"I KNOW THE HUMAN BEING AND FISH CAN COEXIST PEACEFULLY"
George W. Bush (had anyone suggested that they couldn't?)
Last week I celebrated my birthday (no, I am not going to tell you which one, but it wasn’t a decade or particularly significant, but it is in double figures) and I was given some wonderful books as birthday gifts.
Idina Sackville was born in 1893 to very rich aristocratic parents. Whilst still a child her father, the 8th Earl De La Ware (after whose family the city of
It is hard to comprehend just how laissez-faire upper-class sexual morals were, provided one was married, as the pictures we see of the men and women of the time are very starchy and proper. But Idina’s behaviour went way beyond the accepted norm, and at the end of the First World War, when her first husband Euan Wallace (the author’s grandfather) divorced her; she set off with husband number two – leaving her two small sons behind -
to make a new life farming in British East Africa, soon to be re-named
Idina was the lynchpin of the so called ‘Happy Valley’ set whose bed-hopping, wife-swapping behaviour in Kenya gave rise to the joke doing the rounds in upper-crust English society “Are you married, or do you live in Kenya?”. Happy Valley came to international prominence in 1941 when Idina’s third ex-husband and father of her daughter, Jossyln Earl of Erroll, was found shot dead in his car and the husband of his current mistress, Sir Jock Delves Broughton was tried for the murder. The whole scandal, and the lives of the
Selfish, sexually voracious and dissolute, Idina comes across as a thoroughly unpleasant woman, even though she must have had a great deal of charisma. Far from being committed to a life in
Latterly she tried to establish contact with her by now adult children, but this was only partially successful. Indeed the author’s own mother – Idina’s granddaughter – deliberately blanked her out of the family history until a newspaper article made it necessary for her to tell her own children who Idina was.
As a slice of social history and as the portrait of completely amoral woman, The Bolter makes eye-popping reading.
There is a new craze slowly beginning here in the
“A structured, safe workshop on boundaries, communication, intimacy and affection. A drug and alcohol-free way to meet fascinating people in a relaxing environment. A laboratory where you can experiment with what makes you feel safe and feel good.”
Yep, you pay money to meet a bunch of strangers and cuddle them. Bletch!!! What a weird, creepy idea.
This ‘concept’ was dreamed up by two Californians – need I say more?
Not that I think all Californians are doolally, I’m just saying that some Californian practices seem rather off-the-wall to non-Californians.
If any of my family and friends read this, and feel that they are in need of a cuddle, come right on over and I’ll give you one for free – with a glass of wine or a Gin & Tonic thrown in as a bonus.
Cherries are one of my top ten favourite fruits, but most of the cherries sold in the UK come from Turkey, France or the USA, and though they are delicious it is a great shame because England used to have some of the best cherry orchards in the world. There is a move to try and get more English cherries into the supermarkets and greengrocers, and if you want to save the wonderful varieties of English cherry click on CherryAid. As last Saturday was National Cherry Day, I decided to do my bit by buying some English cherries and making a cake.
500g cherries (stoned)
150g soft brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten together
150g self-raising flour
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to 180°C
Butter and flour a 20cm cake tin, and line the base with baking parchment.
Arrange the cherries over the bottom of the tin, and sprinkle 50g of the sugar over them.
Beat the butter and remaining sugar together until pale and fluffy then add some of the egg, beating it in well before adding some of the flour and more egg and continue beating. Add the remaining flour and egg alternately beating each addition in well before adding the next; add the vanilla essence with the last addition of egg.
Pour the cake mixture over the cherries and sugar, and smooth it level with a spatula if necessary.
Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes until risen and golden and just beginning to come away from the sides of the tin. It may not need quite as long if it is in a fan oven.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes.
Place a large serving plate over the tin, and carefully invert it.
Serve warm or at room temperature with crème fraiche or with whipped cream.