Monday, 23 June 2014


I had a cooking frenzy this weekend.
It started with homemade tortilla
and then slid into a cascade of
perfectly marinaded meat,
delicious summer vegetables
and golden pan fried potatoes.
It was all very unusual,
I assune it was due to the weather.
MrM loyally ate everything without complaint,
down to the last mouthful of lemon posset.

Blogging may be a bit patchy this week,
things to do, people to see,
Back on track at the weekend
unless this cooking thing
is a chronic condition.

In the meantime go visiting!

Rachel parks the car
Jen tries to park the car
domestic novice climbs towers
Nurse Nancy has a new job
Lucille mingles with Swedish soldiers
Monica is flaunting her eggs
sweet baby Geneva is smiling

and we send best love to bb and K
as they recover from their accident.

must dash,
Happy Monday everyone.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Behold! The Queen of Sheba

MrsM finds the Visiting Cat snuggled up with MissM
in a cushion throne on the sofa in the summer house.

MissM says that the Cat is only sitting there
to set off the rustic ambience of the decor.
The cat yawns politely and goes back to sleep.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

what the commuter saw


A selection of photos for you
from my walks to and from work.

London at the start of summer.

10 June
Hawk patrol, Trafalgar Square

28 April
Trafalgar Square (before the crowds arrive)

30 April
Queue for the bus, Trafalgar Square, Tube Strike day

22 May
Piccadilly Arcade, early morning

22 May
Athenaeum Club, Waterloo Place

(Linnet in Oriel - this one is for you!)

22 May
Platform 20, Waterloo Station

4 June
Piccadilly Circus

12 June
Orange capsule, London Eye

19 May
Waterloo Bridge

MrM tells me that 'enjoy' is a transitive verb
and that I must not use it as an imperative.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

In which we eat tapas

MrM and MrsM have had a demanding evening looking at Viking boats, swords and skulls in the British Musuem and they are very hungry. They decide to treat themselves to a couple of bowls of tapas in their favourite tapas restaurant, El Parador but when they arrive at the restaurant they look at the menu and try to decide how many bowls they can eat without being thrown out for gluttony. And then they order one more for luck.

There is velvety alioli with coarse bread, charred green pimientos glistening with salt, briny samphire with shaved artichokes and chickpeas. MrsM passionatelyl oves boquerones but she knows that it is against the unspoken rules to order the same thing twice so she bravely goes for calamares in a batter as light as a whisper. MrM chooses pan-fried chicken livers which melt in the mouth and king prawns in a fiery mixture of ginger and turmeric. When the bowls arrive at the table MrM and MrsM throw themselves on the food with a fierce intensity.

After a brief pause for the sake of her digestion and to maintain a fiction of restraint MrsM has the most delicious flan de naranja, a cream flavoured with smoky caramelised oranges. It is like eating clotted cream and marmalade.

There will now be a period of abstinence to ensure that the relationship between waist and skirt returns to normal but it was so worth it.  

Monday, 16 June 2014

MrsM, domestic failure

Dido goes shopping in Waitrose

I want to tell you that this weekend
has been a tranquil experience,
creating a harmonious space
for my beloved and grateful family.
that I have drifted through sunlit rooms,
at all times present in the moment.

But it has not been like that.
Not at all.

It feels as though I have spent
the entire weekend buying stuff,
carrying stuff, unpacking stuff,
stuffing stuff into my stuffed house.
And although I bought a wagon load of food
somehow there was nothing to eat for lunch.
I've lost my domestic rhythm somewhere.
I hope it has not gone forever.
Let me know if you find it.

Friday, 13 June 2014


...Mwanza, near the Equator,
MasterM is messaging his parents...

Just so you know,
I have come up to Lake Victoria.
My mate had a return ticket
that he couldn't use so I took it.
In Mwanza now.
I have a first class sleeper cabin
tonight across the lake.
Should be an experience!!

MrsM to MrM
Where even is Lake Victoria?

MrM to MrsM

but MrsM does...
and spends the rest of the evening
thinking about life jackets and crocodiles.
It's not easy being the mother of MasterM.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

The Jolly Girls' Outing

had another day out at the
Chelsea Physic Garden!
It was the most beautiful sunny day
and there were irresistible vistas at every turn.

This time our outing was strictly educational
and we were very focused on our primary objective
which was lunch in the wonderful cafe.

People, if you live in or near London
eat at the Chelsea Physic Garden. Just do it.

Think beautiful salads and eye-popping cakes
served on scrubbed pine tables
decorated with red treacle tins filled with paeonies.

We were so committed that we sat down immediately
and waited until lunchtime, filling the time
with educational commentary and analysis of
the fashion for orange nail polish and suchlike.

After lunch we wandered around
and Jane, who is a serious gardener, advised us all
and Helen listened intently because she has a new garden.

I got a bit distracted by a shameless magpie
who decided to have a bath right next to me.
and Caroline became obsessed with the huge cat
who lives on the garden compost heap.

All in all it was another fab day out
and I am so grateful to have a group of friends
who share my passions for roses, cake and nail polish.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Things you need to know

If there is a fire alarm
we have to gather under
the Duke of York's column.
I'm not bragging but
my Fire Assembly Point is bigger
than your Fire Assembly Point.


At the base of this column there is a tiny grave stone for Giro the alsatian who died in 1934. Giro was the much loved companion of the German ambassador Herr L. von Hoesch in 8-9 Carlton House Terrace, now home of the Royal Society, which housed the German Embassy before the war. The ambassador himself died two years later and his funeral cortege was awarded full military honours as it travelled through London en route to Dover. If you watch this YouTube clip you will see the procession go down the steps in my photograph with the coffin covered by the Nazi flag.


