Sunday, May 31, 2015

Thoughts for a Sunday

It was only a trip to the grocery store, but such a nice one that I won't be forgetting it for a while.

I dashed inside, hurrying a bit on account of feeling really rather hungry. It was a Sunday and just after an early church service, so the aisles seemed clear and no carts threatened to collide.

Then rounding a corner, I very nearly collided with what appeared to be the only other shopper in the store. "Oh! I'm sorry," I said in dismay. And then I saw that she was not alone. There standing next to her was a tiny child somewhere between baby and toddler, clutching her mother's dress and wanting into the cart. "!" she said in her baby voice, pointing upwards. But the cart was filled with so many things that her mother just could not put her into it too. So they made their slow way along, the small voice trying again now and then, pointing. "In, mommy..In!" She was remarkably patient.

At long last it was time to check out and get to the car. What should I snack on while driving home, I wondered. Thankfully there is no law yet that says one cannot eat and drive at the same time (is there..?). Perhaps one of the bananas, or a sandwich cookie..

I was moving toward the exit when a young clean cut man approached. "Would you like help out with that?" he asked. "I am the general manager here, and I want all of our customers to know we are thinking about what they need."

"Well, yes, that would be perfect!" I replied in surprise. The manager! As we walked along, he chatted kindly and asked if there was anything else Stater Bros. could do to help me. Or if there was anything I would want them to change. I couldn't think of a single thing. If ever there had been something, I certainly didn't remember it now.

Before he left me there at the car, he gave me his name and said, "Now ma'am, I want you to call me anytime you think of something we could be doing better. The best thing about our store is that the customers are more important than we are. They are our Agenda. And YOU, ma'am, are mine."

The general manager helps on a hot day

I felt somewhat stunned. I was someone's agenda? What a great thing to be told. It was just as if he were there to serve, rather than to be served. How nice it would be if we all incorporated that Theme! Where others are considered more important than ourselves. I know it sounds absurd, knowing this world as we do. But wait - didn't I hear just that message today? This very morning? 

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.   -Philippians 2:3,4

It's an Idea whose time has come. Even in a Stater Bros. parking lot.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Shopping carts.</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Charles Paget Wade: 'Let Nothing Perish'

Anyone who travels very much will find themselves either reading, or watching, or listening to Rick Steves. Before the SconeLady ever leaves the tarmac in Seattle or LA, she will have already heard or read whatever Rick might have to say about where she is going. It is utterly essential.

And then once I am on the new tarmac (almost always London Heathrow), Rick comes along in the form of a podcast, burbling away in my ear and giving helpful advice and information. I was listening to him only yesterday, although no major trip looms in my near future. A trip does loom, to be sure, but it will not take place for at least a few months. No matter. My iPhone is set to Travel With Rick Steves, just in case I hear something splendid about someplace intriguing. 

Yesterday Rick was interviewing two Italian and two British tour guides who had all sorts of fascinating info to pass along:

Rick's Guests:

  • Tommaso Pante, tour guide based in Sicily
  • Nina Bernardo, tour guide based in Rome
  • Gillian Chadwick, tour guide based near London
  • Roy Nicholls, tour guide based in Dorset, England
One story that stood out to me in particular pertained to one of England's 'Stately Homes' called Snowshill Manor. Roy Nicholls told us all about how the owner went away to fight in the First World War, and came back severely mentally damaged. His response to this was to become a recluse and a collector - one might say an extreme collector, filling his house and his outbuildings with anything he could find - garden equipment, bicycles, toys, furniture, paintings - anything at all. The lovely Snowshill Manor became so filled with all of these collections that he moved out of it and into the gardener's cottage! It, too, Nicholls said, was promptly filled with collections of all sorts.

Roy Nicholls never said the word 'hoarder' as pertaining to Charles Wade and his collections. But that word did hover in my mind as I listened. The family motto fits right in with that, too. Are you ready for it? - LET NOTHING PERISH

I rest my case.

When Wade died, he donated the property to the National Trust, and it took them all of 5 years to clean it out and catalogue his amazing collections. Visitors to the Manor can come, and see, and be astounded by it all. 

