Friday, 28 November 2008

Christmas Shopping & Email

My life seems to have turned around in the most interesting way since my introduction to the world of the 'web'. I had no idea that there were so many interesting things to be found, l really enjoy Wikipedia, fascinating reading material, keeps me mentally stimulated in between the monthly visits from the county library bus. I have been able to find out all about Great Uncle William, who lost his life in the Veld after an encounter with a large snake, apparently he was still warm when his servant cut open the creature, but unfortunately he had expired due to asphixiation, so the visiting Doctor wrote in 1889. He lies buried on a remote corner of land underneath a banyan tree, home to a great colony of baboons which, whilst he was alive, were the bane of his life, forever steeling into his house and making of with his whisky, specially imported from Jura.

Now aren't emails interesting? I have received correspondence from several banks informing me of monies that has been paid into my account by persons completely unknown to me, but as l don't have a bank account, l think they must have got their information wrong. I have tried to contact them by both telephone and email, but have not been able to either speak to anyone or get a reply. Very strange considering the Post Office is always so very helpful.

Some of my emails have helped with my Christmas shopping; normally l travel up to town on the annual village Christmas shopping trip, but this year l have managed to find a few items by Internet shopping. It does seem so much easier than fighting through the crowds of elderly ladies in order to find the appropriate article for the relevant relation. The only difficulty with the Internet shops was not having a credit or debit card. Fortunately Morris-from-the-bottom-of-the-lane has proved my saviour once again by providing me with a card, thus allowing me to shop whilst comfortably seated at the kitchen table. The slight inconvenience has been postage and dispatch. Morris has advised me not to use either my address or his for delivery but another. l do find that a little bit unusual but he assures me this is quite normal procedure for Internet purchases, allowing the costs to be kept down by only delivering to only one establishment.

Yesterday l bought some rather nice liver from Mr Haddock, the mobile butcher and today's lunch will include one of my favourite meals, faggots.


1 1/2 lbs pigs liver
6oz bacon
2 onions
7oz white breadcrumbs
3oz shredded suet
2 tsp sage
1 tsp basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mince the liver, bacon & onions. place all the ingredients together in a bowl & mix well. Form the mixture into 8 balls and roll in flour. pack closely together in a baking tin. Bake in the center of the oven at 180'C or bottom shelf of AGA for 30 minutes. When cooked, divide with a knife and serve with a rich brown gravy and pease pudding.

Friday, 21 November 2008

So much to catch up on

Morris-from-the-bottom-of-the-lane, was a kindly soul and did collect my newspapers the other day, but today l had to brave the weather plus the old fools, and walk down to the post office myself. Boy accompanied me, only being distracted by the odd rabbit or two in its last throws of life, dying miserably from myxomatosis. l have to say that this is why l always take with me on my hedgerow ramblings my father's good old heavyweight stick to end the poor animal's suffering, a good thwack saves the creature from an unpleasant death. There is such a thing as sporting chance and myxi removes that option.

It certainly seems that l have missed a great deal of comings and goings in the village since my accident. The drama group manged to cope without me, Mrs De La Pole kindly offered to do a tasteful dance with her pet python, which apparently is now past its best being of a great age , according to Mrs Smith-Dowson, a bit of a disappointment to her fans who can remember the dance being staged in the West End during the late 1940's. The manor's restoration is continuing at a fast rate of knots, Mrs Eastern informs me that the new owners are hoping to be 'in' in time for the Christmas holiday, certainly, the villagers lives have been interrupted by the constant whirl of helicopters that seem to be forever landing and taking off, Bertha, the Manor's former cook has heard that the new owners are looking to establish a polo club as their son is a keen player. Well that means more traffic, more paparazzi, it has been bad enough since l have returned home, the press keep knocking on my door asking for the exclusive rights to my encounter with poachers. Now that is daft, l was only protecting my own, so to speak, nothing wrong with shooting or hunting in the right circumstances and conditions but a definite No to snares, traps, arch lights and dogs.

