Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fed up with mud...

You know what I want? What I really, really want?

I want to walk up onto the field without coat/scarf/boots/hat/gloves. I want warm and light and mostly I want Spring.

I didn't think it was infectious but it looks like I've caught Februaryitis - an affliction which seems to be doing the rounds of blogworld. Some days, at this time of year I'm that fed up with mud and gloom that I could - in the words of an old Yorkshire friend - 'writ' bum 'ont wall.'

I am failing to express myself quite as eloquently as bloggers elizabethm and Rachel. All I can think of saying is 'Bleugh, I've had enough of this. Moan. Sigh.'

But hang on...when the sun comes out things look pretty good. It was light this evening at 5.37pm and at 2 minutes per day that means by Sunday, well, it should be light at nearly six o'clock. Well, nearly. But you get my drift.

We have snowdrops, early crocus and the sweetest little cyclamen. There are lambs - as skippy and hoppy as lambs can be.  I'd swear that the birds were sounding a little more optimistic too. Tweet, tweet. I am glad about these things.

In other news:

The Hermans have been baked. Here they wait to go into the oven:

Other Hermans have been given away but I have no news of their fate. We have eaten one of ours and it did taste good - particularly when warm, straight from the oven. The only thing which might have made it better would have been a dollop of Bird's custard....but the Glam Ass is something of a foodie snob and doesn't do custard (or ketchup or instant coffee) so we went without. The other two are in the freezer.

Chester the brave hunting dog has had a worrying couple of days. Firstly he was bullied by the lovely sheep, which gave him a good and unexpected 'seeing-to'. (Admittedly better that the other way round - I must admit that in sheep country such as this it is perhaps the best thing that could happen to him.) She pushed him into the fence and proceeded to head-butt him vigorously while he desperately looked for a means of escape...eventually running to stand behind me. Wuss or what?

As if a large old ewe was not enough he seems threatened by a wood louse. Check it out here, rambling across my dog-hairy kitchen floor:
It is all of 7mm long. The brave hunting dog is perhaps .75m at the shoulder. What is there to scare a dog in such an itsy creature? Is this small creature giving off some primordial signals that the dog's fairly basic brain sees as a threat. Again, and this time after a long period of observing the scuttling creature followed by some cautious back stepping, he comes to stand behind me for protection.

I realise that these little things are crustaceans but can some entymologist out there tell me if there they give off some threatening smell or something which would worry a dog? Something redolent of its dinosaur past perhaps? It's quite amusing to watch his reaction but at the same time rather strange.

The Young Farmers took their panto to Whitchurch last Friday, and by the skin of their teeth pulled off a presentable performance in the drama competition. From my lofty position in the lighting box it all looked pretty good...even when our Dame, Harry, came back on stage after a costume change sans wig and was, when he realised his mistake, pretty and publicly apologetic. But heh! We were amongst friends and he brought the house down - especially when the wig was thrown on from the wings and he jammed it back on his head. We didn't get placed but two of our young people got the awards for best under 18 actors - well deserved too.

The pace of life will hopefully get back to normal...after next Saturday when the group put Jack and the Beanstalk on in the Village Hall.

Not that I shall be sitting around idly....the garden looks as if, given a bit of warmth and wet, it's about ready to burst into life. This year I am determined to keep on top of it.

I wonder.....

Monday, February 06, 2012

In which Herman invades Wales.

Let me introduce Herman - Herman the friendship Cake:
So far not a thing of beauty, more a suppurating mass with a name. Crikey, an anthropomorphic cake.
What a novelty. Except I have been here, Herman-wise, before - in something like like 1983 when even then being the recipient of a Herman was something of a curse. The cake equivalent of chain mail. And we all know what to do with chain letters don't we? We commit them to the bin pronto. But this is not words on paper - this is a bubbling spluttering mix, plopping away in its prescribed 'big bowl' under its 'tea towel'. It's alive and needs to be nurtured. Fed for heaven's sake.

He'll sit on my work top for the next 9 days, presumably getting bigger and bubblier until he's subdivided - 3 portions to give away and one for me to mix up and bake with apple, dried fruit and spices on day 10.

I've politely turned down all recent offers from friends bearing little pots of the gloopy starter but yesterday there was no escape; a kind woman with an tinge of desperation in her eyes pressed forced an ice cream carton full of it into my hands. It looks as if everyone else in Shropshire has erm, had their cake and eaten it too.
Friendship cakes have done the rounds before of course. In the 60s and the 80s (when I remember them) and now, after yet another 20 year gap. Is this a regular cycle - and where do they go in the intervening years?

For me the best news is that Herman and his like have yet to infiltrate the village of Leighton on the other, Welsh side, of the hill. He might be welcome there. Ha! I have put feelers out already and indeed my lovely neighbour has expressed interest in having a portion.

If I don't kill him first.

Edited to add... a little later that same day

Herman had hardly settled his new 'big bowl' on my worktop when, with a baying and barking of the family dogs, a friend arrived a the door with a neatly cling-filmed, gloop-filled basin. Ah, this must be Herman No.2. What's a girl to do but to introduce the two mixes? Frankly it's a bit like putting two lots of strange hens together - better done under cover of darkness when neither realise the other is there until dawn's early light. I expect in the morning Hermans 1 and 2 will be the best of friends and bubbling away harmoniously.  Please form orderly queues if you would like a portion. There will now be PLENTY.