Archive for March, 2008

Carlo Petrini quote

Came across this in an article on Grist, a quote by Carlo Petrini (founder of Slow Food) which I loved:

A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is an idiot. An environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is, well, sad.

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March 25, 2008 at 9:45 am Leave a comment

Holiday

Just got back from a lovely week in Devon. The whole county seems to be full of farm shops, small towns with thriving local shops, farmer’s markets, pubs serving local food and friendly people in aforementioned shops and pubs who actually have time to talk to you! Oh brave new world, that has such vegetables in it!!

We did lots of walking towards the beginning of the week when the weather was nice, skulked around in tearooms towards the end when the weather was rubbish, the boy drank lots of local beer and I developed a profound taste for elderflower wine, we played a game of Scrabble and got rid of all our letters three times in total, went to the Eden Project where the bf refused to buy me a lemon tree for my birthday (although my birthday is in August, so he may have had a point there….) and had a big Talk about where we wanted to live and what we wanted to do there. (I mean, we’ve already had the Talks about wanting to stay together barring unforeseen circumstances and possibly, at some point in the distant future, have a sustainable number of children and bring them up to tread lightly on the planet; and I’ve had the Rant about my soul shrivelling up and dying if I don’t live nearer some mountains and much further away from so many motorways and shopping centres; but I fear thrashing out an agreement on a ballpark area of the country might be a lengthy process. I want to be nearer my parents, he wants a greater variety of fish than you can find in the North Sea, apparently. Hmm.) We have returned home with enormous quantities of cheese and cider.

We made pizza from scratch tonight. I collected the veg box from the lady down the road (I went and introduced myself to my neighbours and tried to rekindle some community spirit) and we discussed what we wanted to have for supper. The bf suggested being really lazy and having pizza, to which I replied, only semi-seriously, ‘What, take-away or making one?’ And then he found himself kneading dough, and I found myself reducing a tomato sauce, and now pizza has been added to the list of foodstuffs, along with hummus, beer, bread and jam, that we’re now condemned to making (or paying through the nose for) if we want the ‘real’ version, which is all we’re willing to settle for. Oops. I really mustn’t start making pasta or mayonnaise till I’ve quite the day-job.

Off to visit his parents for the next couple of days, but will write something about ‘Sewing for Dummies’ later in the week. Dressmaking course finishes on Tuesday, so I’ll have to actually fix my sewing machine belt (again – I fixed it once already) and develop some degree of autonomy. A couple of people have been asking me for advice about it all (me?! advice?!) so I’ll try to oblige. 😉

And now I’m going to go to bed and read ‘The Transition Handbook’ and think further on what
the bf and I were talking about earlier – investing for the future. He works in pensions, but I was trying to convince him of the merits of my scheme: buying hand tools and donating to the Working Horse Trust or something similar! Having read too much John Seymour, I’ve come to think how lovely it would be to have a pony and trap that could bring you home from the pub at closing time…. I know nothing about horses, however. This is one of my more far-fetched schemes.

March 23, 2008 at 12:02 am 3 comments

Snug and warm and bookless

Curses! We had a lovely sunny interlude and I was going to go and pick up my package from the post office, which I assume is the Transition Towns book, which I am soooo looking forward to reading, but I ended up writing screeds on SSish about how we aren’t, in fact, all doomed that I missed the calm window and now don’t want to go and get it because the wind is getting up again and it’s peeing it down. Bit of a nancy Home Counties storm, compared to what I’m used to, but there’s no point getting wet when I needn’t. Blanket, outside, blanket, outside… what would you choose?!

I was trying to explain to the bf that storms like 1987 happen ALL THE TIME up north and in Scotland, and does he remember the great storm of 1994 (or 1995) in Northumberland when there were cyclones and hailstones that killed livestock? No? Huh? Why’s that then? Oh, yes, it wasn’t anywhere near London, so it didn’t get on the news, and we just got on with it.

Grump, grump, grump.
=)

March 10, 2008 at 11:57 am Leave a comment

Thank you!

Oh, I meant to post this when I actually hit 1,000 visitors, but I was busy being corporate and, well, busy, but I get a tremendous egotistical satisfaction out of watching my visit counter go up, and lots of these recent posts have comments, which is even more exciting.

So thank you, all of you, whoever you are for stopping by and listening to my rantings and ravings. I appreciate it a lot. =)

March 9, 2008 at 2:27 pm 2 comments

Craftiness


I want a storm! Not a cold! My cold cleared up, then came back again the next day in the other side of my head. Weirdness. Now the other eye looks puffy and horrid.

