Sunday 22 August 2021

Plodding Along

It's just a little over a week since my last post but it seems so much longer. For various reasons, I've been feeling a bit flat lately. That, along with the down turn in the weather, not spending enough time outdoors, and the strong probability of having low iron levels, means I really need to start taking better care of myself. Easy enough to say, but never quite as straightforward to put into practice. Oh, how I wish I could listen to my own advice at times. 

I spent last weekend in Manchester. After all this time, it felt very strange to be travelling by train again, but it was fine and even better, none of my plans needed to be cancelled or postponed due to any restrictions. Success! Now I'm looking forward to visiting again in October.

Also last week, I baked Chocolate Brownies in celebration of another year around the sun. I spent the day quietly. Lily and I went to Windermere and took a walk up Orrest Head. There's a lovely pathway up through the woods which opens up to a gorgeous view of the lake and the fells beyond. Or, it would have done if the cloud hadn't been so low that day. The rowan berries are turning red now, a clear sign summer is beginning to wane. 

I have, however, been taking things easy over the last few days. Too easy, perhaps, to the point of slothfulness. This is only a brief intermission though, as I have lots planned for the remainder of the holidays.

J. X

Saturday 14 August 2021


I've been enjoying a very relaxed week, and having reached the half-way point in my summer break, a change in the weather has seen me spending more days at home, along with some much needed down time. 

I began the summer without plans and with fewer expectations, other than to enjoy some days out here and there, for Lily to have an opportunity to go swimming again and to maybe climb a fell, or two. I can definitely say that we've already ticked all those boxes, so now anything else is a bonus, although, Lily has asked if we can take a trip on one of the large boats on Windermere before the end of summer. I'm sure that can be arranged :)

Last week, we enjoyed a trip to the sea. It was a little overcast and breezy but we had a lovely walk along the shore, and some very tasty take- away chips for our lunch. 

This one waited very patiently, hoping for a chip.

We've also been swimming at the pool again, and I've booked another session for next week. I'm so relieved Lily has this opportunity, as I've no idea when, or even if, her lessons will re-start.

Mid-week we visited Sizergh Castle. It was a warm sunny morning, so we set off early and took a picnic lunch with us. The gardens are looking beautiful just now, and I especially loved the kitchen garden and the rows of sunflowers which led out to the orchard. 

The following day, again, dawned bright and sunny and, with my overriding desire to make the most of any good weather, we spent a wonderfully carefree morning down at the lake. There was some paddle boarding, there was some swimming, and then there was some hot chocolate - it was a warm day but the water had been chilly!

In between these days out, I've also enjoyed being able to spend some long awaited time with friends once again. 

This week has been much slower paced. We've still enjoyed a few local walks, but I've appreciated spending my days at home. 

We've been reading together, I've been continuing with the decluttering and catching up with household chores, and we've done some baking. Lily made some flapjack, with just a little bit of assistance, and I baked some scones, which were delicious, served fresh from the oven with some homemade raspberry jam.

This week I've sensed a change in the air. I'm trying my best to deny it, but the shortening days are an indication of the changing seasons. Having said that, the blackberries and elderberries here are still a little while from ripening, so perhaps summer will be with us for a while yet. 
I hope so. 

J. X

Friday 6 August 2021


In the past two weeks I have, very generously, been given a total of eleven courgettes. Six huge ones and five little ones. Now, I do like courgettes - I love most vegetables (I know, technically, they are a fruit but I wouldn't put one in a fruit salad) - but even then I knew I would struggle to use them up before they went bad. I realise they can be frozen, but they would ideally need to be blanched first and I really didn't want to faff about with all that, so I needed a plan or, at least, some recipes. 

The Pasta-less lasagne was delicious but I was looking for something which would use up more than just the two courgettes I'd needed for that. So I decided on some chutney, which would be simple to make and also be easy to store, not taking up valuable space in the freezer.  

After much chopping and dicing, it was soon simmering away on the stove and I was feeling quite pleased that I'd manage to use up another two courgettes, until Lily proclaimed that it smelled very much like my 'cleaning stuff'! It was only a short while later I realised, with much relief, that she meant the vinegar solution I use to clean the windows :)  The chutney filled five jars and needs to be kept for at least two weeks before eating, although I did try just a little bit and I can confirm it tastes delicious.

By this time, I had used up four of the courgettes, when Vix left a comment on my previous post suggesting I try a recipe for courgette loaf cake. I was a little apprehensive at first as it contained walnuts, which I've always thought of as evil things. But I stuck to the recipe and I am glad I did, as it was so delicious. I enjoyed it thickly sliced and spread with butter. I even liked the walnuts, so thank you Vix. 

Next, I chose to make some ratatouille. Possibly an obvious recipe, but for one reason or another I had overlooked it. I added onion, peppers, tomatoes and aubergine, and even included a handful of our own runner beans from the garden. Another simple but tasty recipe, and I now have three meals in the freezer.

Determined to use up every single courgette, I used my very last one to make some courgetti. I simply sliced the courgette into fairly thin strips, put the ribbons into a covered bowl and cooked in the microwave for just two minutes. There was no need to add any extra water, as the courgettes already contain enough. Much as I enjoyed all the recipes this was by far the easiest and quickest of them all. And by using courgettes instead of pasta it left me even more room for garlic bread :) 

J. X