Saturday 31 December 2016

Cro's Review of 2016.

As everyone will no doubt remember, 2016 began with several well loved 'celebs' leaving us. It seemed as if every other day there was another shocking, and unexpected, departure. This continued throughout the year. I won't go through the names, as I found it rather depressing. But RIP all.

Weather-wise, January, February, and March, were not too bad again. No snow, few frosts, and only a couple of days of -0 C. In fact it was noticeably uneventful.

As such I was able to continue with what one of my regular readers amusingly describes as 'messing with the barn'. The kitchen is now pretty much finished (except for some tiling), and has become a really comfortable and practical space. The 'island' table was recently bought, assembled, and wheels added, to make a breakfast bar and food preparation area. The whole lot has come together very well.

The end of May, and the start of June, brought out a really good crop of Girolles, making up for 2015 when we had none. The freezer is still well stocked.


It was after mid-June that our Summer truly began, then came July, my big birthday party, and the family invasion!


It was chaotic, but we had a great time with all our children, all five grandsons, plus a couple of cousins, present.

As summer progressed, things became rather odd at Haddock's. We had an early flourish of produce, then suddenly everything slowed down and we eventually ended-up with a second flourish much later on in late-September. This disrupted my bottling, but we still have a filled store cupboard. We also have plenty of winter 'greens' etc, so we're not starving.

It should be noted that Summer 2016 was the hottest and driest since 1950, with 'rain' only arriving on September 15th; and even that was minuscule.

In October I bought an old wreck of a caravan to make into a 'den' for the children. It was repainted, stripped of what remained of its contents, and made into a fun Cabanon for the boys for when they come. They haven't seen it yet; I hope they'll approve, we'll know in February.

Wills, Kellogg, and Boo Boo left to over-Winter in Oz on October 16th; much earlier than we'd anticipated. Just before leaving, Boo Boo had his first horse ride. The proof below..... A natural horseman!

Since September it's been gloriously quiet. An irritating but unimportant trespassing niggle has been successfully dealt with, and we are now back to our calm routine.

This was my favourite music video of the year. A really great version of a great song. I'm presuming that your computer is connected to a very good sound system.


About a month ago Wills bought himself a house in Surfer's Paradise (Oz), so now he literally owns homes on opposite sides of the earth. Other than that, I suppose for most of us 2016 will probably be best remembered for Brexit and Trump; let's hope that both trials run smoothly.

We wish you all a bountiful 2017. March will bring us a new grandchild.... with such wonderful family and friends, we are truly blessed.

Cro and Lady Magnon xx

Friday 30 December 2016

Barn work; where does it end?

The original barn staircase wasn't particularly child safe, nor did it have enough design Ooomph, so I recently decided to change it.

We added 'risers' to the metre-wide steps, we've put in a balustrade, and taken out any squeaks caused by the previous metal supports. In doing so we have found space for a tiny but very useful pantry (bottom of stairs on left), and created a small area at the back of the landing for book shelves. It's altogether a much better job.

I have always said that a stairs, or even an exterior flight of steps, should make a major statement. I hold no truck for mean-spirited building in these areas.

At the top of the stairs the wall to the right was a mess; too many competing beams created a mish-mash of wood and plaster, which detracted from the simplicity of the whole design.

It has now been simplified, and is in harmony with the rest of the upstairs. There are still skirting boards to be fixed, but otherwise most is done.

Still plenty of varnishing to be finished-off, but after that I can probably relax for a while (some hope!).

p.s. I've just found this picture of how it was before.


Thursday 29 December 2016

Happy Birthday Lady Magnon. "Suo Gân".

For Lady Magnon's birthday, and for everyone else who watched 'Carols from Kings' on Christmas Eve, here are this year's King's College choristers singing Suo Gan. It really is the most moving song; beautifully sung.

Suo Gan is a Welsh Lullaby from around 1800. If you wish to sing along, here are the words.

