Thursday, October 11, 2012

A little housekeeping

I have recently been discussing blogging with a friend and with fellow members of my writing group. I realised that they may be calling in here for a visit and that I have neglected Random Distractions for a while and that I ought to rush around with a duster and vacuum cleaner to make the place a little more presentable!  I have made a start on the sidebar by changing the format of the archived posts from cloud to list; I think lists are easier to explore even though clouds look prettier.

So, what has been happening chez Random Distractions recently? Well, like most of the West Country, RAIN! The garden has been a disaster this year as summer simply didn't happen. Many of the shrubs and plants produced an abundance of leaves but no flowers. Last year's bumper crop of apples was not repeated; we had two apples and they fell while I was on holiday! No strawberries or raspberries, no beans, potatoes or tomatoes and my attempt at growing romanesco came to nothing.

The rain has kept us out of the garden and off the beaches. It is hard to believe that we were having such wonderful weather at this time last year.  The guest we had then is joining us again next week; I hope she is bringing her waterproofs. This is what Saunton Sands looked like last week when we had a blustery walk between downpours
Grey sky and greyer sea, lots of sweaters and shivering but the intrepid Brits brave it all.

We had more visitors last week. My very dear friend Elspeth and her husband spent a day with us while they were holidaying in the area. We had not seen each other for many years but made up for that in the few hours we had. After lunch the men went for a walk while Elspeth and I shared news of children and grandchildren, lots of photos and sewing projects. Elspeth is a brilliant quilter and taught me some new skills while we were busy reminiscing. Multitasking is easy for women!

With no garden produce to preserve, I haven't made any jam or chutney. My itchy fingers had to do something so I have been trying a few new recipes. First a Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's St Clement's Squash. This is how mine turned out
We all loved it so much that I have made another batch. I am so glad that I have an electric juicer as ten oranges and ten lemons to be squeezed by hand would be very wearisome.

There was a new (to me) addition to my vegetable box last week:
I thought at first that they were green tomatoes but discovered that they were tomatilloes. There are lots of recipes online but I made a salsa verde with this Riverford recipe which produced two jars of spicy accompaniment for TexMex.


  1. That's a good point about the cloud vs list. Maybe I'll do the same thing. I am all about making it easy for someone to get around my blog. Thanks.

    Sorry about your so-called summer. It reminds me of the PG Wodehouse quote:

    It was one of those perfect days which come 3-5 times in an English summer.
    from Cocktail Time

  2. I changed it, and you are right! It looks better, clearer, easier to read.

    1. It does make more sense, doesn't it, Nan?

      PG Wodehouse summed up this particular summer very well. Now we have a wet autumn to deal with!

  3. Oh how good of you to 'tidy up' M. I haven't managed to do that at all, so blog visitors must take me as they find me. On the subject of rain, here in Mid Devon (and I suspect that North Devon hasn't been very different) it has rained, more or less continuously, since September 2011. If and when I ever move house again, I am going to make a point of studying past weather reports - something that never occurred to me to do before I moved to the South West.

    1. Yes, D, we have had a great deal of rain. Although you usually get more than us, we can compete with you for floods and gloom this year! Like you, I thought we werew moving to the sunny south west.

      I had to abandon the tidy up because I was busy elsewhere; as you can see, I haven't even been back to write a proper post. I will try harder.

  4. "but the intrepid Brits brave it all." That's why I love you Brits! I planted tomatilloes this year for the first time. We had a bumper crop--more than I could handle, actually. I canned some salsa verde, but I must say, yours looks tastier with the bits of red. Now off to Google St. Clement's Squash.

    1. Jodi, the red bits in the salsa verde are chilli pepper. I thought I was using a mild one but it turned out to be quite fiery, my husband and daughter love it but I don't!

      I hope you found the St Clement's squash recipe. I am taking the last batch I made to my daughter's next week for the Halloween party. The children love it.

  5. I haven't been around much either so it's nice to catch up with you again. Our garden was likewise a total disaster this year. We got a reasonable crop of tomatoes from the greenhouse, a lot of blackberries and a few raspberries but no beans, courgettes, beetroot, carrots, squash, greens. All washed away or eaten by slugs. Dreadful year.


I love to read your comments and promise that I will reply as soon as I can leave my garden, sewing room or kitchen!