Monday, 19 April 2010

Lunch at Petit Gourmand

Mr S and I went out to celebrate the birth of our first grand daughter, and tried the Petit Gourmand. This was the first time there for us, and Sunday Lunch was first class. We both opted for the roast beef, which was the best I had had in a long time. Desert for me consisted of a perfect pannacotta with rhubarb and Mr S had crumble.

Bread, butter, wine, and salt and pepper were all excellent. Why mention such things, the reason was that the salt tasted so good, that I just had to ask what type it was. I love good salt and sadly my stash of sun evaporated salt from the basalt salines of Riviere Noire in Mauritius is coming to an end. I have other salts too in the cupboard.....

The waiter brought the tub of salt, and it was the new Cornish salt which we had seen recently mentioned in one of the many food programmes. I managed to source some at Waitrose, but then I found that our salt grinder, as I had previously found with the Mauritian salt was not working on this slightly damp crystalline substance.

Today my new salt and pepper mill from Salt and Pepper Mills Plus arrived. The ceramic Crushgrind mechanism is very efficient and easy to fill as there is no central metal bit. The salt grinder will grind any salt...and it is very easy to alter the grinding size. I've had quite a few grinders till now, and this is way ahead of the bunch. It works, it really now I have to find a home for my existing set, which is fine for the big hard crystal salt sold specially for salt grinders. I'm not too worried about salt intake as my blood pressure is towards the low side, and if my age is guaged by my blood pressure, I'm still in my teens. I've come to the time of life that I really want things 'to see me out', even that is many years off! And now we have a grand daughter to pass it on to.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Pretty Buttons

Izabelle's coat of many colours is now complete with five pretty buttons.

1st Prize for Show Auricula

What with all the waiting for the arrival of my grand-daughter, and other things, I had overlooked my success again at the Kenilworth Gardeners Club.

It was worth the effort I had taken looking after my auriculas this year, winning first prize with the show auricula: Clouded Yellow, at this month's members show: damage the 'farina' which starts to appear as the plant starts its growth spurt in February needs to be avoided. The farina is the flour like substance with grows on the leaves as well as parts of the flowers. The plants can well survive the cold, but they hate the wet and heat, and any drop of water will mark the leaves and flowers. I got this and another type of show auricula at a talk given by Pop's Plants about five years ago, and since then have managed to propagate them. Last year I sent some to Hill Close Gardens to sell at their auricula exhibition.
As the conservatory can get warm even in deepest winter in the sun, I have had to take the plants in and out, in and out ad infinitum. As well as this plant, I got a third prize for a scented geranium, and second prizes for 10 stems of Hellebore, and a nice pot of grape Hyacinth. With the very cold season this year, I realised that none of my pot grown flowering bulbs would be ready, if I did not bring them into the conservatory, and as the grape hyacinths were the most advanced, I choose these to 'force'.

Welcome to Izabelle Mary

Just one day old, here is Izabelle Mary, sleeping peacefully. This is the first picture I have of our first grand daughter. A huge welling up of love has overwhelmed me, I think that is what most grand mothers must feel. I wish my mother were alive to ask her how she felt when her saw her first grand child: Izabelle's father, and then her three other grand children.

We went into Stratford today, ostensibly to get Mr S fitted out with some new clothes, but we seemed to veer towards the baby sections, where Mr S played with new toys!

Friday, 9 April 2010

New Grandma

I have just received a call from my son. Veronica and Matthew have a little girl, born by emergency section this afternoon. They are all well but tired considering the long labour.
I'm not certain of the spelling of the little girl's name, so more details to come later.

Mr S and I are delighted to have a grand-daughter.Today for the first time I am a Grandma. There is a huge smile on our faces.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Shocking pink

Some people like pink, and pink abounds these days. Pink is not normally my favourite colour but in flowers I do love strong pinks, pale pinks, any pinks. I do have a favourite fuchsia pink scarf....

Last year I acquired some miniature geraniums, which performed beautifully. I've overwintered these mostly in the conservatory, but getting bored with bringing them into the dinning room each evening, since Christmas I have kept them on south facing window sills. I've re potted three and taken some cuttings.

One pot of Royal Norfolk Dwarf Geraniums which had three plants having started to flower was kept as it is, and is brightening up the dull days.

I have so much more to learn about taking pictures, manipulating them, and uploading them. I can see so much of what is wrong with this one...but the reason I'm posting this picture is that I have just learnt how to crop a picture showing the whole plant and then resize it.