Huna blentyn ar fy mynwes
Clyd a chynnes ydyw hon;
Breichiau mam sy'n dynn amdanat,
Cariad mam sy dan fy mron;
Ni chaiff dim amharu'th gyntun,
Ni wna undyn â thi gam;
Huna'n dawel, annwyl blentyn,
Huna'n fwyn ar fron dy fam.

Huna'n dawel, heno, huna,
Huna'n fwyn, y tlws ei lun;
Pam yr wyt yn awr yn gwenu,
Gwenu'n dirion yn dy hun?
Ai angylion fry sy'n gwenu,
Arnat ti yn gwenu'n llon,
Tithau'n gwenu'n ôl dan huno,
Huno'n dawel ar fy mron?

Paid ag ofni, dim ond deilen
Gura, gura ar y ddôr;
Paid ag ofni, ton fach unig
Sua, sua ar lan y môr;
Huna blentyn, nid oes yma
Ddim i roddi iti fraw;
Gwena'n dawel yn fy mynwes
Ar yr engyl gwynion draw

Wednesday 28 December 2016

28th Dec: Monty's Birthday.


Monty would have been 6 today. Unfortunately congenital illness decided otherwise.

I only ever did this one drawing of him, which no longer exists (damp got to it).

I tend his grave, talk about him sometimes, and we still miss him terribly.

He was a beautiful dog; not popular with certain neighbours, but he didn't hold it against them. He was also quite stubborn at times, but was always loving.

RIP Mont'..... Bok says 'Hi'.

Tuesday 27 December 2016

No Words Necessary.


Give a child a dog and some coloured pens, and.....

p.s. Not our dog!

Monday 26 December 2016


All over bar the washing-up.

The Turkey was moist and delicious, the bottle of Margaux perfect, even my strange looking experimental stuffing (middle of picture) was really excellent.

Timings seem to have been OK, quantities well exceeded the necessary, and there are plenty of left-overs for the next few days.

All in all, it went well. We kept Prince Charles's Plum Pudding for another occasion, and didn't even bother with the cheeses. 

Another Christmas, another over indulgence, and another diet to follow.

Next December 25th we'll do it all again, and it will all look exactly the same. Certain things just mustn't change; ever!

Sunday 25 December 2016

Christmas greetings 2016.


A very happy Christmas from Santa Cro, Lady Magnon, Bok and Fred. xx

To get you really in the mood, here are The Beach Boys.

Now, go and put those Sprouts on; they need five hours cooking (at least). Cro xx

Saturday 24 December 2016

Time Machine.

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I've been given the temporary use of a Time Machine, and I've set the dial to 8 am on the morning of December 25th 1952. I'm to be set down in Vicarage Rd, Lingfield, Surrey.

I am now 6 years old again, and it's Christmas morning.

My sister and I have been awake for ages, and can't wait to open our presents. We delve into our pillow cases hanging at the base of our beds. We pull out small presents; chocolates, licorice, pens, and a pair of gloves each.

Breakfast is consumed in haste, then we rush outside into the newly fallen snow to make snowmen.

At around 10.30 am we return to the house to open our 'pukka' presents that are under the big decorated tree in the Drawing Room. I recognise all the baubles from the previous year, and admire our ancient family Fairy. Small cake candles are lit on the tree, and we are in awe as we listen to the carol singing from the radio's BBC Home Service.

I unwrap Meccano, some more rails for my train, a metal trumpet, a scarf from an Aunt, a Rupert annual, plenty of sweets, and a set of pale blue Basildon Bond writing paper and envelopes.

There are bowls of Brazil Nuts, Almonds, and home-grown Hazel Nuts. A few left-over Black Sobranie cigarettes are witness to a recent cocktail party. There is a big sweet-filled Christmas cracker hanging from the ceiling. Everything, everywhere, has a festive look.

Lunch is at 1 pm precisely. The Turkey is huge, and the Plum Pudding is brought to the table with flames leaping to the ceiling. Later we eat pink and white Marshmallows, toasted in front of the Dining Room fire.

