Tuesday, 29 March 2011


Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Or, in which my brain goes phhhttt. This may be a continuing theme for the next few weeks, as deadline time is approaching and I am in a constant state of nervous exhaustion. This is a Good Thing, because it means I have done something each day. It is good productive nerves rather than bad unproductive ones. But still, it leaves me incapable of speech or thought by this time of day.

I did 1051 words today, which was slightly unexpected. I had slept badly for the last two nights and feared it might be one of those days when I must do a great deal of research. Even though this is work, it does not feel like work because there is no word count by the end of it. At this stage, obsessive counting of words goes with the territory.

I did do one miraculous thing. I finally worked out a way to get salt and pepper squid to be really crispy, something which has eluded me until now. I have managed to get suspicion of crisp, but not the full crunch. (How like a horrid advert that sounds.) The secret is: cornflour, and really, really hot oil, hotter than you think, so hot it is about to burn. It was nearly as good as E&O, with the added advantage that I did not have to look at very, very thin ladies who never eat carbs while I ate it. (For those of you not familiar with West London: E&O is that maddening kind of restaurant where the food is remarkably good, but the clientele is quite annoying, and the staff is a little too conscious that they work in a place considered trendy. It's the kind of joint I long to march into in my gumboots, with actual straw in my hair.)

It was another low, still day, the kind of weather which is neither flesh, fowl, nor good red herring. It was the kind of day when you have to look quite hard for the beauty, as everything seems a little drab and flat. But of course once one focuses in the eyes, there it all is.

The growing things in the garden:






The wider view:




I went down to see if the daffodils on the avenue were showing any signs of life. Not much, yet:


The Pigeon came faithfully with:


The Duchess did not join us for the daffodil hunt, because she was off sniffing for moles. I regard this as a VERY good sign:


This next one may be what the internets call Cute Overload. I call it too much beauty:


See how the Duchess looks so much brighter? I am starting to think the whole vet visit freaked her out a bit, and obviously any stress is not good for someone with a heart condition. She has had a lot of extra care and attention since then, and the love of half the blogosphere from the dear readers, and she seems much happier today. I keep my fingers cautiously crossed.

Coming back to the house, I wondered about the daffodils. I had seen one in flower on Saturday and was frantically excited. It is not so much that I love daffodils; I am not mad for yellow flowers. It is that, along with the oystercatchers, who are careening about over the south meadow, singing as they go, they are the real harbingers of spring. So I was rather disappointed to find that my one daff was clearly an outlier. And then, then, I saw these:



Definitely, definitely spring. Although, having said that, we shall now be snowed in for a week.

Today's hill:


Thank you again for your extraordinary response to Sunday's post. I always worry when I talk about the dogs, thinking it will put people off, especially if they are cat people, but the dogs posts are always the ones that get the biggest postbag. Of course I think the Pigeon and the Duchess are the two most delightful, fascinating creatures known to woman, but I would not necessarily expect anyone else to agree. I can't tell you how much it warms every last cockle of my heart to find how you dear readers respond to them. Although you should not encourage me too much, or it will be all canines, all the time, and you'll never get a good meaty political post ever again. And I know you would consider that a terrible shame.


  1. I normally get to your posts first thing in the morning and I always think the photographs are the ideal start to the day. Today however, I was watching the semi finals (which we won!!!!!) and such a beautiful way to also end the day. Thank you for the photos - specially of the dogs. Such beautiful pets, gracious and majestic and oh so lovable!

  2. Indeedy...how apt about E&O! Portobello is our fave haunt and the ludicrously over-priced cocktails are a major part of the day. Since Eclipse disappeared, this is the salubrious haunt of choice. Electric Brasserie is always mobbed and has THE most obnoxious staff. E&O is tolerable due to the Lotus Fizz and it is people watching extraordinaire. Swishy honeyed manes on lollipop heads or the genteel poor in uniform red corduroys!
    P.S Duchess looks positively tickety-boo!

  3. Mystica - you are so sweet about the dogs. And WELL DONE with the cricket. That is so exciting for you.

    Claudette - Must say, I do occasionally long for a ludicrously over-priced cocktail. :)

  4. Please never doubt what you choose to write about - the lack of pretention & everyday musings are my favorite things! And the beautiful pics are like icing on an already-yummy cake.

    Thank you for sharing your life with us; we are the lucky ones.

  5. OK, I know that was said with a pleasingly ironic smile (the bit about the political posts) and it is also true that I am a cat person, really (though I also love dogs).

    But honestly, dear Tania, I love all your posts - the doggy ones, the political ones, the scenic ones, the ones in which you share recipes (I made your glorious tomato and beetroot soup yesterday) and the one in which you just ponder the meaning of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. So just go for it, I'll be with you all the way, whichever way you want to go.

    Jeepers, re-reading that, it sounds a bit stalker-ish. Hope you don't think so too! I've just had an anaesthetic which probably accounts for any weirdness.

  6. Apropos of a post you made some days ago, yesterday I cooked some of your onion, carrot, beetroot and tomato soup and, five minutes before the end of cooking, having used fresh beets, chopped up all the greens and added them to the mix. I recommend this addition. The soup won raves from our guests.

  7. Anon - What a lovely comment. How very kind you are. Particularly pleased about lack of pretention; I fear pretentiousness like gallstones. :)

    Lillyanne - it's a lovely thing to say. And I am beside myself that you made the soup. Bear in mind it is only just invented out of my head, and so will almost certainly need adjustments. I have been adding chilli this week, for extra va va voom.

    Colby - am really beyond delighted that you not only made the soup, but gave it to guests, AND the guests liked it. The greens idea sounds wonderful. It is a brand new soup, made up out of my head, so will bear all kinds of embellishment. Love that there are now contributions from the dear readers.

  8. I love the photo of the huge tree trunks, the dog and the yellow sky - one of your best. Always like the pictures of the growing plants and the dogs - heartening. Though I'm very sorry to hear one dog is ill - hope she'll get better.

  9. Vivien - SO pleased you liked the picture of the dog and the tree. I was secretly rather proud of that one.

  10. Glorious photo of the 'ships, just beauty incarnate. Spring is here too, and I've been planting seeds today. Now Fig the cat is curled into the shape of a comma next to me, sighing in his sleep. Animals really are love aren't they....ever thinking of you and the Lady's.

  11. Dear Tania, The Duchess looks on fine form.

    Your salt and pepper squid sounds wonderful... xx


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