Monday 30 August 2010

Carpe Diem!

 After two days more or less being indoors
(only interrupted by having to go out to buy a new vacuum cleaner because the old one broke down three days after the guarantee expired...!) 
Our Boy and I decided to go for a walk along the meadows to the next village. It is an approx 30 mins walk each way - just enough to work up an appetite.

The reward would be a spot of lunch at the pub in the village before we walked the same way back again. I think it is important to seize the opportunities to get out and enjoy the weather and country side when we can! Particularly in this country where the weather changes all the time...

 I had hoped we could pick some blackberries growing wild along the path on the way home, but it is still too early.
Next weekend, perhaps?
There were "tons" of them, but better be quick before the birds get them!

Lunch was simple, but tasty!
I hasten to say that the cheesecake and icecream were not for me!

This walk is soooo pretty. I come down here as often as I can. Although we have had "episodes" with the cows (which we laugh about in hindsight) they are very docile and just want to graze..
Good life!

On the way back I saw this formation of Great Britain among the clouds - Our Boy said it was more of a Wizard's Hat...

What do you see...?

Sunday 29 August 2010

Craft Project & Order!

I have been so inspired by many lovely crafty blogs like for instance Barbros Lille Atelier and Hvit Stil to bring out the sewing machine. I am not really "a friend" of the sewing machine and only have a very cheap machine mainly used for the most simple projects. I used to do a lot of embroidery, but the dream is to get an embroidery machine. 
Think I need to have some more time for these projects to justify that purchase... ;-)

Yesteday after cleaning the house I decided it was ME time and sat down with the machine as I had material left over from a notice board project I did a couple of months ago (material from Callyco - a shop really worth a visit if you are in England! Their website is still not complete, but the shop is like a candy store for those loving to sew!). I quickly made this little lavender heart and emboidered (freehand) my initial on it and also made a new cushion cover which might get some more decor if I am in the mood for it one day..

I used to do a lot of crocheting when I was in my teens and had made a very rough cover to keep the crochet needles in ;-).
My bestest friend back home recently gave me a very fancy cover to keep my knitting needles in (she loves cats as much as I do).
It is great as I love having order in my "stuff"!
Now I just need to look for another project to do...!

Saturday 28 August 2010

August Bank Holiday Weekend

The Bank Holiday weekend in a way marks the end of summer.

Public holidays here in the UK are called Bank Holidays. The background for this stems from when the first legislation relating to bank holidays was passed in 1871 when Liberal Politician and Banker, Sir John Lubbock introduced the Bank Holidays Act 1871 which specified the public holidays. Sir John was an enthusiastic supporter of cricket and was firmly of the belief that bank employees should have the opportunity to participate in and attend matches when they were scheduled. Included in the dates of bank holidays are therefore dates when cricket games were traditionally played between the villages in the region where Sir John was raised.The English people were so thankful that they called the first Bank Holidays 'St. Lubbock's Days' for a while.

So, for most people we have a three day weekend with Monday off and I for one does not give a cat's whiskers about cricket!
This public holiday is always on the last Monday of August so it makes it easy to plan if you want to do something special.

Although the sun is shining I am more in the mood for preparing for the year ahead!
Since end of June we have also been without a cleaner as Our Boy decided this would be a good way for him to earn some money!
To be fair, he does a good job, but there are always extra things I want done that isn't on the agreed list...
Actually, I find I am kind of enjoying cleaning the house - very gratifying when it is done and you KNOW that it has been done right!

Hmmmm.... I NEVER thought I would say that...


Thursday 26 August 2010

The Office

When the weather was nicer earlier this week I had by chance brought the camera with me. 
On my way to work I decided to take some pictures of my office. Isn't it funny how we become almost blind to the places and houses we see everyday?

I work for one of the departments in the University, and my group is housed in this building.

I like the entrance door much better in the house next door ....:

It looks very English with the red mailbox outside, doesn't it?

The house was refurbished when we moved in last year and they managed to keep the lovely tiled floor in the entrance area. A shame with all the fire safety equipment needed that spoils the picture, but that is health and safety, you know!

I wasn't sure I wanted to show my messy office, but here it is..!
Not much thought has gone in to the composition of this picture as you can see... I should have tidied the desk a little!

 I round off with a poster hanging on my wall with a very typical scene from the river.

Ah..., not even one week after the holidays I am wishing more days could be spent in the sunshine on a punt!
I know - I am always greedy for more holidays...

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Friends by Chance

Some years ago we decided to rent out the house when we were going away for 6 weeks.
We have great neighbours who would gladly look after the house, but it still felt a little awkward leaving the house empty for a long period so we decided to look for somebody needing short term let.

Luck had it that a Spanish family with a girl a year younger than Our Boy was looking for a house in our town for the summer! 
They took excellent care of our house (I fear the house was even cleaner when they left than when they moved in...!). This arrangement repeated itself the next two summers even if our holidays were of a much shorter period then. By then the Spanish family also had a new member in their little son and also agreed to look after The Cat who had joined our family.