We move back to the Drawing Room to listen to The Queen on the radio, but I don't really pay much attention.

We eat Turkey sandwiches for supper; then, exhausted, to bed.

What a day it's been. All our wishes came true (plus some surprises), and another magical Christmas is over.

Mrs Belton will probably be there in the morning to help mother wash, polish, and put away all those special 'once-a-year' things; life is just about as good as it can be.

I really don't want to return to 2016.

Friday 23 December 2016

The Cottage at night.

Twas (almost) the night before Christmas
when all through the house,
not a creature was stirring
not even a mouse.

Both, of course, have their own comfortable beds, but they prefer to sleep where we'd rather they didn't.

We put chairs on the sofas at night, but they find a way around that. Bok loves to sleep on my old threadbare wing-back chair, and Fred sleeps nearby to keep an eye on him.

There's really no point trying to get them to do otherwise; anyway, it's their house as much as it is ours, and I suppose they should sleep wherever they feel the most comfortable.

So, this is the scene chez Cro. There's a dying fire in the hearth, there are feint sounds of animals sleeping, we've just had some delightful friends around for dinner, and Santa's on his way. 

That'll do!

Thursday 22 December 2016

Bûche de Noël.

                                Résultat de recherche d'images pour "yule log"

There are several differing traditions about the annual burning of a Yule Log; this is ours.

Firstly the log must find you; not you find it. It must look up at you and say "take me home". It mustn't be looked for, as such.

The log (large or small) must be pampered, dressed with ribbons, and burned on Christmas Eve. It must burn right through to the last ash; even a tiny un-consumed remaining piece of the log would be seen as unfortunate, so the log should be dry.

This is our log.

A Christmas present in the post.

I've just received a present from my local Gendarmerie. A speeding fine of €90, for doing 2 Kms over the limit in a nearby town, back in September.

I'm very very careful of my speed when driving, so I must have been simply following the speed of all the others; one tends to do that.

Strange that each time I've had a speeding ticket, it's been around Christmas time. One wonders if they're not trying to rake-in as much cash as possible for the Annual Gendarmes' Ball beer fund.

It should be noted that such fines can be paid in various ways, the simplest being to visit the local Tobacconist, and pay it on line. I handed over my €90, and the lovely Sylvie simply pressed a button.

I shall not be going to Jail this Christmas.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

The Cake.

The Cake was declared fit. All the alcohol had been added, a thin coat of marzipan applied to its top, and the Santa perched where only a Santa should be.

Usually she uses the well-tried Guinness Cake recipe, but Lady Magnon made Mary Berry's 'Classic Rich Christmas Cake' this year; with the addition of some chopped Prunes.

It's bottom has been bathed in Armagnac for the past two weeks, and allowed to 'mature'. Ms Berry suggests making the cake anything up to three months in advance. Three months? She obviously doesn't know the Magnon household, it wouldn't last two weeks!

Verdict: Very good. 10/10.

Tuesday 20 December 2016


Yes, we still have ripening Tomatoes in late December.

Stick them somewhere sunny, and they ripen in no time. Lovely.

Monday 19 December 2016

Festive spirit.

What a trooper; whilst Cro was elbow deep in plaster, Lady Magnon was dressing the tree.

We had to hold a draw for who got to be this year's 'fairy', and Golly won. 

Our new 'blinking' tree lights are useless, they spend more time off than on; cheap Chinese rubbish. We'll have to buy some more.

You might spot our this year's new decoration (we buy just one each year); a mini Norwegian jumper.

We're starting our festivities a little earlier than usual this year, and are rather enjoying it. Dinner parties are being planned, and big-day foods are being purchased. 

I think the tree might need a few more baubles; and certainly more lights.

One week to go, and all is well.

Sunday 18 December 2016

The Bock et al.

It's been in a trunk, wrapped in white tissue paper for the past 11 months, but once again it sees the light of day.

