Friday, 17 April 2015

Culinaria Village-style




I do love our local free paper . Every week it opens a vast world of possibilities ... enough village jumble sales , plant sales , Get To Know A Sheep day , concerts and bird watching to tempt us all .

In Bitgummole tomorrow , for instance , there's a Culinary Fair with stalls full of organic honey , sausages and herbs . There's coffee and delicous home made cakes , ices and petit fours , cooking demonstrations , lessons on how to build your own BBQ oven , drinks , tapas and snacks , nibbles and treats galore .
What makes this village's event slightly different is that food technician Folkert Follema will be entertaining  us with "An Edible Bible History"and at 4 o'clock there will be a performance by a local women's choir , the Bitchbeat .
Only the thought of the 7 km. bike ride each way is putting me off .

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Modern Mania


 
Tulip mania has mutated and rages through Holland again . Wherever you look ... Pinterest , Facebook , newspaper columns ,  keetsmakelijk.nl , and school notice boards  ... updates on everyone's AH seedlings pop out at you . According to YD , her colleagues even keep them on their desks in the office . So I make no apologies for showing you mine again .

 
I suppose the big difference this time is the fact that no one I've talked to hopes to make their fortunes out of them .

Easter was very low key this year and we paid tribute to the Easter Bunny with Carrot and Ginger soup instead of chocolate . Afterwards , I chaperoned my paprikas as we sunbathed briefly on the balcony and celebrated the end of winter .
On Monday Leeuwarders were spoiled for choice  . There was a Friesland Food Festival in the center , but my Scottish blood rose at the thought of paying 10 Euros entrance money so that people could sell me their cheese , especially since there's a perfectly good outlet in the town which  currently even gives you a free peppermint when you buy the stinkiest .




 Instead I went to the Spring Fabric Fair on Monday and only saw one thing I wanted  and even then , there was only a meter left and it wasn't quite the right shade . So I wandered about getting giddy with this summer's prints and colours  , wondered fleetingly what I'd make with this


... a toga , perhaps ... and realised it was time to go home when I found myself wondering whether I should buy a couple of meters of these , just in case .

 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Things I Haven't Done This Week


Well , obviously I can't list everything I've neglected to do this week ... we'd be here all night . But , leaving aside my failure to dust the top of the wardrobe or take enough exercise , there have been a couple of omissions that I do regret .

In common with nearly everyone south of Inverness , for instance , I didn't see the eclipse . The cloud cover was complete ... it just got a bit gloomier mid-morning . The ducks , much too busy eyeing each other up to care ,  ignored the hype and quacked raucously through the whole thing . It's a bit like Grease here , at the moment ...
Meanwhile , it was the Provincial elections on Wednesday and while , as a foreigner , I didn't have a vote , like every resident , foreign or home-grown , I was allowed to vote for those responsible for water management . Considering how important the dykes and land drainage are to Holland , it's astonishing that we're all allowed to have any say in the matter at all . It was a pity though that I had to cast my vote in the old dears'  home round the corner and couldn't cast my vote in this rather cool  'vote-boat'  . It went round a  constituency in the south , whose inhabitants are too scattered to reach the election stations by road.



 And what I definitely didn't do this week was go to the local Intratuin garden centre with my kitchen garden-ette . These children did , having taken up its offer of free advice and the chance to repot their burgeoning Moestuin  veg. crops



Given that mine , having been planted a little late , are barely visible yet , I felt the comparison might  crush my Lamb's Lettuce's self esteem altogether, not to mention mine . 






About the only thing I did achieve all week was learn a new way to describe my unKondoed clutter . A young , highly popular interior decorator , interviewed in the paper this weekend , described his collection of robots as 'a cluster' , which does sound quite contained and attractive ... almost gives me a spark of joy .
Perhaps , I could cluster my 'clusters' ...

Sunday, 15 March 2015

A Bit Of Peace

It's been rather busy , lately . I seem to be running a drop-in centre for ergo therapists , case workers and community nurses at the moment and lovely though they all are , it's left me with a temporary reluctance to drink any more coffee or the mental agility to string more than three words together .

In an attempt to escape any more conversations about Track'n'Trace insoles , I jumped on a train the other day and went to a museum .
 


