Because the lovely Mr S will be in hospital on his birthday next week (getting the best ever birthday present of a new knee) we have celebrated his birthday today with a croissant breakfast (family tradition), cards, presents and phone calls from family and a special dinner this evening. We first met Confit Duck with Lentils in a tiny restaurant in Tournon D’Agenais where we had rented a gite. It has become our go-to meal for celebrations.
The confit duck comes in a tin and just needs reheating and today I added a marmalade sauce and served it with Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Lentils, a Raymond Blanc recipe that I found in this week’s Radio Times. Delicious!
Our dessert is our favourite, Lime and Ginger Cheesecake, recipe to be found here.
I’ve set up my glass workshop again now that we won’t be needing the dining room for a while and I’ve cut a couple of pieces today ready for Valentine’s Day.
Blue glass from the Victorian window
Using off-cut glass
There are periwinkles in flower in the front garden.
Today’s poem is “If This Is A Man” by Primo Levi on this Holocaust Memorial Day.
“The following words were written by Primo Levi, a Jew who suffered, during World War II, in the Nazi work camp known as Monowitz, aka Auschwitz III.
“If this is a man”.
You who live safe In your warm houses, You who find, returning in the evening, Hot food and friendly faces: Consider if this is a man Who works in the mud Who does not know peace Who fights for a scrap of bread Who dies because of a yes or a no. Consider if this is a woman, Without hair and without name With no more strength to remember, Her eyes empty and her womb cold Like a frog in winter. Meditate that this came about: I commend these words to you. Carve them in your hearts At home, in the street, Going to bed, rising; Repeat them to your children, Or may your house fall apart, May illness impede you, May your children turn their faces from you.
These beautiful things are known as “Ghost Apples” They are created when freezing rain coats rotting apples, and when the mushy rotten apple falls out, it leaves a shell of ice. I don’t know who to credit with the photos.
Lots of hope springing in the garden. Here are some Nigella seedlings on their way and a new shoot of Anemone Blanda.
Our Royal Mail has published some remarkable stamps to commemorate the Rolling Stones, The Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World! We have bought two sets to send to our favourite people over the next year or two. Today we have posted two birthday cards with Stones’ stamps on them.
I have made more Eccles Cakes so that I could photograph all the processes for my recipe pages. (I’ll make that page soon. The lovely Mr S is going to be away for a few days next week having a new knee fitted so I will be looking for things to to do!) The last instruction is to sprinkle sugar over the tops and I used my Granny’s antique sugar spoon which we have used on pancake day since I was a little girl.
We said goodbye to my very dear friend, Angie, today. Her daughters had asked that people wear a splash of colour, particularly the colours of sand and sea as she so loved being by the sea. Despite my not being able to be there, (I watched online) I wore my best sea colours in a velvet jacket that Angie would have recognised.
Afterward the very moving ceremony, we walked a walk that Angie joined us on during one of her visits and, in the words of the Humanist Celebrant, “rejoiced that she had lived, delighted in our friendship and were glad that we had walked some of her path with her.”
I was sad to read that this Vietnamese philosopher died yesterday, at 95. Thank you, Thich Nhat Hanh, for your gentle wise ways and words and a lifetime of compassion and dedication to peace.
I have quoted him several times already in my blog and here are some more of his wise, warm words.
“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child—our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
I visited old friends today for a long overdue catch-up and loved this cushion.
Afterwards I walked in a park that I used to frequent as a child and loved it. There was an addition since I was last here many years ago – the Vase of Hope.
I had just pressed publish when the following came in from my sister who lives in Hawaii. Thank you, Deborah.