I have no idea how old our Bock (Goat) is, but it must be about 50; they are still made much the same.

With several Swedes in the family, you won't be surprised to hear that that is its country of origin.

I believe that the Norse god Thor rode through the skies on a chariot (sleigh?) which was drawn by two goats; why they are made of wheat straw I have no idea. One might logically have associated them with harvest time.

The trunk is now open, and all the old decorations will soon be coming downstairs, ready for the dressing of the tree. I really enjoy unwrapping all the old baubles etc; it gives a very comforting link to the past, and our Bock is a major player. 


It's beginning to look quite festive. Today I shall cut the tree.

Saturday 17 December 2016


Our nights have been quite cool recently; down to -2 C on one occasion. This calls for a good evening fire.

I light our wood-burner at about 4.30 pm each afternoon, plenty of time in advance of when we begin to relax. I fill the interior with wood (right to the top), and fire-up with the help of a good splash of White Spirit. In a matter of 10 minutes or so, the heat really begins to build.

We often put some foil wrapped potatoes in the ash-pan, but recently I've also used the excess heat to cook our whole meal.

Last night for example I made a wine-rich Beef and Duck casserole (don't ask) with Mushrooms and Carrots. some lightly steamed Cavolo Nero, and of course I bunged a couple of spuds under the fire. All cooked perfectly, just with the residual heat of 'Gilbert'; our trusty wood-burner.

Pioneer cooking maybe, but great fun, and I imagine some minuscule financial saving. Why not?

Friday 16 December 2016

Cro as Che.

My very good friend, the artist Simon Fletcher, recently sent me the above photo.

I looked at it, looked at it again, cleaned my glasses, racked my brains, and still couldn't remember a single thing about it.

I asked Simon if he knew where it was taken etc, and he replied that it was at my house in Wales, but I still didn't remember it.

Later I looked again, and I recognised the antique dresser on the left, and the tablecloth that I'd used as a background in an early portrait of Lady Magnon, and my well-loved grey beret, and a small pot by Peter Lau on the table. But even then  I still didn't recognise the room.

When my friend sent me the photo, he entitled it 'Cro as Che'. I think you can see why.

On looking closer at the photo I think it must have been taken at lunch time; I can see a packet of Golden Wonder crisps on the table (below).

Yes, I once was young!

Thursday 15 December 2016

Margaret Rhodes.

                                 Mrs Rhodes (left) who was 91 and less than a year older than the Queen, died on November 25 after a short illness. She was one of the Queen's playmates as a child

The queen's friend, and cousin, Margaret Rhodes died recently, and seeing the above photo reminded me of a strange encounter.

It must have been around 1985, and I'd heard that Her Majesty was coming to Brighton for some matter of state.

I was walking along a deserted back road near my home when I saw the royal car approaching in the distance. I was completely alone in the road, and almost panicked wondering what I should do.

Should I just stop and bow my head as she went by? Should I take out my handkerchief and wave enthusiastically? Or should I look the other way and pretend I hadn't seen her?

As it happened I just stood still, looked amazed, and watched as Her Majesty and her friend Margaret Rhodes both looked at me and SMILED. They must have understood my embarrassment.

Of course I smiled back. The scene was exactly as in the photo; and probably the same car!

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Dying wish.

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I hope I've got the facts right with this story; if I haven't, please forgive me.

Very recently, a gentleman in Tennessee USA heard that a 5 year old boy was very ill in hospital, and that he wanted, above all, to see Santa.

The gentleman contacted the parents, put on his Santa suit, jumped in his car, and drove as quickly as he could to the hospital.

He asked the parents to wait outside in the corridor, then surprised the small boy with a few gifts and a big hug.

The poor little boy then died in his arms; one can only hope that with his wish fulfilled, he died happy.

I'm not ashamed to admit that when I heard this story on the radio recently, Cro's eyes were seriously moist.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Our friends in red.

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So, who will be making your Christmas memorable?

