Thursday, August 31, 2006

New best friends

Hey guess what came today in the post.......
Cheekee Monkee is in love.........who says internet relationships don't work.
Kelly my new best friend sent me this little cutey in the first non-virtual blogger experience.
Thank you Kelly, he (or maybe it's a she) is fantastic.
We are having endless fun with......hmmmmm what should we call him?
All names gratefully accepted.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Luckily I never went to boarding school, so I love, love, love rice pudding. Especially when it's Muhallabia a Middle eastern version with rose water & pistachio nuts, drizzled with honey & cream. Served with a delicious desert wine that we lashed out on that tastes like a grown up version of marmalade.
Do you like the tablecloth Robyn found for us in a charity shop???

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Settlers and links

When I first met Richard, he introduced me to a game called Settlers of Catan
We played it non stop & his generosity within the "game" helped to convince me that he was a really, really nice guy & I should marry him.
It's paid off...the "Settlers boyfriend test" is a good one..Does he trade easily? Is he selfish with his resources? Does he wait for his turn?
All these skills are extremely handy in the game of life & relationships.
Now my whole family plays it back in Australia with such gusto that they have songs and everything to accompany it. Weird I know, but oddly satisfying.
Normally the brick resources are really hard to come by...for some reason not so in this is Richard's hand (a little bit out of focus though I'm sorry). You can also see his creativity in the left hand corner where he's stacked up his roads & settlements to create a totem pole. What a guy!!!!!!
I also want to thank Kelly for the link to the hilarious blog "Wide Lawns and narrow minds". A must read. Especially the August 22nd post....enjoy.
Thanks also for cupcake cars.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

New dress

I've already made one dress using this Vintage Vogue pattern but I had this lovely old piece of vintage Rayon that I bought with me from Australia and so..... without further ado here is a picture of the dress I made from it. (I know I really should have ironed it first but inspiration to photograph it struck).
Now all we need is some WARMER weather so I can wear it.

Big Sis

My Big Sister is the best sister you could ever wish for. She is my inspiration in food & sewing & knitting & how best to love children and just in living life generally.
We were just like any other naughties when we were growing up & I remember a particular game she had where she would stand with arms & legs spread wide to block the doorway & chant "Say your name or you can't get through" still makes me boil thinking about the power struggles we went through.
All that changed when Mum & Dad split up & it was us against the world, we learned to cook so as to feed ourselves & busied our minds & hands by making couldn't have wished for a more caring buddy, I felt she was there for me at all times, my protector.
I love her.

And here are some pictures of things she might pheasants madly criss crossing the track....


and my new knitting project for Zebedee..

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Thai green sauce recipe

Dear reader,
there has been a request for the recipe for the Green Thai sauce that was used on the Smoked Tofu at Tess & Will's wedding. So here I bring it to you with pleasure.
(Images from

3 tablespoons Soy sauce
1 clove Garlic
1 piece Ginger (approx 2" x 1")
3 tablespoons Dry sherry or Chinese rice wine or sake

1 cup washed & chopped coriander
1 cup washed & chopped basil
1 cup washed & chopped Thai holy basil
1/2 tin coconut milk
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
A piece of Galangal about 2" long x 1" wide
2 stalks lemon grass, softer white part only (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Rind from 2 limes (finely grated)
3 lime leaves (finely shredded)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 cloves garlic

Bung all the greenery into a magimix & whizz. Add the rest of the ingredients & whizz again until a paste.
Put a dessertspoon of paste onto a slice of smoked tofu (previously marinated), wrap in banana leaves & barbecue for about 15 minutes.
Serve with rice & papaya salad
Mmmmmmm. Impress all your friends.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Kudos millionaires....

Ages ago back in June we had the Hen weekend.
Well now after much work, waiting & sleepless nights (& that's only on my part) the stage was set for Tess & Wills wedding to finally happen. The wedding of the year:
With Richard & next door neighbour Lisa & friend Kate's help, we catered for 80 people to sit down & eat a Thai feast on the big day. Here's the menu.