Hearing about Charles Paget Wade has made me want to go to the Cotswolds and visit Snowshill. Perhaps, a walking tour in the area? With the odd afternoon tea here and there along the way? I wonder if Snowshill offers scones? I shall check. This could turn into great fun! There is so much more I want to learn.

And for a while I wondered if Mr Wade had been married. A wife surely wouldn't have been able to coexist with all that clobber. But wait! I found that he did marry. He married Mary. So how did she do it?

And then I found one telling sentence that may help answer that query: "After the marriage, they spent increasingly greater amounts of time at their house in the West Indies." (Wikipedia).

Hahaha! I knew I would like Mary.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Snowshill Manor Garden</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Miracle Gift

There is something so fun about a grandpa's birthday, especially because he lets the children open his gifts and blow out his candles. A grandpa is normally not keenly interested in his own birthdays (and would, actually, let them pass forgotten). But when there are children about, and gifts, he would much rather all the fun to go to them. 

You can see it here, the cards and the packages, and the magnetic effect they have on the kiddies (and the dog, ever watchful for a bit of stray gift wrap). The cake was also magnetic and was demolished within mere moments. A smash hit all around.

We've come a long way since the days when (before children) there wasn't really a lot of understanding about things like - drool, and other items that surround babies. Once we started having them, though, none of that mattered. They mattered. Inconvenience and disruption all became part of the stuff of Life, and we forgot all about how easy things had been before.

If having children was a privilege and a delight, the next step, their children, is what I would call enchanting. The gift that keeps on giving. Inconvenience and disruption all over again but by now, it's all part of the show.

During our college years in the 1970s, we were told that within 20 years all of humanity would be standing shoulder to shoulder on every land mass in the world because "people were having too many babies." What was actually a miracle, they saw as a hazard. 

Thank heavens our young people have sense enough to ignore nonsense when they hear it. 

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Tea and FaceTime

The SconeLady and friend Rosie have discussed an interesting idea, dear Readers. It has to do with scones and miles, fellowship - and you!

You see, there is a lovely tea shop in the enchanting city of York where we have had afternoon tea. It is called Betty's, and every morsel one consumes at Betty's is delectable. Our only trouble is, we cannot go there just now. Not together. We dream of it, but there must be a bit of a wait and so, we have decided to drink its teas and taste its tastes, from afar. And you can come along!
York Minster, city of York, UK
First, though, Betty's itself. What makes us dream of it? I must take you back more than ten years to when I first set eyes upon it. The day was lovely and warm, and it was summer. We had taken the train up and wandered about the streets for a while and then! headed straight for Betty's. The streets of York are adorable and sometimes cobbled and filled with lots of shops with lots of ways to take your money. But we didn't need those, not yet. We needed sustenance!

So into Betty's we went. I believe we had booked a table because we were given the best one in the house. Large and round and right in the center of the tea room. We were served by kindly ladies with teas of our choice, tea cakes, finger sandwiches, and (drum roll, please)...scones! I do not actually remember whether the scones were served with clotted or with whipped cream. Friend Rosie will know. Whatever it was, was exquisite.

There are so many things I wish I had from that day. A photograph of the lovely food chief among them. But soon I shall have (close to) the Real Thing, baked and concocted right here in the SconeTherapy kitchens all hot and ready to eat.

We will decide upon a date. We will decide upon what scone recipe, which tea cakes, and the variety of finger sandwiches. Rosie and I and our lovely daughters and available sisters will FaceTime during the festivities, and you will see and hear all about it shortly thereafter. Splendid!

Ummm...and someone has mentioned wearing hats. I'm not sure about that yet but hey - anything is possible. It's just that in Southern California, in the summer's heat and extreme casual lifestyle not too many of us have such a thing. But if friend Rosie is going to have on a hat while we are FaceTiming and if she is comfortable with it, the SconeLady can handle it. 

So: watch this space!

See you along the way!
the SconeLady
York Minster

photo credit: <a href="">DSC_0016</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href="">P1000082 cake stand</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Happiness of Freedom (2)

No tether! Wouldn't we all prefer this state of affairs? To be trusted and thus able to move about freely, as the Athena dog did on Memorial Day. It's much more fun that way!

My husband's family raised and trained many show trial dogs, over the years. These dogs were as trustworthy as they were beautiful. They needed to be in order to succeed in competitions. Something about their master's voice and hands reinforced all he had taught them, and by the time the trials came they won prizes of all sorts. They lived for those moments.