If you live in the south it will be Southern Rail. They will be on strike until 2018 (or longer).

If you intend to send cards or gifts through the post, then The Post office will definitely make your Christmas merry. At their busiest time of year they will possibly be 'sacks down' to ensure your post doesn't arrive until somewhere in 2017.

If you live in Derby, your rubbish will not be collected for around a month, ensuring those wonderful piles of rat infested, rotting, Turkey remains will be littered along their pavements. Other areas might well follow their example.

If you live in London, I wouldn't rely on the Tube running. Those drivers like a quiet and peaceful holiday just like everyone else.

If the Bernard Matthews factory was to go on strike, it would be the cherry on the cake.

If your Christmas will be unaffected by some Trade Union or other, think yourself very very lucky.

Monday 12 December 2016

Like the back of my hand...

I reckon I know the local woods as well as anyone; even better than most. But a few days ago my friend José took me to see the above.

We live right on the cusp of 3 departments (counties). The Dordogne, The Lot, and The Lot et Garonne; the latter being just a couple of hundred metres away from my front door.

Amazingly, this small concrete borne, with a cross on top, represents the highest point in the whole department of The Lot et Garonne, something I was quite shocked to discover as it is just a short leap inside their boundary. It doesn't mention the height, nor is it a nicely fashioned piece of stone. Just a lump of concrete with a X marking the spot.  

I can stand on it, look south, and see the whole department beneath me (if it wasn't for the trees in between).

That same afternoon I came across yet another strange concrete object that I'd never seen before. This time slightly less interesting.

Under this circular concrete cover is some type of pressure valve, which releases air from a very comprehensive system of pipes that deliver water to our local farmers. Although it is just a hundred metres from our house, I had no idea it was there.

One never ceases to discover; and I hope that continues.

Sunday 11 December 2016

JohnD's End of Days.

Certain bloggers, and certain of their blogs, touch us much more than others. This below (entitled 'End of Days') was JohnD's final posting, and all who read it were devastated.

I didn't know John personally, nor did I know much about him, but his comments were always filled with wisdom, and he was without question the sort of person you'd love to have met. He mentions in his final paragraph that his daughter Kat would let us know of his demise but I'm afraid she never did. This is not to blame her; she may not even have known how to do such a thing.

The power of this his final farewell, posted on Dec 4th 2012, is still etched into my memory. Here are his final words.


Hi All! Finally feeling well enough to put up a post even if it is not a pleasant one.

I am definitely unwell - Sarcoidosis effecting both lungs has resulted in complete respiratory collapse, congestive cardiac failure, pneumonia and advanced asthma. Just had 3 weeks in Calvary Hospital, Canberra, and now back home on "Home Oxygen" 24/7. Specialist says to sort out my affairs and make an appt. to see him in 3 months (nice way of giving you a 'time-line'!)

Cannot eat - have lost 15kg (over 2 stone) in 3 weeks - Rhonda and I are making 'Life adjustments with a spirit of inevitable denial - we know what is coming. Grandsons coming down Saturday to see "Pa!" - guess that'll be their last Christmas with "Pa"!

Guess you won't see many more posts on here from me but when up to it I'll try to manage a few words. When the day arrives I'll have my daughter, Kat, put up a final message.

I really don't know what else to say this afternoon - we are going to fight this 'thing' for every hour and day we can claw back from it.

Must go for now, too tired to write more today but will post again. Have arranged for our daughter, Kat, to put up the eventual final post! Pain hurting, must go!

That was it; the end of JohnD. It was posted on the 4th, so he probably died about 4 years ago, this last week. Not forgotten; RIP.

Saturday 10 December 2016

20 years ago.

I apologise in advance for the quality of these photos; they are photos of photos that I've just found at the back of a cupboard.

It was my, and my life-long friend Michael's, 50th, and we decided to go 'all out'.

I bought a whole Lamb, booked 'Jean' the local expert Lamb roaster, and we invited just about everyone we knew. It was to be a feast not to be forgotten.

