Ali's amusement!) signed up for the farm's Rent-A-Hen scheme. For a set price, you sign up to have 6 or 12 eggs delivered to your door per week or fortnight, and you get to pick your hen and name it! The hens are all happy little creatures, roaming freely in the fields. And the eggs are delicious. So yellow! The only other time I have seen eggs that yellow are the ones laid by my parents' chickens, where the time between collecting from the nest and eating it is usually about 20 minutes. Being unable to keep chickens ourselves, I think this is a fantastic option for people who want free range, great quality fresh eggs and want some knowledge of where what they're eating comes from. And it feels good to be supporting a business in our local area too.
|a Brown Nick hen!|
So we've picked a lovely Brown Nick hen, and we've named her Lady Sybil (Downton Abbey freaks that we are!).
|Sheep I saw on my run! Not an unusual sight, I understand, but after 4 years in a metropolis, it's a novelty!|
I went for a 7 mile run on Sunday morning - the longest I've done for a few months. The first 2.5 miles were a bit rough, and I needed some sports beans! Once they hit the bloodstream I was fine, and really enjoyed the last 4 miles. I did my usual run but turned off before I reached the railway station and went down past the farm and along some country roads (no footpath on some of them, so had to run about 1 mile through long grass, which slowed me down a bit). Some of the houses were just exquisite - from quaint red bricked cottages, to grand and sprawling estates. There were people out riding horses, other people riding bikes, and lots of other runners. We smiled at each other! That never happened when I ran along the Thames to Battersea Park ;) I ran past pubs that were preparing for Sunday lunch, the smell of roasting meats and potatoes thick and heavy in the air. I could also smell clean laundry, fresh earth, and slowly decomposing autumn leaves. I was happy when the run was over (!) and wasn't sure whether I could have done the same again, but it's amazing how when the brain knows it only has to run 7 miles that it only wants to do that. I remember when I convinced myself that the Reading Half was the full marathon how relatively "easy" (it's never easy!) the first 9 miles were!
All through the run I had been thinking about Sunday brunch, so we tucked in to this after I was showered and deodorised:
Frittata, made with Lady Sybil's eggs of course!
We got our second veggie box on Friday morning, and I exclaimed with delight over each vegetable as I lifted it out of the box! It's like Christmas! This week we got: tomatoes (2 punnets - they put one in for free), potatoes, broccoli, carrots, courgettes, beetroot, cabbage, and watercress.
I've so enjoyed cooking with these vegetables and coming up with different dishes to use them in. We've had:
Quinoa pilaf with tomatoes and watercress
Cabbage rolls stuffed with leftover quinoa and risotto
And last Thursday, the night before delivery, I used up all our old vegetables in the most delicious vegetable soup. In fact, I'd perhaps go out on a limb and declare it was one of the best vegetable soups ever!
I'll put up the recipe for you, it was so good.
Over the weekend, I also dragged out my novel, after nearly two months of letting the dust settle on it. Completing a full first draft was such a boost for me, but I've barely had a moment to think about it since, with all the stress and busy-ness of September. It was good to get a bit of distance on it, however, and come back to the draft with fresh eyes. On Saturday I dragged the whole thing out and dove in.
It's written in three parts, and each part is concerned with a different stage in my character's story. What I've noticed, and what Tom noticed too while he was reading it (he's read the whole thing!), is that my style changes over these three major sections. Part 3 is a lot more vibrant and colourful than Part 1, for example, which is partly deliberate, because my character is very unhappy in Part 1 and is trying to sort her life out (sound familiar?!), and Part 3 is where she truly comes into her own and has left most of the old life behind. I wanted Part 1 to have a quiet desperation about it, but I don't want it to be dull - there's no point in Part 3 being colourful and vibrant if the reader's interest isn't going to be held long enough get there!
There are also aspects of Parts 1 and 2 that are too "me", if you know what I mean. The first draft of Part 1 reads (to me at least) more like a memoir than fiction as I borrowed quite heavily from my own life and character. While I'm pleased to have written it for my own amusement if nothing else (ha ha!) I want to tone that down a bit, and fictionalise it all a bit more. That will take a bit of work, but I had so much fun with what I worked on on Saturday. I took out a huge chunk and reworked it, and introduced a new character, and now it feels like a different story. It has some of the energy of Part 3, which I think was missing. So now I'm very excited about working on it all a bit more and getting a full second draft ripe and ready!
It was Tom's birthday yesterday, and I made my friend Fi's utterly awesome chocolate cake for him. I had grand visions of doing something amazing with Tom's favourite biscuits - ie: covering it in chocolate digestives - but as we only had a few left (!), I ended up doing a bit of a higgledy-piggledy job with the icing and spelling out his name in digestives and M&S Dutch Shortcakes:
It was not quite the masterpiece I was hoping for! I don't know how my Nan did it, icing all the grandkids birthday cakes to perfection every time. I clearly didn't inherit her skills! And when he saw the cake, Tom said "I might not have mentioned it, but I want to be referred to as Thomas from now on." Cheeky :)
What have you got planned this week? Hope it's a happy and healthy one for you! xx