Thursday, October 26, 2006


This time last year I was, it would be fair to say, a little bundle of nerves. Why? Well, my wedding day was fast approaching and I had reluctantly agreed to wear a dress (on the basis that Rob and my father donned skirts).

This year, after realising the complexities of what marriage actually means (me: "I OWN YOU, SLAVE!", Rob: "GET ME A BEER, BINT!") we are going to Wales to celebrate our 1st anniversary. It's actually on sunday but we thought we'd make a long weekend of it and explore the countryside around Tintern. Ah, the joys of love...

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Signs Of A Changing Season.

  • Clear, cold nights and misty mornings.
  • Lighting the stove at night and dampening it down for the day.
  • Visitors from far away:

  • Fingers numb with cold after bringing in coal and filling up the fresh water supply early in the morning.
  • A fat Lolly, wrapped in winter fur.
  • Tea made on the stove and hotpots eaten beside it:

  • Darkness coming early.
  • The soft patter of leaves as they fall onto the roof of the boat.
  • Smoke from boat chimneys:

  • Putting summer clothes away and unpacking winter woollies.
  • An extra blanket on the bed at night.
  • The lane becoming a pond after autumn rain:

Who Let The Boaters Out... To See Otway?

Ah, yes, picture the scene...

This motley crew, minus their boats, out on town and subjecting Oxford to drunkeness and fangirl behaviour (and that was just the men):

A trip to the Port Mahon to see John Otway perform in the smallest room ever imaginable, which apparantly can squeeze in 100 paying guests (yes, right).

And here is the man we came to see:

There was a very amusing episode involving a coat hanger and a microphone, but the details of this are probably best left unsaid!

I would have taken more photos but my trusty camera ran out of juice. Typical.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Marmite. Absolutely Nothing To Do With Boating.

After Herhimnbryn spotted my big jar of Marmite in my Kitchen (see garden post) I thought I'd post a picture of what I think the gates of Heaven look like:

Thursday, October 05, 2006

For Knowleypowley.


This is for a basic chutney. I like to add 8 red chillies to make it a little hotter. If you want to cheat with the vinegar use pickling vinegar, if not tie 1tbsp pickling spices in some muslin and add to the pan at stage 1, removing at stage 3.

Makes 6lb/2.7 kg.

  • 4ib/1.8kg green tomatoes, roughly chopped.
  • 1ib/450g cooking apples, pleeled and chopped.
  • 1ib/450g onions, peeled and chopped.
  • 3 red peppers, deseeded and diced.
  • 2 - 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped.
  • 1tbsp salt.
  • 1lb/450g soft brown sugar.
  • 1pt/600ml cider vinegar (or pickling vinegar *see above*)


  1. Put the tomatoes, onions, apples, red peppers, garlic, salt (and chillies, if using) in a large pan. Add pickling spices if using cider vinegar.
  2. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and add to the pan. Simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the mixture is thick and the vegetables have reduced to a pulp. Stir frequently.
  3. (Remove spices in bag if using) Spoon the chutney into sterilized jam jars.
  4. Seal with vinegar-proof airtight covers.

The Boater's Garden: Part Three.

There is a shiny new acquisition in the garden. Jeffrey, from 'The Entertainer', has kindly donated a compost bin to the organic vegetable growing cause. I cannot lie about my reaction to discovering the bin. I danced like a toddler in a large sweet shop and cried out for "more".

There is a noticeable change in the season this week. I’ve had to move the aubergines and avocado plant into the mini greenhouse tent in case they decide that the less tropical climes of Oxfordshire be too much for them.

I’ve also been busy in the kitchen:

Turning these:

Into these:

Mmmm, pickles and chutneys.