Tuesday, December 4

Something old, something new

On a visit home last week I remembered to pick up the two things that I'd asked for from my gran's house after she died - her well-worn bread board and her even more well-worn bread knife.

I like the fact that these things she used to use every day are now part of my kitchen; they were always out on the kitchen worktop ready to be used, or in use, with slices of bread waiting to be buttered, or a loaf about to be sliced for some sandwiches for tea. The ancient blade of the knife has been sharpened over decades into a totally different shape, its metal is marked and stained by many years of use, but I only have to glance at it to be transported right back to granny's kitchen.

Ironically my kitchen also gained a brand new tool on the same trip; the whisk with the balls on the end, which was bought at the David Mellor kitchen shop in Hathersage (gorgeous shop, I could have spent a lot of money!).

I used it today to whip up an omelette, and although it was very effective, it was bloody noisy! Apparently you can buy them with silicone balls on the end - I'd probably recommend one of those if you have the choice.

Monday, December 3

Cissbury Ring, West Sussex

When I booked my late November National Trust working holiday which involved scrub bashing on the top of one of the most exposed parts of the south coast, I did feel a slight flicker of concern that it might prove to be a tough week.

As it was, I needn't have worried. Apart from one day of rain (the day off, when I made a rather foolish decision to leave the warmth of the hostel and go out for a six mile walk because it 'looked like it was clearing up') we were very lucky with the weather.

My fellow volunteers were interesting and good company; the food and drink was copious and good quality; my only complaint was the stuffy dorms which I abandoned after two sleepless nights for the relative comfort of the oversized sofas in the lounge.

We worked on Cissbury Ring, a hill fort overlooking Worthing, chopping scrub, small trees, and lots of gorse. Some of it we burned on huge fires, and on the days when we weren't burning the scrub, the warden still made a little fire for us to sit around and have our breaks.

The views were glorious and the trees magnificent. I took a lot of photos of trees. I love trees in winter, they are much more visually interesting without their leaves, although I also love standing under them in spring and summer, and peering through the leafy canopy to the sky.