Hunger sated!

Well, what else have I been doing? In between painting and cooking I have managed to get into the garden and I have started the autumn clear up. I know it seems early, but with the amount of rain we have had this year, everything has grown like mad. The vegetables are making a determined effort to ripen before the frosty mornings start. I have had some large courgettes that I had missed picking and the runner beans and celery are looking good. The tomatoes are valiantly trying to plumpen up and I haven’t inspected the beetroot lately but there is plenty of top growth. When my knee is feeling more up to it I must harvest the potatoes ( I twisted it mowing the lawn! )

I mentioned cooking earlier, I have had a go at shortbread and another go at scones, using buttermilk this time. I am quite pleased with the results and Hyw certainly likes the shortbread as he ate 4 pieces last night! I have also made Loraine Pascale’s vegetarian lasagne, we are having it tonight so you will have to wait until the next post to see if it was a success!


We have eaten out twice this week, an impromptu meal at the Beer Engine which was delicious, and we decided to try Nessies, in Crediton. Nice surroundings, good service but we had quite a wait for food and my prawn starter was overcooked and the chicken took a lot of cutting although it was tasty enough. We both agreed that the deserts were lovely though, honey and lavender ice cream for Hyw and raspberry pavlova for me. On the whole though, we won’t be rushing back there again.

Montalbano starts again tonight, only 4 episodes, I shall savour every one!

Sean got his GCSE results, straight A*, clever lad.


Busy Times

The week started fine and sunny so I called on Qun to go for a walk in Eggesford forest. We hadn’t got 50 feet along the footpath than we saw two monstrous hounds, jaws slavering, no I exaggerate but we were faced with two large black dogs, bounding towards us. The owner was about a hundred yards off but made no attempt to call them back. They were jumping up all over us, Qun is as frightened as me, and my tee shirt was covered in paw marks. Eventually the owner came but he did not say a word except, ” keep your hands in”. I didn’t need telling. We were quite shaken up by the experience, the owner was as weird as his dogs. I shan’t be going there again in a hurry.

I have been doing quite a bit of painting this week. You will notice a development in my style. Looking back over what I have been doing recently I felt that they were too much like illustration and I wasn’t happy. You can see the paintings if you go to the art pages. Going for lunch now, I’m starving!


Just a taster in case you can’t be bothered to go to the art pages!

Post Olympic Blues

I have been so used to switching on the TV, to never before used channels, that I am quite bereft without the olympics. Was it only 16 days? One becomes, so quickly, an expert on all things sporting, from the life stories, to their training schedule and one instantly knows all the in and outs of the strategies they ought to be applying. Now it is over, I’m secretly relieved, but also a little sad that I won’t be able to pass the time of day any longer with the postman, the man painting the chapel and the girl on the checkout. I’ll have to fall back on the weather which seems after two weeks of relative calm, dare one say sunshine, to have reverted to a pattern of showers, and more showers.

We did not see a great deal of the closing ceremony as Hyw was doing the quiz at the pub. We had thought there would not be many there but in fact it was packed. Everyone seemed to enjoy the evening but Hyw was exhausted by the time it was finished. I didn’t have a particular role but I was allowed to contribute 4 questions in the cookery section and collect the money and do the scores! The closing ceremony was all but over when I got back home and did seem to be a celebration of old pop stars, but perhaps I’ve got that wrong.

Since my last post I have been fasting! Not non-stop, 2 days fasting followed by 5 normal days. I am just half way through my second cycle and if you haven’t guessed why, its because I have been watching Michael Mosely on Horizon. I am giving my body time to recover, hopefully lowering my cholesterol and BP. I may even lose some weight, which would be a bonus. I don’t feel at all hungry, drink water and black tea, plus one black coffee as I get headaches if not, and have a tiny (and I mean tiny) meal. I am also gradually cutting down my meals as I eat far too much! So far, so good, expect more news in the weeks to come.

