Archive | October, 2013


30 Oct

With Halloween approaching, this photo taken last year in Cardiff seemed appropriate…

IMG_2562edAlthough it may seem to appeal to the beer-drinking zombies among us, it’s really just a family/business name for a chain of beers and pubs.  Enjoy your Brains — and Happy Halloween!



Pumpkin Smoothie

25 Oct

I had this idea that I would post regular recipes to this blog.  Eh.  Mixed results there, I’d say.  And since I’ve been eating gluten-free (mostly) and dairy-free (often), I’ve been struggling a little in the baking department.  Smoothies to the rescue.  And what could be better for fall than pumpkin?


This is not a mysterious recipe.  Most smoothies are nothing more than: “Stick in a blender.  Blend.  The end.”  But I do like to share when I find something worthwhile.  Make modifications however you like.  Here’s how I like to make what tastes like Thanksgiving pumpkin pie in a cup:

6 ice cubes
Medium banana, cut into inch circles (or thereabouts)
4 oz pumpkin puree
1 tsp maple syrup (the real stuff)
2 tbsp pea protein powder (I like my protein)
cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove to taste
8 oz coconut milk (the creamy kind from a can)

Put everything in the blender in the order above, then blend.  The end.



(Like pumpkin and aren’t worried about gluten?  Try these pumpkin muffins.  Or these Moosewood muffins.)

Snapshot: Northleach

20 Oct

Much to my dismay, I have hundreds of photos of the beautiful wool church in Northleach sitting — languishing — on my laptop.  I remember Northleach as the first place I dared to adventure on my own once the kids were in school, husband was at work, and I was on my own, with a car, with the whole of England waiting for me to gather up my courage and go out exploring.  I love the Northleach parish church, and have been back several times.  Something has kept me from pulling together all my photos and ideas about this beautiful place into a post.  So for now, be content with a tiny peek.


A truly tiny peek.  To the side of the altar there is a locked wooden door.  One day I found I could not resist setting my camera into the keyhole to have a look inside.  I hope no one minds.

Days out: Cheltenham Literature Festival

15 Oct

Not a day out.  Days.  Days and Days.  The Cheltenham Literature Festival is like the SuperBowl for books.  I dipped my toe in the festival waters last year, and was hooked.  This year … well … see for yourself.


Can you see — Neil Gaiman [pornographic cookbook].  Derek Jacobi [monk, emperor, hamlet, lear, and time lord].  Alison Weir [one hundred years of history in two minutes or less].  Yummy cakes [gluten free!]. Microbiology [urban bee keeping].  LÉtranger [Aujourd’hui, maman est morte]. Horrible History [poo!].  Rainbow Fairies [Sparkle! Sparkle! Sparkle!].  Lucy Worsley [the most adorable torture chamber curator you’ll ever meet].  Cath Kidston [do not leave her alone with Martha Stewart.  THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE.].  Kate Mosse [Apparently, she’s obsessed with Carcassone.  Surprise.].  Hennie Haworth [Stickers and bourgeois shabby chic]. The Great Tapestry of Scotland [What?  Here!?].  Holst conducting another wonderful festival year [I can hear the music]. Me, grinning ear to ear [WOW!].  And did I mention the kitchen toilets?

I need a nap.  For about six months.  Absent extreme napping, I’ll be huddling in my glass room, with happy light bravely glowing against the grey sky and coffee on tap, snuggling up to the books and memories taken away from this year’s festival.  If you possibly have the chance to attend this event or one like it — go!  Even if you just have one cake, buy just one book, and meet just one author.  It’ll change you.

Snapshot: Batsford Arboretum

11 Oct

We visited Batsford Arboretum last year, looking for fall colors.  The colors were not what I hoped, but Batsford Arboretum stunned and beguiled in other ways.  One unexpected sight: this Foo dog.


I love his smile.

When Mitford inherited the estate in the late nineteenth century, he completely redesigned the landscape to compliment his interest in oriental art and design, and imported several large sculptural pieces to complete the atmosphere. (Read about it.)IMG_0332e

The Mitford family is long gone from Batsford, but the fu dog grins on.

Sudeley Snapshots: St. Mary’s Chapel

7 Oct

In the intermittent but ongoing Sudeley Snapshot series, I present to you: St. Mary’s Chapel in the spring.


Viewed from the Queen’s garden.  (Here’s a close up of those purple blooms.)IMG_6780e

From the front, with random stranger.  On a side note, I think I’ve done pretty well these past few years to capture photos without random strangers in frame.  How have I managed to do that?IMG_6781e

The white roses in bloom, for the white queen.IMG_6783e

The interior was decorated for a wedding.  Fragrant.IMG_6785e

The altar was stunning.IMG_6786e

I’ve mentioned before — this side chapel memorial to Katherine Parr is an eerie mix of sentimental and Edgar Allan Poe.IMG_6788eAnd a final peek of the church from the secret garden.

Snapshot: Oxford Blackwell’s Bookshop

4 Oct

A quick trip into Oxford for the day, and a rummage through the legendary Blackwell’s Bookshop.


It is amazing.  And puts me right in the mood for the next adventure: The Cheltenham Literary Festival.  Can’t wait.