Friday, 18 April 2008

Never a cross word in this house!

On Sunday, Bob wore his splendid Thomas Nash tie. tie He thinks I should make up some clues so he can fill in part of the grid.

Then last night, Liz mentioned on the phone that she had bought herself some Converse trainers in Office sale, which she knew I would like. I knew immediately the ones she was talking about!

converse 1 Is it fair? I ask. After all, I'm the chief cruciverbalist in the family. I actually won £100 in a crossword competition once - yes, really, not just in Monopoly. I shall just have to console myself with a cup of tea in my Sudoku mug!

Miss Joan Hunter Dunn has just died at the age of 90-something. I got out my Betjeman collected works, and quietly re-read the Subaltern's Love-Song in her memory. Then Bob came in, and read two or three poems in a beautiful Betjeman-esque voice. It's all that nostalgic twentieth century England, with bells, and cricket and village greens and district nurses on bicycles, and East Anglia and wonderful euphonious rhythms. My churchmanship is very far from the High Anglican smells-and-bells of JB, but I do find his verse very soothing, and also amusing.

On the subject of East Anglian Anglicans etc, I make a passing comment that my serendipitous discovery of a Libby Purves novel on Monday has proved rather disappointing. The chief protagonist, Sally, of 'Love Songs and Lies' is a Vicar's daughter from Suffolk. Unlike all the other LP's I have read, this was one where I did not find the characters believable, and got quite annoyed with them - particularly when it seemed that every financial crisis [and there were lots] was suddenly and wonderfully solved by an injection of cash which just arrived on the doormat in the form of a royalty cheque or a rich relation. And as Sally is supposed to be an extremely clever girl who gets to Oxford to read English, and has grown up in a Vicarage, and married into a Jewish family, I thought it extremely odd that she knew nothing about Levirate Marriage. Whilst I would not have expected her to have a deep knowledge of the book of Deuteronomy, I cannot believe she hadn't come across the story of Ruth, or encountered the Sadducees Question To Jesus in Mark 12. I will try and be charitable, about this - I believe LP was writing this when her own family were undergoing some sad times, and I think she just wasn't on her usual form.

Well done Royal Mail - the pork pie arrived safely in London - and the tin of yeast I sent to my friends in Brussels got there within 24 hours. Phil is a keen bread maker, and has been havingallinson problems getting the right yeast. The advent of automatic electric breadmakers has meant that many supermarkets only stock the yeast1 Easybake variety. Seeing a can of the right sort in Sainsbury's, I decided to buy some and post it off to Belgium. Phil and his wife Viv are missionaries with the BMS, so I covered the inner package wth lots of Bible references to yeast!

My last breadmaking attempt failed, but it was entirely my own fault. I had a carton of IKEA rye bread. The idea is you open the top, pour in water, then shake'n'bake. It is a bizarre process, producing a fairly nutty, dark loaf.bread mix In a moment of utter laziness on Tuesday, I just stuck the contents and the water in the breadmaker and switched it on to the 'multigrain loaf' setting. The results were even darker, denser and more solid than usual! But mercifully still edible. I discovered this link to some enthusiastic American bakers.

Year 4 have started studying the Tudors - so Wednesday afternoon they were producing pictures of Henry VIII from the Holbein portrait. I love teaching about that period in history.The Elizabethans called yeast 'God-is-goode' because they couldn't understand how it made the bread rise and become soft and edible. They regarded the yeast as a blessing from the Almighty [which it is, in my opinion] I must not sit here typing about food - I should go and think about actually preparing lunch instead!

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