugar involved.  See exhibit a. ( below ) 

The unpredictable fierceness of the new hob ensured that, rather than a batch of jammy goodness, I made a batch of new fangled (previously un-invented)’rhubarb yuk’.  What can I say?  Mr Williams said not to waste it as ” he would put it on his breakfast cereals”.  However, the jars are still there in the pantry, all present and correct; but to be fair to him he did find a use for it.  It made a stunning anchor for the dust sheets, whilst painting the kitchen ceiling.  I dropped the ball there a little as I should have taken a photo of him for my ‘Lessert Spotted SAAB male part three’ feature.  

Mr W came home from the shops last week with a present for me – a window cleaning sponge on a stick!!!!  To be fair, the last present he purchased was a Coach handbag, so I’m happy to take one for the team.

Whilst gardening this week I came across a lot of  woodlice (woodlye, a ‘crusting of woodlice’ – I wonder what the noun for a collection of woodlice is).  These little chaps are mostly forgotten and hated, after all their only claim to fame is appearing in ‘All creatures great and small’ as baby armadillo.  I hadn’t realised that, like hedgehogs, they curl themselves into ball when sensing danger.  This explains their common names of pill bug and roly poly.  I’m designating these my favourite isopods crustaceans – remember other isopod crustaceans are available.