Saturday, 14 May 2016

Five On Eurovision

Hello, thank you very much for calling in, you are very welcome here on this sunny May Saturday, especially if you have arrived via Love Made My Home.  I am very busy in the kitchen today because tonight we are holding our annual Eurovision Song Contest party, as we have done for more than twenty years now - I wrote about my Eurovision history last year and you can read it here.
So, each year we research the food and traditions of the hosting country and prepare an appropriate buffet.  There is plenty of food and drink, we watch the contest and give our own scores and although we are very enthusiastic, we don't really take it seriously; we know that the UK will never win it again.  However, for one evening a year we feel in happy communion with the rest of Europe in this festival of music and spectacle.  So, today I would like to share with you five things which I have learned because of this annual event.
Firstly, I like Nordic cuisine.  Over the last ten years we have metaphorically been to Finland, Denmark and Sweden (twice) and the food is fab: gravadlax, cardamom buns, reindeer salami, open sandwiches... I am always happy when a Nordic country wins because I  look forward to next year's buffet immediately.
Secondly, Azerbaijan is a fascinating place, geographically speaking, with a great number of different terrains and climates which means that just about anything can grow somewhere there.  Consequently, the cuisine is varied and delicious, influenced by Iran and by Mediterranean Europe.  Who knew?
Thirdly, a lot of pork is eaten in Serbia.  Our Serbian buffet was not very varied.
Fourthly, a Black Forest Gateau is not really a Black Forest Gateau unless  there is kirsch in the sponge.  The rest of that bottle of kirsch has been in my cupboard for five years now and I really ought to think of something to do with it because I don't really like Black Forest Gateau.
Finally, some European countries seem to think that the way to garner votes is to put attractive young women in dresses which reveal an awful lot of cleavage.  This makes them appear backwards to the rest of us and so backfires.  Remember those Polish milkmaids? 
So, I must crack on now with preparation of the smorgasbord.  I am sorry there is no photo in this post but I am having technical difficulties (actually, I don't think the problem is with the technology, I rather think it's with the idiot operator).  As ever, thank you to Amy at Love Made My Home for hosting Five on Friday and if you have time, please hop over there and have a look at what everyone else is up to.
See you on the other side.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x

Monday, 2 May 2016

Eiderdown Love

Hello, thank you for dropping in. Today is a bank holiday so, typically, the weather is cold and wet!  Grrr.  Proposed outings have been dropped in favour of staying indoors and lighting the fire.  IN MAY!  Ridiculous.
Our clan gathered on Saturday to celebrate a young man's coming of age, a wonderful day full of family, music, chatter, cake, puddings and love (obviously there was other food as well as pudding, but the puddings were plentiful and exceedingly good).  There was also a great deal of weather: blue skies, sunshine, rain, sleet, wind and hail.  After all, this was England in April. Cardigans were in abundance.  As she greeted me, one of my sisters said, "I am really enjoying your blog but you are not doing it often enough."  I agreed.  I would like to do it more often but I haven't found the right rhythm yet.  So, this post is inspired by her.
When we were very young we shared a bedroom.  There were two beds - not twin beds, they didn't match, I am sure of that because when we were both confined to bed with chicken pox, my mother placed a piece of wood across both beds to create a makeshift table and I distinctly remember my bowl of cereal sliding down towards my sister, so her bed must have been lower than mine.  One day, our parents took us out shopping to choose new eiderdowns for those beds and as we didn't have new things very often, this was Very Exciting.  Oh, how we loved those eiderdowns.  The fabric showed rows of Napoleonic soldiers on a white background, their bright jackets red and blue and their tall hats adorned with plumes, their moustaches perfectly waxed and swords hanging from their waists.  They didn't match anything else in our bedroom but that didn't matter in those days and anyway, they matched each other.   
When we grew older, we had separate bedrooms but the eiderdowns stayed with me because I had twin beds in my room.  Eventually, I graduated to a double bed, sheets and blankets were replaced with a duvet - and I can't tell you how glamorous that seemed in 1976 - and the eiderdowns were relegated to the airing cupboard.  They came out if any of us was ill enough to need a day off school and a bed on the sofa, snuggly and cosy as they were, and as we grew up they moved airing cupboard twice.  When my elder daughter, The Teacher, was old enough to move out of her cot and into a bed my mother gave me one of the eiderdowns as I like old-fashioned sheets and blankets for tiny tots because you can tuck them in so that they don't fall out of bed.  So our eiderdown was back on a bed, snuggled under every night by a child, doing its job. 
Eventually, both The Teacher and The Mathematician graduated to duvets and the eiderdown, by this time very tattered and worn, was again relegated to nursing duties.  It is now more than forty years old and, having snuggled six girls, absolutely falling apart.  It has been retired but my children insist that we must keep it and yes, we all know how ridiculous that is.
Recently, The Teacher presented me with a pair of identical cushion covers she had made.  Here's one -

 The clever girl had found the fabric on ebay and recognised it immediately.  Would you like to see the back? -


Do you see those lovely button loops?  And the buttons themselves are special too: when the Best Beloved's grandmother died, The Teacher inherited her button tin and she chose these buttons from the tin for my new cushions.  So the cushions are new and old, they are my memories and the Best Beloved's memories, they are our children's memories and our family memories, they are comfort and love and they are brand, spanking new!  I still don't have new things very often, so they are also Very Exciting. 
See you soon.
Love, Mrs Tiggywinkle x