My brother Andrew visited Queenstown and Kinloch in the South Island of NZ earlier in the month. This picture shows the famous paddle steamer Earnslaw, returning from Walter Peak farm, viewed from his motel balcony.
If yesterday’s activity could be described as slow, today’s was glacial, although it did contain some cooking. Appropriately enough, the main dish of the day was made using the slow cooker, ideal for a Sunday when we come back from our Carlisle choir practice ready for a meal but happy not to have to cook it there and then.
This was another go at a lamb tagine and I moved up a class by adding some saffron tails to the mix, something that I have never used in cooking before. I couldn’t recognise them when it came to eating the stew as I don’t know what they taste like but just knowing that they were there made the whole thing a superior gastronomic experience.
Mrs Tootlepedal had gone to church to sing in the choir while I was cooking and I was still in my dressing gown when Dropscone dropped in. He had gone up to play golf in the Winter Competition. He is an enthusiast and had been rather surprised that gales and rain had discouraged anyone else from coming to play with him. I consoled him with a cup of coffee and scanned in and printed out a picture of him in a rugby team in the 1960s which he had brought round. He looks not too bad nowadays but he definitely looked tall and handsome then.
After he left, I took a look out of the kitchen window for a short while.
Then I retired for a relaxing bath. I emerged in time for lunch and a quick walk round the garden as the rain had stopped.
The marigolds cheered up a gloomy day.
I caught a glimpse of a robin in a bush….
The practice was very good as the musical director worked us hard in preparation for forthcoming concerts. The tenors have got two new recruits who can sing well and the musical director said at one point that he had never heard us sound so good. The rest of the choir broke out in spontaneous applause and we blushed modestly.
There had been a very heavy rainstorm during the practice but by the time we came out, the skies had cleared. Mrs Tootlepedal noticed a small flock of starlings as we drove through Carlisle and suggested a diversion to Gretna on the way to see if there was any sign of the famous starling murmuration yet.
There were a few small groups of starlings but not enough to make a murmuration yet. Nevertheless, we weren’t disappointed as there was possibly the best sunset that we had ever seen to be enjoyed instead. It was a close run thing at one time as to whether I was more delighted by the sunset than I was annoyed that I hadn’t got a camera to hand but on balance, I was just pleased to have seen such a magnificent sight.
The stew turned out fairly well and I rounded off my cooking day by making a dish of baked semolina for our pudding. My friend Sue had kindly brought a new container of sourdough starter to the choir practice for me, as I had carelessly let mine die and I hope to make some sourdough bread soon.
The rather fuzzy flying bird of a grey day is a goldfinch.