Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Consolidation Week

Last week on the Open University timetable was the Very Important Consolidation Week, a time for review and reflection on ones progress so far. What have I learned so far through this module? Actually it is all a bit of a weary blur so instead I  treated myself to a break from Solow, Ikenberry, Lenin, Gramsci et al.

Instead I consolidated myself with some slow time, time to ease oneself back into a frame of mind that is ready to take on the next 8000 words.
So we:
Walked and foraged,
in the beautiful tranquil Beaulieu Woods. Can you see all the wild garlic from my picture? Perhaps not but it was lush and bountiful so inspired by this article in Landscape magazine,

and gathered a handful and made a delicious chicken and wild garlic pie from the leftovers from our Sunday roast. Alas no pictures, we were far too hungry to wait but I am definitely going to try some more recipes with this fragrant and delicious little plant. (Of-course please act responsibly when gathering food from the country-side. Be certain that what you are picking is edible, you have permission to be on the land and that you leave nothing but a faint footprint.)

I have been crocheting and watching Shetland.
I am so glad that I began this project, it was inspired by this post by the lovely Kirsten and so soothing to work. I bought some gorgeous pure welsh wool from The Wool Croft in Abergavenny and it has been a revelation to use, so soft and fine, all my acrylics now feel too scratchy and scritchity. The Wool Croft is a gem of a shop nestling on the main street of the gorgeous market town of Abergavenny, I wish I had longer to linger and really appreciate all their sumptuous selection of yarn.

I was pointed to the excellent Ann Cleaves, Shetland series by Dovegreyreader via the equally enjoyable Lewis Man trilogy by Peter May which I devoured in a weekend, holding my kindle while I absentmindedly tackled various tasks completely transported to Shetland. The Jimmy Perez series, I am borrowing from our local library as they are returned. (For some reason in reverse order!) Is anyone watching the BBC adaptation of the Cleaves crime novels? They are very enjoyable, just the thing to settle down with by the fire and chill out with. The cinematography of the wild remote and ultimately mysterious island is beautiful but I am a little disappointed with the changes to the original texts.

Finally, planning and reading:
It has been so much fun planning our allotment planting, last Sunday we were there for hours, clearing, weeding and Mr S had so much fun digging, he snapped the fork! The kids picked out some bright flower bulbs from the garden centre, multi-coloured freesia for O and sunny yellow begonia's for S. In vain, I tried to steer them towards the chocolate and ruby dahlias which I have fallen in love with particularly after reading the completely marvellous 'Virginia Woolf's' Garden by Caroline Zoob.

This book is an absolute joy, a treasure for your favourite gardener or book-worm. It is a elegant combination of biography and garden design inspiration. Caroline Zoob's affectionate portrait of the Woolf's marriage and the construction of the garden is perfectly complemented by Caroline Arber's stunning contemporary photography, archive pictures and Zoob's delicate embroidered planting schemes. To sit in a quiet sunny room with a steaming cup of coffee and dip in and out of these pages has been one of the highlights of the week. I do wish you some great highlights of your own for the forth-coming week which takes us yet further into spring!

Wild Garlic and Chicken Pie
Caramelise some onions and garlic.
Add left-over free-range chicken from Sunday roast.
Add peas and chopped wild garlic.
Cover in B├ęchamel sauce.
Season to taste.
Pop into a piecrust made from shop bought frozen puff-pastry.
Cook until golden brown and bubbling.


  1. Hi There I love the Shetland series and the books as I think I may have told you already. I am also a big fan of Dovegreyreader

    1. Hi Lisa, have you entered the competition to win one of the Helen Rapport books on the dovegreyreader blog today? Talk soon. x

  2. What a delightful post, thank you.
    jean x

    1. Thanks Jean! I loved your post about Modigliani, I couldn't comment at the time as the phone won't let me.

  3. Oh I must get that book, we used to live near charleston where Vanessa Bell used to live she was virginias sister...ever since then i have been fascinated by these two women and their unusual lives...Thank you for the recommendation off to find the book now....beautiful images
    Daisy x

    1. Oh it is gorgeous Daisy, highly recommended!