Strangely enough, I have been baking biscuits, and absolutely delicious they are. I also had a splendid lamb shank and a wonderful pork belly, both the products of Tesco finest. I am tempted to say that I will never cook another shank or belly from scratch again!

I have taken up my paint brushes again and started working in acrylics on a number of canvases. The subject, so far, has been on a theme of blue and white china, in front of windows. I’ve more or less run out of china now so tomorrow, when I’ve taken Hyw to the station ( he’s off to London for a prom concert ) I’m calling in at Tesco to buy some exotic fruits to paint.





Another trip to Bath

Having seen laurie off we were able to do some serious Olympic watching on the television. Mum and I got really interested in the archery, rowing, gymnastics, the cycling and of course the evening where we won 3 gold medals (heptathlon, long jump and 10,000 metres.)

The weather seems to have reverted to being very showery and unsettled although thankfully, in London, it seems to have been ok. We made a trip to Bath on Thursday as mum had not seen Verity for some time. The weather was determined to get us wet but we carried on regardless and visited a Lavender Farm and the American Museum. Afterwards we returned to the city for a delicious lunch and then were drowned out by the rain as we made our way back to Vee’s. She had gone on ahead to deliver a painting to Christine who was calling in before going back to Sheffield. After a change of clothes and a cup of tea, we made a dash for it, got soaked again but had a swift journey home.

The American Museum is well worth a visit and had it been better weather, I would have taken the opportunity to visit the grounds. The quilts were very interesting and not at all how I had imagined them.









Today I took mum down to Cornwall to stay with Laurey for the week so all is quiet in the James household again. We had lunch in the Toad on Friday and lunch at The Red Lion yesterday so I think I had better go on a bit of a diet!

Still catching up!

Laurie came back to Devon with us and stayed through until the weekend when he was due to stay with Matt in London, prior to catching his flight on the Tuesday night. While he was down with us we made one of our trips to The Beer Engine for lunch.





It was lovely to have him to stay and I felt quite tearful when we said goodbye at the station but it wasn’t for long as the next weekend he was back with us. He managed to stay until the Tuesday morning so luckily mum saw him as well. He had a good stay in London at Matt and Mo’s place and managed to see old friends and go to quite a few museums too. It was touch and go as to wether his flight would go or not but eventually he took off for Hong Kong on Tuesday evening, a week later. That wasn’t the end of his journey as he was then stuck in Hong Kong waiting for the typhoon to finish wreaking its havoc in Taiwan, and it did mean he was unable to take the slow train to the south of the island, but I guess he was just pleased to be home at last.


A trip to Bath and all that ensued!

It has been so long since I added a post that I hardly know where to begin. We went to Bath to meet up with Laurie, who was paying a flying visit to Blighty, from Taiwan via Norway. Little were we to know that due to Typhoons, we would be seeing a lot more of Lol! Still, I digress. We stayed in Milsoms Hotel, over the road from Vee as at our great age we can’t bear discomfort. The kids stayed at Vee’s and had met up the night before for sushi and conversation! We all went out to Avoncliff and Freshford on the train but sadly it was too wet to walk along the river so after much deliberation and a few tantrums we had drinks at Avoncliff and took the train back to Freshford for lunch.

Verity prepared a very cheesy supper for us so hopefully Laurie, who is now safely back in Penghu, will have had his fill until the next time he visits. After supper, Hyw and I took the long way back to Milsoms, to walk off our food. We then had endless flights of stairs to contend with as we were on the top floor! Still, it was worth it as I had a very good nights sleep and we weren’t disturbed by the drinkers when the clubs emptied out. We had a super breakfast of eggs Benedict the next morning and then took in the fashion museum while the others went out for their breakfast. We met up after and had coffee in a cafe before returning to Vee’s for lunch. The sun was shining so it was nice to walk through the streets of Bath. All too soon, as they say in holiday brochures, we had to say our farewells but luckily for us, Lol was coming home for a few days, or so we thought!

Here are some pictures, they mostly speak for them self but the steam train is the Orient Express apparently!