Thirty years on 6th March

Thirty years have passed since he left this world, since the sea stole him. Long years of nights and days of wishing I had not encouraged him to go.

I remember where I was, what I was doing and what I was wearing when I heard the news that rocked my world and stole my breath. That fateful Friday evening. I hoped against hope throughout that night but in the early hours of the Saturday he came to say his final goodbye, and I knew he was gone.

Nearly a two month wait for his body to be recovered, one of the last to be brought home. Trapped in the capsized vessel.

The enduring image of those nightmare days and weeks of waiting for the news that his body had been found and would be brought ashore is that of the ship lying stranded on its side, nets over the hold doors to try to keep the sea from carrying away the contents of the car deck.

He is never far from my thoughts, but this year he has been more evident. Images of him, smiling and tanned (he was always tanned), his voice, his laugh, the sound of his bundle of keys jangling: always an advance warning that he was not far. This year I have felt the need to visit places he and I explored.

He was my lover, and my greatest friend. I miss him still, but no longer with the agonising ache of the early years. No longer with the same intense grief. Now the feeling is more one of sadness and regret, that he was taken too soon, that we never got to do and see the things and places we had planned. That the mistakes and errors that led to his death and the other 192 lives still continue to this day.

I am no longer unhappy without him. But I do still miss him. He will be forever in my heart.

Nearly a Year!

I have realised with a sense of guilt and amazement that it is nearly 12 months since my last post here.  The time has flown by and I have a need to explain and bring this site up to date. I discovered that I enjoy designing and making jewellery.

Now how did that happen, not something I would ever have thought I would have a talent for, but it would seem I was wrong.

I mentioned else where that I had been trying a number of crafts that I had either always had an interest in, or a curiosity to learn more.

So 2015 saw me travelling to Norfolk to learn basket making, an absolutely fabulous course, really enjoyed the day and loved making my basket. Brought bundle of willow home to make more. Then to Cambridgeshire for a 2/3rd day to learn about silver clay and the jewellery one can make from this marvellous substance and finally taking a chalk painting course.

The silver clay really stuck a chord somewhere deep inside and I was off on the path to making jewellery. This has been all consuming.

However, in October 2015 my husband finally agreed that we could have a dog! I have wanted to have a dog for so many years but working the hours I used to it just wasn’t possible. And so in early December the lovely Bailey joined the family. He is a gorgeous liver and white sprocker. Very demanding but adorable.

My Mothers Sausage Meat Risotto

One of my siblings (I don’t know which) decided that they did not like sausage-meat. Odd since we all liked sausages and or chipolatas but there is no accounting for dislikes or perceived dislikes.

Sausage meat was relatively cheap and, given the fact that there was only my fathers Royal Naval pay coming in, mum would clearly be seeking cheap nutritional meals for the family.

Sausage-meat risotto was born. It became a firm favourite with us all. Doesn’t risotto sound far more exciting than spicy sausage-meat?

Ingredients

1/2 tbspn cooking oil, should be just enough to moisten the pan as the sausage meat will add its own fat (I use olive oil)

1 onion, finely chopped

¾ lb Sausage meat, best quality you can afford, I use the local butchers

1 tbspn tomato purée

2 tspns of mixed herbs

4oz mushrooms (optional)

curry powder, strength and amount depends on personal taste. But I use about 2 tabspns

tin of tomatoes, chopped

black pepper

1 egg beaten (optional)

Method

Heat oil gently in a heavy bottomed frying pan, add chopped onion and cook until onion is soft but not coloured. Crumble the sausage-meat in to the pan and fry gently for about 5 mins, add the tomato purée, the mixed herbs. If using the mushrooms add them now. Stir everything together and continue cooking until the sausage-meat browns. Stir in the curry powder, add the chopped tomatoes. Simmer for 15 mins, add black pepper, check seasoning, add more curry powder if you like your food more spicy. Cook for further 5 mins: if the sauce needs thickening add the beaten egg, stir and cook through for 5 mins. Serve piping hot with crusty bread, or rice or just on it’s own.