The last few years this arrangement has not worked as our holidays have not coincided. Also, the Spanish family decided to bring their caravan with them through Europe and found that being on a campsite was much more sociable than being in a suburban house.

But we have become firm friends.
They come to England every summer to ensure the children learn English and we all enjoy meeting up and getting together!

Last night we all went out with another mutual friend of ours and had a lovely meal in our local pub.

As usual they had brought generous edible gifts from Spain!

It was great seeing them and
we already look forward to seeing them again next year!

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Recommended reading: The Shakespeare Curse

I just completed reading "The Shakespeare Curse" by J.L.Carrell. The story reminded me a little of a version of Dan Brown's book "The Da Vinci Code" linked by the ancient curse of "The Scottish Play" - Macbeth. From the streets of New York to the twisting corridors of Hampton Court Palace to a remote loch in the Scottish Highlands, the race is on to stop a deadly modern serial killer who will do anything to uncover priceless ancient treasures. Although, the suggestion that Shakespeare's genius was due to witchcraft is rather far fetched in my mind... ;-)

Apparently it is one of the most eagerly-awaited novels of 2010.

I am normally not one for detective stories,
but this was rather entertaining,
And as it was partially set in Edinburgh it was fun to recognise some of the descriptions of our new abode!

Sunday 22 August 2010

Confessions of a Kitchen Gadget Lover...

I confess:
I love my kitchen gadgets!

The Professor has (in vane...) tried to put a stop to my madness by saying that for each new thing that comes in to the kitchen - one old thing has to go out...
It proves that he doesn't do much cooking, doesn't it?

But, I kind of know it is madness.
The cupboards are full.
But in my defence, I do use them (at least most of them)!

After a summer in hotter climates than we normally live in and after consuming numerous bottles of fizzy water, Our Boy and I decided we needed a gadget to make our own fizzy water. Thankfully, Our Boy normally agrees with his mother in these issues and with two against one (The Cat did not count this time), The Professor had to give in. He had already heard about how my best friend in Oslo has had one for a long time and Our Boy and I have secretly been very jealous when she has been raving about it... Even further justification came when I saw that Fru Fly had also bought one the same day as we had and was very happy with hers (her pictures are much better than mine).

We all love it.
No more running out of fizzy water.
No more heavy bottles to bring home and
no more adding plastic bottles to the landfill.
And, we drink a lot more water! We don't really care for other types of fizzy drinks - it is the fizzy water that rules here!
I feel rather rightous about this purchase.

Another purchase I have been contemplating (secretly, of course) is an icecream maker.

Chance had it that my colleague has one and lent it to me before the holidays. We never got around to making any until today.
How great is this!
In 20 mins I had lovely creamy icecream.
All natural ingredients (milk, cream, sugar, eggs and chopped up chocolate) and no additives (except for in the chocolate, perhaps).

Hmmmm... might still be harder to justify this purchase seeing that I am determined to loose some weight this fall...
Might have to leave buying this till next summer as a reward if I manage to loose the weight I want, perhaps???

Friday 20 August 2010

Tried and tested: Old Fashion Chocolate Pudding

Weekend is almost here!
I find I often revert back to old dishes I ate as a child, but I had never made home made chocolate pudding. Chocolate mousse, yes, but not the old fashioned pudding.
I accidentally came across a recipe for home made chocolate pudding and it is super easy:

  • 3/4 l milk (use whatever type you want - I used skimmed milk)
  • 3/4 bar of cooking chocolate OR 3 tbs of cocoa
  • 2 tbs of sugar
  • 3 tbs of cornflour (Maizena)
This is the recipe as it was given.
However, unless your chocolate is very sweet (mine was the "healthy" version - really bitter), I recommend you add some more sugar either while preparing it or sprinkle som extra on top.

How to do it:
Mix the cornflour with about 1 1/2 dl of the cold milk,
Break the chocolate or mix the cocoa with the rest of the milk and bring to a boil (remember to keep stirring!).
Add the maizena/milk mixture along with the sugar and let it boil for about 2 mins while stirring.
Pour into your serving dish and set aside to cool.

That's it!

Traditionally we served it with a thick vanilla sauce on top:
(unless you want to skip it to save calories OR perhaps use plain milk...?)

  • 4 1/2 dl milk
  • 1 small tbs cornflour
  • 30 gram sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar (optional)
  • 2 dl whipping cream

Mix the flour and milk and bring to a boil for about 10 mins while adding the rest of the milk.
Add the sugar and cool.
Add the crem right before serving

Thursday 19 August 2010


Since we live abroad, it is very important to me that Our Boy learns as much as possible about his two countries, Norway and Iran.
I therefore take him to Norway every summer to show him more of my country so he can learn about his roots, understand the family history and improve his Norwegian.

I made the fatal mistake of forgetting my camera at home, so these are either taken by kind friends or with my mobile..

