The peacocks have struck

We are finally over the dreadful weather we have been having lately. Mind you, a bit of the rain was very welcome, as we were in a nasty drought situation, the ground was cracking up, the trees were stressing badly and our tank was getting lower and lower.

We were actually very lucky with the wild weather, suffering no major damage at all. A couple of the plastic chairs were tipped over, a few leaves were shredded, and a wattle got blown over. Just missed the water tank, so no damage done, and we now have a bit of firewood for winter.chairsfallen tree

I’ve been reading a lot of cozies lately, they’re such fun. Of course, 99per cent of them are book themed, and you’d be amazed how many murders take place in and around bookshops and libraries.The major series has been Lorna Barrett’s Booktown Mysteries.

murder is binding

From Lorna’s website

“Stoneham, New Hampshire, was a dying town until community leaders invited booksellers to open shop. Now, its streets are lined with bookstores–and paved with murder… When she moved to Stoneham, city-slicker Tricia Miles was met with friendly faces. And when she opened her mystery bookstore, she met with friendly competition. But when she finds Doris Gleason dead in her own cookbook store, killed by a carving knife, the atmosphere seems more cutthroat than cordial. Someone wanted to get their hands on the rare cookbook that Doris had recently purchased–and the locals think that someone is Tricia. To clear her name, Tricia will have to take a page out of one of her own mysteries–and hunt down someone who isn’t killing by the book…”.

I’ve read five of the series of eight so far, and I’ve even got Tim onto them, which is a pretty good endorsement I think.

Not quite a cozy, but another book well worth reading,

vegetable butcher From the publisher

“The skills of butchery meet the world of fresh produce in this essential, inspiring guide that demystifies the world of vegetables.

In step-by-step photographs, “vegetable butcher” Cara Mangini shows how to break down a butternut squash, cut a cauliflower into steaks, peel a tomato properly, chiffonade kale, turn carrots into coins and parsnips into matchsticks, and find the meaty heart of an artichoke.

Additionally, more than 150 original, simple recipes put vegetables front and center, from a Kohlrabi Carpaccio to Zucchini, Sweet Corn, and Basil Penne, to a Parsnip-Ginger Layer Cake to sweeten a winter meal. It’s everything you need to know to get the best out of modern, sexy, and extraordinarily delicious vegetables.”

This really  is a lovely addition to your cookbook repertoire.

Fortunately, she only shows you how to improve your knife skills on veges, not peacocks, as they were definitely ready for the knife the other day. Came home from a long and stressful day in the shop, and noticed that the tomatoes in the planter box at the bottom of the steps had been totally decimated, by the peacocks.tomatoes Every leaf, flower and tiny tomato had been stripped off the plants, and not a peacock to be seen anywhere. They didn’t come back for a couple of days, obviously knew they weren’t popular. My fault, I suppose, as I hadn’t fed them that morning, but still, they could have eaten something else.

Till next time, TTFN


A New Year, A New Post

Monday,March 6, 2017

  1. New Year, new resolution. Okay, I think I have said something like that before. Well, let’s see how well I do this time. I have been reading a huge amount, doing a bit of knitting, a bit of gardening and reading a huge amount, wait, haven’t I already said that. Anyway, what have I been reading, you ask. Well, atainted in toakay bit of this, a bit of that and a bit of the other.

Up first, a new French series – From the publishers website –

An immersion in French countryside and gourmet attitude with two amateur sleuths gumshoeing around French wine country.  The Winemaker Detective series delves into the underworld of a global luxury industry, where there’s money, deceit, death, crime, inheritance, jealousy—all the ingredients needed to distill a fine detective series! That and a decent dose of Epicurean enjoyment of fine food and beverage. It follows master winemaker Benjamin Cooker and his sidekick Virgile Lanssien in their adventures solving mysteries in vineyards throughout France and beyond. Each book is a homage to wine and winemakers.

