Thursday, February 28, 2008
Well, all paths may lead to Rome in the end (and the photo above shows the path past the oak tree to the the Fairy Door at Thatchwick which leads to the back garden). I was advised by Kathryn Bechen at Kathryn Bechen Inkblot, one of my kind blog 'mentors', to create a signature to my emails including my url address to let others know of my blog. I promptly created a very classy signature with the wrong address! No wonder, frustrated colleagues and friends couldn' t find me. Well, my address is thatchwick.blogspot.com sans the cottage bit. Hopefully, now Trist, Gal and self will be more accessible to visitors!
My real address is Charles Street but I tell everyone to ring the bell at the corner of Charles and William Street. Then Ryan, my dear son-in-law and blog advisor, told me that William Street is actually William Drive. Oh dear, this is starting to sound like a conversation between Alice and the White Queen! Curiouser and curiouser! But if you manage to find me, you're so welcome.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
I thought that I would explain a little about thatch roofs which may not be common in your part of the world. This shot on the left shows Thatchwick's very handsome roof with the dormer windows of the loft-cum-study. Thatch roofs are not unusual in South Africa. After all, the traditional grass roofed huts of the African people can still be seen in the deep rural areas of the country. In the suburbs of the cities, you will find an occasional thatch. Loved for their special looks, only the brave opt for a thatch as the house insurance is high due to the fire risk. I have a lightening conducter (will show you that another time) next to the house to deflect lightening strikes from the roof.
This ilustration comes from a 1953 publication: Patience Strong's Book of Homes and Gardens. She says, "On sunny days the thatched cottage reminds one of a sleepy old lady in a brown straw hat drowsing contentedly in the sunshine. In winter, when the winds are ripping slates and tiles off other roofs, how secure and safe the old cottage looks." Indeed thatch is a wonderful medium: cool and and sweet smelling in summer and warm in winter. I love living under my thatch roof!
Some thatch houses have ceilings so you only enjoy the thatch from the outside. I only have wooden ceilings in my sitting room and sun room which must have been later additions.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I was reminded of this again on Tuesday afternoon. After work, a friend and I met at a little cluster of shops in the neighbourhood within walking distance from both our homes. We only had an hour or two to spare. Firstly, we viewed an exhibition of drawings by a promising final year art student. Next we admired leather handbags and unusual antique and modern jewellery at a tiny gift shop. Then on to some Louis XIV chairs upholstered in gold brocade which we found in the adjoining antique shop. In contrast, was raw, brightly coloured, exotic African crafts in the next venue, showcasing the work of artists from Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland, to name a few. A leopard carved out of wood caught my eye; my friend preferred the cream and blue pottery bowls. Around the corner, situated in the old post-office, is a great favourite of mine: a gift shop filled almost to the ceiling with unusual funky treasures.
Now adding to your mental wish list is thirsty work so we stopped at the next door deli for a cappuchino and a chat at one of the tables on the pavement. Before leaving for home, we bought fresh fruit and flowers at the corner cafe which looks the same as it did 35 years ago. I bought a bunch of fresh pink proteas for R 25 (about US $ 3). This time spent strolling among some rather hidden local shops, far from the bustle of the Mall, was such fun. Who needs hours in a Paris arrondissement? Local is lekker ! (That is Afrikaans word for very pleasant!)
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Tristram has a true confession to make. The kind many a lad or lass has had to proffer after posting an Internet photo, especially if it was on the Lonely Hearts column. His original photo (see the side bar) was taken at least nine years ago. Today he is much older and greyer in the flesh, or is it the fur? However, as he has pointed out to me, grey hairs in a male are just so much more attractive than in a female. His comment, I can assure you, not mine! Grey hairs also speak of wisdom, maturity and experience. Galahad, on the other hand, has the advantage of an ash-blonde. He just seems a little lighter about the chin as the time goes on.
My friend, Leona, who lives in Linz, Austria asked me for my apple cake recipe. It also has a history. I first tasted this cake at my kitchen tea. I suspect there are different versions of this favourite found in every community. I baked one yesterday for a church function and everyone loved it.
1 small tin (425 g) pie apple pieces
50 g margerine
One and a quarter cup of sugar
1 teasp. vanilla
125 ml milk
One and a half cup's self-raising flour
Pinch of salt
Cream butter and sugar.
Add beaten eggs.
Sift dry ingredients and add alternatively with milk to make a soft dough.
Pour into a greased pie dish.
Place apple pieces as in picture.
Bake for about 30 minutes at 180 C
Sauce: While baking, bring one cup of sugar and 250 ml cream to the boil. Pour over the cake as soon as you remove it from the oven. Serve with either creme fraiche; whipped cream; custard as a desert; or just plain.
It's not as rich or as glamourous as one of those Austrian tortes that Leona makes but it is delicious.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Now the problem with a dog lover is that you can't take those cute photos for your blog with kitty sleeping amidst your satin cushions. As you can see, Galahad is most willing to pose amongst the cushions on my sunroom sofa but ...! Those wet brown eyes are telling you that I am a real spoilsport. Fortunately Tristram is not interested in beds, sofas or cushions. He feels a love of luxury is un-knightly. After all he has a reputation to keep up as Sir Tristram the Brave. Beside Gal is also an avid swimmer who likes a good roll among the aspidistras after a dip in the pool. And as Ogden Nash said