Monday, August 31, 2015

Isn’t that nice?

It’s Fergus, dressed for the beginning-of-year service at school yesterday. His housemaster’s wife took the picture and sent it to his absent parents. (It doesn't rain on bank holiday weekends in Edinburgh, notice.)

And I finished the Tokyo shawl stint I had assigned myself. So today I must briskly revise mattress stitch and get to work on the dog.

I’ve been indulging in a bit of retail therapy this morning — Diana Henry’s new book, and a copper saucier. I saw a similar pan in John Lewis recently but it was one of those jam-yesterday-and-jam-tomorrow situations where I could only look at it, they wouldn’t sell it to me because it was on display.

The thing about cookery books is that no matter how complicated the recipe that tempts one, it’s not going to take as much time as even the simplest of knitting patterns. Jamie’s new book, however, doesn’t tempt me much. The food sounds as delicious as ever, but he has thrown caution to the winds when it comes to preparation-time (endless chopping of those healthy vegetables) and multiple-saucepan-use.

While I was with Amazon ordering Diana Henry, I accidentally discovered that Liz Lovick has been producing books hand over fist while I wasn’t looking. I’ve got her “Magic of Shetland Lace Knitting” — and now I have ordered “Magical Shetland Lace Shawls to Knit” and “Exploring Shawl Shapes”. Retail therapy, indeed.

The last-named is rather a good idea: she has collected and reproduced all the miniature shawls she uses to teach. I expect I’ll find that these books overlap each other quite a bit, and I know already that LL is no substitute for Sharon Miller. (The Heirloom Knitting site is still closed because of Mike’s illness. It sounds as if the Millers may be having an even worse year than the Mileses.)

The house is strangely empty with all those people gone. Helen phoned from Athens yesterday to confirm safe arrival.

Today is our 58th wedding anniversary. We have never observed the event, and I don’t think I’ll trouble my husband by mentioning it today. God did splendidly by us on Games Day 2007 (=eight years ago) with the Glenisla Shield for me and the Mandy Duncan cup for James’ and Cathy’s daughter Rachel (she was on the front page of the Blairgowrie Advertiser for that) and a huge family turn-out. Our children gave us a golden Scots pine which was later eaten by a neighbour’s horse.


  1. Jean, I will wish you and your husband Happy Anniversary even if you don't celebrate it. I hope you find your husband is improving when you visit today.
    Regarding vegetables, I just returned from holiday to find 5 large courgettes (well, marrows). 13 kg in total! They will go into the freezer tonight. I realise that my holiday dates were not well timed!
    Have a good day with the dog and kitten.

  2. Any heavy-bottom pan would do for jam. I was in Lakeland the other week and was totally amazed at all the jam-making stuff they try to sell folk but would tend to put them off making jam. It's a myth that it's hard to do. Mattress stitch still amazes me - those seams turn out so neat. You'll be glad that all the fuss has died down now that the Festival is over. Can you see the fireworks from where you are? They start tonight about 9.30pm.

  3. Happy Anniversary. 58 years is a noble achievement.

  4. I do like mattress stitch. I love teaching it to beginners, as it seems like magic when they have finished their mitten seam. 58 years is something - especially on the days when I think I may not make 25!

  5. I see that Nana Go Go is your friend, too! She's a star.
    Happy anniversary to you. You have been paired for a very long time and most certainly you both are better because of it.
    Fergus looks nice. I wish him good beginnings.
    I did not know horses ate pine trees.
    I bought books yesterday, too. Alison Uttley books. I'm so thankful for my UK friends who share their childhood favorites so that I can read them to our grandchildren.

  6. Happy 58!! Hope your husband comes home soon.

  7. Congratulations to you and your husband on the occasion of your 58th wedding anniversary. A rare and noble day indeed.

  8. Anonymous1:40 PM

    Best wishes for you both on your anniversary. Even if you choose not to celebrate it, it is a truly remarkable achievement!

  9. Had to chuckle at the horse eating the tree! Congratulation!

  10. Fergus looks very handsome in his kilt. His parents must have returned to Athens feeling much better now that he seems to be liking his new school.

    I'm thinking about getting the new Jamie Oliver book, but your description has made me a bit hesitant.

    Happy anniversary!

  11. Happy Anniversary. Not many couples have the good fortune to spend that many years together.

  12. Hester from Atlanta4:46 PM

    "Our children gave us a golden Scots pine which was later eaten by a neighbour’s horse" This has to be one of the funniest sentences ever. I bet you could enter it into a funny sentence contest and win a prize. Happy Anniversary - Best Hester

  13. HEster from Atlanta4:50 PM

    Jamie's new book and chopping vegies - I don't know if these are still being made, but I used to have a small appliance called a Salad Shredder or something like that. You could put a whole carrot into a tube and it would come out all chopped up - and you could choose different sizes.

  14. Anonymous10:13 PM

    Happy Anniver

    1. That was supposed to say Happy Anniversary. My favourite Jamie cookbook is still The Naked Chef. There is a recipe in it for a salad with peaches, mozzarella and prosciutto that is just delicious this time of year when the peaches are ripe here in Ontario. Easy to do as well, no chopping just ripping the ingredients and tossing on a bed of greens.

  15. Kitchen prep work is made infinitely simpler by a "food processor" - an altogether apt name for the appliance. They come in all sizes and prices. Unless you make massive amounts of food at a time, a 4 to 6 cup (small) one will be fine. You can chop an entire onion in 10 seconds with it! AND you can choose how fine or coarse the chop by the time and/or the speed of chopping. I will personally vouch for the CuisineArt brand, though, of course, you might like another better. Amazon is a good source.