When it's warm out, I like to have the back door wide open the whole time I'm in the kitchen. I especially like to prop the door open if it's warm and rainy - I find it relaxing listening to the rain. As soon as the door is open, Lizzie makes a beeline for her watchpoint at the gate. She spends most of her time outside right in that spot. Standing or sitting. Sometimes barking but mostly just sitting quietly, watching the world go by. Andrew had gone out to pick up coffees for us this morning and she was waiting patiently for him to come home.
Whilst Andrew was running errands, I set to work making a batch of giant blueberry muffins. I have been craving them (with a hot, strong, coffee) all week long. I tuned into Steve Wright's Love Songs on Radio Two and warbled along to Whitney and ELO as I sieved, whisked and stirred. I used the recipe from The Grand Central Baking Book and it was good! I added a little more sugar to the mix just because I like sweet muffins - they were delish. The house smelled amazing as they baked and Andrew arrived with our coffee just as they hit the perfect eating temperature. We sat on the swing seat in the yard together, with Lizzie at our feet, chatting about nothing in particular and enjoying the sunshine. (Ok, that last bit was a lie. I was chatting and Andrew was semi-listening. As usual.)
We went to Marlow yesterday. Late to the party, I know, but I have become obsessed with Susie Watson pottery and textiles. Obsessed. I had read that the shop in Marlow was kitted out like a traditional house and I fancied a looksee. Not only that, Andrew and I both like to go out at the weekends on mini road trips wherever possible, exploring different towns or countryside and trying out new eateries. We set off super-early and picked up a Starbucks for the journey. I felt kind of swanky in my new long white cotton dress but within seconds of being handed my chai latte, it was in my lap. The barista (stupid word) hadn't put the lid on properly. Thank gawd the drink was cold because although the ice cubes were a bit of a shock, a hot drink would have been a whole other kettle of soldiers. I was calm about the frock (now see-through and a kind of dip-dyed pale beige) but we raced home for me to change, threw the dress *straight* into the washing machine (oh hello, Postie, don't mind me here in the kitchen in my control pants and granny shoes) and I couldn't bring myself to leave the house until I was certain the dress was OK. (It was.) We finally got to Marlow for lunchtime, headed for the cafe that had been recommended and promptly found ourselves eating mediocre quiche in a mediocre cafe which served unattractively large slices of cucumber and plastic sachets of salad cream.
The day was saved by a very pleasant wander through the park and along the river followed by a little sit-down at a game of cricket as we ate ginormous waffle cones of Mr Whippy with flakes and chocolate sauce. I came home happy with a big bag full of pastel crockery and linens, a posy of flowers and frizzy hair (it rained). We will definitely go again. Marlow is a lovely town. There are other cafes and restaurants I'm keen to try, as well as requiring several visits back to empty Susie Watson of pink polka dot goods.
I've been sewing today, making little wrist pincushions that Claireybelle and I hope to sell at homebird & belle. (So exciting. News on that for another day.) Lizzie sat in an armchair in my sewing room looking impossibly cute and didn't bat an eyelid at my swearing or the excessive sex grunts from Orange Is The New Black on my Mac as I worked.
Finally, our perfectly ordinary dinner of breaded chicken with salad and new potatoes was made perfectly extraordinary by the presence of salty, buttery, homegrown, freshly dug potatoes. OMGosh. So delicious. If there is one thing you do next year, I would so encourage you to grow your own. We have got all kinds of veg growing in pots outside and they are all coming along superbly, so far. The pair of us are embarrassingly inept in the garden, too, so if we can do it anyone can!
Have a great week.