Monday 27 September 2010

a country mouse is out to lunch

It's the September weekend here, so Little R and Daddy Mouse are off school and work for Friday and Monday. Every day is a holiday for Countrymouse, of course, according to them. The skies are blue so we head off for a wander round the village. This is "our" chestnut tree, which we visit on every village walk. Behind it is what Little R calls Lion Hill for no reason I can discern. Maybe it's lie-on hill? She does like to lie on it and also for all of us to roll down it. Yes, we are completely under her thumb.

I have my new camera! Thank you everyone who left comments. Two of you suggested the latest Fujifilm Finepix and that's what I went for. I'm really pleased with it. It really is a point and click as it makes all the adjustments automatically. We went for a posh lunch at our local (amazing) restaurant midway through our walk and I did some surreptitious snapping of what we ate. This is a salad of organic Arran beets and leaves with poached egg. The beets were so delicious it was almost like eating a peach.

Then I had roast hake, ratte potatoes, baby gem and mangetout with a brown butter emulsion.
Followed by coffee and petit fours. So calorific but so totally worth it. We called it my birthday lunch, to go with my birthday camera, even though my birthday isn't for another couple of weeks. I can't believe it is a year since I posted about our birthday girls' night on Sauchiehall Street when we were singing Abba songs and eating chocolate cakes at 1am. What is that old saying about if you change nothing you will still be doing next year what you are doing this year? Pithier than that, I'm sure, but it's ringing in my ears nonetheless. I am very happy and I love what I'm doing, but there are definitely changes I'd like to make, along the lines of doing what I love more efficiently and effectively. That's the former civil servant speaking there.

As we waddled further on our walk this far-off fisherman gave me an excuse to use the 5x optical zoom on my new camera. There are salmon and trout in this river and we saw some breaking the surface as we walked along the banks. There's also a heron who lives there, and Little R likes to say hello to it as we go past on the school run. I never see it because it's usually at a stretch of river where the road bends and the bridge narrows so I have to keep my full attention on the oncoming traffic. The pros and cons of country living!

I was lucky enough to win a giveaway prize on one of my favourite blogs, Andamento. Unfortunately I photographed it all as I unwrapped it using my old camera, which was subsequently broken by Little R pressing too hard on the screen with her thumb (trying to hold it tight as silly mummy was instructing her to do). I will take some more pictures of the lovely notebook, post-it notes and pen but there is nothing now to show of the unbelievably delicious tablet other than the extra inch on my hips.

I'm still working away on the Attic 24 Granny Stripe blanket and am thinking of stopping now at a size which would fit a single bed lengthwise rather than keeping going and doing a full length one for a double bed. It's really enormous. That would mean I could be inspired (again) by Andamento and could use the rest of my wool to do the African Flowers pattern she's using for that beautiful blanket. I would limit myself to a cushion though. I'm a bit blanketed out and I'm not getting any younger you know.

Sunday 19 September 2010

a country mouse needs a new camera

No photos at all today because Little R has broken my camera. Can any of you suggest a good replacement? It's my birthday next month so I'm allowed to call it an early birthday present. I can spend up to £100 and maybe a bit more if it is really worth it. I want one that I can pretty much just point and click if such a thing exists. What do you use?
love, countrymouse xx

Sunday 5 September 2010

a country mouse hits the beach

Little R starts full time at school tomorrow. I am going to miss her so much. We went straight from school to Lunderston Bay, our closest bit of sandy beach, one afternoon last week for a picnic and a last burst of paddling before autumn closes in.
On the way back we stopped at the Esplanade for a quick cycle and Little R took this picture of our shadows on the water. All very poignant for me and just an average day full of fun, adventure and ice cream for her. I was feeling very despondent until a friend pointed out to me that I can still go to the beach on my own, with a book, whereupon I brightened up considerably.
We also stopped at Gourock on the way back and visited a wool shop I've been meaning to check out for some time, called Once A Sheep. I was very restrained and only bought some ladybird buttons and an ergonomic crochet hook (the Attic 24 granny stripe is quite RSI-inducing) but was impressed by the lovely yarns and all the gadgety knitting accoutrements. Almost next door was the most amazing vintage clothes shop, called Parma Vintage. It really stopped me in my tracks. It was like the best charity shop you have ever been in, times a hundred, full of print dresses, vanity cases, handbags, hats...Definitely one for a child-free return visit.
Have you any idea why a car would be covered in post-it notes? Nor have I but I had to get a photo of it.
It was my turn to host the craft night this week so I had lots of fun getting out the charity shop embroidered tray cloths and baking chocolate chip cookies and caramel shortcake. Feeling all domestic goddessy, I even copied this month's Country Homes and Interiors suggestion for making a vase from a squash. I am aware that I need to get a life.
This was the first time I've ever made caramel shortcake and it will be the last. The recipe said to mix flour, coconut and melted butter for the base and to "press firmly" when pouring it into the baking tray, so I did. I added the caramel and chocolate with a generous hand to make up for it.
Finally, I'm still avidly watching The Great British Bake Off and still backing Miranda, although the smart money is on the skinny guy who lost ten stones. Really though, I'm lost in admiration for all of them. I wouldn't like to hear Mary's opinion of my efforts.