But such a thing must be learned - and earned! Even our own freedoms are ours as a result of obedience. You are not sitting behind bars right now because you obeyed the law. Am I right? Learned and earned.

But sometimes things can go haywire. One such true story went something like *this:

Once upon a time, there was a very nice doggie named Gypsy, whose master loved her very much. They lived near the lovely woods where they went walking companionably day by day. The master taught her to be good, and to obey. 

At first he kept her tied to a leash because he did not want her to be lost or injured out in the strange forest. She learned her lessons well and finally earned the freedom to be let off of the leash. She was excited, and wagged her fluffy tail, and smiled her funny smile. It was a wonderful feeling of freedom, and Gypsy loved it.

Then one day Gypsy saw something out of the corner of her eye, just as her master was calling her back to him. It was a bunny! She simply had to investigate, and so she ran and ran to try and capture it. She ran until her master could no longer see her, and she could no longer hear him. He finally found her deep in the forest, tired and thirsty and sorry. She would NEVER run after a bunny like that again, she was certain.

But it did happen again and kept happening until her master found he could no longer trust her to be off leash. She lost her freedoms one by one and was a sad little doggie, there being no more bunnies for her to chase. Still, she carefully watched for her chance and one day escaped the house, and took off running. She ran so far that her master could no longer find her to bring her home. He was very sad, and mourned his sweet companion. 

"Her free-will choice of chasing the bunny rather than obeying her master had led to other similar choices, until she no longer had a choice."

*adapted from the story of Gypsy, within A Severe Mercy. 
-by Sheldon Van Auken (1978)

(Free-will is a lovely thing, dear Readers. But an awesome responsibility, all the same.)

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Rainy day</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Happiness of Freedom

She wasn't terribly sure she wanted to. She had wanted to, very badly, only moments before. And then, finding herself in all that water - something made her rush to the edge, and to safety. There is something innocent and awkward about an adolescent pup trying to swim for the first time. It was really rather sweet.

A puppy's initial foray into a pool or hot tub is pretty eye-opening. It looks so very inviting, especially the SoCal kind that gleams and sparkles and reflects the sun in the most inviting way. And there are so many happy children splashing about that surely it must be splendid. But alas. The reality is often far from the hoped for..and she wanted out.

The rather stunning couple got her out to loll around on the grass and be patted a bit. Darling Athena dog had had a very satisfying day so far. There had been a 'dog run' set up for her along the side of the house. Perfectly acceptable, too; a place any dog might be happy in (even if it did involve a rope). But she was so instantly in love with the house and the freedom of the house that she behaved herself - thus, being allowed to wander about without a tether. We all loved it.

It was a bit of a lesson, too. Behaving oneself = trust = more freedom. An obedient pup will find that she has more freedom, being so trusted. A pup who disobeys ('but that hamburger on the counter top looks SO yummy..'), might find herself tethered. Which would she rather be?

And which would we rather be? Grownups might think they are beyond all need for obedience or tethers or restrictions. But we aren't! Life's lessons are yet ahead, right there in the hands of the Master. 

Our Athena dog is still half puppy and still learning - very well, I might add. Bit by bit she learns obedience, and enjoys the freedoms that are her reward. Yesterday was what we would call a Major Reward - door opened, ability to wander in and out and snuggle with countless friendly people, water dish within easy reach. And best of all?

No tether. Therein lies happiness.

See you along the Way!
the SconeLady

Monday, May 25, 2015


It was Memorial Day, with all the trimmings. Grownups provided the monitoring backdrop for small cousins who delighted in the fun of eating, running, swimming and boating. It was a smash hit of a Day.

It was also the celebration of a birthday...

the SconeLady's husband had a birthday

...and a boat ride where each child had a chance to drive. 

Amazingly, the little ones are becoming quite skillful, can you believe it? Right down to the littlest of them. I can just about see the nearly-8-year-old sitting behind the wheel of a car in a few years. Relaxed. Sun shades over his eyes. Blond hair blowing in the balmy breeze (hmm... I'd better get a grip; he is still only in 2nd grade and there really is no need to worry his mother just yet).