Thank you for all your comments recently,
I wanted to hug every single one of you
for the smiles you have left in my comment box
but I have been fully engaged cooking for MasterM.
He is now back in Tanzania being looked after by
Rafiki the Cook and VeryNice the Housekeeper,
I hope that they don't spoil him.

A particular welcome to Barb and Laura from Virginia,
such generous and unexpected comments!
Squeeze up everyone, make room on the sofa.

Thanks to sweet Paola who comments every day
and leaves sunshine from Positano behind.
I think I owe you a paeony, Paola,
I'm working on it.


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

A Storm of Roses

Here are my roses, warmed by sunshine.

The pale pink rose that scrambles against the fence
and the wild rose that falls in cascades from next door.

The blowsy pink rose draped in the apple tree,
the shell pink rose growing through Canterbury Bells.

Lush petals, bright stamens, sweet fragrance,
I walk up and down, trying to fix the memory
of this quiet garden before the rain.

In time the memory will blur and I will forget
the day, and the rain, and the names of the roses
but this is how it was on that June afternoon.

Monday, 9 June 2014

The Sum of the Parts

In which we have a barbecue in the garden.

We drank Pimms by the jug, of course.
MissM is the family Pimms mixologist.

Meanwhile, MasterM was chef for the day
and everything was perfectly marinaded and cooked.
MrM stood by to learn advanced skills.

MrsM did the salads and remembered too late
that she had eaten the emergency peanuts
so had to improvise with pumpkin seeds.
Nobody died.

The strawberries were left to warm in the sun
while we cooked marshmallows
on the last of the coals.

It is so rare and precious that we are all together
and it was perfect.
All of it.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

MasterM, Bibliophile

Man Reading
John Singer Sargent

MasterM will be setting off for a period in the bush soon. His main concern is not heat, flies or chance meetings with rhinos but having nothing to read. MrsM suggests a kindle and MasterM politely declines on the basis that a kindle does not fit his image. MrsM retreats gracefully and recommends the excellent local hospice book shop.

After a concentrated half hour MasterM left the shop with the following books:

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
Laurie Lee

Born Free
Joy Adamson

Out of Africa
Karen Blixen

Jock of the Bushveld
Percy Fitzpatrick

Cry, Beloved Country
Alan Paton

Hangover Square
Patrick Hamilton

James Joyce

Burmese Days
George Orwell

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Beware of the Dog
Brian Moore

The Night of the Generals
Hans Kelmut Kirst

Ice Cold in Alex
Christopher Landon

Ill Met by Moonlight
Stanley Moss

The Great Escape
Paul Brickhill

633 Squadron
Frederick E. Smith

The Dirty Dozen
E.J. Nathanson

The Blue Max
Jack D. Hunter

The Dambusters Raid
John Sweetman

Richard Hooker

The Colditz Story
P.R. Reid

I can remember talking to a teacher when MasterM was 10 and expressing concern that he did not enjoy reading. The teacher, who was old and wise, reassured me that, although MasterM was not reading the sort of books I expected him to read, he did in fact read a great deal. When I thought about it later I realised that he read newspapers, particularly the sports sections, and non fiction books including war stories but he did not read Heidi, Little Women or Jane Eyre which I subconsciously expected him to enjoy because I had when I was his age. After that I let him get on with making his own choices and I have ended up with a son who reads voraciously. Sometimes, parenting by neglect can work wonders.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

No Mango

Did you have fruit salad for breakfast, MrM?

Yes! It was delicious!

Why did you scoop all of the
mango, grapes and blueberries from the top
and leave the kiwi fruit at the bottom?

It was an accident, honestly.
I didn't mean to do it.
I thought I had stirred it up.
I had no idea there was kiwi fruit at the bottom.

I am very disappointed in you.
There is such a thing as Fruit Salad Etiquette.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


There is a huge pile of ironing in my future.

Just do the damn ironing.

It's more complicated than that.

Yes, you and the ironing seem to have a deep-rooted issue.

MrsM ponders this valuable insight
and decides that June will be the month of
No Procrastination, Iron More.
She feels gloomy already.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Coded : Decoded

Prism at the Mall Galleries

Diana Barrett
Silver Linings : Moving On

I was lucky enough to meet Gina on Friday
who was stewarding and exhibiting
at the Mall Galleries on the Mall,
just underneath my office building.

Judith Hammond
Helen and Douglas House Dress

Prism is a premier group of contemporary embroiderers
and the standard of exhibits is very high.
with innovative materials and techniques
on display throughout the gallery.

Consuelo Simpson
Hidden Histories: Fences and Hedges

There was a lovely atmosphere while I was there,
a hum of enthusiasm and intense concentration.
Ladies peering at details very closely
and making sketches in their project books.

Nithikul Nimkimrat
The White Light

I had the Curator's Guided Tour
with Gina explaining about dissolvable this and mesh that
until my image of embroidery hoops
had vanished into yesterday's news.

Jacqui  Parkinson
In Memory

Afterwards we sat on stripey deckchairs in St James's Park
and told each other about the things that had happened
since we last met. We could have talked all afternoon
but Gina had to be back on duty so it was speed-chat.

Beverly Ayling-Smith

I have met so many talented people through blogging...
jewellers, quilters, knitters and crocheters;
gardeners, cooks, writers and photographers.
It is always a privilege to meet them
but it is unusual to get a chance see their work.

Alice Fox
A Language of  Leaves : Narratives

Here are Gina's masks, portraying the complexities
of human emotion and expression
and the challenges that autistic people
must overcome to decode the people around them
and respond appropriately.

Gina Ferrrari
Mixed Emotions I and II

It was so lovely to see you Gina...
looking forward to next year already!

PS : I apologise for the poor quality photos,
I only had my phone camera with me
and it does not work well at low light levels.