Tess & Will’s wedding menu

19th August 2006

A Thai feast for family & friends to celebrate a momentous occasion

Stuffed & marinated Thai aubergine.
Vietnamese rice paper rolls.
Vegetarian sushi
Organic salmon or Organic tofu wrapped in banana leaves with an aromatic green Thai sauce.

Pumpkin, sweet potato Thai Holy basil & pine nut salad
Bean, cucumber, paw-paw, peanut salad
Vermicelli rice noodle, cherry tomato, mint, coriander, red onion salad

Coconut, mango & raspberry homemade ice creams & sorbets
3 tiered, heart shaped, chocolate mud cake with chocolate ganache & sugared almonds

And what do you know... apart from having to make a complete 2nd wedding cake & a horrendous barbeque moment, when it was roaring like a furnace & charring the banana leaves before thay even hit the grill. It all went well. Even Will's granny was happy & didn't have to eat Kate's cheese sandwich that she brought in her bag.
The ceremony took place at Kimberly Hall in Norfolk. A very beautiful old country estate with the grounds laid out by Capability Brown.
The ethereal Lucy sang "I'm in the mood for love" unaccompanied as Tessie walked in on her grandfather's arm, looking radiant in white with a veil & everything. Will looked like a copy of the Castor & Pollux historic plasterwork statues above him.
The weddings we usually attend as choir & bellringers at East Harling Church are usually pretty formal events & occasionally the guests may give a polite clap as the bride & groom Tess & Will's everybody whooped & wolf whistled & hollered for about 5 minutes. After we all stopped, the celebrant grinned & with impeccable timing said "very restrained", in a very english accent.
Afterwards we all went out into the park for a glass of champagne.
Everyone was asked to wear a touch of pink...some of us wore more than a touch. Here's the beautiful Clarissa out of Planet Luton Hospital for a few days now that baby Zebedee has been transferred to Norwich & weighs 650 grams.

And here's Tessies Grandfather Dr David Palmer & her 2nd Dad, Rob behind him...

there will be more photos of the bride & groom coming as well as post party fun when I can track down Joe Man & his camera.....

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Tonights mystery vegetable... Samphire.
From the marshy coast of North Norfolk UK.
delicious with olive oil, lemon juice & garlic. We had it with grilled salmon & new potatoes.

"Half-way down

Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade!" Shakespeare, King Lear.

Shakespeare's samphire grew half way down a cliff. His is the rock samphire, Crithmum maritimum, but we ate marsh samphire, Salicornia europaea. Sometimes known as Glasswort.

Ludbrook cousins re-united

On the weekend we picked up Richards brother Ray, & sister in law Mary. Two of the sweetest people you could ever wish to meet & drove to a place called Leiston in Suffolk UK, very near where Richard grew up.
We were going to meet some cousins on Richards Mum's side. Rod & Andrew Gray. They asked us to stay for supper. We did. They were nice Richard & Ray had a lovely time catching up on old times.

As an aside...Ray & Mary are looking after 2 dogs for their son Andrew. One is a Chinese is a photo of it where it actually looks cute. Normally it just looks weird.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Embroiderers heaven

I've just got back from an exhibition at Norwich cathedral of ecclesiastical textile treasures from the Cathedral's collection.
I'm speechless except to say thanks to my friend Gudrun who works there as the librarian, for telling me it was on.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

New words

How a life can change sometimes.
I now know a whole new vocabulary.
Fiddle back
I've been asked to make a set of vestments for Christmas for East Harling Church. What a privilege. I've also been asked to make a fiddle backed chasuble for the high church at Eye in Suffolk. Wow. Nice work if you can get it.
I'm going to try & get East Harling to let me embroider a lamb like the one at Bourne Church. East Harlings village sign has a lamb on it as this was a huge wool growing area from medieval times right up until the early 20th century.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Gunton Hall curtains...

