Thursday, 22 September 2016

Photoshoots, foraging and a food festival

Two trips to London and 8 days of photoshoots later, and at last I feel I'm making proper progress with the second craft book. Of course I'm relieved, but also weirdly deflated, which has left me feeling a bit restless, and possibly, depending on who you talk to, a little grumpy?

Coming up with 35 new craft projects took over the whole of my summer - if I wasn't making something out of cardboard, I was thinking about making something out of cardboard.... or feeling guilty I wasn't. It drove me mad but also gave me a focus, because I didn't have long, just 2 months, and the date for the first photoshoot was burning a hole in my wall calendar. Couldn't really think about much else, which made me feel guilty I wasn't doing enough with the kids. Can't win, can you.

When the London days came and went, I suppose it was a bit like taking the lid off a pressure cooker - and I just wasn't as over the moon with what was left in the pot as I thought. Probably didn't help that I'd had a really good time in London - the days were full-on but rewarding, and I stayed with an old school friend I don't see enough. After work we chatted, went out, ate out - no one else to feed or clean up after. I felt like me. Even took a bit better care of me. Even used my hardly ever touched eye-cream, which seems to be some kind of strange barometer to where I sit on my list of priorities.

There are many wonderful things about being able to work from home, especially with kids, school runs and an often absent husband to deal with - but it is hard to keep motivated sometimes, and it's lonely. Being away just brought all of that into sharp focus again I think.
I miss people and chat and talking ideas though with someone.
So, best not to ring me during the day at the moment, you'll never get me off the phone.

Possibly it's been a bit of an anti-climax and I'm kicking my heels about getting back to my quiet existence in peaceful Herefordshire - but I know it'll pass, it usually does. And it's not as if I have nothing much to do. Still need to write up all the instructions for the craft projects! Which is what I should be doing right now.

And sure, there are adventures of a different kind to be had here too. The day before I caught a very early train to London I went for a 'get thoughts in order' walk near home and did a double take when I spotted this huge puffball by a gate.

It was so big and brilliant white in the sun, I thought for a second it was a sheep taking a nap.
I rushed back to tell my daughter who gets extremely excited about this sort of thing. And it was a perfect giant puffball; very firm and hardly nibbled.

Giant puffball

She was desperate for me to take it home - when we found a much smaller one a few years ago, I fried slices in butter, garlic and bacon and it was a big hit. Lasted for days too, so goodness knows how many meals we could have got out of this one.* But we left it in the end, because I was off first thing, and my husband isn't keen on cooking bog-standard stuff, let alone a mushroom twice as big as his head.

When I got back home I treated myself to a day at the Abergavenny Food Festival. What could be better than delicious and lovingly-made produce as far as the eye can see? Though I do seem to suffer from some kind of food festival meltdown - happened last year as well - there's just too much choice. I become annoyingly indecisive, can't make up my mind at all, and end up eating very little. Instead I seem to spend most of my time checking out what other people are eating and wondering where it came from. I did bring a few things home and they did go down very well, especially the orange and chilli jelly.

I also bought a beautiful knitting book, which was a bit of surprise at a Food Festival.. Delighted with it though. More about that soon.

*Giant puffballs like this are about the only mushrooms I'd happily forage because they're pretty hard to mistake for anything else. More nervous about other ones, after going on an fungi foraging course last autumn (which was excellent) and realising there are a few common wild mushrooms that have an evil almost identical-looking twin. You really need to know your stuff. Think now the pleasure's in the finding rather than the eating for me.


  1. How exciting...another book. I meant to tell you that I'd received an email from Amazon advertising your book, was it asking if I wanted to pre-order?? (can't remember now) I hate deadlines, don't you? I suppose they do galvanize me into action though, opposed to my usual state of procrastination. Wowzers that is one giant mushroom, it would take weeks to eat it! I like your new pic, so you've started the blog makeover! x

    1. It's a new oldish photo to be honest...don't seem to have any recent ones. Wish someone would do a blog makeover for me! x

    2. There are people out there who will, but there's one draw have to pay them! x

  2. That puffball is incredible! I have never seen one that big before! Like you, it's about the only one I would pick, but did you know more Italians die each year from foraging mushrooms and falling off mountains and the like, than by eating the poisonous ones!? London sounded nice, hope the book is coming together. x