Thursday, September 29, 2016

Another Airport

It was strangely easy, once we'd reached the airport. It was just getting there. Have you personally driven through the labyrinth that is Southern California, hoping to make it through alive? If not, how did you become so smart as to have missed it? For me there is an excuse, since it is the only way I can get to where I wish to be. Therefore I can take it. 

The children sitting near me here are awfully quiet. In fact it was almost unbelievable, until I figured it out. They all have laptops, or iPads, or iPhone movies, or video games, or apple watches that go 'beep' and entertain, or a rough combination of all the above. Such a difference from the chaos and cacophony of a mere 10 years ago. The trouble will probably start when all of these devices begin running out of battery about half way across the Pond, by which time I hope to be in a TylenolPM induced trance and won't notice. 

But oh! they are gearing up to call our flight, I can tell. People are gathering up their belongings and their little ones. Mothers are folding strollers and prying iPads out of their offspring's fingers. It isn't going well. That TylenolPM is really going to come in handy...maybe sooner rather than later.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Seeing You Along The Way!

"Grandma, bring back some England for me. Ok?"

The eyes in that face were as round and as innocent as they come, and in an instant Grandma wanted absolutely to bring him back some 'England'. As much England as she could possibly hold. And then, he said Goodbye.

For it was a Goodbye night, tonight. A gathering at the instigation of lovely little people who would adore to go with me but can't, and who will 'follow' me anyway, each step of the way. 

"Which 'England' do you want me to bring?" I asked.

"Oh, King Arthur's Castle, of course," he said.

"And the Sword in the Stone!" piped someone else, who had been studying this fascinating drama.

A masculine voice added to the chorus, "and what about C.S. Lewis? Might as well bring back C.S. Lewis while you're at it." If only. Oh, if only.

And then they all piled into their car, calling out "Goodbye! Goodbye! We'll miss you - We miss you already - We love you - God be with you!" And five blonds backed down the drive, shifted gears, and pulled away. It was the 'God be with you!' that struck me the most, and I walked back into the house, humming the tune.

God be with you till we meet again,
By His counsels guide, uphold you;
With His sheep securely fold you.
God be with you till we meet again.

Till we meet, till we meet,
Till we meet at Jesus' feet.
Till we meet, till we meet,
God be with you till we meet again.

Just see how much England I can bring you back.

From the Sheep's Fold,
The Scone Lady

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Rosie's Hand

It is a small hand, not much bigger than a cup on a saucer. But I can feel it reaching out to me from over the Pond, and it is time to go!

Time to gather up electronics, and phones, and boots, and meds. Time to compare suitcase weights and determine whether or not I should take this, or leave that. Yes! Time.

I should probably take less and leave more, don't you think? because it always happens that something in there was hardly worth all the effort of lugging it pillar to post. I never seem to learn the lesson. But there is an Ace in the hole - TED will be there with his Rosie, waiting at the railway station and smiling to beat the band, ready to do all the 'lugging' I may need. Ready to lead the way to both cliff and pub. For we haven't forgotten The Sloop, dear Readers! Bliss.

Of course, the SconeLady will keep you updated along the way, never worry. For there will be adventures (mild ones, anyway) and loveliness (green green grass and cobbled streets) and charm - for one can never run out of that commodity in Cornwall. 

And this time (wonder of wonders!) the SconeLady has a brotherly traveling companion arriving mid-trip, bearing his golf clubs and ready to thwack that ball with the best of the Britishers out there on the links. 

And what better place to thwack! than this?  

But I'd better get my skates on - it's time now, time to get busy and start the Countdown with a prayer on my lips and and a passport in my hand. And you, dear Readers. There is always you.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Monday, May 9, 2016

Mother's Day. It's the Sweetest Thing (part 3)

It was the smiles that did it - bright and happy, they were everywhere. And who wouldn't smile when faced with this?

