Friday, 29 April 2011

Where are we?

Westminster Abbey
with a Procession of the Knights of Bath
Canaletto (1697-1768)

MrM and MrsM
On the sofa, watching TV.
Drinking champagne.

With the Sassy MissS.
The Mall? Hyde Park? Trafalgar Square?
Drinking Pimms.

"In Stellenbosch.
Suited up and watching the TV.
Drinking wine out of tea cups."

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Postcards for MrsM

At the end of the holidays
the postcards start to trickle in...

Greetings from Vancouver!
I've been working in the archives
of the UBC Museum of Anthropology
which is a splendid thing to do
as well as visiting museums and archives
in Victoria and Vancouver Island.
The Professor who shall be Nameless

Hi from Kenya!
I am working hard doing my field work
and looking forward to a chance
to relax by the coast.
The Vivacious Postgraduate

Hello from Seattle!
We all saw this postcard
and thought of the Young Academic
and the Tie of Shame moment...
Having a great time at the conference!
(among others...)
The Professor,
the Best dressed Postdoc,
the Young Scottish Academic

Easter in a Country Church

When MrM was a little boy
he watched his father shaving
and then he said
"What do you DO, Daddy?"

and he says that his father paused
in the middle of shaving
and thought for a moment
before he replied

"I preach the word of God"

and that is what he still does,
long after his 'retirement'
at his two country churches:

St. Andrew, Thornhaugh
and here at
St. Mary the Virgin, Wansford.

On Easter Sunday
the church is decorated with love
to celebrate the Risen Christ

and the pews are full
with friends from the parish

who give thanks
for the continued ministry of
Thomas, their parish priest.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

MrM and the Chocolate Eggs

Who ate the yellow one?

It wasn't me.


I could eat a light blue one
to even up the pattern.

Would that help?

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Homity Pie

We always have fish pie on Good Friday
but the tradition had become a chore
and so I looked for an alternative recipe.

MissM and I had Homity Pie at Lydford Gorge
in the excellent National Trust cafe.
It was a sunny day and we were grateful to sit down
after taking the long route around the gorge.

It is an old-fashioned savoury pie
based on potatoes, onions, leeks and cheese
and of the many variants that I have found
this recipe from Gourmet Britain is the one that I used.
It includes apple and is well flavoured with thyme.
I made a dressed salad using watercress
and the piquant flavour complemented the creamy pie.

I wish you all a peaceful Easter weekend.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Confessions of a Domestic 'Goddess'

It is the first asparagus of the season...

Is this Hollandaise sauce?
I've heard it is 'fiendishly difficult'.

MrsM looks modest.

Was it 'fiendishly difficult' to twist the lid?

MrsM looks abashed.

Didn't you make the sauce?

Errr no...
Mary Berry has been cooking for so long
that it would be rude not to ask for her help.

(with apologies to Sue...)

Thursday, 21 April 2011

the pale, wet leaves

A Virginal

No, no! Go from me. I have left her lately.
I will not spoil my sheath with lesser brightness,
For my surrounding air hath a new lightness;
Slight are her arms, yet they have bound me straitly
And left me cloaked as with a gauze of æther;
As with sweet leaves; as with subtle clearness.
Oh, I have picked up magic in her nearness
To sheathe me half in half the things that sheathe her.
No, no! Go from me. I have still the flavour,
Soft as spring wind that's come from birchen bowers.
Green come the shoots, aye April in the branches,
As winter's wound with her sleight hand she staunches,
Hath of the trees a likeness of the savour:
As white as their bark, so white this lady's hours.

Ezra Pound


A patch of lily of the valley
grows by my front door.
The fragrance hangs in the warm air
and makes me smile as I walk past.


This post is for Kathe,
a dear blog friend
who loves lily of the valley.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

(just for the record)

It is the last day
before the Department closes for Easter.

The Head of Department laughs
as he finds me photographing my azalea.
The sunshine had made the flowers glisten
and I find it impossible to resist the temptation.

The Lady who cleans my office
tells me that her daughters gave her a mug
with a photo of themselves when they were babies.
One of those daughters is now her supervisor.

The Postdoc has made a huge chocolate cake
and we sit around at coffee time
eating the biggest slice that we can manage.

The Student collects her assessed essay.
She says that she feels sick with anxiety
because it was such a difficult title.
When she leaves she is smiling.

The Lab Assistant has brought her tiny daughter
into the Department to meet her friends.
She is wearing hot pink heart-shaped sunglasses.

The Finalist stands at the door to my office
and describes her recent major operation.
I give her strict instructions to be careful.

The Cartographer is trying to find
a use for llamafont.
A map of Peru, perhaps?

The Professor emails to say
that he is on the way to Switzerland...
“Back on Thursday with sacks of gold.”

The new Spanish Research Assistant
is loving the sunshine...
I tell her to enjoy it while it lasts.

The Masters student submits his work,
a study of the Palestinian head scarf,
illustrated by stunning photography.

The Operations Manager tells me
that she will be scouring the salvage yards
to find replacement floorboards.
It sounds like a hard working holiday to me.

I lift the azalea off the windowsill
and take it home to enjoy over Easter.
And then I leave the Department.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Easter Nests

MissM has been shopping:

Shredded Wheat
chocolate eggs,
secret ingredient

It is that time of year again
and she has been cooking
her signature recipe.

MrsM sighs with delight
when she sees how beautifully
the pastel blue and yellow cake cases
show off the treasured anniversary plate.

MissM notes that the recipe
is much healthier
than she had realised...

"it has Whole Grain Wheat...
so each cake is a useful contribution
to my balanced diet..."

Monday, 18 April 2011

Staff Briefing

The young Scottish Academic brings MrsM
the expense claim from his trip to New York.

MrsM makes him sit down.

"Here's the deal...
I help you organise flights
and arrange insurance
and when you come back
I make sure that your expense claim
is processed as quickly as possible..."

The Young Scottish Academic looks anxious

"And you tell me about your trip
so that I can escape from this office
just for a moment."

The Young Scottish Academic quickly grasps the concept

"We were studying the period of Prohibition
and so we worked in the library
where they have all the reports
of the Government undercover agents
who visited New York Speakeasy bars.
(Imagine all those handwritten noteboooks
smelling of cigarette smoke and whisky...)
And then, to ensure total immersion,
we went to an authentic Speakeasy.
As you would expect, I drank Cuban Sours
and the Professor drank Sidecars."

MrsM smiles...
the Young Scottish Academic has potential...

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Cameras are not permitted

On Thursday evening
we were drinking champagne
in the imposing library
of the Reform Club.

I thought you might like to see
where Phileas Fogg set off
on his journey around the world.

I got my camera out
and was immediately surrounded
by uniformed staff waving their hands
in a distressed way.

Cameras and other new-fangled technology
are not permitted in the Reform Club.

I made apologetic sounds
and MrM said
"I can't take her anywhere!"

And then we laughed
and set off down Pall Mall
to admire the sparkle of a London night.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Cake Love

Please note...

I am not claiming that
MasterM and MissM
were the cutest children
in the history of the world...

I am just putting the evidence out there
and letting you decide for yourself.


from my mother's photo collection

Thursday, 14 April 2011

shards of light

my mother leaves the supper cooking

"you must see the daffodils before the light goes"

we walk up the hill past the primroses

and stand in the long grass under the apple trees

looking through the silver light towards the river

and I remember her birthday when I gave her the bulbs

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Widemouth Bay