Sunday, 25 December 2016

Happy Christmas

This tree may look scrawny but it's much loved. It's been brought into the house and decorated each Christmas Eve for many years now. This summer I bought a larger pot and replenished the soil in an effort to keep the tree alive for more years to come. You may think it bedraggled but we love it! The same old decorations appear and the bonus is that with so few pine needles there is plenty of space to see the decorations. (Yes, I'm a cup half full sort of person!)
Wishing you all, dear Bloggers, a peaceful, joyful Christmas.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Friday Skywatch in December.

We woke to a still day and heavy mist, nothing much to be seen from our windows. But gradually the weather improved enough to tempt us out for a short walk. It feels damp and it seeps into your bones. Can you see the green moss that blankets all the branches?
The sun made a brave attempt to shine.
Sky echoed in the water for Friday Skywatch.

but it was good to get back to the warmth of the kitchen.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016


I've ordered Christmas and Boxing Day food from Booths and it will all be delivered to my door. How deliciously bone idle of me! Now I've got plenty of time to fiddle about doing all the Chrismassy things that I enjoy.
I've photocopied some images from our trip to the Christmas market and made them into cards. They were liberally sprinkled with glitter before being put in the post.
Next task, mincemeat. I make a fat-free version using as many homegrown ingredients as possible, apples and juice, lemons and walnuts.
1lb soft dark sugar
15 fl oz apple juice
4lb chopped cooking apples
1 teaspoon each of allspice and cinnamon
2lb of dried fruit, currants, raisins. I also put in chopped apricots, cherries, whatever!
4oz chopped nuts
grated rind and juice of a lemon

Dissolve the sugar in the apple juice, add all the other ingredients, bring to the boil then simmer for half an hour until you have a soft mash. Bottle while hot.
It makes about 7lbs  (a generous 3kg) of mincemeat.
I've made a far smaller mix of Christmas gingersnaps (Julpepparkakor) than usual, the recipe is four times the amount that I've made and produces 300 biscuits. This year I'm trying to show a little restraint!
3oz soft brown sugar
2oz treacle
2 tablespoons water
2 1/2oz butter
8oz flour
1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ginger and bicarb of soda

Boil together the sugar, treacle and water. Add the butter to melt, then cool. stir in the dry ingredients. Work the dough until smooth. Roll VERY thinly and cut out.  Gas 3-4 for approx 8 minutes.
Then comes the fun of icing the shapes to look festive!

Friday, 9 December 2016

Searching for sunshine. Friday skywatch.

We've been away for a few days with the Young and Fit, searching for some warmth and sunshine. We rented an apartment looking out to sea and hoped to do little more than lie back and absorb some vitamin D.
But what we had to contend with was cloud - thick cloud! Time to go exploring instead. This was the coastal path from our apartment in the former fishing village of Puertito del Guimar on the N.E. of the island.

One of several very basic fishermen's dwellings.

It was hard work walking on the cinder path.
And the local beach was black!
Half a day of sunshine. Hurray!
But mostly it was cloud.
We went on a narrow, winding, ear-popping road 
along the Monte de las Mercedes,
where the light changed moment by moment.

There was plenty of sky for Skywatch Friday!

Sand on the beach (imported?) at Las Teresitas.
But the clouds were forming
so we went to wander around Santa Cruz.
A section of the huge 'living wall' outside the tourist office.
We found this lovely area for lunch.

What's this! A statue to great-grandfather Patrick Murphy?

And yet another Murphy statue. 

Those Murphy's get everywhere!
We thought Santa Cruz a pleasant place to stroll,
that is, until Himself had his pocket picked,
then we felt rather differently!
The modern library and art gallery building was really impressive, very uplifting to see that level of investment in the city.
There were charming displays in the library showing prints of the early botanical explorers.

The Oscar Dominguez exhibition was well hung, but it was all very sub-Picasso. I find it disconcerting when an artist takes over the iconography that belongs so completely to another.
Some delicate 'drawings' produced by means of pinholes.
And I wandered into an installation piece. Babe in the wood?
The Christmas lights came on at dusk
and became more delightful as darkness fell.

On another cloudy day we went to Candelaria, a former fishing village that is now a small town with a basilica which houses the statue of Our Lady Candelabra, the Patron Saint of the Canary Islands.
Overlooking the Basilica square stand large statues of the Guanches, the ancient inhabitants of the island. Every summer there is a fiesta here to celebrate the appearance of Our Lady to the Guanches. The moment is re-enacted by the residents of the town.

The statue of the Our Lady is taken from the Basilica and displayed in the square, with it's backdrop of the sea.

It was an interesting few days. But sunshine, how we longed to see you!