Oh dear!

Well over a year and I’ve not written a sausage!  I did say it would be a while didn’t I?

Well, at popular request, (well – one, thanks Emily), thought I’d give it another go.

I can’t go over what has transpired over the past year in depth – that would bore the pants off everybody.

However, in brief:

Nathalie has now spent her first year and a third of her second at Kent Uni in Canterbury, reading Film Studies.  Of course she is loving it, gets stressed over essays but seems to come out smelling of roses in the end so I have no worries about her degree.  She has become very involved in a local church, singing and leading worship and also taken on a Committee role in the Film Society.

Here is a link to some of the songs she has recently posted on SoundCloud.

https://soundcloud.com/nathalie-grace-saunders

Jessica is still creating weird and wacky sounds for the Video gaming industry.  Now, living in a flat in Brixton with two chaps and three cats – one of which was rehomed from me to be with her best buddy – long story which I won’t go into!  They seem to be happy even though they are indoor cats which I am not totally comfortable with!  Sorry Jess.

I’ve finished the graveyard project – Busbridge Church is now in possession of all the photos, a document with every grave transcription and a database.  However, that is not quite the end – my next task is to research, as far as humanly possible, all the occupants to see what noteworthy stories lie within those graves.  Aside the famous people buried there, such as Gertrude Jekyll, there are others mainly unknown to the Community and other tales yet to be discovered.  One story was recently written up by me and published in the Church Magazine.  Once it is online I’ll post a link.

Still volunteering with Phyllis Tuckwell and still massively enjoying it.  Lovely staff and volunteers – we all get on and all muck in.

Now, the chickens….  Sadly I lost one in July – had to have her put to sleep.  The vet thought she had a tumour.  She was my absolutely favourite so the promise to myself not to blub at the vet failed miserably and I was ushered out of the door with instructions to pay the bill next time!  I am currently down to one egg a day if I’m lucky.  They are all getting on a bit.  However, on the plus side they all have bottom feathers –  the fact that all four were bumper bitted helped the problem a lot.  That is a huge relief but not sure how long it will last.

Nigel had to give a paper at a conference in Montreal at the end of October so I tagged along.  Probably not the best time of year to go – cold and damp but I’ve now been there. Not too impressed – I didn’t find it the most attractive city but I do want to return to Canada and see more more of the country.

As for for the cooking front and what would be a blog be without a recipe – this ginger cake was just the best – from Rachel Allen

Ginger Cake - Rachel Allen

Ginger Cake – Rachel Allen

8oz (225g) golden syrup

3 1/2 (100g) oz butter 

3 1/2 oz  (100g) caster sugar

3 oz (74g) stem ginger in syrup, drained and chopped – reserving 3 tbsp syrup

7 fl oz (200ml) milk

2 eggs, beaten

8 oz (225g) self-raising flour

1 tbsp ground ginger

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180C (350F) – line base and sides of 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.

Place golden syrup, butter and sugar in saucepan and melt over low heat until mixture is smooth.  Set aside to cool then mix in ginger, milk and eggs.

Sift remaining ingredients into a bowl.  Make a well in centre then tip in wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Pour the runny mixture into tin and bake 50-60mins until skewer comes out clean.

Remove from oven and drizzle over the 3 tbsp ginger syrup while hot.

Cool 10 mins then remove from tin onto wire rack.

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