Feeling crabby?

It’s been a while since I did anything vaguely foodie, partly as I’ve been on an awkward exclusion diet (low FODMAP) for a while. All bets were off in Lisbon last week though! I am now back on the wagon prior to a complex reintroduction phase!

Tonight was seafood treats night, with crab bites for starters – an improvised job to suit both my restrictions and Stew’s tastes.

A Little Gem lettuce heart forms the bases, though I’d also be tempted to try chicory/endive for a bitter contrast to the sweet crab. Wash, separate and season the lettuce or endive lightly.

Take about a third of a green pepper, the green of a couple of spring onions (scallions), a small handful of coriander leaves, a pickled gherkin and about 8 capers and chop finely, then combine with a couple of tablespoons of low-fat mayo and about the same of (lactose-free for low-FODMAP) yoghurt – but alter amount and proportions to suit. A dash of salt and pepper and the juice of up to half a lime complete the dressing. You could also add a touch of fresh chilli or dried flakes for a livelier zing, but don’t overpower the crab.

Spoon the dressing into the leaves and top off with fresh dressed crab (or tinned would work too).

With a little bread on the side and less generous portions you could serve 4 with this: we were in post-holiday and computer-disaster depression, so troughed the lot!

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It is an ever-recurring pleasure

to relive vicariously the discoveries,

joys and little triumphs

of early childhood,

whenever I see

their glow shining

in Ava’s eyes.

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The wave

A bit of phone fun.

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Looking through some Yorkshire directories on a genealogy hunt last night I found two wonderful, if rather niche, job categories – Strickle Makers and Scribbling and Fulling Millers. It set me off, not least as I think my last job is now a defunct category….

This revolutionary alpaca mill would have been full of jobs for which even the words are now lost, and the model village of Saltaire had worker’s houses and slightly posher, 3-storey ones for the ‘overlookers’ who could thus literally overlook their workers!

(For more on Salt’s Mill see here )

Continue reading

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Sparse, icy winds

slink away

under the banishing

warmth of the

sun’s stern glare,

surrendering to the


spring song.

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Winter into spring

A tad optimistic, perhaps, as I’m sure winter has more to surprise us with, but spring has been advancing of late.

A few phone snaps from a couple of meanders in the last few days, at Worcester Woods and my usual haunt at Lower Smite Farm…

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A wayside stop last summer in rural France (in the Brenne). The tree circle looked like an Entmoot…

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The Dreamer

Artistic treatment of reflected figure

Just a bit of phone fun…

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…a mobile phone and Snapseed.

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Merry Christmas!

A brief entry today to wish any passers-by all the very best for the festive season and a peaceful New Year.

Ruth's Christmas presents

The post was triggered by my coming across this not-too-brilliantly-scanned slide from Christmas 1962, taken in my bedroom in Kuru, Northern Nigeria. I was soooo thrilled by the doll’s cot (actually big enough to incarcerate poor Peter, my friend & neighbour’s little brother!) because it was a complete surprise and, most of all, it had a real DROP-DOWN SIDE! Clearly to my 7-year-old eyes, this was the height of chic sophistication. I can still remember the excitement – don’t let the apparently placid picture fool you. There had been much entanglement with the mosquito net in my scramble to get out of bed and get my hands on the little beauty.

The cot was beautifully dressed in hand-stitched bedding, too. Unknown to me, ‘Auntie’ Gwen (every adult was an honorary aunt or uncle in those days) had been busy crocheting, sewing and embroidering all the lovely kit for the cot when she’d been visiting my parents during the previous weeks, crafting away as she chatted… embroidered pillowcases, a reversible blanket edged in satin ribbon, a crocheted multicoloured blanket and the floral eiderdown you can see. Does the detail of my recall confirm that I was well impressed?

The cot itself had been made at my parents’ request at the local Trade Centre at Bukuru, where ‘Uncle’ Harry, Gwen’s husband, oversaw the production of my little masterpiece. I was clearly very chuffed with it as it also appears to be a feature in the living room during the Christmas party – I only realised today that it was serving as armrest for the chap seated by the tree!

Christmas party Kuru 1962


There are many things about these little scenes – the kindness of friends, the thought, skills and effort people put into creating lasting pleasure for a (very grateful!) child, the importance of friends and colleagues when the rest of a family are many miles away – that mean these memories have stayed with me for over half a century.

Merry Christmas, and may you too make many lasting and sweet Christmas memories.


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