I was chatting to some friends at the Kenilworth Knit and Natter Group, and we were sharing our experiences and enjoyment of our blogs. Mandy explained how she had been cropping and resizing her pictures and this gave me the impetus to try something which I had been thinking about. Next time I go to the library I shall look out for books on photography, until now I have been working on the principle of point and shoot and hope for the best.

Working at my blog, and encouragement of friends has driven me to try new things and to improve on them. For me this takes time, it must be over two years since I started with my digital camera and blog, and I have learnt so much, and hope to go much farther.

Easter Sunday Outing

We hadn't planned anything in advance this weekend, as we are waiting for some 'happy news'. After lunch in a warm conservatory, we decided to get well dressed, and venture out despite the cold. The bonus is the weather has been a little better than had been predicted, but a lot cooler than we have been used to in previous years, and after some very wet days, less rain.

Remembering that there was still one of the Shakespeare's sites we had not visited, we decided to have a drive out to Mary Arden's House. Against all expectations, there were far fewer visitors than would be normal, had the weather been warmer. We arrived at three and had a leisurely walk round the barns and farm houses and enjoyed the animals. I guess Mr and Mrs Goose summarise the waiting game this Spring.

Yet to be Mother Goose sits firm on her nest protected by yet to be Father Goose who got up each time any other animal went to close to their house. Neither duck nor hens were allowed near.

The pigs were enjoying a mid afternoon snooze. This 'toy' farm is beautifully set out, and there is a range of animals: cart horse, cattle, sheep and lambs, goats, geese, hens, and ducks. The barns have interesting crafts such as stone carving.

The interiors of the houses were set out as they would have been. The beds were made up with thick linen sheets and hand woven blankets, and as food had been cooked at lunch time in the kitchen, the house felt homely and lived in. In the parlour there was a beautifully carved piece of furniture catching the low sun.

As usual exit is only via the shop and there was plenty to tempt, including a well stocked sweet section.

Most evenings I am going a stage further with my wall hangings. I've pieced the squares...well nearly squares, together, added batting and have started the quilting. I am hand quilting as that seems easiest. I really need to get out the sewing machine and try some free motion quilting...but I'm scared.....

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Baby Suprise Jacket and buns in the oven

Its taken me just three days to complete a little jacket. The pattern is a classic designed by Elizabeth Zimmerman, and this time I have knitted it up in Knitcol Trends by Adriafil. This 100% merino wool is machine washable, and has knitted up into a multicoloured jacket. The stitch definition is good, but I am not totally happy with how the colours have panned out, mainly green on the right hand side, and pink and orange on the left. The back is evenly coloured and patterned. I think a good choice of buttons will set it off nicely. As well as this blog, I write a little more about my knitting on Ravelry. Since joining this, I have found no end of inspiration and also have enjoyed sharing my own designs, and seeing what my knitting friends are up to.

On Friday, whilst nursing my toothache, I decided to work on this jacket whilst at the same time making some Easter buns....but having tried various times before, and not been satisfied, I decided to omit the crosses. I had just sufficient ground cinnamon for the buns, and was delighted to find a new stall, well I noticed it for the first time, selling spices at the market, and got a fresh supply. It was in a very adequate sealed cellophane bag, and so I am able to reuse my small glass jar at home. Nice one Warwick Market...two big carrier bags of fruit, veg, spice etc., and hardly any discardable unrecyclable packaging.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to everyone.

We had our Easter ration of chocolate on Friday and maybe I shall think up a chocolate desert for later....

On Wednesday I helped a friend on her way to her daughters by accompanying her and carrying her bags to the Coach station at Coventry. Maybe it is something to do about age, but I couldn't see why we had to go so early that we had a wait for over an hour at Coventry. Despite my assurances, I could tell that my friend would be happier waiting at the coach station, so after fifteen minutes wait on a day which should have been spring like, but threaten snow and sleet, I was pleased to find a warm bus station cafe to sit in and wait. The reason why I am noting all this down, is that my friend slipped me £5, to buy myself an Easter Egg. Mr S and I had decided not to get Easter Eggs this year, so the £5 got us a nice box of chocolates!

On Easter Saturday, we ventured into Warwick. Its still feels like being on holiday, by this I mean that this would be the sort of place we would enjoy on our various away breaks. We walk around looking at the historic details, do a bit of window shopping, have a nice coffee etc. Warwick market on Saturdays is always interesting, and I have found a good stall with excellent fresh produce. Just in front of me, a lady asked about the large bunches of flat leaved parsley, which were large enough for a whole restaurant, and when they found half a bunch, we agreed to share that too! The mixed mushrooms always entice me too.

After that there is always a visit to the wool and quilting shops for me, and a peek at the trains in the toy shop for David.