Sunday, 14 August 2016


I'm not much of a sporty type, but this week I started to watch bits of the Smilycop, and then I started watching bigger bits. Because of the time difference between here and Rio, much of the action in the Polymics takes place when British lady bookstoryists are snuggled up asleep with their teddy bears, and it seemed that every morning I woke up to the radio announcer telling me that Britain had won something. This all got very interesting. And I do like watching the splishyjumps and the gymnelasticals, so I sort of got into the Limpycos.

This week there has been a lot of rideybikes and floatyboaties, which are both things Brits tend to do well at, so we've seen plenty of flagwavy National Anthem. Daley and Goodfellow did very well with their splishyjumps. You wouldn't get me standing on the edge of a thin wobbly board like that, I get scared just watching, especially over a pool full of crocodiles. Well, it could be full of crocodiles as far as anyone could see. Our male gymnasts have just won some things, but I'm not sure if it was climbing on things or jumping off things, or just jumping. We won silver at the Grubby Sevens and lost to Fiji, who are jolly nice people to lose to. A farmer chappie won a medal in Shooting At Things, then went home to get the harvest in. The Rockety-Scot is struggling in the tennis just now, but it's the final so he's sure to get a medal. Charlotte and her Dancing Horse will be on tomorrow. Between them they have all of six feet, and they still manage to get them in the right order. And that's just the Brits. Rio is hooching with brilliance!

Friday, 5 August 2016


Double Book launch today. Have just waved goodbye to The Hobbits, who have stayed for a few days. Sunshines and Cahooties arriving tonight (woohoo!) Various members of the family crocked. Daughter's car isn't too good, either. I have yet to buy drinks and nibbles for the launch, or prepare A-boards. Last night's washing is still in the machine. I'm greatly looking forward to cutting the grass. The garden is so wild it's ready to run away and hide up its own tree.

My brother-in-law has a T-shirt for occasions like this. It says - 'I can only please one person a day. This isn't your day. (Tomorrow isn't looking too good, either.)' However, we multi-taskers know that this is not the answer. Neither is 'I'm out' 'Beware of the Garden Gnome' or 'more coffee'. The question is the one Claire asks, and has taught me to ask, and it works. It really works. The question is -

'who needs me to love them today?'

Monday, 1 August 2016


I happened to mention to somebody - I think it was Mother Huggen - that 1 August used to be celebrated as Lammas, or 'Loaf Mass'. It was a thanksgiving/celebration of the first bread made from the summer wheat harvest. In no time at all this story was all around the island, and you know how they like any excuse for a festival. Today, while Yorkshire celebrates Yorkshire Day and a few English villages nod in the direction of Lammas, Mistmantle animals have been setting up tables around the Tower and sharing bread.

If the otters made it, it probably has seaweed in it. This tastes better than it sounds, and because it was made by otters it may have a faint taste of fish. Hedgehogs - to be honest it's not always wise to ask what they put in it, but it tastes fantastic, and Needle and her family make the most delicious bread with berries in. Moles eat pretty well anything, and mole made bread is fine if you don't mind the earthy taste. The squirrels are best, as squirrel cooks have a real understanding of nuts and grains. Some of you will remember Urchin taking walnut bread to Crispin. To those two, walnut bread is the absolute best, but Sepia prefers hazelnut. Crackle puts red berries in with it. 'Bread' includes oatcakes, flatbreads, and all those other breads that don't go in the oven.

Did you ever make a 'damper'? We used to do it when I was a Guide. You make a kind of yeast-free bread dough, (mostly flour and water, I think, but I can't remember), wrap it round a stick, and cook it over the campfire. A damper, if it doesn't drop off into the fire, is best with butter and jam, if you have any, otherwise it just tastes of smoky stick. There is nothing to recommend it except that you made it yourself. And you have to be careful what kind of stick it is. One that won't poison you or catch fire is a good idea. Cold dampers are revolting, hot ones are edible, but it's one of those things where cooking it is more fun than eating it. That's why Fingal is supervising a lot of eager little animals, already stuffed to the gills with with Mistmantle bread, sitting round a campfire trying not to drop dampers into it.