Supper last night certainly lived up to York's latest accolade, being voted on Trip Advisor the best destination for food and wine in the UK and the 5th in the whole world! Yaaaaaay!
There's something very comforting and nurturing about eating food you haven't cooked yourself. Thankfully, despite my cold, the taste buds were still able to do justice to the succession of scrumptious dishes Janet and Mark put in front of us. First up was a pearl barley salad with pomegranate seeds and herbs (sadly forgot to take picture, at this point - too busy catching up and quaffing copious quantities of wine), then a lentil galette, served with roasted squash and other root veggies. Next came an apple tarte tatin with cream/creme fraiche, finishing with a beautifully ripe cheese brought from France and washed down with Port. Absolutely yummy!
It was great to catch up with family news and I specially love hearing different music - last night Elbow, Noah and the Whale and Amy Winehouse (among many others) provided the backdrop to the evening. One of the reasons Spotify appeals to me is that friends can send me music I wouldn't normally listen to, constantly broadening musical horizons.
Anyway I'm so glad I didn't let the cold get the upper hand, there's nothing better than an evening chewing the fat with friends to banish the autumn blues. They say that laughing is good for your health and we certainly did a lot of that. Janet mentioned that when the weather turns cold, she still gives Almanac an airing - the cover sweater of Knits for all Seasons designed nearly twenty years ago. I love hearing stories of sweaters from my back catalogue still being worn, proving that all those years spent absorbing the Ralph Lauren ethos of enduring style over fleeting fashion weren't wasted.
Being the cat buff that I am, I can't finish without mentioning Benny - a cat of mature years who's been a bit of an adventurer and definitely knows his own mind. Mark and Janet used to live in our street and Benny also, but not with them. He actually lived with another family and for reasons known only to himself, decided to move over the road and took up residence with Mark and Janet before they moved. Since then he's lived happily with Janet's parents in a different town altogether when the builders were in their new home, but has finally quit the wanderlust and settled down in their new house. A feline Gulliver who enjoys a bit of variety in life and knows his own mind - like all cats I suppose. It was good to see him again.
Been feeling a bit devastated recently. First of all by the referendum result, then England's football team exiting UEFA Euro 2016 in the sad way they did. Get used to it, people say, and in truth I suppose we all have to, but while football is merely a game, membership of the EU isn't and I feel many people must be wishing they'd voted otherwise by now, after realising that they've been sold a pack of lies, which seems to me to be good grounds for a rethink.
Already there are hate crimes and racist murmurings against ethnic minorities and I can only assume that the vile perpetrators feel that their views have now been validated by the referendum.
In my opinion the future is much less bright out of the Union. Culturally and economically we have become instantly poorer and security-wise as an island sovereign state we have become much more vulnerable to home grown terrorism. The stability of our country is threatened. With Cameron deserting the ship, Boris Johnson havin…
Hygge has become a bit of a buzz word recently. There's no English word for it, but this Danish word is best translated as cosiness or living well, and pronounced hoogah. I was curious to find out more so I bought the Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. Even this morning's Guardian is sporting an article in G2 that claims the concept of Hygge is being 'sold by the yard' this Christmas. I have to admit I didn't read much of the article as I couldn't stand the smug attitude of Jess Cartner Morley, who seemed to be mainly interested in the commercial (particularly fashion) opportunities it presents. I was put off by her slightly facetious tone, and also because the piece seemed to say exactly the opposite of what I had understood from the book.
Hygge can't be sold or indeed bought. Apparently you can have all the candles, log fires, fluffy blankets, handknit socks, hot chocolate and marshmallows, mulled wine, home-made bread, and walks in the country that mo…
Yay, we've finally made it to our Welsh retreat, something I've been dreaming of for nearly 18 months. Feels so good to be able to walk round the garden, despite the neuropathy - I'm determined not to let it spoil my enjoyment. The cuckoo's calling and the house martins are swooping and swirling in the air, scooping up the dreaded midges, then back to their nest-building in the eaves. As Lionel, our previous owner, used to say It's God's own country - and that feels just about right. Vic and Roy, who've been looking after everything while we've been gone, have done a good job. However, I can't help feeling that a garden seems to recognise the people who have built and nurtured it by springing to life and seemingly putting a smile on its face. It's as if it's waking up from a long sulk, and thankful that you're back, wants to make sure you don't abandon it again. There's much to be done here, in both the hard graft and the gentle…