The Secret Of Dresden isn't a huge exhibition , more a sort of family collection had one's ancestors done the Grand Tour and brought back a Canaletto and the odd Watteau


 
 
 
 




 I was particularly interested in the boats since , now it's warmer , our river is getting busier again , though not usually with quite such pretty craft .

As usual , The Groninger Museum had mounted it beautifully and there was peace and space to admire the details .

I want a velvet pelisse now , though not fur trimmed



and a fountain like this would be nice ...


It wasn't busy so I sat and relaxed in borrowed comfort for a moment or two .

   Afterwards I went into town for lunch and , given that I'm busily reading my way through all the Kate Ellis detective stories I can get my hands on at the moment , it was serendipitious to look up  and see this






 Oh good , a reason , were one needed , to go back ...

Monday, 2 March 2015

A Garden Is A Lovesome Thing ... However Small

Now it seems possible that Spring might on the way , one of the supermarket chains has a new promotion . For every 15 Euros you spend , you get one of these tiny grow kits


( it's potluck and there are twenty different kinds , so one would have to spend rather a lot to become Capability Brown but how my heart yearns for the aubergine one  ... )
It's aimed at children and their mums but everyone , including great-grannies with perms and rainhats , has a glint in their eyes as they queue at the cash tills .
I , too , have invested lavishly , stockpiling rice , potscourers and jam and now have 3 sets AND , having thrown caution to the winds ,  the instruction booklet for an extra .49 cents .



The scarecrow was free , I had a loo roll middle already and all I need now is a lolly stick to prop him up .
My Own Vegetable Garden should will have chives , some salad leaves and spring onions so far . Perhaps I can even  make the Light Spring Onion Soup from the recipe cards from  WWW.WITSHOP.CO.UK I got at Christmas .
It does call for three bunches of spring onions though so , just to be sure , I should go shopping again .....

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Wolf Hall ... Jane Austen's version



Having , on occasion , got slightly lost in Wolf Hall , thanks to the BBC's take on Tudor indoor lighting and my Catholic upbringing , I thought I'd do a bit of homework for episode 5 .
 By this time I've worked out that the man in black with a expression like a disappointed dog was Cromwell ... though not a Cromwell that my history teacher would recognise  (she , after all , had been given the name of one of the English Martyrs on becoming a nun) . Quite a few of the people remain a mystery .
Luckily Hilary Mantel is not the only writer to deal with the period , so I decided to go straight to another woman whose books have  inspired many a successful costume drama , Jane Austen .
"It would be an affront to my Readers were I to suppose that they were not as well acquainted with the particulars of this king's reign as I am myself . It will then be saving them the task of reading again what they have read before , and myself  the trouble of writing what I do not perfectly recollect , by giving a slight sketch of the principal Events which mark his reign ."
In the interests of saving you the task of reading it ,  I'll give you Miss Austen's opinion on his reign in a sentence ,
"The Crimes and Cruelties of this Prince were too numerous to be mentioned ... "  . I have a feeling it's going to end in tears ....

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Grateful For Any Mercies At All , However Small




The weeks trickle by . It's February , when every day seems to last thirtysix hours and all desire for hearty soup has waned , everything is brown and I can't imagine ever taking off my polo neck jumpers again ... do they make polo neck nighties ?

Still , there is some consolation in the fact that almost anything at all can cheer one up instantly . As I came home the other day in the drizzle , a shambling  , redfaced drunk bellowed a compliment after me  , "Woahhh ! Lekkerrrrrrrrrrrr ding !! " and then fell flat in a heap , burbling appreciatively , making me grin all the way home .
I survived a talk about town development in Leeuwarden , while sitting behind a middle-aged man who seemed to subscribe to the theory that baldness could be staved off by vigorous and constant scalp massage  ....  and was rewarded by a short video about local events in the '50s . The clothes ! The hats !
I had lunch with two dear friends who always amuse and can window shop to perfection .



It snowed and I've got a photo to prove it , though it was shortlived and no one needed these .



Celebrity Bake Off has begun and , last night , Joanna Lumley was at her giraffe-like best .
I seem to be able to do press ups , much to my astonishment ( and no small pride ) .
And best of all , I bought and used a C.D. player cleaning disc and Lorraine Hunt is restored to her full glory this afternoon .