It’s a funny thing, blogging, or not blogging. I have been at home sick, struck down by a horrible bug that was stalking the library stacks, waiting for me. My first few days of not blogging (not that they would have been interesting posts- oh, my sinuses hurt! Oh, my head hurts!) were spent thinking- what if people kindly come to visit my blog, and I am not posting? Then I spent a week or so planning out lovely posts, where I could tell you all about the little grey squirrel who scurries along the fence at the end of our garden, as if tightrope walking. I was going to post all about my adventures in Christmas cake making, and about the books I have read, and about soo much.
And then I spent a few days thinking- what if- I post a ‘here I am, back again!’ entry, and no one realises I was gone! And then- then, I thought, what if they have noticed I have gone, and then I post all of these things, well, they will be sat reading this for far too long, and their tea will grow cold.
So I have culled much of what I was going to post. But there are one or two matters requiring my attention, and one or two I am determined to muse upon, so…
Thank you to my two lovely swap partners. I have had a marvellous chocolate swap parcel from lovely Thea in Australia- which quite delighted me. Did you know that as we have Freddo chocolate frogs, they have Caramel Koalas?! There was even chocolate cookie dough scented lip balm and hand cream, a delightful Christmas ornament, and flock covered notecards that I sit and stroke while I decide who to write to with them!
And then, lovely Wendy! A Vintage Book Swap parcel that proves great minds think alike, and that vintage swap parcel pals are just lovely people. Imagine opening presents all done up with tissue, and also a peacock feather. Imagine feeling all poorly and snuffly on your sofa, and having a vintage copy of the Wind in the Willows to read, while sipping hot tea out of a wonderful delicate mug all covered with butterflies, and nibbling on squares of Green and Blacks milk chocolate!
Such bliss, so thank you both, so much.
Onwards- this year I made my Christmas cake to the Good Housekeeping recipe in the issue with Jamie Oliver on the front- only I used cointreau to soak my dried fruits, and I baked it for only two hours. It has never crossed my mind to buy a cake- I love the ritual of seeking out the ingredients, soaking the fruit, wishing on my stir of the mix, and then feeding the cake over the weeks, before finally marzipanning and icing it. I love the squirreled-away-hoarding-good-things-for-the-winter feel that it gives me, as well as the glorious smell of cake that pervades the house. I always make sure I need to go out after I have baked it, so I can come back in again to really appreciate the smell! Oh, and I always listen to Christmas music while I bake it, too. This years favourite- as last years- Santa Baby!
Last night we carved pumpkins- I have a lovely friend who always comes to visit on a Monday night, and so we made our Halloween lanterns a night early. It was quite meditative, sitting and scooping and carving and creating together. She very sweetly bought a bag of walnuts for us from her cousins tree- there are enough in the bag to crack and eat as many as we want, and experiment with some walnut recipes.
Today is the first day of proper cooler, darker autumn so far. And I love it. I walked to work under a heavy grey sky, against which were acidy green trees, and the wind was gusting and blowing golden leaves everywhere. I feel really invigorated by windy days. Tonight it is dark outside already, and I still have an hour and a quarter at work. When I get home, my skin will be all tingly, and I am going to bake a pumpkin with cream and gruyere inside by the light of my jack o lantern.