This was previously published in The Wokingham Paper on 1 May 2015
I had a proud moment when I saw The Wokingham Paper on sale in so many shops last Friday, thank you to everyone who has bought it and enjoyed my column and all the local news and features. I had an even more proud moment when my youngest’s team, Wokingham and Emmbrook Girls U10, won the cup on Saturday. I am the least sporty person and have no idea about the rules of football but I can be heard cheering her and her team on, then getting emotional when they win! I do love May with its Bank Holidays and there is so much going on locally that there’s bound to be something for everyone to see it’s going to be a busy weekend but at least we have one extra day and a shorter week afterwards! I am picking up a box of ingredients from Wellington Farm Shop to prepare a feast for my husband’s birthday and will be trying to memorise a recipe to recreate a tasty feast for him as well as a lemon drizzle cake which is by far my favourite cake ever! I’m also going to be proud and quite possibly emotional on Sunday evening when Home Fires is aired on ITV at 9pm, based on the book Jambusters by my cousin Julie Summers it will be fantastic to see it brought to life and as a schoolfriend’s husband is the Executive Producer I imagine she will be equally proud.
Talking of telly on Sunday, I will also be setting my planner to record The C Word which is on BBC 1 and stars the acting genus and national treasure Sheridan Smith. It is the story of Lisa Lynch who recounted her experience of cancer with engaging candour and published a book based on her popular blog. My youngest has chosen to read The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett for a school project so I imagine we will also be watching that over the Bank Holiday. I don’t watch an awful lot of telly but I do enjoy cwtching up with her and watching films I enjoyed as a child.
In the garden
The weather has certainly got me out there and busy in the garden and I have been enjoying the summer opening hours at the tip (8am to 8pm), I’m yet to find the best time to go but queuing for longer than a few minutes isn’t that bad when I get home and see a cleared space ready to plant something inspired by my great friend Georgie Newbery’s book The Flower Farmer’s Year. I was in Wales again at the weekend for the Glanusk Estate Fayre and NGS Open Gardens event and I have made a note to visit gardens when I see the yellow NGS signs to gain inspiration, hints and tips as well as supporting the work of the NGS. The news in Wales has been dominated by the arson attacks which has angered and infuriated me so much that that I wrote a blog about it and I have made sure that our smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors are working properly.
We have had a disaster in the kitchen, well it’s a disaster for me! I switched the large oven on and it stopped working. Thankfully a friend had hers serviced not so long ago and on her recommendation I called Kevin Harwood of Domestic Appliance Care and Repair who came out to take a look. As the oven is big and cumbersome he sprayed a bit of washing up liquid in front of the legs so that it would move easily without ruining my floor (another helpful hint you will thank me for) and whilst I grimaced at the muck and detritus behind the oven he didn’t flinch. He quickly identified the problem ‘direct short in the terminal block’ and asked if I had smelt smoke. Well, yes but I just assumed it was a neighbouring bonfire. How lucky were we? Kevin said ‘at the first smell of smoke the isolator switch should be switched off, everyone should know where their Isolator switch is for the oven and tell their children’. It got me wondering. My children have now been told.
Food and drink
I popped into Brown Bear Bakery at Holme Grange Craft Village last week and sampled some of their sauces that Michelle had found at the Farm Shop and Deli show. I was bravely saying how much I love spicy food and tried what I can only describe as THE hottest chilli sauce ever, however I did go back a few days later and ordered a bottle of it so I will be trying that our on unsuspecting guests! I’ve also been enjoying Prosecco with a dash of Wiltshire Liqueur’s Blood Orange and can thoroughly recommend that combination! Nice with a bit of cheese, I’m partial to Brie or Goat’s Cheese with Chilli Jam on an Oatcake.
Speaking of guests, they will also enjoy my newly decorated downstairs loo thanks to another local business. I sent a text to 3 plumbers and Dave from Gander Carpentry, Plumbing & Maintenance replied saying yes he could come and quote, would be with me around 130pm. He turned up on time, talked about soft close and dual flush mechanisms, I told him I wanted bog standard (excuse the pun), then he sent a quote and said he could take out the existing loo for me to take to the tip (I’ll be there with garden waste and a loo, look out for me!) and will then be back to fit the new one giving me the chance to decorate with a little bit more space! That’s what I call service!