Monday, 20 July 2015

A little bit of self-indulgence

This time last year I was enjoying a winter birthday, in Melbourne!  I can't believe a year has gone by, and here I am, one year older!  I give thanks for that.  It's been a good year - both sons married, a trip to Australia, and one back from there, of both family and friends.  Lots of other good stuff going on here too, and the constant blessing of having my family around me on a daily basis.  How lucky am I!

I love smelly old roses!  Despite some pretty disappointing summer winds and heavy rain, the garden has yielded some beautiful blooms.  So, these are for my beloved mother and me, on this day.
My early childhood birthday celebrations were usually a picnic tea.  My mother would shepherd me, my brother and sister, a cousin or two, and a gaggle of little schoolgirl friends to a grassy patch, big enough to spread a couple of rugs, by the towpath of the Basingstoke Canal, at Odiham.  1950s picnic food would have been a good, simple affair - always banana sandwiches, probably cucumber sandwiches, a few sausage rolls, and a birthday cake, made with Mum's 'childrens special sponge mixture' recipe.  It was good for a Victoria sponge, or a traybake, with a lovely sharp lemon icing. I've used the same recipe for my children's birthday cakes, always a success, although I wouldn't dream of using marge!
We would mess about at the edge of the canal.  It was shallow there, silted up over time.  The elaborate casings of the caddis fly larvae were always a bit of a draw, water boatmen, and minnows caught in jam jars, trailed through the water with a string handle.  Happy days!


  1. A very happy birthday to you!
    What beautiful roses! Especially on your special day!
    My visited to Odiham Castle with ma and Willem was truly lovely ... Swans, fish and highland cows!!!!
    Happy memories and happy day to you! ❤️

  2. Beautiful roses and I can smell the perfume ('smelly old roses' indeed!) from here. The rain & wind have battered my poor roses this year.
    How lovely to have your Grandma's hand-written recipe book to follow - a wonderful family memento.
    The mention of caddis flies, water boatmen and tiddlers in a jam jar take me straight back to my childhood, when I would spend many happy hours playing by the brook that ran through our village; in the winter that stream froze solid and became a long, slippery slide made by the 'big boys' . The one time I ran and slid on it, I fell on my back and knocked all the breath out of my body! Too scared to ever do that again!

    1. Sounds to me as though you had a similar childhood to me! Weren't we lucky!

  3. Oops nearly missed it! Happy Birthday :-) Fantastic memories and I hope the sun was shining for you xx

    1. Thanks Antonia! I had a great day - far too much cake, and a Middle Eastern feast in a restaurant in Edinburgh with my family in the evening, and generally over-indulged shamelessly! Brilliant! A x