Chicken Casserole

Serves up to 8

Ingredients

2oz butter + a little extra
1 onion chopped
6 rasher of bacon preferably smoked, rind removed and bacon diced
250g mushrooms sliced (if using tiny button mushrooms leave whole)
1 medium chicken cut into joints (If you use a whole chicken you should have 8 joints) or preprepared joints -thighs and or breast for the number people you wish to serve)
chicken stock (or if no stock a can of condensed chicken soup and 1 can of water)
1 tspn of English mustard powder
1 tabspn of flour
¼ pint milk (optional)
fresh ground black pepper
2 bay leaves

Method

Pre-heat oven to Gas 4 180C

Melt butter in heavy bottomed frying pan, add chopped onion and diced bacon. Cook gently for about 5 mins: onions need to be soft but not browned. Transfer to casserole dish large enough to hold chicken with room to spare.
Cook mushrooms in frying pan and cook on low heat in the pan juices. Place cooked mushrooms into the casserole with the onions and bacon.
Brown the chicken joints in the same frying pan: if necessary add extra butter to pan.
Transfer browned chicken to casserole dish.
Using mustard powder and flour make a roux with the pan juices, adding stock (or soup) and milk (if using) to make thickish sauce. Season with black pepper.
Pour over chicken and vegetables, if necessary add more stock to ensure chicken etc is covered. Tuck the bay leaves into the mixture.
Place in oven and cook for about an hour or until cooked. Check sauce half way through cooking: correct seasoning and thicken if necessary.

Serve with creamy mashed potatoes, rice and vegetables.

Childhood favourites

I may be wrong, but I think everyone has favourite foods or meals from their childhood, certainly I do. These meals have become my comfort foods – some are not too bad for the waist-line. Others? Well let’s just say they really should be kept for treats.

My husband always says that his mother wasn’t the greatest cook, she says the same. She was always leaving something on the stove whilst she went to see to the frogs in the pond or watch the birds in the garden. However, no-one can make a shepherds pie as good as hers. His other childhood favourite is toad in the hole.

On the other hand, my mother was a very good cook and it is from her I learnt to cook. Her Chicken casserole is up there with my top ten of favourites, along with Oxtail stew (in my opinion the best and most unctuous stew ever). Spam fritters, come to that cheese and onion fritters. Mashed potato (ultimate comfort food). Fried slice topped with runny egg yolk and masses of fried mushrooms.

Then being taken to restaurants by my first true love expanded my food horizons: Chateaubriand, Tournedo Rossini, Scampi Provençal, and er Wine.

But I digress; here are a few of my childhood favourites, which I am pleased to say my OH also enjoys

Chicken casserole  – Warning I am reliably informed that this is addictive.

Sausage Meat Risotto

 

The consequence of indifferent silence

Silence was his weapon of choice to slaughter all that she had felt for him
Chosen with care, he knew that silence would be the ultimate betrayal
His indifference was the cause of the death of her love for him

Her heart began to doubt the memory of every word he had ever said to her
To doubt and by so doing, destroy the dreams they had made and shared.
His betrayal lead her mind to doubt all that she had thought was true

She questioned every remembered whispered word. Each touch. Each thought of love.
He knew she needed to hear, to see, to touch, to cherish and be cherished
He knew, because she had begged him not to ever leave her in silence.

Silence. Remoteness. Indifference. Weapons he wielded with expertise and precision
Until, at last, her mind acknowledged and accepted the inevitable and
She returned to her half life to piece together a heart once more shattered by indifference.

Copyright © The Kentish Lass 2015

Autumn

I adore the golden hues of Autumn. The trees changing their greens to reds, russets, ambers, yellows, orange, gold, rare blue and blacks.

Early morning spider webs glistening with dew, appearing as precious gems strewn haplessly over bushes. Crisp morning frosts that freeze the exhaled breath. The Sunday afternoon walks in the woods, the rustle of leaves underfoot, returning home as the evening begins.

Drawing the curtains, closing out the world. That first time it is cold enough to light the open fire and being cosy.

The joy of celebrating the harvest in September. The hunt for nature’s jewels of horse chestnuts, cob-nuts, sweet chestnuts, rose-hips, haws, acorns, pine cones, elderberries, blackberries. Preserving the fruits to feed us through natures lean months reminding us of the joys of blossom that has been and will come again.

Cider making from the late apple harvest. Elderberry wine, Sloe Gin. The start of the jam, jelly, marmalade, pickle and chutney making. The satisfaction of seeing rows and rows of gleaming jars of preserved apples, pears, blackcurrants, blackberries, onions, beet roots. Michaelmas and the season for goose.

