Saturday, September 12, 2015

From Everlasting to Everlasting

I'm listening to the Dream of Gerontius. It is the perfect mix of melancholy and hope . I'm feeling maudlin with due reason , as my Aged Parent died a good death last night. For the 9 years of this Blog I've often written about my trips to Beverley to visit her , take her to Communion, to Tesco's , to the Hospital , to the bank , and then just to see her. 
This perfect little town, a hours drive across the Wolds from here, has been a welcome and interesting stimulus for putting thoughts to e-paper. I drive  from Filey,through Hunmanby ,Burton Fleming, Kilham, Driffield and Leconfield. I was going to say I know every hedge and pond, but it would be better to say I know every place where the speed cameras catch One. I know that most of the way I have to drive quite slowly as the potholes at the edges of these country roads are lethal, I've already had to have the Volvos suspension( if thats the word) seen to. It could be that I went over the bumps on the allotment road too quickly, but I blame the stretch of road between Kilham and Rudston. On my return journeys from mother when I drove past the site of the Roman Villa on the Kilham to Rudston Road, always stopped and admired the view.  From Driff to Beverley it is the Leconfield road that catches the most speed merchants. I did get some points on my licence once  for going 37 miles an hour. I thought that a bit mean , but it did make me cautious from then on . The 50 mile an hour speed limit from Hutton to Beswick seems so slow. Often I opt to go by train to Beverley. If I went  to Hull to visit my sister and Primark  I always disembarked on the return journey and visited Mother  , had a coffee in CaffeNero , a walk round M and S and then back on the train . Beverley had everything for a daughter visiting a Mother in a Care Home, and was responsible for 2 years of good visits . The ambiance and History of the town always delighted me . (Note to self -keep going back , get to know the town in a new context!)

Whilst Beverley town  has been my balm in difficult days, my allotment remains as my constant and necessary balm for everydays and alldays.

Dave's Everlasting Flower bed
Many times I go from home to water the greenhouse in hot weather, to pick berries in the mellow months, to weed in the verdant ,weed frenzied months and to generally just look around and sit alone all the months . Its my place of SPACE, my retreat , and the place where I tell the time by the passing of the trains from Beverley every 2 hours, realise Ive been gone 2 hours and hurry home hoping Herons is still open .They are used to me with a basket trailing soil and full of assorted flowers and veg which I have to move on to  the counter whilst I find my purse.
My neighbour has been growing Everlasting Flowers,  now called Xerochrysum bracteatum  since they were got at by the taxonomic botanists in 1990 . I still call them Helichrysums , but then I still call the Mint Family, Labiatae instead of Lamiacea. I know what I mean.

My Clary Bed
I sit on my white plastic chair outside the greenhouse  and look out across my plot , Dave's Plot, Bernard's plot and Eddie's plot . I know it looks colourful at the moment as my sister went passed on the train and then told me so. My Clary and David's Everlasting flowers, Bernard's Michaelmas Daisies (just in bud), all our Sunflowers, and most importantly our free seeded Nasturtiums which David and I like, and Brian two plots away hates with a Vengeance.
Its been a good year for the Everlasting Flowers. I remember when Flower Arrangers like me would spend hours wiring them all, for the Dried Flower Arrangements I so loved in the 80s, but now  hate  . I hate them even more since visiting Aged Parent in Care Home . Everywhere one went they would be lurking , the shelf in the Visitors Cloakroom, the side tables in the sitting rooms , and in Mother's room when she first arrived . I caused that particular vase to have an accident .
Now I LOVE the way my allotment neighbour has dealt with them . Having grown them so that without blemish the large flower heads , just open enough to show their symmetry and beauty they are then picked and the heads thoroughly dried .They can make the summer last till the next time summer comes . And last they will in the way that Casa David and Jen are using them . They put them in a Goldfish bowl.

I am growing Kale for the first time ever. My Aged Parent grew it in row after row in Sutton on Hull in our large garden . I used to dread her saying just go and cut some Kale for dinner please Margaret Mary. I did not appreciate the way it was cooked. It would be boiled to death in lots of cold water brought up to the boil , and then a plate would be pressed on it to get the water out. Spouse remembers his mother cooking and straining the water off cabbage in just the same way . Thankfully nowadays we realise that the young Kale leaves  may be quickly stir fried, and it is a cut and come again veg for summer through to next summer  , everlasting till everlasting . M and S it must be said do the most delicious Kale crisps which are deep fried in Cashew Butter, but at £2 a small 30 gm bag they are not going to have my money very often .
As David remembers the sunshine all through the winter , I am going to remember my beloved Mother everytime I pick some Curly Kale .