Next month's village produce sale has been featured in a very upmarket magazine, The Pratler, my niece, Lettuce, who is office tea lady there, has informed me that a society photographer is coming to takes some snaps. I certainly have a good stock of preserves all ready to take and the evergreen foliage, protected from the birds under swaths of old net curtain, look in excellent condition. I wonder if l ought to make some potted rabbit as a little something for festive fayre, certainly the skins do make rather cosy slippers.

Potted Rabbit
1 jointed rabbit

2 oz butter
1 lump of sugar
1 onion
12 cloves
12 allspice
6 peppercorns
ground nutmeg to taste
8 oz butter
1 dessertspoon Worcestershire sauce

Soak the rabbit joints in salted water for two hours and dry well. Put them in a casserole with a tightly fitting lid and add 2 oz butter, sugar, the onion stuck with clioves, allspice, peppercorns & a good sprinnkling of nutmeg. Put the lid on and cook at 150@C or bottom of AGA for 3 hours. Cool and remove the meat from the bones. Put the meat through the mincer twice and mix with the juices form the casserole, most of the 8 oz butter and Worcestershire sauce. Put into small pots & cover with a little extra butter.

Serves 4 -6

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


It's so nice to be home isn't it? For the past few weeks l have spent time in my local cottage hospital and convalescence home in Much Broomfleet. My wounds seem to be heeling nicely now despite the fact that the nursing staff would try to fill me up with a variety of brightly coloured pills that were supposed to do me good! Bah! A touch of good old Solomon seal root, is just the ticket for bruises and swelling. Heaven knows what l have missed whilst l have been away, but it is nice to sit here in my deep. comfy chair with Dog at my feet, toasting my toes in front of the fire with a large steaming mug of delicious milk posset on the adjacent table.

It all happened about a month ago now, l heard a car coming down my lane, which as you know is a dead end, sometime in the early hours of a Monday. Being a good neighbourly sort, l carefully peered around the somewhat faded Sanderson peony curtains to see who on earth was creating such an ungodly din. Couldn't see a damn thing. Now, l am not afraid of the dark, coming from my time spent hiding in ditches some 60 odd years ago in France. Be prepared is my motto! Throwing on my lived-in mackintosh, gumboots and armed with my late husband's well oiled 12 bore, l purposely marched out into the night. By now, the field opposite was a mass of blazing lights whilst the sound of braying hounds unsettled Boy. 'Blurdey poachers', l muttered under my breath, those horrid little men from the towns, armed with powerful lights, riffles and dogs coming here, to my village killing everything within the light. Making sure both barrels were loaded, and l had spare cartridges in my pocket, l strode out across the lane, after making a mental note of the landrover's number plates, and letting down the 2 off side tyres, to prevent escape. Belying my age, l leaped over the gate and with my headscarf securely knotted under my chin prepared to meet the foe face to face. Carefully l raised my gun to shoulder level and released both barrels over the heads of the poachers, just enough to warn them that l meant business. Lights quickly all went out, dogs silenced, all went black.

To my embarrassment, next morning l woke up in a hospital bed with my right shoulder broken in 2 places. The doctor had asked me if l remembered anything of the previous night's events, to which l could only shake my head in bewilderment, had l perhaps fractured my scapula by not preparing for the gun's recoil? No. I had been knocked to the ground by a fully grown stag as it bounded across the field to escape the poachers bullets. Oh well, at least it escaped to rut another day, so to speak.

Do you know, l am really dreading walking up to the village shop in the morning to fetch my papers, perhaps young Morris-from-then-end-of-the-lane will collect them for me tomorrow as l really can't face those gossips fawning all over me when all l did was miss the target.

As a footnote, the police were unable to apprehend the poachers, despite the fact that the criminals vehicle was 'out of action' as they were attending a beetle drive 10 miles away.

Milk Possit

1 pint whole milk
3 fl oz white wine or sherry or to taste
a squeeze of lemon
a little sugar
pinch of ginger
pinch of nutmeg

heat the milk until it froths add the wine or sherry, strain and add lemon juice and sugar to taste, stir in ginger and nutmeg, serve hot.