If you like wine, France, food, mysteries, you will enjoy these. So far I have read

  • Montmartre Mysteries,
  • Late Harvest Havoc, and
  • Tainted Tokay.

Honestly, you really get the feel of being in France, the descriptions of the wine and the food make you think you’re there.

All in all, I heartily recommend these books.

Whoops, the picture went in the wrong place Ah well, better luck next time.


84 Charing Cross Road

hanff-2Watched this film again the other night. I have seen it and read the book so many times, but every time I do, I realise how much I love it, and how much times have changed, and not necessarily for the better. I read a lot of ebooks, but they just aren’t the same. They don’t have the feel, and you certainly can’t keep flipping between pages, well not easily at least.
This book takes you back to an age where that sort of electronic wizardry wasn’t around, and people had to write letters, on paper, with ink, and post them at a post office.
Perhaps I’m a Phillistine, but I think things were better then. Not necessarily easier, but better for the soul. I’m not saying this right, and I’m as guilty as the next person at having all the latest gadgets, well some of them anyway, but I remember sitting out under the apple tree, reading books galore, no Ipad or computer with games loaded, or mobile phones to interrupt you every 5 seconds,it was blissful.

However after saying all that,  computers are wonderful things. I used one to go to Wiikipedia just now to find out about
Helene Hanff (April 15, 1916 – April 9, 1997) was an American writer born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is best known as the author of the book 84, Charing Cross Road which became the basis for a stage play, television play, and film of the same name.

Her work 84, Charing Cross Road was first published in 1970. It chronicles Hanff’s 20 years of correspondence with Frank Doel, the chief buyer for Marks & Co, a London bookshop. She depended on the bookshop—and on Doel—for the obscure classics and British literature titles that fueled her passion for self-education. She became intimately involved in the lives of the shop’s staff, sending them food parcels during Britain’s postwar shortages and sharing with them details of her life in Manhattan.
Life wasn’t easier then, but I think they had better lives.

Suumer’s Coming

It is the most glorious day here today, far too nice to stuck in a shop pretending to work. But I do have a lot to do.

We have been buying a lot of stock lately, and it is my job to process it, that is clean it, code it, repair it if necessary, but I feel like going on strike and actually sitting down and just reading.

My pile of TBRs is steadily growing higher, but I’ve been a tad naughty and have been indulging in an orgy of cozies. M C Beaton, Linda Cahoon, Agatha Christie, and Rachel Herron, although hers aren’t really cozies. Actually the last Herron I read, “Splinters of Light” was really quite harrowing in places. Mini spoiler – deals with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. I thoroughly recommend this book.

A cookbook I’ve been readingkarena and kaseylately  is this little beauty. Its been out for a little while now, and these girls really deserve all the accolades they’ve been getting. Food crazy from a young age, they thoroughly deserved to win the 2014 Masterchef NZ and hopefully they will go on further still. Their food is beautiful looking, people friendly and yummy. I’m not giving up my copy (that I snuck home in a pile of library books).

Well, it’s time for my semi bi-annual update. The running post I was considering upped and ran away, taking all with it. It  headed for the sun, leaving behind the rain and cold. But today is a corker. There is a chilly wind, but the sun is glorious. My bulbs at home are starting to poke through the soil in their pots, a bit behind other peoples I know, but because we are south facing we are always a bit behind.

I got issued a challenge the other day. Write a post and post a picture at least once a week. Now this is just unfair. It means I am going to have to pull my finger out and actually do a bit of work here, but I suppose, considering this is supposed to be talking about the cookbooks I’m reading sort of for the shop, that is only fair.

At the moment I’m not actually reading a cookbook. I’m reading La Cucina, a novel by Lily Prior. From the publishers website  —–

“La Cucina combines the sensuous pleasures of food and love, simmering in the heat of a Sicilian kitchen. Rose Fiore is a solitary middle aged librarian who has resigned herself to a loveless life, and expresses her passionate nature through her delicious cooking. Then, one day, she meets an enigmatic chef, known only as “L’Inglese”, whose research on the heritage of Sicilian cuisine leads him into Rosa’s library and into her heart……….. A love song to Italy, La Cucina is a celebration of all things sensual.”

