Monday, 1 July 2019

June Favourites....

Just a couple, as we were away for most of the month.

We had to leave a couple of days earlier than planned due to a problem with the ferry. I met C at work after lunch on a Thursday and we headed to the port. It was only about five in the afternoon when these photos were taken - a very cloudy, overcast day. But we hadn't sailed from Dublin before, and enjoyed the unusual views of the city.

It was a somewhat rough crossing, so the captain was unable to make up for the late departure. This was compounded by the fact that he had a call from the French coastguard asking him to detour and check whether a yacht was in trouble or not. So we were quite late docking in Cherbourg, and had rain for the first half of the drive down. We couldn't afford to stop much, as we needed to get to our campsite before the barrier closed - we just about got the tent up before sunset at about ten o'clock.

I'll be back (soon, I hope) with more pictures. Our first stop was Blaye citadel , a 17th c. fortress overlooking the Gironde estuary. The campsite is located within the ramparts. We'd stayed there for a very quick overnight stop a couple of years ago, and had been looking forward to having more time (and better weather) to enjoy the atmospheric setting.

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Canal Walk

We took a walk along the canal the other evening when the sun came out after a shower.
Lots and lots of yellow wild iris, a mother duck with some little ducklings - and some young people swimming in the lock, it must have been freezing!
When the ducklings came over to the side of the canal where we were, they seemed to find great grazing on the algae growing on the houseboat. I was wondering if you could hear them from the inside.

I spotted these flying pigs - just for you, Lorraine. It's an old, possibly Georgian, office building which is being renovated into shared office spaces with a restaurant and bar. The workmen are still beavering away, so the windows are somewhat dusty. I think this is going to be the bar.

Allium time again - as always, they grow in plantings along the roadside, coming up after the daffodils and tulips have gone.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

May Favourites

and a juvenile robin from last June for my header this month. I've seen plenty of adult robins at the feeders, and we were highly entertained by one who pulled up an exceedingly long worm after a thunderstorm last Monday, and then struggled to get airborne with it. So there must be fledgelings around somewhere, but I haven't seen them yet.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Recipe time and a miscellany

I was looking through one of my books in the quest for something different by way of soup the other day, and thought I'd give this a try. It was very nice indeed, and we'll definitely be having it again.

I think the quantities are a bit off - the description said  serves four, can be served as a hearty meal or an appetiser. Well, I halved it and then made a little bit more because two pak choi was more than half, and we both felt we would have eaten more if it had been there. I did make a vegetable stock to use, which I often don't in "busier" soups. What was in the fridge was celery and carrots, to which I added an onion and a few slices of ginger. It's really a thin broth with a sweet-sour taste and the pak choi cooked in it.

Chinese Cabbage Soup: 

450g/1lb pak choi
600 ml/1 pint vegetable stock
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp dry sherry
1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
1 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp cold water
  • Wash and dry the pak choi. Trim and chop the stems, shred the leaves.
  • Heat the stock in a larg pan. Add the pak choi and cook for 10 - 15 minutes.
  • Mix together the vinegar, sugar, sherry, and soy sauce, and add to the stock along with the sliced chilli.
  • Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Blend the cornflour and water till smooth and add to the soup, stirring well till it thickens.
  • Allow to cook for another five minutes and serve. 

Serves four (see comment above). We had a sourdough roll each with it, and some creme caramel for dessert and it was quite sufficient.
Taken from 1000 Vegetarian Recipes.

And a few miscellaneous photos. Some wildflowers sown under a tree alongside the road, the fountain in the English Market in Cork, and a beer drop.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

April favourites

April was either not a productive month or else I don't have many cards that jump out as me as ones I really love...and I see that in fact one of them was created in March, working ahead of time for a challenge sample.  I stamped, cut and coloured all  ten of the butterflies in the Tim Holtz Flutter set, so they have been appearing on several cards including two here - and I still have four or five lurking on my desk waiting to find a suitable home for.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Happy Easter

The Easter bunny visited us - I always get the Lindt chocolate bunnies and often that's all we have - but as I visited my sister yesterday, they were joined by these sweet little sheep.
(A work colleague said that Lindt bunnies always sound unpalatable to him because in his mind he thinks dust bunnies. We have those too, it has to be confessed. They seem to proliferate in no time!)

This day last year we were enjoying the wonderful sunshine in Paris - below is the Jardins de Luxembourg. It's sunshine and blue skies here too today, but not as hot.

Friday, 19 April 2019


I visited my aunt during the week, and since it was the first of the lovely warm sunny (actually, quite hazy but still a vast improvement) day after some very cold grey days, I took an earlier train and went for a walk along the seafront first. I can't remember what the big tall plants are called - they have a single decorative flowering stalk. Anyway, they had obviously all been severely cut back and I really liked the way the wind over the winter had frayed all the ends.

I've been seeing plenty of bluebells out - which feels early as I think of them more as May flowers.

The first photo, it always amuses me to see now. This is pretty much high tide - and the chances of anyone diving in are slim and remote. But in my childhood days it was a bathing spot even at low tide.


Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Town Fox, Country Fox

I've been having great fun with the Tim Holtz Cityscape dies (as used in the Castles in the Air card last month).

The second card was a rare foray into an inspiration challenge. I used the artwork from the Mary Poppins album in Disney's Legacy Collection. I'm glad we don't have black smoke like that any more, though I could swear I smelled a little smog in the air today.  I substituted my cute little fox for Mary Poppins!

Sunday, 31 March 2019

March favourites...

Here are my favourite cards for March - though I've already shared my two favourite projects, Castles in the Air and the Imagination canvas.

I don't normally include Christmas cards - but this following one was a failed St. Patrick's Day card. I laid on the Brushos and the bead medium with far too heavy a hand, but I thought the green would work with red for a Christmas card, and very judicious and careful positioning of the poinsettia obscured the Irish blessing which had been stamped in the centre.