Tag Archives: lemons

Bollywood and black skies

Today we had Bollywood dancing, chickens and black storm clouds, just to name a few things. And pom-poms. They are becoming the bane of my life. Julia says we need 20 per wreath and as everyone will want to make a wreath that’s 140 pom-poms. While Julia and some of the team were out measuring climate data (our penultimate session) I was left in charge of the pom-pom squad. I made six. The other three broke the plastic rings several times, failed to achieve pom-pomness in  a number of different ways and, finally, managed to break the only one they actually made.

Yes, they broke a pom-pom. Not the plastic ring, an actual woolly pom-pom.

That sound you can hear is my spirit breaking.

In the afternoon, with a squad of three, Julia managed four pom-poms.


Proper free range chickens

The chickens are looking good – we finally have a distinct farmyard flock – feathered in a variety of blacks (from their Minorca fathers) and with a selection of head feathering from their Polish ancestors. They are looking quite distinctive, though they could probably do with a bit of new blood in the coming year as they are all the offspring of one hen and (possibly) two cockerels.

Weather has been iffy, as you can see from the photos, though it hasn’t broken yet, there are still a few autumnal leaves about and our Albanian taxi driver brought us some lemons picked from his father’s orchard when he visited last week. They always look much nicer than shop lemons, which I suspect are selected for thick skin and travelling qualities.  The Albanian lemons always seem thinner skinned and better-flavoured.

Finally, dancing. The whole group is practising for the dance at the Christmas Party. They are full of determination and have been watching instructional videos to get more moves. You have to admire their perseverance and work ethic. Originally just two of them were going to dance, after doing some belly-dancing at a project they attend on Fridays, but it has now spread so we have five dancers.

What with dancing and our rendition of I’ve got a lovely bunch of Coconuts this is going to be a party to remember, even before we get to the song about the coat of many colours.

As you look at the dance photos hum the tune of Jai Ho.

Now try to get it out of your head.

I think my work here is done…

The Remains of the Day

We’ve just been Rainbowed. It sounds delightful doesn’t it, like strewing rose petals, sipping sherbet or riding to work on a pink unicorn.

OK, maybe not pink, but you get the picture.

In reality it’s more like a whirlwind of activity, a lot of high-pitched squeaking (some of which only bats can hear) and a large number of biscuits.

I’m not good on biscuits, and the recipe was one we’d never tried before because we had to find an egg free recipe (due to allergies) which used the rest of the ingredients we already had. Then, due to the lack of anything suitable for zesting lemons (shared kitchens are like the Bermuda triangle for shared utensils, I always find) I set to and spent half an hour paring the yellow outer skin from lemons and chopping it small. And chopping it smaller…

It all went reasonably well, though 15 out of 16 opted for vanilla flavouring instead of real lemons. I will be making lemonade tomorrow. The girls seemed happy, the leaders seemed happy and even Julia is happy. I just wish I’d remembered that offering a choice of flavours to kids is a bad idea and that you have to tell them to share equally even though you think it is obvious. I know all this, I just wasn’t firing on all cylinders.

Pictures are of my poppy seed and lemon biscuits. They were plain lemon but after using the poppy-shaped cutter I thought, why not use poppy seeds. The first lot were sprinkled on top and rolled in because I only though about them after I’d rolled the dough out. The rest were incorporated in the mix as I squished (yes, it’s a technical biscuit-making term) the dough and rolled it again. That’s why they look different.

So, once again, we have provided a good time for a group and nobody has spotted I don’t know what I’m doing. That’s not a bad way to wrap up the day.


A tale of two taxis

It’s been a tale of two taxis today. My favourite driver, driving for my favourite company came back from Christmas holiday today and brought me some Albanian lemons. He claims they have a soft skin you can eat and a flavour that’s a cross between a lemon and an orange. I will allow Julia to try first just in case this is an elaborate Albanian practical joke.


Albanian Lemons

On the other hand, my unfavourite taxi company has just kept me waiting an hour and ten minutes because the taxi was late. One of our clients likes people to be punctual to the minute and the rest of them (several of whom have other things to do tonight) don’t reckon much to it either.

Me? Well I can’t wash the floor ready for tomorrow’s yoga until everyone has gone, so I’m not too happy either.

It all starts with social service trying to save money, so they take the firm that gives the cheapest quote instead of the one with the most reliable service.

Today, when they eventually arrived, we have had a lecture from the company. It seems it’s our fault because we should ring after they are 10 minutes late instead of waiting patiently for fifteen or twenty.

That, it seems, is what you get when you buy the cheapest service – you get bad customers like me.

Anyway, apart from that, we’ve had a good day. Everyone worked like a proper team, pruning blackcurrants and using the offcuts as cuttings, checking trees and moving the sheep to a field closer in because the accidentally pregnant ones (don’t ask) are close to lambing.

One of them managed to get through the fence within 10 minutes – leading the pursuing staff through three gardens, over a brick wall and through a hedge.

Then the farm apprentice fell through a hole in the barn floor and cut his hand. The hole was, unfortunately,covered with pig manure, but luckily I have air freshener stored next to the First Aid kit.

So there you go, a day of mixed fortunes on the farm, though it has given me a good laugh.

Check out the Book Review page for a review of They Can’t Ration These – a guide to foraging in wartime.