Great audience.

The small stock of books was snapped up this week.   Speaking to the Stokes Bay WI was utter pleasure as their huge membership produced an audience of nearly 100 supportive and receptive listeners.   We had all battled torrential rain so the least I could do was regale them with tales of derring do, cookery adventures plus a few disasters along the way.   Speaking to such a good crowd is an absolute joy.

They laughed at the vision of me carefully injecting this year’s batch of Christmas cakes with brandy.   The cakes each get a daily syringe full (more for the big ones) for a week before a layer of marzipan topped with the thinnest icing possible to keep them moist and scrumptious for the big day.   I have been known to over-do the booze: brandy gently leaking out and the icing slowly turning yellow.   Less a cake and more fruit and nuts swimming in a loose formation through a sea of spicy alcohol!

On the other hand, I’m clearly just too sad!   The unexpected but longed for gift of four potato peelers has thrilled me today.   After a couple of years, my previous precious trove had dwindled.   Doubtless they are languishing in the compost bin.   I’d hunted across the Gunwharf retail outlets in vain.   Some purveyors of kitchen utensils could only offer the “swivel” blade version, others only had ones with such thick handles that large quantity vegetable prep could be painful.   My thanks to the sous-chef for discovering the familiar, elegant handled fixed blade version.   Roast winter vegetables back on the menu.

For those who remember professional illustrator and videographer nephew, Toby, you might be interested in his latest hand-produced screen print featuring the wild coastal landscape around Dungeness which is also available on T-shirts and greetings cards; https://tobymelvillebrown.com/SHOP-DUNGENESS-SCREENPRINT.   It is an area special to my own childhood as I often visited my grandmother at her home in Rye and walks to the Camber Sands and Dungeness area were part of my growing-up years.   How uncanny that another generation is celebrating the same views.

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