And time was spent with the rather stunning son (plus-one), whose contagious smiles were plastered all over everyone's faces. 

Even the dog enjoyed this day, wandering from smile to smile and only escaping the house once in order to tear around the front in an abject frenzy until dramatically caught by the darling lady in the hat, above.!

What a terrific memorable Day it was, as we remembered those who lived and died in the defense of many. Some of the 'many' did not even realize they needed the defense, but we will forgive them that. Many more will hear the same call, and will go. To them, today, we offer our salutes. We are baffled by your service. We are thankful.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Missing in St Ives

It was such a welcoming sight that there was just no space for melancholy. Not that there should be any. Who could be sad in a place like this?

I had walked along to my most favorite cafe with its two lovely Italians who faithfully dish out luscious Italian treats and speak to one another in Italian. It is nice just to sit there by the window looking out at the water, and listen to them.

"Thank you so, so much for coming," the young man says to his customers in his charming accent. "See you again soon." Their customers do see them again soon, because no one can resist coming back to where the sun is always shining, even on a rainy day.

It was the week after Easter and the weather was brilliant. People were out in their droves, walking along or sitting and soaking the beauty all in. That is not to say that it was exactly warm, mind you. The short pants you see in the photograph above are actually hilarious because when I snapped the picture, my fingers were just about numb. 

The day had begun with this chocolate twist (a take-off on the chocolate croissant which has more mass to it, and is therefore preferable) and coffee outside my cottage, in the sun. As I munched, people wandered by and I saw them staring rather sneakily in my direction. Once in a while someone would actually point. I had seen them staring and pointing earlier, too, from my kitchen window. In fact they had been doing that every day since my arrival. Why, might you ask, were they staring? It was because this must be the most popular and enviable cottage any of us ever saw. It was cute and white, only yards from the high tide, and had stunning sea views. Any person in the near vicinity would dearly want to be the lucky person inside. Who couldn't sit there and write the great American novel? Only, the staring hordes were a bit distracting and I couldn't help staring at them right back. 

But there was something bothering me quite a bit. Don't get me wrong, everything was wonderful; there was food and drink at my very fingertips, scones presented themselves to me at every turn, and in all likelihood the same would be true the next day. But still, there was something ... sadly missing.

The SconeLady's husband.

For it is well known that, however far you may roam, nothing on this earth can ever replace the joy and companionship of a good husband.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Pioneer In All Of Us

I have watched it with both of the mothers in my life, and been inspired every time.

My mother-in-law had it on one day last year when I wandered into her room. She had such a cozy set-up in there with two of the most squishy and comfortable butter-yellow recliners, smack dab within eyeshot of the television set. She had her remote in hand and was fast forwarding through some commercials. She, like us, did not like commercials and would not listen to even a few seconds of one if she could help it. 

"What are you watching?" I asked curiously.

"Oh, this is The Pioneer Woman! She talks about food and makes it for her audience. She lives on a massive ranch in the middle of nowhere."

Hmm. In the middle of nowhere. That sounded intriguing. So I sat down in the other recliner, pushed the handle back, and settled in for a good watch. My mother-in-law had scads of The Pioneer Woman on what she called 'TEE VOE', whatever that was. I had never had it and was amazed at her prowess with it.

The program shows The Pioneer Woman's family, her ranch, her gigantic home (called 'The Lodge') and mostly, her kitchen. It was all immensely comfortable looking and happy. The four children are home-schooled and ride horses and help with the multitudes of cattle and everything else that goes into ranching. It was awesome.

Ever since that day, I have wandered past my mother-in-law's room in hopes that she will have a stockpile of The Pioneer Woman episodes playing themselves out in front of those recliners. It became a tradition. She took to saving out her favorites to play for me. "But haven't you already seen it? Do you really want to see it again?" I would ask.

"There can never be too much of The Pioneer Woman," she would say with a laugh.

She is now, sadly, gone from our lives, and upon my first visit to the farm after this happened, I crept down the hall to her room. Peering in, I felt as though she should be sitting there in her recliner, waiting for me to join her. 

Both of our mothers are, and were, pioneering women who raised their children on farms. It wasn't an easy life, but it has made all the difference in the world. It's nice to know that out there in the middle of nowhere, a red-haired lady is making a difference in her world.