It was all luscious creaminess atop Rosie's Scones with lashings of strawberry jam, loose leaf teas ready and waiting alongside Panera Bread scones nestled in amongst the true British versions. Irresistible! 

And thus went the morning.

Bright and early a team of faithfuls had appeared outside the community center wherein church takes place each week. A huge trailer pulled up and backed in. The pastor said a prayer for us all, sharing that we do what we do in service 'to the Lord Christ', and for others. It was the sweetest thing.

And then, we were off! People rolled in massive containers filled with massive amounts of things one needs for church and Sunday school. Strong husbandly arms carried in the 190 scones, the heavy mixer, the jams and thick cream, everything needed for a splendid Cream Tea.

And then the work began. It seemed that as soon as one tray was whisked away, another one was needed. I was assisted by the valiant Carrie, whose smile lit up the kitchen and whose spreading skills made the job easy. And then, the energetic and enthusiastic eight-year-old arrived, becoming my especial helper and messenger. 

"Run out there and see how many more they need!" I would cry. And he would run.

Soon a sudden shout came through: "Grandma! THEY LOVE YOUR SCONES and THEY WANT MORE!!!" And did we ever give them more. 

There was for a time a lull in the activity, and my small companion and I sat companionably side by side, chatting (as is our wont) about anything and everything. But then, a holler through the service window requesting "MORE SCONES!" and we were off!

When everyone had eaten their fill and our duties were done, the six-year-old appeared, holding a lovely bouquet of Mother's Day flowers. "They're for you, Grandma!" she cried. There they all stood, the three darlings of my life, laughing and grinning up at me. However many grand moments that are still in my future, such a moment as this one will hardly be beat. "Thank you!" I said, whereupon the smallest of the three suddenly grasped my hand - and kissed it. 

What can a person say to that?

As we were climbing into our cars, he piped, "Grandma? I don't like scones anymore."

"Oh? And why is that?" I enquired.

"Because I ate so many that NOW I AM SICK."

Oh dear. I actually think a few of the men were having a similar experience. There was clear evidence that when it comes to English scones piled high with goodness, you can never really eat just one.

And so the day was, dear Readers, a massive feat. A privilege. Even a delight. All the same, it might be a while before I can face another scone. Enough is enough.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Mother's Day. It's the Sweetest Thing (part 2)

It is the night before the Big Reveal, and I am dangling here on pins and needles. eep! I  think it is the thought of getting them all into the car, and then into the church, and then into the kitchen, and then getting all the jam and cream organized and whipped and spread goo-ily on top of them that has me in the jitters. But with the gracious help of a team of lovelies, it will all happen. And I shall take pictures and share them with you, my dear Readers. Hooray!

Someone heard me saying that 190 scones were tucked away safely inside my freezer, and this someone stared at me in disbelief. "Woa. How come so many?" she laughed. "Isn't that a bit extreme? Isn't 10 about the normal batch?"

"Yes, but 10 would not be nearly enough for 400 people."


I know, it's just slightly shocking. But I love it.

I love that a kind and generous pastor rang me up to see if I might bake some scones for Mother's Day. And I - of course - said yes. "Oh fun! How many, sir, shall I bake? How many, ah, people will be there, do you think?"

"Probably...oh, 400, give or take."


And it was lovely fun, but I almost could not stop baking them once I'd started. Even the SconeLady improves with practice.

The batch you see in the photo above is probably the 4th or 5th batch, representing the moment when I realized I had finally got it right. The size was perfect for splitting and spreading, and giving the recipient just the right amount of yumminess, but not too much. After this batch, I stayed with the strategy. The earlier batches were yummy too, but not quite so exactly perfect.

