Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Reviews, Preserves & Gymnastics

I have had a couple of reviews published on ezines recently. The first of which is a review of Lateralus by Tool for a Classic Albums section of the e-journal. You can read it here.

The second is a review of a wonderful book called a Handmade Life, please go here to read my review.

I’ve been having so much fun recently, away from my computer and involved instead in much more down-to-earth activities. Mary and I have been cooking in the woods a lot, but now she has gone off to live with Dick Strawbridge and co down in Cornwall for a while.

I’ve been making many jams and jellies, the most delicious of which being the Elderberry and Blackberry jam. Crab apple jelly was so, so yummy but Mr Kite and I went too far beyond the setting point and it has the consistency of Turkish Delight rather than jelly. Works beautifully well in jam tarts though.

The beetroot chutney I made is really good. I wish I had made more. Next plan is for some tomato chutney.

I have also started up gymnastics after a ten year hiatus. It’s incredible how my muscles remember what to do. I just run up to the springboard and then I do a handspring vault just as cleanly as I did when I was 14. When I was last a gymnast I suffered a lot from lack of confidence, and I never liked to do backwards things. I assumed I wasn’t built for gymnastics. Now I’m older and slightly more confident I know I can do these things if I put in the training. I learnt to do a backflick yesterday, which is something I was always much too afraid to try in my however many years of childhood gymnastics. I’ve managed to do front somersaults, handsprings and a dodgy backflick after just two sessions.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

I saw an Osprey just the other day.

I’ve been away from the internet for a short time, and might not be back for a few days or weeks. As I said in my last post; I finished writing the first draft of a novel and figured it would be nice to spend some time doing practical things. I feel like jotting down some interesting things I have seen and done recently.

I saw an Osprey down at a lake a little way from my house, in fact there is a picture of the lake on an earlier post and a mention of spotting a strange large bird that I thought was black, or at least dark. It transpires that the bird was probably an Osprey; and even if it wasn’t, I later saw one for sure. I had the great fortune to go by the lake when some twitters were set up there with their long lenses. I asked them what the bird I might have seen earlier in the month might have been and they directed me to look in the lenses. There it was sitting in a tree, all proud and beautiful. An Osprey. I couldn’t believe it.

Myself and my boyfriend (Mr Kite) made some jam (a batch of strawberry and a batch of raspberry, picked at Ansty PYO). It’s so delicious. We’re going to make some hedgerow jams and jellies tomorrow with the help of our newest fabulous friend, Mary. I love meeting new friends, especially ones who are on my same wavelength. Today we went to the woods near Bath, and Mary and I were working in the outdoor kitchen together, baking a cake in the cob oven and making delicious food for the workers to wolf down. We both would like very much to be homemakers in self-sufficient heaven. Maybe someday we will. Maybe I will post some photos of this sometime.

Cheese fair in Stir on Saturday and then back to the woods for more outdoor cookery on Sunday. Fun times!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

What is your favourite tree?

My all round favourite is probably Ash, for the sheer versatility of it. Ash is a wonderful wood to whittle things from, it’s strong and fairly flexible. The only wood to burn well mature or green is Ash, and it’s a very handsome tree.

My favourite individual tree is the Wyndham Oak in Silton, near where I live. This tree is so old that Sir Hugh Wyndham, who died in 1684, sat under this tree. It’s massive and gnarly and beautiful.

Aesthetically I think white poplar is very stunning. It shimmers and dances in the wind. A whole row of them look so out of this world, like you’ve fallen through a wardrobe and come out the other side.

And you?

I made two batches of shortbread today with the help of my little sister. One made with caster sugar and the other with Dorset honey. This is the consensus: refined sugar is no good for anything. Honey is good for bees and good for me and it tastes damned good in shortbread.

I finished the first draft of the novel I am writing for the same sister who helped me bake shortbread. I feel sad to know that I will no longer be journeying with these few characters I have shaped and learned to respect along the way. At least now I can finally get on with things. Learn to make a basket, whittle a spoon, bake some bread. I’ve been too long sucked into this world of my creation. Time now to immerse myself into a world that created itself.