Pardon me while I tune in to her next episode. I think it's something to do with chocolate peanut butter pie and Salisbury Steak (and I don't even need 'TEE VOE').

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

The Pioneer Woman, courtesy of the Food Network

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fortune Cookie Gets It (almost) Right

"Can't we take her out?" requested the 7-year-old. "Look, she is so patiently waiting.." But, it was not to be. The darling Athena dog would not be coming out of her crate anytime soon, as there was a party forming. And everyone knows that growing doggies are not known to be delicate with so much activity afoot.

"What do you think she would do if she was let out?" Grandma asked curiously, thinking.

"Oh.. Well, I think she would probably run around the decorations and eat them all up. That is what I think she would do."

Question answered. Doggie stays.

But she is such a nice little thing and has provided much comfort and entertainment during her 4 months at the Little Blue House. 

She has been known to have adventures -
  • escaping from the house and tearing about in the front faster than any boy could ever think of running. 
  • behaving as if she might be another human
  • softly licking an outstretched hand until Mommy says, "No lick"
  • collapsing upon every lawn passed during a training walk, "But Mommy I'm SO exhausted!"
  • falling asleep in her food dish
And now it was time to take the three out for a supper while the decorations were going up.

"Now where would you three like to eat?" asked Grandpa.

"Wendy's!" "Chipotle!" "PICK UP STICKS!" they cried. In the end, it was Pick Up Sticks, and everyone was happy. I could see why the moment we entered:

What is this? I wondered. The new Wave of kid-friendliness seems to have hit Pick Up Sticks. It was a smashing hit and no one had a chance to become restless whilst the food was being prepared. Grandpa ordered, paid, got drinks and lids, procured napkins, dished up Honey Chicken pieces, noodles, vegetables, white rice, straws, and in the end, fortune cookies.

"Mine says 'Everything you touch will prosper'!! cried the tall blond big brother. He went about touching us all and saying, "You - and you - and you will now prosper!"

"What does mine say, Grandma?" piped the littlest. 

"Ok, yours says 'Why didn't you eat your peas?'" she replied, with a wink.

"But I didn't have any peas.." he said, uncertainly.

"Sorry, just kidding. Yours really says, 'You are talented in many ways.'"

This brought a bright smile, and then the small girl enquired, "What does my fortune say, Grandma?"

"Let's have a look. Ok, it says, 'Your shoes will make you happy today.'"

"Oh," she said, "...but I think I have a blister.." 

Well, it isn't the first time a fortune cookie got it wrong, I thought. Then we loaded everybody up, snapped them in, backed up and headed out. I glanced back toward the little girl who was staring at her shoes, and who in fact has had a predilection toward shoes for ages (like many women). So the fortune cookie was a little bit wrong, although not all wrong. No, not nearly all.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Nest vs The Perch

Even a shy person must learn to grab their moments when they come, because that moment may not come again anytime soon. Thus it was when the SconeLady met the Author.

Meeting Jane Kirpatrick was both fun and unforgettable, with the added advantage of her being so amazingly sweet and accessible! I have already mentioned to you the fact that Jane came without any noticeable posse to keep her in a bubble. It was lovely. And she offered some input that has already changed how we do things around here.

You might remember that I am currently writing a book, a first for me, but something that has happened to Jane at least 16 times. 16!!. Because it has happened to her so many times, I approached her with a question..

"Hello Jane. I am intersted in knowing what your work space is like. Do you function with a laptop, and then float around the different parts of your home? Or do you use a desktop device, and stay in one place?"

She smiled and said, "Actually I do use a laptop when traveling, but at home I use a desktop. The space looks sort of like..." and she described the work space she and her husband had devised. It was fascinating.

The SconeLady's 'Nest'   
Everything is set up so that Jane has her research materials, her timeline, her reference books and all her computer programs to hand. Within reach. Never has to drag herself up to go in search. It's all right there. Her husband built her a 3-sided desk to neatly fit every one of these items so that there is no clutter except what clutter she wants to have. It was fascinating to hear about and to visualize. Already I was thinking about my own space and its functionality for me. It is actually a little bit like a nest, and as such, is comfortable.  