La Cucina It has a cool cover as well.

I’m off to do some work.

A running post

I don’t mean running in the fast one foot in front of the other sense. I’m meaning write something as I think of if sense. The rain we have just had, which lasted all of 5 minutes, if that, has made the atmosphere so sticky and humid. Days like this you need refreshing, cooling food –  salads  –  light, crunchy and juicy, herby not spicy, with juicy fruits and nuts and seeds, and a tiny amount of small pasta or couscous, and just the natural juices of the fruits providing the dressing.salad Now if I could just get my other half to try it. He is very much a meat and three veg man.

Fri Feb  27 10:53 A very sticky day, nobody wandering around. A perfect day to sit at home under the trees, sipping something long and cold. A day to think about all the things you want to do when it is cooler, things like baking, knitting, even weeding. Watching monarch butterflies fluttering round the Buddleia, getting what little food is left. Wishing for a cool breeze. Thinking how the Mistral sends people crazy and totally understanding. Tempers very frayed.However, basically on the whole life is good. Okay, I’m at work, but that’s hardly arduous. I get to play with books all day, mainly cleaning them, but of course I have to dip into them to make sure they’re suitable. Can’t possibly sell unsuitable books, oh no. Those I have to take home. Which of course is why we have NO ROOM. Plenty of boxes in the living room, dining room, spare room, but heaven help us if we have people come to visit. Lets all sit outside folks, much nicer, cooler, room to breathe.

Sun March 1 10:23 In which Tim is a bit sore after falling from the peach tree yesterday. Was worth it though, got lots of lovely peaches and grapes, which are growing through the peach tree, the olive trees and the feijoa tree. We actually beat the peacocks to the grapes for a change, right little robbers that they are. At work again ( how unusual) and it is the most glorious day, picked to hit 26 C. It is already 24 C. Got home yesterday to a horse wandering down the drive to meet us. She had decided she didn’t like her new paddock, and had stepped over the fence to get to the greener grass on the other side. (Isn’t the grass always greener where you aren’t.). Fortunately she is a very good girl, and did no damage, just cropped the lawn a bit, so Tim doesn’t have to mow quite as much. Yeah right.

Fri.March 6

I’ve come to a screeching halt on this post, but there is a new one in mind. Don’t hold your breath, but it is on its way!

New Year and new resolution

Well Christmas has been and gone, I have had a mini break from doing anything except work, and oh, we would love a break from that, (seven days a week gets to you after a while,) and I made a New Years resolution that I am going to update this blog on a more regular basis. I told myself that on the the 1st Feb I would start writing once a week on a Monday. Well, I’m only 1 week and 2 days behind. That’s pretty good for me.
What I have been doing is going back to the beginning of all the blogs I read and reading them post after post till I have caught back up to the latest. Only trouble with that is that I read the comments too, and then I go to the blog of the commenter and start at the beginning there as well. I’m a hopeless case really.
Haven’t been doing a lot of anything else either.The garden is a disaster, but it has been very hot and we’ve had no rain, so it’s not all my fault. Started working on the vege garden, but I was wilting in the heat faster than the weeds I was pulling. I want to put in some not quite run of the mill veges,as I am getting utterly sick of the terribly pedestrian ones available in the supermarkets, and unfortunately I don’t get to our wonderful growers market often or early enough. Unfortunately we open the shop at the same time on Saturday morning, and I haven’t quite perfected the art of being in two places at once.
What have I been doing? Well apart from reading blogs I have been reading a lot of knit-lit — Rachael Herron – her Cypress Hollow novels, Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street books, Mary Kruger and Barbara Bretton’s knitting mysteries. Cookbooks, a few. Currently reading Sirocco by Peta Mathias, which isn’t a cookbook as such, but a fantastic travelogue through Morocco heavily laced with descriptions of the most yummy ingredients and the ways they have been put together. Reading of char-grilled peppers and chopped laced with olive oil and lemon juice, then reading this,
” Smaller piles of saffron were there, along with armfuls of fresh parsley, mint and coriander. There were piles of almonds, citrus, preserved lemons; hillocks of shining black olives marinating in lemons, cayenne and parsley, or green olives tossed with secret mountain herbs, and big bowls of harissa. The vegetable shops had kumquats,limes,grapes,red onions,nutty red Moroccan potatoes,melons,pomegranates and baby pineapples.”
The colours all melded together like a tapestry, that really grabs me and just makes you want to dive in feet first.sirocco