Halloween celebrations: not the trick or treaters but the old tradition of bobbing for apples, the ghost, or witch stories.

Bonfire Night, childhood memories of tomato soup in mugs (so special as drunk from a mug – no spoon!), sausages with onions in bread rolls, wrapped in paper napkins. Jacket potatoes cooked in the glowing embers of the bonfire. Sparklers! Catherine Wheels and star burst fireworks. Stir up Sunday and, for me this is, the start of the build to Winter and Christmas.

Copyright © October 2015 The Kentish Lass

The Seasons

How often have you been asked the question: which is your favourite season?

For me the answer is nearly always the season I am in at the time. Sounds like I’m taking the easy way out but actually I believe it is because there are different aspects of every season that thrill me. Warm me. Make me smile deep inside.

Each Season is a beautiful gift from Mother Nature. Each to be treasured, adored and worshipped for the joys, the highs the lows they bring.

my thoughts on the Seasons

Autumn

Winter

Spring

Summer

Copyright (C) October 2015 The Kentish Lass

 

Not Ever

I believed in the love I felt for you
I believed in the love you said you felt for me
I believed the missed heartbeat of the joy of seeing you
I believed

I wanted your touch
I wanted to feel your breath on my neck
I wanted to feel your heartbeat next to mine
I wanted

I needed what you offered
I needed the feel of you close
I needed to feel your touch. Your kiss. Your love
I needed you

Did you believe?
Did you love? Did you want?
Did you need? I know not, for you left
In silence

Can I forget you?
Your smile? your kiss?,
Your breath on my neck? the touch of you?
Not ever.

Copyright © Sept 2015 The Kentish Lass

Unrequited Love

Each breath she took, each heartbeat felt
Had become a breath she took for him
A heartbeat she longed for him to hear
Each waking moment was spent in hopes of him

Every dream, day or night,
A desire for him. A need of him
Every waking moment became
A thought of him, of her, of them.

The wind, the sun, the rain and the snow
The sea, the waves, the sand, and the pebbles
The moon and the stars all knew
He had become her everything, her all.

But she, she had become his distant memory
She had become a might have been
A passing thought, a blip nothing more.
No thought of her crossed his day or night.

Copyright © The Kentish Lass 2015

Another Dimension

She seated herself on the old familiar bench to rest a while, to be alone with her thoughts. The bench was hard against her back but it felt good supporting her weary bones. Sunlight seeped through the grey clouds, and a gentle breeze lifted leaves from the path, sending them scuttling hither and thither, swirling round her feet. She rested, head slightly tilted, one hand relaxed in her lap the other supporting her on the the bench beside her. If anyone passing by noticed her they would have seen the gentle smile curve her lips and the softening of her gaze.

She felt the tentative touch of his fingers on hers, the firmness of his other arm as he gently laid it behind her, lightly across her shoulders. She tilted her head resting it on his shoulder, seeking solace from the warmth there; peace from the sensation of the rise and fall of his chest with each breath he took. The gentle breeze floated across her and she felt his fingers caress her hair, the sun played across her face and the lightest of kisses from his lips touched her forehead.

Feeling the tension ease from her body, he continued to run his fingers through her silken hair. Bending his head he breathed in the scent of her, his lips brushing her forehead. He wanted so much to tell her how he yearned to hold her to him. How he craved the feeling of joy her presence gave him, but he knew she would not hear his words. He knew she would leave soon, just as she had the last time and the time before. A tear escaped and trickled down his cheek, hastily he wiped it away. He did not want her to know his pain.

The breeze was no more, now the wind blew across the land, whipping at her legs. With a sigh she stood to go and pulled her coat closer round hoping to hold his warmth a little longer to her heart.

He dropped his head to his hands and let the tears flow, wishing with all his heart that their time together would not be so short. Wishing that they, not just their hearts, could be together for all time, for eternity.

Weariness overcame her and she sat once more. Her body did not feel the seat, she did not see the churchyard, but she heard him weeping and felt the wonder of touching his hair once more.

He felt the touch of her hand in his hair and raised his head, to see her gazing into his eyes. Hesitantly, trembling with fear, scared she might disappear, he raised his hand and touched the skin of her face. He felt the warmth, the smoothness, the softness of skin he had thought he would never feel again and clasped his love to him.

Together in the same dimension once more

Copyright © 2015 The Kentish Lass