Saturday, February 15, 2014

Itchy Gypsy feet

Half term is upon us - yay! However, yet again the weather is nothing short of hideous - not so yay!

I do have a raft of jobs awaiting me outside in both the barn where the beehives are patiently waiting another coat of paint and in the greenhouse where the seeds are screaming at me to put them in the propagator but I can't stand the thought of either task today, it's just too cold. Not a sharp, snowy type cold as we were used to in Connecticut or Edinburgh but a type of cold that ensnares your bones and chills you to the core. I simply cannot summon sufficient enthusiasm to do more than knit today and fiddle about online.

I'm on a perpetual mission for the perfect crust to my bread:

so I've been researching proving baskets today to see whether or not they are a waste of money or actually worth their outlay to improve my bread. My conclusion to all this is that the jury online is still out, thus Messers Ebay and co have provided me with a supplier of proving baskets that are not too expensive for me to carry out this experimentation for myself, so watch this space.

Yesterday I briefly popped into town. Our town is not one that over excites me unfortunately. It is a very basic market town that has the usual culprits in rather boring mainstream stores and nothing particularly independent or exciting. I do miss Edinburgh for this. Wherever I've lived in the past I've always managed to sniff out one or two really fun places to hang out or visit. In Belgium I loved 'Le Pain Quotidien' (whilst no longer particularly independent after they're springing up all over now!). After dropping the boys off at nursery, a friend or two and I would meet there at their gorgeous rustic trestle tables for breakfast (you will start to note a bread and food theme!). In Wilton in CT there was the Cafe at Cannondale Station as well as Whole foods (okay, so not exactly independent per-se, but heaps better than Tescos!) and Anthropologie. Edinburgh was inundated with vegetarian cafes, unusual shops and ... an Anthropologie - excuse me whilst I moan in pleasure at all the lovely vintage style homewares that they brought over to the UK... oh yes please !

Where I am now however, seems to lack lots...We have no good independent cafes or book stores, there is a knitting shop but my kids refuse to come in with me because it smells of fish...and...there is a certain je ne sais quoi and a surplus of pensioners that's for sure *sigh*. We don't have a particularly fab market...there is a weekly one selling fruit and veg, cheap birthday cards that you get sent by your granny and lots of pop guns...don't ask me!! Every so often we do have a wonderful french, farmers or artisan market. We have recently acquired a health shop, but it's in its infancy and the shelves are still lacking somewhat. Oxford has more vibrancy, but it's too far for a quick trip and needs to be a day planned in somewhere. We do, on the otherhand, have more pound shops than I've ever seen in one place and as the day progresses, the local factory that roasts coffee beans becomes staler and more bitter in the air....I'm not really selling my town am I?

I'm a closet hippy and more of a nomad that I like to admit; I'd love to live in Portland in Oregon

photo from

 or Oxford or perhaps Stroud would float my boat.

 Canterbury was lovely when we went at Christmas.

Edinburgh was awesome but too far north (yeah, I know, not as far as Portland) and San Francisco still has my heart! However I am fairly easy to please: A GOOD coffee shop that brews its own, a good indy bookshop, a wool shop, a cooperative grocery store (not 'The' Coop but a wholefoods coop) and that'll do to start with!

BUT there are somethings to be salvaged. We have a tourist information bureau that also doubles as a cooperative for local craftspeople and some of the gorgeous items in there can make for lovely gifts. So finding these beautiful ceramic bee buttons which will make the perfect addition to my latest WIP did lift my spirits slightly. I have also discovered a large wholefood cooperative in Northampton.

At least I can put today to good use now as I have an excuse to sit on my bum and knit more of her sweater whilst planning a trip to The Daily Bread in Northampton next weekend!

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