Jean had instructed us to light the huge fire (a cubic metre of Oak) at mid-day, then just as Michael and I returned from the vineyard (with several hundred litres of wine), the heavens opened in infernal proportions, and we feared that it would be a total wash-out. As it happened it stayed alight, and Jean arrived at about 4 pm to start the actual cooking.

He turned and basted, and at about 8 pm it was declared cooked, the guests had arrived, and the feast began.


Jean commandeered the help of our frightfully aristocratic chum The Count Malvinski (nearest) to carve the beast, then we all settled down to one of the most delicious meals ever served chez nous (honestly).

We were eating Lamb for the next week or so, but no-one complained. People still speak of the feast today, and we have threatened to do it all again one day. Somehow I don't think we will, but there's no harm in dreaming.

Friday 9 December 2016

Bugger 'facts'.

I like journalism to be factual and informative. Not much to ask.

Lady Magnon was given the above newspaper on boarding her return flight from London recently, and before using it as fire-lighting material I had a quick look at the several days old financial pages. I was really quite stunned to see how much inaccurate reporting it contained. I had not previously heard of Victoria Ibitoye, but I suggest she might like to continue Day 2 at whatever Journalism School she attended.

As most already know, George Osborne was not educated at Eton, nor is The Bullingdon Club anything to do with Eton. Osborne attended St Paul's, and the Bullingdon is an Oxford University club.

If Ms Ibitoye's first two paragraphs are anything to go by, I wouldn't bother reading anything by her again. If you know little of a subject it's probably best not to write about it; or maybe just check on Google first.

What do editors do these days; especially Daily Mail editors? Twiddle thumbs I suppose!

Thursday 8 December 2016

The secret life of a parcel.

One has to wonder if the inventors of 'Parcel Tracking' are now doubting its usefulness!

We recently (25th of October) sent a small parcel to Kellogg's mum in SWEDEN.

On the 4th of November we were informed that it had reached its country of destination; IRELAND.

One month later (4th of December) after considerable scratching of heads, the Irish have worked-out that the word 'SWEDEN' is not spelt the same as the word 'IRELAND', and they forwarded it to where it should have gone in the first place. 

We are now very pleased to see that it is finally near to delivery, although we are yet to receive confirmation of it actually having arrived.

I'd love to know what happened to it during its month long sejour in IRELAND. What's the betting that there's a tiny Irish village called SUEDE.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Almost there.

I've been very busy over the past few days, so Lady Magnon has been left to her own devices.

She tends to get festive well ahead of me, and she's been dying to start baking.

OK, they may not win a 'neatness' competition, but they are delicious. She even followed Weaver's advice to make her pastry with Orange juice, which was excellent.

Don't forget to have a wish when you eat your first Mince Pie of the season; those wishes always come true. 

Today, I believe, is her cake day.

p.s. I apologise for not having answered your comments recently. 

Tuesday 6 December 2016

King Juncker I of Europe.

I see that EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker has recently awarded himself an increase in his annual salary of €10,000, and will trouser a Christmas bonus of €5,000. Any job where you can name your own price seems pretty good to me!

As Nigel Farage said "The EU is the opposite of Meritocracy; it's where people get rewarded for failure".

Jean-Claude has recently been instructing EU leaders NOT to let their countrymen have an in/out referendum, because voters will vote LEAVE. That figures!

How he ended-up with his job, I can't imagine!

Monday 5 December 2016

Mona Selfie.

No comment necessary.


Sunday 4 December 2016

Beret Basque Laulhère .

I have been a beret wearer since the age of about 20, my original reasoning being that because of its shape, it was less likely to blow away in strong wind. I was wrong, but persevered.

One of my favourite berets (they're all different) was eaten by Bok, and I was left with just two; my present ratting beret, which is past its sell-by date, and my wider Sunday beret.

A couple of weeks ago I was buying Mouse poison at my local plant, pet, and everything to do with outdoors, shop, when I spotted the above. A genuine wide brimmed Beret Basque.