Would you like to try the recipe? Ok. Just for you, here it is - 

Rosie's Scones:

Mix 4 cups self-rising flour together with
1/2 cup cold butter
(cut the butter into small pieces, and rub it into the flour
until the substance appears crumbly)
Add 1/2 cup sugar
Mix together 2 eggs + enough milk to equal 1 1/2 cups liquid
Gradually add the egg mixture to the dry mixture,
using a spatula.
You will soon need to use your hands to fully mix these ingredients.
Manipulate the dough into a round, and place on a floury surface.
Kneed the dough until it is no longer sticking to your fingers, adding
flour as needed.
Roll it out until it is 1 1/2 inches thick.
Use a 2" cookie cutter to gently cut your scones.
Whisk one egg with a little milk, and
Use a pastry brush to coat the top of the scones.
Bake in hot oven (425) for 13 minutes, or until golden brown.
Remove from baking sheet and place on rack to cool.

Hmm.. Well, I am still dangling here on pins and needles. But somehow it feels better, having talked it all over with you. (for I have missed you).

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Friday, May 6, 2016

Mother's Day. It's the Sweetest Thing

It took 190 scones to get the SconeLady back to business. Have you ever baked 190 scones before, all by yourself? No? Well, I don't often indulge in such extremes, but it was so much fun that I will in all likelihood turn right around and do it again.

The people who will consume these 190 morsels are unaware that such a privilege is in their very near future. In fact, on Mother's Day. They will arrive at church on Sunday, and park their cars. They will walk through the big double doors of the building carrying purses, Bibles, and children, and then all at once they will come upon piles and piles of scones - simply scads of them, all beautifully adorned and waiting. And they will smile. It is this collective smile that has kept me baking up a floury storm all week, Monday through Friday. I can't wait.

But it has been an adventure. Friend Rosie was consulted by email immediately, because her scones are the last word in scones. And even though she was thousands of miles away in an exotic location riding camels in the desert heat, she gave delightful advice. Between the pair of us, we agreed that:

  • freezing the scones already sliced is best
  • using a smaller cookie cutter makes a more stable scone
  • serving them with jam and whipped cream already spread will speed the enjoyment of the masses 
  • having a team of helpers to spread this yumminess will lower the stress levels of the SconeLady
  • having an in-home taste-tester (husband of SconeLady) will ensure higher levels of delight on Mother's Day
  • using real whipped cream is infinitely better than the canned spray stuff. Even if it is more work

And so, dear Readers, my scones and I are poised, all ready for the Big Reveal on Sunday. What better way to honor our mothers than to ply them with the most satisfying, alluring, and delectable treats known to womankind? 

Scones. Ah....bliss.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, November 21, 2015

From the SconeLady

My dear Readers,

It has been lovely keeping you all updated on the SconeLady's pursuits in Cornwall! Thank you for all of your encouragements along the way, which have meant much to me. Among my fondest memories are 

  • meeting and staying near Falmouth with a lovely Cornish couple
  • meeting and hearing the Mousehole Male Voice Choir
  • enjoying a walking tour with the splendid Tony
  • spending time with friend Rosie and her Ted!
  • enjoying the hospitality and friendship of two delightful Londoners
  • staying in darling cottages which protected me and made me welcome
  • walking along the cliffs of Cornwall
  • attending St Ia Church, St Ives, which also made me welcome
  • dashing out to the Norway Store each morning for a chocolate twist
  • finding Cape Cornwall and being awestruck by its beauty
  • discovering the magnificence of the many Cathedrals of England
  • and much much more!

But I do believe now is a good time to let the SconeLady rest a bit, and to consider focusing mainly on the book I traveled there to finish.

Did I finish? you might ask. A worthy question. If I may borrow a thought from my sister, I can explain it this way: as a seamstress places her fabric on a dress form, pinning those pieces together in harmony until the dress begins to appear, so have I 'pinned' together my book. The important parts are all there; written; loved; and in some cases, finished. Some chapters are where they need to be. Some hover nearby. It will not be too terribly long before the parts become the whole.

So I would like to focus there until the 'dress' is completed and ready to try on. What a day that will be! Sooner, I hope, rather than later. I will stop here from time to time, when something strikes that I believe my dear Readers would like to hear. 

And, in the meantime:

See you along the way!
the SconeLady