Monday, 31 January 2011

In Which There Are Guests, and Books

Most of this week has involved work, which while necessary, yields little in the way of interesting blog material (especially as this  isn't, and isn't intended to become, a Law blog)

However, as the weekend approached things became more interesting. My mother had booked in to do two, one day patchwork workshops just down the road from me, so she and my dad invited themselves asked whether they could come down for the weekend, and I of course was happy to have them.
I was able to book Friday afternoon off work, which meant that I could get many of the dull weekend chores out of the way before they arrived, and also to take my car into the garage to have 2 new tyres, tyres being one of those things which cars do seem to need on a fairly regular basis.

All of which meant that once they did arrive, I was able to enjoy their company without having to do much housekeeping.

Saturday was a cold, grey day, with intermittant rain, so my dad and I stayed home, annd read the papers and (in my case) chopped up oranges for a new batch of marmalade.

In the evening, I'd invited my dad's cousin, who lives in Bath to come over to join us for dinner, so I wanted to make a 'proper' meal  - I made roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings, and then a lemon meriengue pie for dessert, (and drafted my dad in as chef's assistant to help with potato peeling and the like!)

We had a nice evening of food and conversation - at least, I did, and everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves!

On Sunday my mum was at the second of her two workshops, but it came a beautiful, clear, bright sunny day, so my dad and I decided to go over to Stourhead to go for a walk.

I love Stourhead, and it is always good to see it, and to see it change with the changing seasons. The last time I visited was in October, when the woods were a riot of copper and crimson and gold.

This time, the colours aare much more muted - the beeches and acers are bare, the rhodedendrons and yews have foliage, there is much less variation in colour, although  there are a few trees with vivid red or yellow bark, making them look aalmost as if they are burning.
On the other hand, the naked trees have wonderful skeletons, and there are beginning to be snowdrops under the beeches. We walked up to the obelisk, which is on the South side of the lake- there are views back down to the lake, and  to the huse (which is not open at this time of year) aand then walked  down, and around the lake. There was still frost around where the sun had not yet reached, and patches of ice in the lake, and the smaller ponds, and above it all, a perfect blue sky.

I saw a pair of great crested grebes on the lake, who seemed to be doing very well catching numerous little fish, as well as the usual ducks and geese.

As much as the walk, and seeing the changes to the place, I enjoyed having the time with my dad, on a one-to-one basis, which tends not to happen very often!

Later in the day, we (he & I) ventured up into the loft to retrieve some of the boxes which my sister has been storing there, and which my parents are takng to her, now she has a loft of her own (The boxes were originally in my parents' loft, moved to mine when they moved house, and are now slowy returning to her - althoug I still have 4 or 5 boxes in my loft...)  and also used his cunning little widget to work out where the wires run n my walls, so that I can hang some more pictures without worrying I am about to hammer a nail through an electrical cable, as I understand that that tends to end badly..

Then, my mum got home (with more, partially completed patchwork panels to finish at home) and we had a relaxed evening.

All in all, a most enjoyable weekend. Although it turned out that I had not got the marmalade quite right, as by this morning it was still showing no sign of setting, so once my parents had left, I decaanted it back into the saucepan and tried boiling it a little more, to see whether that will encourage it to set as it ought. It tastes absolutely fine, so it is really an aesthetic issue, but despite that I hope that it will set this time round.

And the books I mentioned?

I was lucky enough to win a copy of Martin Millar's book 'Lonely Werewolf Girl', in French ('Kalix: La loup-garou solitaire') when Martin gave away a couple of copies on his blog, and it just showed up. New books are always good. New books which come free from the author are best of all, and what better way to practice my somewhat rusty French than reading such a good book?

I also just learned that I won 3 SF novels, trasnslated from Japanese, in a draw run by the Science Fiction Fantasy Translation Awards blog!

Aren't I the lucky one :-)


spacedlaw said...

You read that and then we skype and I will quiz you on the story.

Marjorie said...


greenspace said...

yay for winning books! I want to read Lonely Werewolf Girl, but my French is so minimal I'd be better off trying to read it in binary (which I can't read either).
the lake and the woods sound so beautiful.
perhaps you could try pectin for the marmalade?