Thursday, March 22, 2018

passion fruit

I find it hard to resist buying passion fruit when I see them (think: breakfast), even if they are wildly expensive.  Probably I should work out how to grow them.  They are seductively beautiful as well as tasting great ...

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

prayer flags

We bought these in the summer, intending to string them across windows to dissuade birds (mostly towhees, who aren't very smart, and the occasional finch) from flying into them, but that somehow hasn't happened.  Rather, we pull down blinds to half-mast.  But I surprised these flags this morning, clustered together in the bowl, looking radiant in the one brief shaft of early morning sun that hit them.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

an inspired lunch

well, maybe not that inspired, but it was particularly good.  And pretty.  And in itself inspired by a recipe in Jessica Koslow's Everything I Want to Eat, the Sqirl cookbook (from down the road in Los Angeles).  So - tear up a couple of handfuls of dinosaur kale, some dill and parsley and cilantro, add a tablespoon of olive oil and three garlic cloves and whirr it up in the blender.  Then make a basic two egg omelette base, add to a smidgeon of olive oil in the saute pan, put the kale and herb mixture on top of that, a sprinkle of grated parmesan, and when it's bubbling, fold it over.  Add salt and pepper as you want.  Quick; simple; delicious.

Monday, March 19, 2018

inspecting the compost

Not a whole lot has happened inside the New Mexican compost maker since New Year's Day.  Although I left it damp and tumbled, as one might expect, it's hardly been the right kind of temperatures for it to steam and ferment inside there.  But I always like unscrewing the lid and seeing quite how far the decomposition is going - even if those red onion skins look as though they plan an act of defiant, stubborn endurance that'll continue for some time.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

leaving and arriving

On the one hand, my parents' street, at 5.20 a.m. - I was grateful and relieved that the roads were better after that.  On the other - the (windy) descent into Albuquerque this evening.  Not quite the end of the road - I had another 75 miles to drive (for some reason, the rental car manager decided to let me drive away in a Mercedes SUV, so they were a very smooth 75 miles, or would have been, if it hadn't been so windy).  I am inestimably glad to be back in Santa Fe at the end of all of that ...

Saturday, March 17, 2018

two versions of Wimbledon spring

First, let's go for the idealised one: the spring flowers (ok, the silk version of spring flowers), hanging in a shop window in Wimbledon Village.  It's a radiator-and-expensive-fittings shop, but the flowers/foliage, in predominantly white, green and purple, with a flickering of pre-Easter narcissus-yellow, are in the colors of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Association, so they're pointing forward to early July.

And this?  This is the reality.  My parents' garden this morning - I think it's probably snowier now: it's been coming down this evening.  For someone who has to get up sometime before the crack of dawn to make her way to LHR, it's not an encouraging sight.

Friday, March 16, 2018

back in an old stomping ground

In the summer of 1974, just after my first year at Oxford, I managed to snag a really excellent temp job for a couple of months, on the home news desk of The Times - just the kind of thing that people fight after now as interns, but I had a weekly pay packet.  In those days, The Times was on the Grays Inn Road, and I used to pass this Driving School almost every day.  It used to cause me a good deal of mirth - an Italian Driving School?  My experience of Italian drivers, the previous summer, meant that I treated whatever skills it might look to pass on with extreme scepticism.

And it's still there!  I was walking, today, from a hotel in Clerkenwell to a meeting just off Chancery Lane.  But lots of the old shops were no more - in their place, lots of enticing cafes and cake shops (you can tell that Easter is approaching) - I don't know where, these days, I would buy the apricot yogurts that were all that I lived on that summer.  

It was a terrific summer.  I was given masses of responsibility - which in those pre-Internet days, largely meant making phone calls and asking questions.  I had to call Buckingham Palace every morning and check the details that should appear in the Court Circular, and then type it up.  There was a great deal of running around the building with envelopes for people.  But there were many less routine moments.  It was a summer of IRA bombs, and one lunchtime I was left in charge of the news desk whilst all the reporters went off to the pub.  Suddenly the ticker-tape machine sprang into life: a bomb had gone off at the Tower of London ... no newsmen in sight, so I found the phone number for the pub, and sent the message that they'd better leave their pints and sandwiches and get moving ... Of course, it being The Times, we had endless bomb threats ourselves, and kept having to evacuate the building - all apart from Bernard Levin, their most famous columnist at the time, who flat-out refused.  He was dating Ariana Huffington at the time, and she occasionally drifted through, which lent an air of glamor.  It was, however, an almost all-male atmosphere - looking back, though, no one harassed me, no one hit on me, unlike so many other temp jobs before and after that one.  I suspect the news was too engrossing, in any case - not just the bombings, but this was the summer that Watergate broke and Nixon resigned - I can remember us all crowding around the news desk's one small TV to watch this ...

(and I guess the view from my old bedroom window counts as my old stomping ground, too)