Saturday 28 June 2014

The ‘after-life’…

For Tim, this is his first day on the other side. Yesterday was his last day of salaried work, and although we are considering this to be ‘retirement’, he isn’t quite old enough to access his work pensions. Mind you, from this photograph you’ll be very surprised that he isn’t old enough!!


Consultancy work is pouring in (quite a bit quicker than he/we would like it to) and the next three weeks promise to be VERY busy. All good stuff, working with teachers, schools, students, and the new generation of teachers who are training to enter the profession. No corporate restrictions, and the freedom to innovate and harness his creativity. He will be able, once more, to put education back at the heart of everything he does. Success will developing capability in others. He’s received lots of messages of support and good wishes.

Rhiannon and I independently chose cards with similar sentiments.



They always say that “great minds think alike”, or is it more a case of “fools seldom differ”?

Rhiannon and her partner, Stuart, are obviously keen for Tim to maintain his cutting-edge technological abilities…


Sally and Chris got it about right…



What do you think?

P.S. I can’t wait to join Tim on the other side. Roll on July 18th and beyond…


Tuesday 24 June 2014

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Monday 2 June 2014

Clandestine Cake Club…

A couple of months ago Jean set up a branch of the Clandestine Cake Club in the Loire Valley. We had our second meeting last week, and as Jean wasn’t able to be present she asked us to host. Hosting isn’t complicated, all we needed to do was tidy the house and lay on some drinks. We went for Pimms, Belvoir elderflower cordial and tea.It isn’t a cake competition, just an opportunity to bake a cake, share it with others.

Following the theme ‘let’s get fruity’, members produced some magnificent looking, delicious cakes, many of which were works of art. Needless to say our efforts weren’t wonderful to look at, but tasted fine.

Both Tim and I decided to produce gluten-free cakes. Mine was a cherry and coconut almond cake. It was also going to have white chocolate and become another CCC cake, but at the last minute when I checked the provenance of the chocolate I found that it was produced in a factory where gluten is used.


IMG_4701_640x427 Tim - sunken, drunken fruit cake   Gaynor -  cherry and coconut almond cake

Tim produced a sunken, drunken fruit cake. Sunken because with the Dove’s farm gluten free flour the fruit sinks, and drunken because the fruit was soaked in Amaretto and Cointreau, which might also have contributed to it sinking!

In total we had 12 cakes and 18 people, with an age range of over eighty years!



   Ann - peach and almond cake.   Elizabeth – strawberry surprise swiss roll



 Pauline – banana, date and walnut cake        Edna – raspberry rondelle



Sally – scones with jam and fresh cream       Liz – Dorset apple cake



Victoria – pear and white chocolate cake    Pauline C – spiced fruit cake



   Gail – citrus poppy seed cake                Chris – mille fueille cake

Johnny, our oldest guest won the raffle and was delighted to receive a Delia Smith baking book. So the next time he comes we’ll be expecting something wonderful!





Before, during and after the tastings. Not our best look!



Sunday 1 June 2014

Bits and pieces…

The last couple of days have seen some wonderful weather. There was sun, some high cloud and enough of a breeze to make being out in the sun a pleasant experience.

On Friday we ventured across to Braye sous Faye for an excellent lunch, followed by a superb walk with Colin and Elizabeth. We came back ladened with goodies in the form of some eggs from their chickens,  lots of strawberries and about half a dozen ticks. We’ve now, on Elizabeth’s advice, ordered an O’Tom Tick Twister, but had to make do with some tweezers and a giant magnifying glass!


The eggs provided some boiled eggs and a delicious quiche and the strawberries have jazzed up our Shredded Wheat and Weetabix breakfast. The rest of the strawberries will be turned into rhubarb and strawberry jam. I made some last year which we really enjoyed. You can read about here. However it turns out that I can’t find the recipe I used last year so will have to improvise. So, what’s new!!

On Saturday we completed our garden chores apart from planting some fruit bushes. We’ve decided that our life style will make vegetable growing difficult, but soft fruit easier to manage. Which reminds me that our cherries although still not ripe, should be ready in a week or so, as will the redcurrants. As in previous years friends are welcome to help themselves.

Today we are heading out to the rose festival at Chedigny. The village is wonderful, and the display of roses fantastic. We are looking for some fragrant roses so should find some good examples there. We went a few years ago and were very impressed.


We also hosted the second meeting of the Loire Valley Clandestine Cake Club. The cakes were delicious. Watch this space for photographs… (Tomorrow)