There I can sit, snuggled into the rather aged leather love seat and ottoman, and write to my heart's content. But it does have drawbacks, including the fact that the laptop screen might be a bit small for me. A larger screen would mean that I might not have to squint. That is significant. 

So after my discussion with Jane I shared it all with my kindly husband. Together we thought through ideas for space. And computers. And desks and chairs. We are in the trial stage. So I am seated here now in my perch with the nicely heftier iMac, and typing away to you, my dear Readers. I can much better see the larger print on the larger screen, and love it! You can see that I have a wonderful view to gaze at as these fingers fly over the keys. Hmm. This could work.

           All of the devices are on the Cloud so if I work on one, the new stuff appears on all.

I think that rather than having an either/or scenario and having to choose between the two, I shall embrace both! The nest is comfy, and less isolated. The perch offers a larger font (which the SconeLady's eyes will appreciate) and gives her a smashing view. They BOTH work, don't you think?

Either way, it was fun to hear what Jane found helpful. And what Jane found helpful was helpful enough to produce for her those 16 books that have become beloved by so many. 16. It's such an imposing number when you are still all the way back on lonely number one..

But that's ok! Because this first one might be a doozy.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Apple Watch

It's amazing how satisfying just one little trip to an Apple Store can be. Especially if you are going to try on an APPLE WATCH SPORT. 

At the beginning of the day I had no idea that such an idea would present itself by its end. But it did because the SconeLady's husband asked about whether or not she would like to go try one on. To take a look. To (perhaps) order one, if I did like it. An early birthday gift!

So what else could a girl possibly say to such a proposal but 'yes!'? We instantly grabbed up our keys and fled. Drove over the canyon and onto the dread freeway, then along to Victoria Gardens where the Apple Watch lay.

Apple Store, Victoria Gardens CA

As we approached I could see numbers of people coming in and out of the iconic glass entryway of the Apple Store and - good grief! - the place was huge. Perfectly cavernous. The last time we had come, it had been a nice cozy sized room with normal sized tables containing all the latest gear. Now, it was at least four times its former size, and all abuzz. Apple people in their cool looking outfits, carrying their obligatory iPhones or pads or watches leaped to help us. We had to wait not even a half minute before someone was at eye level, ready to roll.

We had a 'try-on' appointment, so the Apple lady said something like, and which watch would you like to begin with? So I gazed.

Apple Watch case to drool over

In front of me was the case holding numerous Apple Watches in a variety of colors, materials, and sizes. I suppose it was a bit like a candy store, so colorful and attractive was it. I was soon drawn to the Apple Watch SPORT with its super cute soft bands in white, black, blue, green, and pink coral. She guided us to the secret drawer containing watches we could try on, and I started with a white. It was Gorgeous

Here are just a few of the cool things an Apple Watch can do:

  • send and receive Messages and emails
  • receive and make hands-free phone calls (a'la Dick Tracy)
  • ask Siri all sorts of interesting questions and be answered immediately
  • get turn-by-turn directions to your destination
  • pay for things at a cafe or store or anywhere else you choose
  • watch your activity level, calorie count, distance walked, heart rate, etc
  • listen to your music, your podcasts, in fact anything you wish to hear
One day the thing will be able to wash the clothes and do your taxes too. (Oh wait - it already does your taxes, right?) 

I wonder when there will be an app for cleaning toilets. Until then, I say that technology has not gone nearly far enough.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

photo credit: <a href="">Apple -  Watch Sport</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

photo credit: <a href="">Apple Watch</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Poached Along the Beach

How to reach the Porthminster Beach Cafe

You need only to stroll a short distance along Pednolva Walk (what they call The Warren), and on down the sands of Porthminster Beach to find it.  And you'd best be hungry because you will want space to put what you find there.

It is, in my opinion, St Ives' finest food. It is not fancy food necessarily, but fine all the same. It is what makes the Porthminster Beach Cafe our favorite spot of them all. 

My kindly sister and I saw it, but did not go. We meant to go; we wanted to go. But alas, I think we forgot our plan until it was too late, and time to get them onto their train in the end. But the SconeLady had frequented this favored of all places many times, and next time a sister visits we will certainly make our way to it. I think breakfast is their finest hour. The items I have enjoyed there are:

  • the superb pancake stack
  • two poached free range eggs, with sour dough toast
  • the semi fry-up, including bacon, mushroom, tomato, toast and egg
  • freshly made special granola with fruit

There is a long list of other items that I never got to, so good were the above four. But I did see Ted enjoying the full fry-up, which included b
acon, local sausage, homemade potato hash, field mushroom, baked beans, toasted sour dough, tomato and two fried eggs. It looked amazing!

