Saturday, December 26, 2009

Winter wonderland

Here are just a few photos to let you know it's not all doom and gloom 'round here.
It's been the most amazingly thick (for round here Kelly) snow. Everything looks beautiful, even the most suburban houses in Harling.
The hedge outside was turned into a cartoon plum pudding with cream on top.
We went to the Supper club that Clarissa & Yusuf put on once a month. Here are the oyster boys, shuckin' their little hearts out.
The Super supper club queen herself Clarribelle
The Salmon en croute before it became the salmon du mess.
We also attended the most wonderful carol concert at the nearby Bridgham Church.
The most perfect snowy day.
Here's out friend Gracie, preparing to become a sheep in the play.
Sally & Ricardo & Janet getting ready for their big concert performance
Two angels who also attended

Then it was Christmas day and we spent it with the Zebedoodle. He's just at that lovely age where it's ll incredibly exciting and there are PRESENTS.
Luckily for his musical little brain he got a ukulele. Here he is mesmerised by Richard tuning it.
Finally after a huge feast of rib of beef and plum pudding we all relaxed as Zebbie did his nudie dance.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Caroline Forbes

Dearest blog readers I must apologise for the lack of posts lately.
I've been so incredibly busy and now all I've got is a sad post about my dear friend Caroline who died a couple of weeks ago.
I had to tell you though about the funeral. The likes of which I've never seen before.
It's been snowing here for days and days and the roads are icy and hard to get through, I hadn't left enough time so I was running late. As I came into the town of Eye in Suffolk the traffic had slowed to a crawl and I was cursing stupid English drivers who grind to a halt when there's even the tiniest hint of snow. As we turned a corner though I realised why the traffic was so slow. We were following a horse and cart with four figures at its corners all dressed in black with top hats. We were following Caroline on her final journey. I parked the car and ran to catch up as the bier wound its way to the cemetery accompanied by drums and bells and maybe a hundred people.

It had been Caroline's wish to be buried without any plastic or metal or anything that left a footprint, so she was wrapped in a beautiful shroud of felt with leaves and acorns on it and buttoned with toggles of wood. The last stage of the journey was too slippery for the horse to carry her because of the snow, so her lovers and friends carried her the last bit of the way.
Her brother Michael officiated and read out a beautiful American Indian prayer and there was silence as she was lowered into the grave. Suddenly there appeared a tiny robin redbreast, hopping around in the snow, and it seemed it was greeting everone there, it hopped around the entire circle of people. Finally after we had all thrown a handful of dirt into the grave, it hopped right into the grave and came back out again with a worm. Caroline had red hair as you can see by her picture, exactly the same colour as a robyn's breast.

Until I met Caroline, I'd always had difficulty with authority figures but she was the most fantastic boss I could ever have wished for. She saw a potential in me that I never knew was there and encouraged me to be more than I'd ever been before. It seemed she was the same for hundreds of people.
Thank you Carolina.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

(Wo) Man overboard

Phew, it's been a weekend and a half. A tidal wave of effort that paid off hugely in the end. I spent all day Friday making tray after tray of macarons.
This time they all worked after a dismal effort of three batches on Thursday that flopped without rhyme or reason just when I was getting cocky. I've been a major pain in the arse to live with lately too as it got closer and closer to Saturday and my cushion sale at Brondie's house in Norwich.
I always make it a policy to wear the same colour as the things I'm baking.. (It can be a nightmare rushing upstairs to change between batches though!)
Whose idea was it anyway to make 5 different flavours of macarons? Caramel fleur de sel, blackcurrant, pistachio with chestnut filling, tangerine and saffron. Making them was fine but filling them all and packaging them all took me about 9 hours in the end. Cute boxes though eh?
At 6 am on Saturday morning I decided that we needed more cake for people to eat as they sipped tea on the couches so what else but eclairs?
Then we finally made it to Brondie's where the gorgeous Clarissa titivated it all to look really posh. Warm and welcoming on a rainy day in Norwich.

Billy, the perfect doorman in suit and tie.
His Mumma Brondie looking like a complete bombshell.
The star team Clarry & Zebedee
And my darling Ricardo who had remained resolutely optimistic and an absolute darling that I will never be able to live without. Here he is making Lobster Thermidor for our dinner when I was at my lowest ebb on Friday night.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mugwumps, love bumps

This is my earworm at the moment thanks to Kelly. I love the way these girls make it look so easy to sing such perfect harmony. Ricardo and I are going to do our own rendition as soon as I can figure out all the words. I'll put it up here when we do. As Wikipedia says..."The song is notable as a hit single where the title is not in the lyrics".

Monday, November 23, 2009

Velvet luxury

Last week I went with my friend Heather to a (secret destination) fabric place in North London. We had a ball as usual. It's so nice to spend time with someone who loves fabric as much as I do. There were mountains of materials and lots of random bolts of velvet in mostly really cack flesh tone colours but right up the top at the back of a huge stack were some truly gorgeous colours. Colours I've been looking for my whole life.
I know you're not as obsessed by fabric as I am but I've truly been searching for pumpkin coloured velvet my whole life. I wish they had had more, I would have bought it all but I only managed to get a couple of metres of each colour.
This Granny Smith apple is as good as it looks in this photo. Don't you just want to bight it.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Blackcurrant ones!

I've been so obsessed with these little pillows of joy lately that I had to get up early yesterday morning and see if I could improve my technique. With a few twiddles of difference I managed to get the best batch yet.
I've still got to figure out how to do a liquorice filling for the next flavour and try to find some boxes for them.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Truly exotic cushions this time

My buddy Clarissa came round yesterday and helped me photograph some new cushions for the exotic cushions website. Phew, I rang her in distress as I'd run out of ideas and my photos were looking really boring. As soon as Clarry came though there was an explosion of crushed velvet and the room looked like a Sultan's harem. Just wish I had time to lie back sip mint tea, eat pomegranates and gossip with Richard's other wives.