Archive for October, 2009

Long overdue update

Hello, my lovelies!

It’s autumn here in the UK, and we’ve got the short days to prove it. It’s 5.30 and full-on dark. Ah well. As my mother-in-law says: there’s no use in fretting about it! It’s been unseasonably warm and that’s been welcome, so I can’t complain. And the rowan trees all over town are putting on a show: graceful clusters of berries ranging in colour from creamy pink to pumpkin orange to russet red.

The allotment has been sorely neglected in the past couple months, but we’ve still been there once a week to harvest rainbow chard and kale, and to check on the progress of the parsnips and Brussels sprouts. The nettles are finally dying back and I think soon we’ll begin some robust clearing of brambles so as to make more room for other gardeners. As much trouble as those prickly brambles and their tenacious roots are, it’s good exercise and it’s so very rewarding to grub in the sweet-smelling dirt and end up with beds ready to be planted.

Halloween is nearly upon us and although the Brits are fairly ambivalent about the whole thing, Francis and I have plans with our friends Tim and Laura for a ghoooulish evening. They’ve invited us over for a themed dinner (I hear tell of a guacamole bog and coffin-shaped brownies) and a sleep-over. It’s just going to be the four of us, but there will be costumes (and photos!) and Tim’s amazing carved pumpkins. The scariest one he’s done so far was a portrait of Sarah Palin. Gah! Anyway, after what I’m sure will be a very fun evening, we’ll all be off to the British Museum on Sunday for a El Día de los Muertos celebration, complete with a Mariachi band.

Francis and I continue to joyfully experiment with food. Ahhh, delicious delicious food, how we love you… Unfortunately our waistbands are showing our devotion, and we will have to reign it in a bit before we balloon into a “rubenesque” couple who are “gravitationally challenged” and have a propensity for “back fat”. That said, my Dutch baby has become a Sunday morning tradition, and Francis has been making various amazing artesian breads on a weekly basis. Tonight’s supper will consist of an invented mashed potato soup made with leftover braised wood pigeon, a cider apple sauce, and bacon. Then, I may make popcorn. Not any ordinary popcorn, though: see here.

The real news, though, is that Francis and I are moving to Portland. I know that this doesn’t come as a surprise to all of you (I know some of you have intuited that this was in the works), but it is official and we are actively looking for jobs, applying for a greencard, and discussing selling the flat with our mortgage brokers. We don’t know when yet; it seems we’ll have to be a bit flexible. If we sell the flat before April, we will have to pay a hefty fee for defaulting on the standing two-year agreement we have with the mortgage company. However, if Francis’s dream job falls into his lap, we’re willing to take the loss so he can finally have a job where his skills come into play. (He’s looking for a website usability role, in case anyone hears anything!)

There will be more on this as things happen, I’ll keep you posted.


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