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Pomodoro and other Red Tomatoes at the seaside

I was over 6 months pregnant when I last went to Rome. I was viewed as an oddity as 44 years ago I never saw any pregnant Italian women . We were staying with Colin's Aunt and uncle who lived just off the Via Cristoforo Colombo. Aunty Kay said that it wasn't usual for Italian women to be out and about the way I was, travelling on the buses and trains and eating out every night in the local restaurants  . I was watching the very pregnant Victoria Coren on Only Connect last night . It reminded me of the near purdah of the Italian women and of the Laura Ashley tents I used to wear when I was enceinte . 
Now ,what I will always remember from La Roma 1974 beside learning to say due Birri for then we still did have the occasional uno, was the wonderful food .  Aunty Kay and Uncle Edgar took us round ruin after ruin, and spouse and I trailed round fountain after fountain ourselves, we did Villa Julia and got blessed by Il Papa on Easter Day in the square before San Pietro. BUT we ate out nearly every day at all the places where the locals and their bambini ate .
For all the years since 1974 I have grown tomatoes , grown them in all the greenhouses of my life, grown them on all the allotments of my life and in all the kitchen window sills of my life .
Except for this year.
The lovely food in all the Roman cafes , trattoria, pizzeria and restaurants , AND in all the Italian cafes , trattoria , pizzeria and restaurants in my UK food journey have all depended heavily on Tomatoes , garlic and herbs. In my much used Italian Vegetarian Cookery book I have made Spinach and Rice pies, Onion Pies, and all sorts of Frittatas , but try as I can , they are never interesting enough without some dish of tomatoes, homemade sauce , salsa, salad or just ketchup from Mr Heinz. My store cupboard groans with tins of Chopped tomatoes, Whole Plum tomatoes and tomato Puree. As hard as I try, I can never grow tomatoes as well as anyone else on the allotments. A friend is always calling by with bags of his , my allotment partner grows them well enough without even trying. Mine were a disaster last year so Ive not grown any at all this year. Two have seeded down by the Asparagus, and are doing really well all on their own .
Now we are not able to do much at the moment and I'm really ready for a break . I know you say well you have been up the Rhine this year,  spouse was not well all the time and I had to act as a Cooks Tour guide to get us to Amsterdam and from Basel on Public transport  so Im ready for just a change of scenery . I'm not grumbling ,  I'm ready for a little break after our busy August of visitors and the increasing emotional strain of visiting my aged parent whose mind is leaving her.
So yesterday we had the small boys for the day as parents were both working and we had to take them with us to Scarborough so that we could go the Building Society .
Five years ago I wrote about another day at the seaside,  This year was so much easier. Small boys still loved the ride on the 120 bus to Scarborough . They never stopped talking all the time, just as 5 years ago, such a novelty for them , to be on a bus!
Lunch was at our favourite Italian in Scarborough Pomodoro . The boys had been rehearsing their orders to Barbara since we left Filey . They did have good practice at our very own Filey Italian we call Bella a few weeks ago when their cousins were staying, but this was sans parents and lunchtime. They were hungry ,not tired after a days romping on the beach , and rather more grown up than they had been a fortnight ago, as they'd just returned from a week in Andalucia .
 I have been waiting for  a Melanzane parmigiana for 2 years.  In fact I've not eaten any Olive Oil for 2 years, but now that my system can take fat again I had been waiting for this Pomodoro Moment . I make this dish frequently , and have perfected the oil free version , but really it is nothing like the real thing when the aubergines have been fried not grilled as in my fat free version .And made by a good Italian chef it bears no resemblance to what is served in the  Italian Chain eateries . Lunch took ages , we were enjoying everything . The cafe was full of locals , tables were chatting across to tables, and everyone was happy. Nothing was left on plates, huge icecreams and meringues and dolce were eaten  by Colin and the boys , and I had my usual Double Expresso . If you are reading this at Filey Surgery my spouse assures me it was a one off and we have Diabetic Icecream in the freezer for his Sunday Birthday  .

