Tuesday, 31 January 2012


My love for the changing seasons and the natural order of things means that year-long sunshine,  blue-sky days and clear, star-filled nights with temperatures of 30+ degrees (centigrade) seem somehow "unnatural" to me!  I love nature in all its guises and in the same way that the taste of the first summer peach is something to look forward to and savour when it comes, just because it is so fleeting, so too I enjoy the time when the trees sleep and one can cosy up by the fire.  Don't get me wrong, I love my island home; the peace, tranquility, serenity - the gentle breezes, warm rain and blue skies are wonderful, but just now and then, I have an overwhelming hankering for crisp frosty mornings and distant hilltops with a dusting of snow....and as a woman of action, when these feelings become too strong, there is only one thing for it - in an impromptu moment of madness my flight was booked and my whirlwind winter visit to my second home of York, England (via a few days in London and a visit to Harrogate) went from a germ of an idea into reality in a matter of days.

And, thankfully, I was not disappointed.  A truly wonderful trip of just eight days visiting my most treasured, and very much-missed, friends and family.  With a strict itinerary in hand and all transfers pre-booked in advance to avoid any deviation from the plan, off I went.   Eight days, one hen do (batchelorette party), three brand new babies, an Alumni reunion, several lunches, dinners and afternoon high teas, a couple of cheeky glasses of champagne to celebrate those special moments (I have long since given up this particular vice), several shopping expeditions and here I am, safely returned to my home and dogs, feeling renewed and invigorated.

There is a line in a song that goes "everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you". It seems I may have this effect.  The UK had recently had a very chilly spell, yet on my arrival temperatures were up and a perfectly pleasant week of frosty mornings but mild, sunny days followed. Conversely, I returned to my island home to complaints about a lack of rain and an imminent drought and some very sad-looking fruit trees.  24hrs later, the first good downpour for more than ten days!

YAY! for the rain;
YAY! for changeable weather;
YAY! for seasonality and
a great big huge HOORAY! for the natural order of things.

What a marvellous trip I had; what scrumptiously delicious and wickedly decadent, naughty things I ate and drank and how happy and contented I am to be home again! 

SAME TIME NEXT YEAR?....Possibly?....Probably?....but always, HOPE-FULLY!


Wednesday, 11 January 2012


This week, I felt inspired by a fellow blogger (which I should say, happens quite often these days) who announced that her 2012 resolution would be to attempt to make (or do) something new each and every month.  http://growitcookitcanit.com/2012/01/09/cook-it-2012-january-resolution/

Her first challenge to herself and fellow bloggers was to get out those pasta making machines that have long been stowed away in the back of kitchen cabinets and have a go at making homemade fresh pasta. Her one request to others was that they should put their own twist on things.  Although I adore pasta, in recent years and following a food allergy test, I have moved predominantly to wheat/gluten free eating, so the immediate thought was that my challenge should be trying my hand at homemade fresh, gluten free, pasta.

Eagar to seize the moment, I emptied my pantry of suitable pasta-making ingredients only to find that the best sounding recipes gleaned from a hurried search on line, called for Tapioca flour, something I did not have readily available.  Not wishing to be totally defeated at the first step of this 2012 "throw down", (and knowing full well that if I put everything away again, the moment would be lost forever), I decided to try making some bread instead.  I have tried a few times before but always disappointed with the results and as a woman who would rather do without something, than settle for mediocre (well, this is true in MOST instances) I had given the project up as unworthy of my time.

EUREKA!  It seems that 2012 is the year of the bread - 2 hours later, I have two very edible specimens, one oat topped and one cheesy.   This has indeed spurred me on for the homemade pasta challenge and I will begin a quest in search of tapioca flour on our tiny island. In the meantime, the kettle is on and the bread is sliced......bring out the jam!

THANK YOU http://growitcookitcanit.com/2012/01/09/cook-it-2012-january-resolution  FOR THE INSPIRATION!  Fancy joining the challenge? Why not check the link above.  Happy Pasta making!

Saturday, 7 January 2012


Although it is almost full moon, which means I should be busy thinking about what's to be planted, the day was just too good not to head to the beach for a wee while.  Temps are a perfect 27c degrees with a light, fresh wind.  Sometimes, even the garden must wait....because even gardeners need a day off occasionally.  

Thursday, 5 January 2012


As we face the first days of January, I note that my fellow gardeners in temperate parts of the globe are busy planning for Spring from the comfort of their armchairs.  I read one blog that summed it up as August plants are January's babies - I guess it's the sense of "planting the seed" (metaphorically speaking) even if it will be some months before there are any signs of progress. 

For us tropical gardeners, the holidays were the only barrier between us and the new projects of 2012 and now that these are over, we have no more excuses.

So, the spot has been chosen and marked off with strategically placed poles and left-over electrical wire (less attactive than proper surveyor's tape, I know, but it was readily available and free, left over from the house build.  Not whole reels of course, just odds and ends that are no longer fit for their original purpose).  The gentlemen from the country came some months ago to slash the gigantic elephant grass which was left to sun-dry and has now been gathered, along with the many branches and non edible/non-fruiting trees that were also cleared and burnt.

Having a good space between the garden and nearest neighbours means that lighting a reasonably-sized, well controlled bonfire, causes little or no discomfort or annoyance to others, and the resultant (pot)ash is a great bonus when spread around the new plot.  Whilst I will create compost heaps, burning was the best option at this stage and I did take some solace from reading that the methane from rotting waste is about twenty times stronger as a greenhouse gas than the level of CO2 emitted during the burning process - I have no idea if it's true, but it made me feel better.

Being undisturbed for many decades, this spot has not been sprayed or treated with any chemicals and is the perfect piece of virgin ground for an organic garden.  The next major challenge is financing and erecting a suitable fence to keep out  the not-so-insignificant dobermans, particularly given their perchant for fresh fruit and veggies. Once fenced, we can begin the process of creating raised beds and whilst my preference is to see aesthetically pleasing rows of neat hardwork beds, budget and durability in this high heat, high humidity, high rainfall region is pushing me towards breeze blocks (cinder blocks).   We shall see. In the meantime, it is truly a case of "watch this space".... 

New January growth on a young Mango tree
George watches over a baby coffee tree