Internet/Facebook and this blog has made it easy to reconnect with a lot of relatives, but I think Our Boy is somewhat overwhelmed by all the relatives that keep "popping up" ;-)
And, we still haven't been to Finnmark to THAT part of the family... ;-)

Last week Our Boy and I went on this year's trip which among other things included a very leisurely 12 hr boat trip from Halden to Stromstad (in Sweden) as well as to several of the Hvaler islands. Great to see my childhood summer paradise again! We also managed to squeeze in a visit to friends and family in Sandefjord, Oslo and Halden. 

Our Boy also had the good fortune of being invited by our friends to their cabin near Gol for a few days to go biking and hiking in the mountains with their two sons. The boys went on a 9 hour bikeride/hike alone in the mountains and just LOVED it.

The hike was so successful that the three of them are talking about biking "Rallarvegen" (The Navvies' Road) next year.

Wednesday 18 August 2010

Grapevine Surprise!

One day during our holidays in France The Professor and I went on a short jolly to St. Paul-de-Vence, a lovely, traditional, Provencal village. We walked all over the place (as all the other tourists) and eventually sat down on a bench to have an icecream in the afternoon sunshine.

As we were sitting there enjoying the icecream and people watching, The Professor noted:

"There is a grapevine growing out of the wall"

I couldn't quite believe it, so I walked over to check, and yes
- it sure looked like the vine was coming out of the wall.

Always loving a mystery, I quickly went in to the wine shop and met a very friendly German lady who showed me that yes, indeed, the vine was growing through the wall!
She explained that there had once been a barn or stable where there was now a shop and since the vine is considered a gift from God, you must never cut it down so they had to build the wall to fit the vine.

She had recently started this shop and since the vine was carrying fruit for the first time in over 10 years, she hoped this was a good omen for the future of the shop.

Saturday 7 August 2010

Tried and tested: Summer salad

My cousin's youngest daughter cooked for us last night and with the lovely salmon filets panfriend with lots of Italian herbs she served a gorgeous salad and fluffy basmati rice.
I admit it - I wanted to lick my plate!


  • salad leaves (ruccola or other salad leaves with a lot of flavour)

  • toasted pine nuts (toast them in some butter to give extra flavour)

  • watermelon - chopped up finely

  • some Maldon salt and some pepper
You can add some olive oil and some lemon juice if you want, but I found it didn't need any dressing as the watermelon was so juicy and made it so fresh!

A real taste of summer!

Friday 6 August 2010

Recommended viewing: "Inception"

We have this week been enjoying my second cousin and his beautiful daughters visiting from Norway.
In addition to seeing Shakespeare's play "Henry V" while picnicing in King's College Gardens, walking along the river, sightseeing, visiting London, a lot of talking and a LOT of shopping, we all went to the movies last night. We saw the latest film directed by Christopher Nolan: Inception with Leonardo DiCaprio. 
It was great watching it and discussing it with my cousin's oldest daughter who is studying to be the world's next great movie director (!) and therefore has more than a keen interest in film.
I realise there are so many films I still have not seen...

We all loved this particular film.
It is a phsychological thriller, very intense and it really challenges you to keep up with the story. If you need a toilet break - forget it. You will loose the plot.
I was rather exhausted after this "ride", but enjoyed it a lot.Very different to any film I have seen before.

Go and see it!

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Summer memories...

Summer memories from Antibes we will remember for a long time...

From the farmers market...

Rambling aimlessly around the Old Town with not a care in the world...

Enjoying this little daily street music parade during the 50th annual jazz festival in Juan les Pins.

We even got to see Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette in concert by the ocean.
What a treat!

Sunday 1 August 2010

18 years ago...

It was our 18th wedding anniversary yesterday.
As Our Boy and I spent the day travelling through France by train while The Professor flew up to Scotland, we celebrated in romantic style the night before watching the sunset over dinner on the beach in Juan les Pins.

18 years... it sounds like a clichee to say "where did the years go"? But honestly, where did they go?
It made me think about all the little things that happen in your life that you forget about. Perhaps that is why I enjoy writing this blog as it serves as a reminder about the everyday things that take place in our lives.
Hmmm...., I seem to have gone all philosophical for a minute ;-)

Yes, it is 18 years since we got married, but it is actually 25 years since we met and moved in together
(after knowing eachother for a mere two weeks, but don't tell my mother...!)
It seemed crazy at the time, but we just knew that this was "it"!

We are very different from eachother - he is the pensive, patient, careful, controlled type. I have a much hotter temper, am a chatterbox and tend at times to "jump first and ask questions later"....
Still, we must be doing something right...
His wisdom and advice means a lot to me. We have always shared the same dreams and outlook on life while respecting eachother and I think that is the basis in our recipe of a good life together.

Life has by no means been a "song-and-dance", but we have taken it all in our stride and enjoyed the good days and tried to learn from the not so good days.

I look forward to the next 50 years (or more!) together.