Bit Quieter This Time

Start as you mean to go on.Start as you mean to go on, I always say. That couch (thanks, Armelle!) looked so inviting, we were a long time getting started to get anything done. Which was fine, after last weekend’s marathon of mega-progress, a slower pace suited me fine.

map-gazingWe did get some more work done, clearing out sheds and soforth, but more importantly we took some time to look around the area. There is a mysterious wall visible across the valley, so we set out to see if we could find it (and if we happened to find a couple of pubs, well, it couldn’t be helped.) Several interesting bits of local architecture popped up, including a very interesting tower, which turned out to house waterwheels (apparently three, one above the other, wow! Would love to see that in action, though it looked less than active) and a beautifully big and steep-roofed methodist chapel with wonderful windows.  We stopped at two pubs, both a bit take-your-aunty-for-sunday-lunch-y, but a decent selection of beer at the first anyway, and a view across the valley back to ours from the second.

the view from the pub towards our landHere (helpfully) is a picture highlighting the place where we saw tiny flashes from the sparkly bits on the Boggarts whirligig, which we put up just for that purpose.

view of the pub from the landAnd here is the view of the pub the picture was taken from, as seen from the top of our wall. Nice dining room with huge windows overlooking the valley, so that alone might get us to bring our aunty for sunday lunch sometime. And apparently there’s a reservoir at the top of that hill with a beach!

potatoes a la KarenHowever, the real highlight of the weekend was Saturday night’s campfire dinner, with credit to my mum for the recipe. When I was a kid we used to go camping in a friend’s field, for no other reason than that it was fun, and we always had steak strips marinated in olive oil, garlic, lemon and pepper, and my favourite food in the world, potatoes, carrots and onions cooked with butter, salt and pepper in tinfoil packets over the coals. It was such a trip making them again; I hadn’t made them since I was a kid and had to sort of guess how long to leave them (3o minutes, turns out) but they were delicious, especially the slightly burned bits. Just as I remembered.

The steak strips were teriyaki this time, since Elmo’s not that keen on lemon in a meat context, but they were absolutely delicious, skewered on a green stick and flash-cooked in the mega-heat of the generous fire built by Elmo. I’ll definitely be doing a lot more of that.  Campfires aren’t all that common in this country and I’d forgotten how much I love them (and the cuisine they inspire).

toasting marshmallowsAnd then there was dessert, marshmallows and chocolate digestives (being the closest thing to a square of hershey bar and a graham cracker that you can easily get) making a hot-sugar-dripping mess of a s’mores that I actually think might be better than the original.

Like I said, there was time spent doing useful stuff. When I got up Sunday morning, Alec had been hard at work shovelling out the floor of the mullioned-window-shed for a couple of hours already, and the stack of plywood and the giant cable spool from our back garden had made the journey in our new trailer without incident. But the main thing we accomplished was falling a little further in love with the place.

S'mores

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