I have noticed a trend on Facebook, where somebody lists 10 things they like starting with a particular letter, and if you like their post, they give you your own letter. Well I thought that could make for an interesting little blog series, and so here is the first in my A to Z of Lovely Things.
A is for…
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, or so they say, but knowing they are good for you is only a bonus to the pleasure of loving them for their own sake. The brilliant range if colours, flavours veering from cheek-achingly sharp to dreamily sweet. If you are lucky enough like me to have an orchard nearby, oh, the wonderful names. Egremont Russet, Blenheim Orange, Ribston Pippin, Chivers Delight, Laxton’s Superb, D’Arcy Spice….they just sound so delicious, don’t they? The Ribston Pippin dates back to the 1700’s…just imagine how many people have tucked one into a pocket or bag for a snack.
My current favourite dessert is a cheats baked apple. Just core a Chelmsford Wonder, Queen or Bramley cooking apple, and score lightly around the equator of the apple. Pop a tiny pat of butter into the bottom of the cored hole, then stuff with raisins which have been rolled in cinnamon and a little sugar. Press them down firmly to pack plenty in, top with another tiny pat of butter and microwave for about 5-8 minutes. Stir the meltingly soft flesh into Greek yogurt…bliss!
Oh how I love autumn..,the cooler days, the falling leaves, the hazy light, the season of apples and pumpkins…I won’t go on too long as I have talked about autumn so often here. I am adoring sharing Jessica’s first autumn with her. I have a big pumpkin for her to lean on and pat and explore with her hands, and two smaller ‘warty gourds’ which she can lift up if she wants to. We walk in the park and I point out the squirrels, and I collect crisp fallen leaves, just one or two, from almost all of our expeditions, and take back home to display in the fireplace and remind me of our happy hours together.
I remember so well the year I was 14…it was the year of the BBC adaptation of a Pride and Prejudice. I read the book alongside the series and was captivated. I couldn’t believe this whole world of writing which had before then been unknown to me. I think of her as dear Jane and have been lucky enough to visit Bath and Winchester and her house at Chawton. She left us so few novels, but those that she did leave are just delightful. I always feel slightly envious of people discovering her for the first time!
My spiritual home, I think. The moment we drive down the hill to the High Street, with the church where Britten is buried to the left, and the sea in front if you, I feel all the tension leave my body. It isn’t quaint exactly, but is something close to it. I fell into a routine one year of walking out early in the morning along the seafront, and then coming back through the town, stopping for the morning paper and freshly baked croissants. If I win the lottery, you will find me in a cottage at Aldeburgh. Oh, and I spotted Ben Wishaw there one year – he was in the queue in front of me for fish and chips!
Another harbinger of Autumn, and something that again is just lovely for itself. When I lived at home, Mum made me some beautiful curtains with heavy fabric which was a light green, densely patterned with orange, brown and goldeny oak leaves and acorns. Perhaps that is why acorns make me think of home when I see them. Perhaps I love them for the settled, cosy feeling they give in their association of squirrels all stocked up with nuts for autumn and winter. Maybe they stir memories of childhood stories of elves and pixies wearing acorn-cap hats. Funnily enough, my post from several years ago about making marzipan acorns (perhaps I shall do that again this year) is one of the most popular here on my little blog.
So, tell me, what are some of your favourite things beginning with A?