I think it was priced at a staggering €42; so I screamed inwardly and threw caution to the winds.

It will become my Christmas, Weddings, and Funerals beret; and probably see very little other use.

As they used to say "If you want to get ahead, get a hat". 

Saturday 3 December 2016

Mincemeat 2016.

When the kitchen table is strewn with Suet from England, dried fruits, and exotic spices from across the world, it means only one thing; Mincemeat for Mince Pies.

Lady Magnon has been shopping in London, and on her list were all those essentials for Dec 25th that we can't find here; she even brought back one of Prince Charles's own Plum puddings. 

I honestly think she's at her happiest when she's making either Mincemeat, Mince Pies, or her seasonal Guinness Cake. 

The kitchen smelt wonderful with the combined aromas of spices, citrus and Armagnac. Mince Pies must be my very favourite accompaniment to a winter cup of Lapsang.

December does have its advantages.

Friday 2 December 2016

Speed with Guy Martin

England seems to specialise in breeding daredevils.

Lawrence of Arabia, Donald Campbell, Scott of the Antarctic, Eddie the Eagle, and now Guy Martin; to name but a few.

I really know very little about Guy Martin other than he's a pro' motor bike racer; what I do know, however, is that he's fearless, incomprehensible (he needs subtitles), and totally nuts. Anything that goes very very fast, he'll have a go at.

He has a TV programme called 'Speed with Guy Martin' which is certainly worth watching; if you enjoy such things.

Thursday 1 December 2016

Nature's Bounty.

I was just heading off for Bok's first walk of the day, when I spotted these fabulous twin Parasol Mushrooms growing by the side of the drive.

I think I say every year that these are one of the easiest identifiable mushrooms around; also one of the most delicious.

These particular ones are about 11 inches tall, and as you can see they have a very distinctive ring around the upper part of the stem. Difficult to confuse with any other.

If you are lucky enough to find some, throw away the stems, clean with a damp sponge, tear the caps into quarters, and fry in olive oil with a tiny sprinkling of salt.

A very meaty mushroom; we had them for lunch yesterday, and they were bloody marvellous.

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Bread knife.

If something is serviceable and reasonably attractive, then I think it should be used, regardless of age; unless it's very fragile, or extremely valuable.

Such is the case with my nice old Maple handled, and carved, bread knife. Made by the highly regarded Joseph Rodgers & Sons of Sheffield in around 1920, it still cuts as well as ever, and is a pleasure to use.

OK, a nasty serrated, white plastic handled, stainless steel blade might do the job, but working with a tool that's been in use since George V was on the throne (1910-1936) is a true pleasure. 

I can't recall its history, but it must have cut an awful lot of bread; and hopefully will continue to do so.

p.s. I was watching TV's 'Flog it' recently where someone was selling a sliver tea set. The Teapot was marked JR and had the star and cross mark, used by Rodgers since 1764; well within the age of the Teapot. The expert attributed it to someone completely different. As you might imagine, I shouted expletives at the screen!  

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Cro, in a pickle.

Nearing the end of November means that a certain festive day is less than a month away. So, time to make pickled onions to accompany my Boxing Day cold Turkey.

In two week's time I'll prepare my pickled red cabbage; it requires less time to process, and as with the onions, is essential to accompany most cold meats.

Both my onion and red cabbage recipes are the same. Soak overnight in brine, drain, then cover with spiced red wine vinegar and some sugar. It couldn't be easier.

I should add that my other essential crimbo pickle, pickled walnuts, were prepared two years ago, and are now perfect.

And here are the little beauties. All's left is to bring on the Turkey. 

Monday 28 November 2016

Happy birthday Bok.

He's gone for the Afghan look; mid-life crisis, methinks.

Bok is 6 today, and he just gets better and better with age. Lovely boy.

Special treat (steak) for supper tonight. Happy Birthday my darling! Papa xxx

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