Apologies for the interruption to transmission dear Reader, but I have been enjoying a little break from all things writing over Christmas and New Year. I was in danger of being renamed “Mummy’s on the computer” by Poppy and Primrose (although this would make a change from “Mummy’s in the kitchen”) and felt that it was high time for a little sojourn from all things scribbly.
Settling back into the daily routine has proved shockingly difficult after such a lovely Christmas and mine and Jerry’s first real few days off since the summer hols. I must remember that I’m only supposed to be cooking for 4 and not preparing the gargantuan feasts a la festive period and that I can no longer stay up until an ungodly hour trying to finish my latest good read (Jerry bought me a TON of fabulous books for Christmas) or the end of Mad Men, Season 6. Trickier than I thought it would be…..
This time of year I am torn between desperately wishing that I was a glamourous travel writer or one of those size zero film stars who need to eat starchy carbs and comfort food for January in order to put on weight for a film. Sadly, I must make do with life in a cold damp cottage (more on the damp to come…) with a large cup of tea in one hand and wearing my tightest pair of jeans, which I’m sure are cutting off the circulation to my legs as I write, in order to prevent myself from reaching for another slice of marmalade cake. None of this #DryJanuary or detox nonsense please. I intend to get through these next couple of weeks on a diet of large gins and copious helpings of crumpets with industrial quantities of melted butter. Maybe I ought not to have said that one out loud, dear Reader…?
The year did begin with good intentions – glorious walks in the fields near our dear little country home with Jerry’s latest ingenious trick borrowed from one of our neighbours who bribes his children on long walks with treasure hunts for chocolate coins. I am wondering if we’ll ever be able to go for a walk without throwing chocolate in the hedgerows now….still, Poppy and Primrose seem to have found their new year’s motivation.
It also saw an introduction to hobbies past…….
Before you get too excited, dear Reader, Jerry did not get me a horse for Christmas and now you come to mention it, Father Christmas didn’t drop a piglet down the chimney either. Poppy did increase her collection of plastic horses, all with bizarre names, to at least 30 but no real ponies arrived on the doorstep. No no – the picture is of my new friend Truffles, a trusty riding school steed. Just when I had thought I’d almost finished ticking off my countryside resolutions, I noticed a glaring omission – I hadn’t ticked off No.1 for starters.
- Ride a horse
Grow my own vegetables from seed and dig a vegetable garden from scratch Identify a hawthorn from a hazel and try not to poison the family when selecting edible flowers/plants using my new River Cottage Hedgerow book Learn how to handle a shotgun, shoot a clay, skin a rabbitand go hunting with hawks
- Cycle 5 miles along a river, repair a bicycle puncture and fix the chain (might help to learn how to ride a bicycle FIRST! Yes, I really can’t ride a bicycle…)
Attempt basic DIY skills such as putting up a shelfand changing a plug Learn how to light an AGA and cook on it Build a bonfire Use sewing machine to make a dress(Well, I made a tablecloth, surely that counts?!)
- Go glamping with Poppy and Primrose
Walk MY OWN dog Attend a henkeeping course(skipped the course and ended up with 4 hens instead)
- Make my own cheese (watch this space…)
Brew a pint of homemade beer with Jerry (Jerry’s secret desire is to run his own micro brewery) Meet a real farmer Catch a fish Bake a decent loaf of bread (I am now armed with a very good recipe from dear Mr Blackbird of Blackbird Bread) Knit a tea cosy(I knitted a scarf for Primrose’s teddy – my dear Mamma is still tutting at the dropped stitches in it) Procure a stylish country hat FINALLY move into my own farmhouse complete with Aga, log fires, beams (and prerequisite spiders), HUGE garden and views of open fields.
Riding after a brief (!) pause since my pony club days (it may have been twenty years ago, dear Reader…….afraid I’m having a deliberate bout of dementia on the exact date) was truly fabulous. Who would have thought I would manage to stay in the saddle after all this time and not make a complete idiot of myself? “Just like riding a bike”, the instructor congratulated me. I didn’t like to tell her that that was one of the things on my ‘how-to’ list. My smugness was quickly wiped off my face when it was time to dismount after an hour’s lesson in the pouring rain. Dear Reader, the Thelwell cartoons have nothing on the vision of a very stiff Margot trying to walk to the car and then begging Jerry not to laugh whilst attempting to hoist myself into the passenger seat of the Lanny. Two days and a few hot baths with comforting arnica later, I wondered if perhaps it might be another twenty years before I got in the saddle again!
From a bottom fifty shades of blue to Blue Monday, dear Reader. The lashings of rain which soaked me on my day out riding started coming through our sitting room ceiling AGAIN, just after we’d had it replastered, relined and repainted. A blue Monday indeed. With the rest of January to get through, I suppose, dear Reader, that Margot and Jerry HQ wouldn’t be its usual self without a teensy helping of countryside chaos, would it? Perhaps I should take up camp by the fire until February arrives! Anyone for a crumpet?