Our day out just went on and on . We took the advice of an Artist and Gallery owner at the next table during lunch and went down a few dozen yards to Blands Cliff to see the Murals . I have lived near Scarborough for 25 years and did not realise that these wonderful Murals started in 2001 were even there . The boys loved them , of an age to appreciate , and well used to Galleries and paintings they were fascinated. I thought I was the only person to have dreamt up the idea painting of Hokusai waves with a local landmark in my Teaching days in Bridlington , when Liz Smith  and I were Island hopping to Japan with Year 6 (Flamborough Light being our Fuji), but no -Nothing new under the sun .

Kingston upon Hull is to be the next City of Culture. I hope they get lots of Artists to do murals round Whitefriargate, it could sure do with livening up . I loved the Hackney ones, and the Brighton Ones.

Blands Cliff is very steep, so we planned to go up to the top another way , and walked along past the sands to the Cliff lift , in itself a good 80p worth for small boys working out how it worked. Reuben had not finished with Culture however and said he would take us to a gallery of great paintings near a statue of Queen Victoria. We couldn't work out where he meant, we'd taken him to the Scarborough Art Gallery many times and the Rotunda but no! he said ,it was just at the top of the hill. He meant the Tracy Savage shop, whose prints on Birthday Cards are sold in Filey at the Red Box. Children accompanied only by Adults it said, but it was only to stop touching the pictures , no rudey nudies.

Home now and thinking about a simple day out with small boys on the bus with Pizza for them from a Real Italian , pictures to enjoy and discuss , and the whole day rounded off  watching Episode 11 of  our only purchase, with assurances that they were allowed. The Pick- a- sweet option in Choice News was offered and refused, they just Dr Who'ed in happy silence.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Christian sings Matt Redman as he undergoes revolutionary brain op

Christian sings Matt Redman as he undergoes revolutionary brain op  Not only is this a great story , but the song itself has the most uplifting words, so I have decides to play this every day to give me a positive start to my day .

Friday, September 04, 2015

Hoping it will all go away..

Hoping it will all go away , maybe so, as David Cameron has had to do a u turn in the way he is perceived to be dealing with the humanitarian crises of the Refugees, Asylum seekers and migrant workers trying to enter Dover. Should the title say Hoping they will all go away, go somewhere else? This whole situation is making everyone talk. After Christmas everyone was talking about Je suis Charlie, and now that the dust has settled on this topic we can all look back and re-assess our thoughts and actions at the time.

My husband , not usually talkative before breakfast , thinks that the mood of the people , the vox populi is driving the actions of not only the politicians, crowd pleasers and passengers on the Bayswater Omnibus but  in themselves are the force  force driving the  momentum of the mood, voice and actions of the UK . Everything going on seems to be in direct reaction to the pictures on the Front Pages , on the TV and especially for me on Twitter and Facebook . People are saying the most awful things on Twitter ,negative things and cruel things about other humans. If the Humanitarian crises unfolding at present were Caninitarian, everything , reactions, actions , talk and banter would be so different . 
Its seems to spouse and I that all the crises at the present have never had a parallel in human history before, as never before have the Social Media been such disruptive, positive and  negative driving forces. 
Aged parent talked about the rise of fascism in the 30s, an uncle talked about being one of the first into Belsen , a friend had to deal with  foot  and mouth outbreaks in 2000. None of these happenings had the Benefit, if thats the word of TWITTER, and even now people don't believe that the Holocaust ever happened, and we cant assimilate the Humanitarian Crises of genocide in Africa as being like a Holocaust, the Nigerian girls trafficked now nearly 2 years ago have still  not been found.

Today Louise  sent me a message , which I received as I was sitting up in bed doing my YOU VERSION Bible Reading. She wanted me to share her post on the Parish Facebook Page. I had to read her message , as the message logo was covering my bible reading. She is asking for donations of Teddy Bears for the children of Syrian and other  refugees , for a friend who has  started a collection. 

Now here is the bit you might not want to read , or you might be surprized . I dont like Teddies, I dont like Cuddly Toys, and all though my children were given them by doting aunts , so had enough, I didnt take much notice of Louises Message. BUT I was in the middle of my quiet time , and got a HS prod. Then I started thinking about it . 

I have had 3 children under 4 years old, I have 4 grandchildren  now , and I am a selfish cow. Small children in the Filey , my small grandchildren , the small Teddy Using children of Filey will never understand the horrors going on for Syrian Refugees, and I don't want them to , I want them to enjoy their own childhood and be free from unecessary FEAR. 

Small Children do understand they may give a Teddy to another child who has not got one !