Here at last are some pictures of the curtains I made for Gunton Hall.
Successfully, (though warmly) installed with the help of Ricardo from Milano & Miss Harriet Sprigg.
Pretty nice ceiling huh?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Be thou my vision

Sorry to go all religious on you but.... I took Richard's phone to church this morning & recorded our choir singing an exerpt from "Be thou my vision" an ancient & beautiful Celtic hymn found in an Irish eighth century manuscript
translated by Mary Byrne 1880 - 1931
verse by Eleanor Hull 1860 - 1935.
Unfortunately the file type isn't supported, so you can't hear us doing it... but you can go here to this link to hear a different version from this website still lovely.........

Be though my vision, O Lord of my heart,
be all else but naught to me, save that thou art,
be thou my best thought in the day and the night,
both waking and sleeping, thy presence my light.

Ours was "...a beautiful setting by Bob Chilcott, one of the most active composers in Britain today.
He was both a chorister & choral scholar in the choir of Kings College, Cambridge where he sang the Pie Jesu on the reknowned 1967 recording of the Faure Requiem conducted by Sir David Willcocks.
Between 1985 & 1997 he was one of the famous King's singers and now conducts his music throughout the world."
These words written by our learned Organist David Uden

Gorgeous stuff.

Blackmail shots

Friday, August 04, 2006

Baby Zebedee

Baby Zebedee Man is now 2 and a half weeks old. He's a tenacious little character having endured a collapsed lung and blood transfusions most days. He's hanging in there though, with the help of the best Mum that ever walked the Earth, Clarissa May.
Here's a little video footage that Clarissa took when we were there last Tuesday afternoon

I was shocked at just how small he is. For once he's not wriggling which is a bit of a shame because it's video but you do get Clarissa crooning to him at the end, all the beeping is the equipment that's keeping him alive.
Keep up the great work Luton & Dunstable hospital, Clarissa & Joe.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Miss Harriet Sprig

For ages & ages I've been meaning to write a post about our friend Harriet.
One hell of a woman. Harriet is around 73 years old.
She lives by herself in an old shepherds hut next to the house that she's been doing up for the last 30 years.
Shy as a mole is Harriet but once you get her talking she tells the most amazing stories.
She went to boarding school in her youth & says she had to break the ice some mornings on the bath water. Consequently she's not very keen on baths these days. (Not such a good idea to get too close on a warm day).
Her Father was a parfumier in London.
Richard tells the story of cutting up a log of Sandalwood that her father had given her; the smell so heavenly it felt like a drug.
She went to Goldsmiths college in the late 40's & had a high old time learning the art of furniture making. She now restores antiques, including clocks. Don't be fooled though, she doesn't sit around inside twiddling with small bits of brass. The time before last when we went to visit her, she was up on a scaffold; a scaffold she had made herself from pine logs from her wood lot. She was rendering the house. She's made all the windows, doors & staircase; in fact anything that's made of wood & a lot that isn't too. Richard says if she doesn't have the tool for the job, she just makes it.
I've been wanting to take a picture of her but felt it may intrude too much. This afternoon she came with us to Gunton hall to measure up for a large octagonal dressing table that she may make for the house.
So here she is in typical Harriet mode, with a drill in one hand helping Richard fix the curtain rods.

Norwich UK. A fine city.

On Saturday we decided to go to Norwich. I needed a new dress to wear in all this hot weather and Richard needed new flip-flops? Thongs? Jandles? What are they called in America???

It is indeed a fine city. The town hall seen here was remarkably undamaged during the Baedeker bombings in the 2nd world war. (Named after the famous guide books. Bombings of historically interesting towns & cities in England.) I have heard a rumour that it was saved because Hitler was appreciative of it's fascist style architecture.

The beautiful spire is the top of St Peter Mancroft Church (it has a ring of 12 bells...a Maximus). The first true peal of 5,040 changes was rung here in 1715.
The spire is the same as on our church in East Harling. We think ours looks much more balanced on our smaller church. This one's a bit like a pimple on an elephant.

Richard is pointing at the amazing flint work on the walls of the church. It's whats called "knapped flint". The piece of stone is broken to show an internal face. Tricky stuff. Still used today on more expensive architecture.
And just in case you were wondering...I did get a new dress from the fabulously cheap TK MAXX
I bought it with money I got for ringing the bells at 2 weddings. Yay.