Here is a picture of my finished skirt. I know I have such a weird expression on, but you can see the skirt fine! I was so proud when I finished it and it fitted… Woo! Getting quite into this making clothes thing now… cut out all my bits for the jacket I’m making next and done the interfacing, though not cut out the dress as I need my teacher to help me take in the waist (curse being on the boundary between the two sizes which are in different pattern envelopes… luckily I have a robustly healthy attitude towards my body and rather than complaining about being too curvy for my minimal height, I’ve decided the narrow-minded (no pun intended) fashion industry is at fault… there’s nothing wrong with me, so it’s not my fault I can’t find clothes that fit…). I’ll get some lining tomorrow and cut that out in the evening, and go along to my class ready to sew!

Also starting to knit a cardigan, which looks complicated but is basically just a combination of knitting, purling, yo and k2tog. Bought some needles in the mad-and-extremely-cheap charity shop and, after getting frustrated that the ones I needed were given in metric and between two UK sizes, which was all they had (I see a theme emerging here) and rejecting some 3.25mm ones because they were pointy at both ends, I’ve now noticed I actually needed double-pointed ones. Bah. Hope they’ll still be there tomorrow. There were four, too, so I could actually figure out how knitting in the round works and knit some extremely fine socks…. Bought some lovely alpaca wool from the lady who runs the knitting group who has a market stall in Wokingham now. I can get non-acrylic wool without getting on a train! Hurrah! All I need now is a fabric shop and I’ll never have to leave….

When’s this storm coming, eh? Eh? Blue skies, trees only waving gently? Huh? I want my storm! I spent all morning putting bricks on anything in the garden that was likely to get blown away, and moving all my plants out of harm’s way, but also out of the way of direct sunlight…. Harrumph.

March 9, 2008 at 1:43 pm Leave a comment

Milk!

Woohoo! I’ve just negotiated a doorstep delivery of milk!

It is a bit more expensive than the stuff from Waitrose (54p a pint rather than 38p), but it comes from a local farm and local dairy (details to follow, apparently!), they do non-homogenised semi-skimmed and it comes IN GLASS BOTTLES that they take away and reuse. The deliveries will always be before 6.30, so there won’t be a problem with it sitting out on summer days when we’re both at work. Apparently we can also get other dairy products and fresh juices, which is great; currently the bulk of our supermarket shopping is dairy – milk and yoghurt regularly, cream/creme fraiche occasionally and cheese when we can’t swipe it off the bf’s mum – fruit juice and dry goods (rice, pulses etc). We currently don’t have the cupboard space to do bulk orders for dry goods, although I’d like to in the future, but we only need to shop for those very occasionally, so by getting milk (and possibly other stuff) delivered, I can probably halve the amount of time I spend shopping by not needing to go every week. Hurrah.

And glass bottles! Glass bottles! Is it weird to be so extraordinarily excited by this prospect? We can recycle the plastic ones, but recycling plastic isn’t as good as recycling glass or metal (can only be done once, or maybe twice, and then it goes into landfill anyway, whereas glass or metal can be recycled again and again), and it gets re-used first, and, as we all know, reduce and re-use come before recycle….

I’m sure milk tastes better out of glass bottles, too…

This is the most exciting thing that has happened to me all week, I’m quite clearly a nutter….. =)

March 5, 2008 at 1:08 pm 4 comments

Hubris, nemesis and vile brandy

Well, that’ll teach me.

I was extolling at length the virtues to the immune system of living in a cold house and eating organic (or at least properly grown, i.e. local, fresh, more nutritious and tastier, so I eat more of them) vegetables, and now my nose is red and sore and I can’t breathe through my left nostril. Pride has, on this occasion, indeed come before a fall. Harrumph.

I’m also trying to work after lemon and honey with a generous slug of cheap brandy, which is, er, interesting while typing!

March 4, 2008 at 11:08 pm 1 comment

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The Heritage Crafts Network

Rob Hopkins, Transition Handbook

“Environmentalists have often been guilty of presenting people with a mental image of the world’s least desirable holiday destination – some seedy bed and breakfast near Torquay, with nylon sheets, cold tea and soggy toast – and expecting them to get excited about the prospect of NOT going there. The logic and the psychology are all wrong.”

Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

"Food is that rare moral arena in which the ethical choice is generally the one more likely to make you groan with pleasure."

Carlo Petrini

"A gastronome who is not also an environmentalist is an idiot. An environmentalist who is not also a gastronome is, well, sad."

Sharon Astyk

"I am, of course, firmly opposed to consumerism and corporatism in all its forms, and I believe that we are deeply confused about material needs and wants. Now let me explain how books and yarn are totally different than the material things that other people want ;-)…."

Raj Patel, at Slow Food Nation

"Biofuels, which is the preposterous policy that we should grow food not to eat it but to set it on fire."