Breakfast menu, and everything on it is good

I mentioned their poached eggs here once and shared that I would like to learn to make poached eggs myself. They are always so good but I had despaired of ever having them at home (it sounded so messy). There came forthwith a very encouraging note from a faithful reader (umm, my brother) stating that he had it all under control. That there was a splendid egg poacher he could recommend to the SconeLady, and not only just recommend but - he would give me one. Actually, not just one but two egg poachers! I was stunned.

He came through, and brought my egg poachers to me in a lovely box all safely wrapped and ready for the microwave. It took me a while, but once I was back home I took out the poachers and went at it. This was so easy - you break an egg into a poacher, and add a teaspoon of water. Put the lid of the poacher on, and microwave it for 20 seconds. Let it sit 20 seconds, and then cook for a further 20. And, voila! There is your breakfast.

You must put your toast in the toaster before starting to cook the eggs because they get done so quickly. Here is what they look like:

New egg poaching pot for the SconeLady

Finished product of the egg poaching pot for the SconeLady

My egg and toast were so delicious! I must thank my sweet brother for making this possible. I never thought a poached egg at home, without needing to get into the car or pay a dime, would be so spectacularly easy. 

And whenever I have this delicious treat, I think of that special place along the shore where so many times I have enjoyed food at its best. It almost makes my fingers fly toward Safari to look at - airline prices....! (Uh-oh..).

See you along the way!
the SconeLady

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Neighbor

He saw me outside, clipping roses. I wanted some to brighten our dinner table that night, and there were just a few ready. Hmm. Maybe I could use the smaller vase... 

I kneeled down to start clipping the first, a lonely long stemmed white. "Do you like roses?" my neighbor asked me hesitantly. I straightened up and held the prickly thing, turning my attention toward him. He had been slowly rolling his trash receptacles up the long driveway, and was now resting against one of them.

"Yes, I do," said I. "I love them, in fact. It's such a nice day today that I thought I would fill a vase or two." He smiled and indicated the roses covering the ground at the edge of his drive.

"Well, my wife doesn't like them very much, so if you want to clip some of these for a vase, please feel free." I looked at him and thought, how very nice! They were such lovely things, always so well kept and weeded, and I had long admired them. Wondered how they could keep them so consistently wonderful looking.

"Really?" I finally asked. "You mean, I can take some?"

"Absolutely you can! Any time you want to, you just bring out your clippers and have at it," he said, smiling. It was just so utterly kind of him. I was touched. Our families had been neighbors for simply years, seeing one another frequently as we drove up to our homes next to each other's. They had loved our three grandchildren and been sad when they moved away. The presence of children adds light to every neighborhood. And now, he was offering me his roses!

"Thank you!" I said, and instantly I took him up on it. Went in and got a yellow pitcher that I kept ready on a table for that very reason. Yellow is just such a creamy, buttery color that I find it hard to resist. Any flower would be at home in it. Out it came with me, and I gently clipped some of my next door neighbor's lovely blooms. Not so many that it would be noticeably bare anywhere. Balanced, as you might say.

"Well, I'll leave you to your clipping then," he said, after a while.

"Ok, goodbye, and thank you again, so much!" I said as he walked through the gate next to his garage. The gate closed, and then click! went its lock, and he was gone.

I went on clipping roses on both sides of our dividing grass, thinking about the flowers that would soon be sharing the same space. It was nice. Their roses were petite, beautifully red and hugging the ground amongst the leaves. Ours were taller, the blooms fatter and fewer, but together they looked as though they had been meant for each other. 

I could hear my neighbor puttering and working in his back yard, and thought how nice it might be to maybe make some chocolate chip cookies, to share. To have conversations that are a little longer than usual. To lose our shyness just a bit. 

Yes. I think that is what I will do. Chocolate chip cookies are always an ice breaker. Even between neighbors who have lived side-by-side for years.

See you along the way!
the SconeLady