Sunday, 31 October 2010

Visiting bishops

It was an anglican church warden, Mise, and he drank his coffee from a little coffee mug thrown by the potter in the courtyard behind the Kilkenny Design Centre! The holy pumpkin was donated by our rector this morning!

Friday, 29 October 2010

Friday Cake Bake

Or rather, this being a house of Faith, Happy Pumpkin Time! Bon weekend!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

fraise's favourite films of the fortnight

Prince Charming and I actually left strawberries at home (with a responsible adult) last week and went to have our (my) addiction to facebook challenged by The Social Network. Yes indeed! I had been bowled over by Claudia Winkleman's debut on Film 2010, and still had her resounding praise for the script resounding in my head. What a script! I loved the movie. Intelligent, imagery-packed, very challenging time well-spent. I would have to suggest, however, scepticism over closing scene?

This week obviously called for The Family Holiday Film, and the choice was made by Cooking Catherine who wanted to see Despicable Me 3D "with us". I suppose accompanying a family of small boys is the perfect excuse for a family of very quite nearly totally grown-up boys to be there! Fine choice. I worried that it was slightly subtle for the strawberries but they said that they had liked it all- especially the bit where he loses his trousers. We're very much at the toilet humour stage here!


I loved, loved, loved Margo. I want her glasses and her jacket. I did also love Edith's attachment to her hat. I imagine she would feel without it as I do in this trying-to-cut-down-on-facebook stage. Which, in fact, mirrors Mattman's struggle this week to stop sucking his fingers, which in turn necessitates going to sleep without Duckie, but I digress...

I thought one opportunity was lost in the film- Gru should have turned out to be a children's author. I was absolutely convinced that this would be the denouement. Alas no. But it does leave me wondering how many arch villains turn to more constructively creative jobs at times of amoral crisis. Left-handed Housewife- any thoughts?

(This was my now weekly Alphabe-Thursday panic. There being no thought in my head other than surviving half-term and working out what on earth to do about our annual Pumpkin Party being on a busy Sunday...)

Thursday, 21 October 2010

E is for exploring while expecting emails

I realised with horror this evening that it was Thursday again. Why does life fly past so much more quickly when you are able for a brief respite to revel in the crisis-free bliss of the ordinary?!

So, having no photos of mine own from Tuesday's Bean Birthday and hence none of my wondrous crochet creation, expecting at every moment to receive an email with a friend's photos, I shall have to extend the word explore for this week's Alphabe-Thursday!

Explore the Argory, County Armagh. National Trust property. Choose a spot underneath this chestnut tree at this time of the year and wait for the wind to blow. Stand clear!

Friday, 15 October 2010

Chains of Clown- Patons Fab DK



Oh I have been working with this tonight and it is a cheerful joy! Just the thing after Thursday's post! It is the season of another Bean Birthday, so I can say no more...., until Tuesday!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

A Danger Down

Turn back all ye from Alphabe-Thursday who want a jolly D. It's a post like this that puts the lachrymose in the fraise! I am very down about danger this week. In our very local news: meningitis, fatal car accident, bomb alerts and homes evacuated across the province.

Is there no stage of life at which the worry stops?

I am challenged by the stoicism, courage and faith of the Chilean miners. They really did find danger deep down. How fabulous is their resurrection. Angela's post, as always, says it all...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Onion Marmalade


This recipe came to me at the weekend from the repertoire of the Amazing Cooking Catherine who has it from the Julia Child of Ireland- Darina Allen.

2oz butter
1 1/2 lb onions- thinly sliced
5 oz caster sugar (I used light brown, because I try not to do refined until it's white)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
7 tbsp sherry vinegar (I only had cider vinegar)
9 fl oz red wine
2 tbsp creme de cassis (great supermarket helpful lovely man very late at night!)

Melt the butter until it is nut brown, toss in the onions and the sugar; add salt and pepper; stir well. Cover and cook for 30 minutes over a gentle heat, stirring from time to time with a wooden spatula. Just time to do some ironing! Add vinegar, red wine and creme de cassis. Cook for 30 minutes uncovered, stirring regularly. Time to do slightly less ironing!

I am now looking out for little jars and thinking that this could have Christmas gift potential. At least, that is what I would be thinking if it was November. Official Strawberry Land point of thinking about Christmas. Not before! Unless it's Darina Allen...

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Greatitudes 314-324

I sat in blazing autumnal sunshine at lunchtime today, eating left-over chicken and squash risotto with fresh-from-the-saucepan onion marmalade. The recipe will follow tomorrow, so impressed am I at how easy it is to be impressive with lots of onions and a saucepan. And creme de cassis. A helpful supermarket man comes in handy on that one!

This is a glorious autumn! Not only are bunches of grapes hanging off the vine we planted in a former pre-child life, but mellow fruitfulness is coming in even more life-enriching ways. Our special sun is, say his teachers, showing himself to be much less special indeed. And I am revelling in the fabulous grace of the ordinary. He read two books in quick succession this afternoon, having flown through a comprehension. A small blog that struggles to be faithful, let alone grateful , consumed by sinning worry, has not words enough to say thank-you. But its soul sings.

And pumpkin boy, distraught at having outgrown his small sized pumpkin suit, is now fully clothed. The same helpful supermarket supplied a very grow-with-pumpkin-boy pumpkin suit and the next shop gave us this:


No doubt all will make an appearance at the Not So Scary Party we now have tickets for over the holidays- Mr Hullaballoo and his puppets never fail to charm! Oh sunny bloggistes, o frabjous day, I'm thanking Him for you too!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

C is for the contemplation of conkers

Every day now they come home from a trip down the street to the chestnut trees of the Bowling Green with pocketfuls of conkers. The Autumn plate has been upgraded to an Autumn basket, and since this picture of early morning was taken the candle has been practically submerged below the latest harvest!

However, C should also be for clutter. I thought my Autumnal meditation was the last photo on the camera, but obviously Jo has been snapping in my absence... Hence the full story of life in the Land of the (sometimes tearful) Strawberries- collections of clutter!

Another week, another Alphabe-Thursday!

Monday, 4 October 2010

Greatitudes 301- 313

The Sunday School class I help with made gratitude crosses yesterday, so I thought, Great, my list is done! But after church, and after communion, a little thing happened that was over so quickly I don't think many would have noticed, but it has haunted me ever since.

The basket of communion bread was still sitting on the table, and everyone was standing around talking and clearing up and there was that nice buzz that you get when people have worshipped together and are communing on a less formal level.

So the basket of bread was there, waiting to be cleared away. I was sitting in the front row waiting for PC to tidy up his guitar and tie up with the sound guys, and the suns were on either side of me playing, and then I noticed that some of the other children were up at the table at the bread basket.

And they were gorging on the pieces of bread, absolutely falling on them and devouring them in handfuls. Their mouths were not big enough for the fistfuls of bread that they were eating with surreptitious side glances at the women who were pottering around.

And I can't get that out of my head! That falling on the body of Christ, and devouring that grace as if your very life and essence depended on it. The exhileration of something that shouldn't belong to you, but you will have it, and have in all abundance.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Friday Cake Bake for a boy who is now 6!

I can bake but I cannot decorate to save myself! Happily Queen of Craft Niqi makes me customised cupcake boxes for when one needs a little lift!

Linden Grove has mouthwatering scones today- we had 42 buns in the oven (!) last night for Joshua's birthday break in school, and if I could summon up any energy at all after school today and then his family party I would embark on the pirate cake for his friends' party tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Jo. One of the two best things I ever cooked!