Oooooh. New operating system (Linux)  and I haven’t quite got my head around it yet, so sorry, the picture isn’t in quite the right place. I will prevail, and get my head around technology.

Haven’t done any knitting or spinning, but have a very long Ravelry list to do. Still a bit hot for knitting sweaters, but I could be building up stocks of  hats, socks, scarves and shawls. Just inherently lazy I guess.


It is raining oh frabjous day. May the weeds and lawn start growing.

I may have connected.

Well, I hope I have connected.
I’m not very clever when it comes to technology type things, in fact I think they’re sort of scary, but I hope I have pressed all the right buttons and connected this blog to Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
That’s what I was trying to do anyway.
What I really need is a teenager, but they’re pretty thin on the ground round here, so it’s all up to me. Heaven help the world…….

Spring’s a popping.

It has been the most glorious weekend, sunny, warm, make you feel glad to be alive sort of weekend, and now, it’s Monday.
Back   to   work  Monday.
Piles of books to be processed,  cleaned, priced, sorted and shelved. Far too many that I feel I have to read, which of course I do have to do, because otherwise how can I sell them, and I have to take them home for that.
Cookbooks, farming books, gardening, knitting and, of course, the odd fiction too.
The fact that I have about half a dozen on the go already is beside the point.
What I’m working on at the moment is a box of new paperbacks. Just your run of the mill fiction, but there is a nice little selection of Ian Rankin, who I admit I am rather partial to. But also just in is a lovely new cookbook “Alice in Bakingland” by Alice Arndell.
This is utterly decadent,and utterly delicious. Whether you are experienced at baking or never baked in your life, Alice makes it all look so doable.alice in baking land
At $49.99 this is a beautiful,delicious book. A pretty good chrissie present I would think.I know I’d be thrilled to get a copy.
Morning tea’s over, better go back and do some more work.

This years update

Well, it’s time for my yearly blog update  

Really must do something about these incredibly long gaps between updates. The big problem is that I read too many blogs and don’t write enough.

I’ve been on a knitting kick lately. I used to knit and crochet many years ago, actually made a living at it, but for twenty odd years I have done nothing, zip, nada. But about a year ago, I discovered Yarn Harlot, and, thanks to her and all the other wonderful kniting bloggers out there, I have found all my needles and hooks, pulled my stash into the spare room and gone nuts. I have also bought a spinning wheel, haven’t actually got it yet, but it’s all bought and paid for, just waiting for it to be delivered. I’m busy sorting all my patterns out, and gettiing heaps more on Ravelry. My queue is getting very long, but winter is just starting here, so there is plenty of time to do things.

It is just barely starting to get a bit chillier, so soup weather is on its way, although I have already make a couple of lots. A lovely vege soup with lentils and barley and baby leeks and other veges that were floating round the fridge, and a really thick pea and ham with a big ham hock, that Tim had lovely fun trying to fight the cats for. Next up I think a rich potato soup will go down well, got some ciabatta bread from the bakery across the road from the shop, will warm that in the oven , yum.

Off to finish a pair of socks, then shall make a pair for Tim ( I hate Winter ).