Sunday, 25 October 2009

Looking back...

No picture to go with this post, I'm afraid....that computer is out of reach, and this one has none downloaded! We just got back from a very short trip to the West Country (Devon) which was utterly beautiful in the Autumn sunshine. The blue/green sea stretched before us as we came over one of the many hills in the car, dotted with white-sailed yachts and coloured buoys. The park where we walked Alice was full of enormous and beautiful trees in various shades of orange, gold, red and the largest of all - a towering oak, laying a carpet of acorns at our feet, was still completeley and vividly green.
We were there to spend the sad anniversary of my father in law's death two years ago. It hardly seems possible that it is two years since I last saw his spirited face and heard his kind,warm voice. Death is a sad fact of life and must come to us all, I know. But the finality of it is so very cruel. That's it. The world that once contained that person must go on without them. And of course it does and so do we who remain. But how important it is to really cherish those we love, to remind ourselves not to take their presence for granted for one minute.
I don't want this to be a morbid post....I feel reflective and peaceful rather than sad. A candle burns today in remembrance of dearest Jim. And reminds me to count my blessings and to try to overcome the terrible human tendancy to let hours, days, weeks slip by without letting those we adore know just how very much they are loved. x

Monday, 19 October 2009

Happy Holidays - Part 2

As I said, a lot of our holiday revolved around food...eating, drinking, restaurants, cafes...we love them all. So here are some images from the trip (and some of the reasons for being on that soup diet!)

Firstly... root beer - one of my great loves! They used to sell it in McDonalds when they first opened over here, but now you can only get it over the internet or in the odd speciality shop. So I always order it when I see it on a menu. And this was a really good one - so refreshing and natural. But definitely an acquired taste!

And this was one of the amazing bakery displays at a fantastic restaurant we lunched in one day (State Road in West Tisbury) We DID eat healthy and delicious salads first...but I couldn't resist taking home some samples of the wonderful cakes on display (just for research purposes you understand.....x) They were all gorgeous but my favourite was the Gingerbread Cake made with dark stout...yum.

This wasn't actually my lunch, but I had to take a picture because it looked so perfectly New England-y! And I have it on very good authority that it was as delicious as it looked. This particular lunch was in Portland, an historic coastal town (city?) in Maine. Full of tiny independent shops, great bars and cafes...I was spoilt for choice. Did Christmas shopping and bought Alice a stuffed squeaky lobster from 'Fetch' - just one of the fabulous pet stores we came across. I could have filled a suitcase just with presents for her, but I had to be sensible. She really doesn't need a chunky knit grey wool turtle neck sweater with the Stars & Stripes on the back now does she?! More history, less calories in the next post!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Happy Holidays.....Part One

We arrived home yesterday after an amazing holiday on the USA's beautiful East Coast. Eight days of relaxing, eating (a lot!), reading and being with dear friends. We have so many great memories, so this may span a few posts....

We arrived late evening by tiny 9 seater plane - Paul loved it as he's learning to fly, I was a bit less enthused even though we've done it before...but of course it was fine! The gorgeous city of Boston spread below us....we banked and then over the dark water to land on our lttle island home from home. I sat behind the pilot and saw what he saw...sort of fascinating, wondrous and terrifying all at once! Iwas glad to be on solid ground again if truth be told.

Greeted by golden candlelight, warmth, wine and a party in full swing - perfect! We chatted and ate creamy chowder, pumpkin cheesecake in a gingersnap mouth waters to think of it even now. Then bed, soft soft pillows and a wonderful sleep.

The days really flowed into a peaceful rhythm from there...early mornings, coffee, chat, sometimes a walk in the crisp Autumn air, then a plan for lunch....gorgeous food, wine, conversation....nap or reading then cocktails with friends or dinner plans of some kind and early bed! As you can tell, food was a huge part of the experience. I fear that I have put on at least 10lbs, but I'm scared to stand on the scales!! So this is all I'm eating for a while....homemade minestrone soup, CRAMMED with healthy veggies and just a whisper of parmesan on top (actually in this picture it's more of a shout!) The broadband signal is playing up today, it's taken me 30 minutes to upload this one photograph so I'll try later or tomorrow. It's (sort of) good to be home...but that felt like home too, except for no Alice which would have made it all too perfect!

Check back soon xx

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Last tastes of Summer...

My last few homegrown strawberries, all ready for a little breakfast with some yoghurt on top! They have been amazing this year...sweet, perfectly ripe and so abundant. The blackbirds didn't seem to see them, and Paul doesn't like strawberries (I married a man who doesn't like clever was that?) so I got to eat them all!

And here is one of my very favourite Autumn lunches - an Egremont Russet apple (one of the very few things that's still seasonal in this 'everything-all-the-time' world) and a chunk of strong English cheddar cheese. Perfectly balanced and just enough. So one season ends and another begins...and little Summer delights are replaced by little Autumn ones. Just as it should be....x