Thursday, August 7, 2014

In my kitchen


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This week in my kitchen:

:: lots of vegetables from the garden
:: experimenting with zucchini stir fry. This was great (onion, leek, zucchini, ketjap manis (soy sauce) and sambal (hot pepper mash), when the vegetables were softened I added cooked rice and fried salmon)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Honey Cowl

Oh my. I think I found another one of those simple patterns that I will make way too much. I'd seen it on a few other blogs before and had to try it. I'm sold. It's simple, but not boring and I love the result.

The pattern can be downloaded (free) here (I made the short version in yarn that was a bit too thin and a bit too hairy, but I still love it).

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Monday, August 4, 2014

In my garden

My little companion planting experiment is doing great. I need to remember to sow a bit less next year, since it's too full, but the idea works out. I've got loads of zucchinis, am spotting beans everywhere and the corn is growing like crazy.

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The other bed is doing well too. The red beets are ready to be harvested, we'll have to eat lots of endives again and I planted leek everywhere I could find the space for it. The little spot in the right hand corner where I planted lettuce is taken over by leeks too, the snails kept eating the little lettuce leaves before I could even see them.

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Now to find a spot for the other leek seedlings. I sowed a bit too much...

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On the roof terrace the lettuce is doing wonderful. No snails in sight. We already ate five or six meals and it just keeps growing back. Definitely going to do this again next year!

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Things are looking a lot better then I thought they'd do. Considering I was away from home in February and March, sick in April, only started thinking about the garden late May or something (more or less giving up on it) and still can't use the biggest bed (it needs to be filled again), I'm having a really nice harvest.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Visiting the UK :: day 7, 8 and 9

Day 7 – Durham :: Weardale :: Lake District :: Harrogate


We had breakfast with E. and said our goodbyes. We should have been heading to the south, but we decided to take a detour and drive through the Lake District. Good choice, such beautiful views!
But it was also very, very busy and there was no place to stop, since all parking spaces were full. So most of these pictures are taken from the car and I never got a good shot of the lakes.

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We didn't even try to find a camping site in the Lake District. Instead we drove South and then East, to get closer to the highway that we needed to take the next day and found ourselves a place to stay there. At the reception they pointed us to a pub within walking distance, where we had a lovely traditional meal (roast of the day and yorkshire pudding).

Day 8 – Harrogate :: Canterbury :: Ashford


We needed to get to the south, so we took the highway. The only picture I took is this one, at the Westgate in Canterbury.

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Dag 9 – Ashford :: Dungeness :: Dover :: Folkestone :: Calais :: Rotterdam


We booked the Canal Tunnel for the afternoon, so we had a little time to kill in Kent. We started driving along the coast, ending our tour at the lighthouses in Dungeness. The first one is a modern lighthouse, the second is about a century old and not in use anymore.

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Then we drove up to Dover where I hoped to catch a glimpse of the white cliffs. 

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I tried and failed to get a picture of Dover Castle. This was my best shot, but my pocket camera has a habit of focussing on something different then I intend to. But the result is quite artistic I think ;-)

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After driving around for a few hours, we decided to head to the Tunnel. We were two hours early, but they found us an opening on the next train.

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Which was great, because we ran in to heavy rains and traffic jams in Belgium. We took another way home, where it was dryer and less busy and arrived home on a decent time afterall.
And that concludes our week of touring. I'm tired (sitting and looking all day costs more energy then you'd think and I don't sleep very well in a tent), but I also feel refreshed. The gipsy in me is wide awake and now that we know it's possible to do this with our car, we're already dreaming about our next adventure (the Alpes? Italy?)...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Visiting the UK :: day 5 and 6

Day 5 – Durham


We started by walking down from E's college, into town (we took a taxi to get up again, that's a rather steep hill to climb after a day of strolling through town).

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We past the cemetery again. Even in the harsh light of noon it had that spooky glow.

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Another one of those black trees, in front of the cathedral.

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The market place was filled with flowers.
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I'm not sure what this building is, but it was at the market square...

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We took a boot tour over the Wear.

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Under bridges,

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past the cathedral,

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and the bridge again. Those houses at the right are remains of the first bridge that had houses built on top of the whole thing.

In the meantime we heard some nice stories about the ancient and more recent history of Durham. It was fun, although E. was only half amused by the not so friendly remarks about the students in town. Luckily at the end of the tour the man acknowledged that the town wouldn't be as booming as it is now without them.

The rest of the afternoon and the beginning of the evening we spent chatting and drinking (virgin cocktails - yum!) and eating at a chicken restaurant where Theo and E. played Russion Roulette with chicken wings (you didn't know which spices were on them and some were very, very hot).

Day 6 – Durham


It was time to use up our saved patience for (the insides of) churches and castles.
First we visited the cathedral.

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An impressive and beautiful building, where we were welcomed by a friendly clergyman, had to buy an information flyer for 1 pound and were not allowed to take pictures inside. But it was worth visiting.

Then we wanted to see the castle, but had to wait at the gate till the tour started (since it houses hotel guests in summer and students in the rest of the year, nobody is allowed in there without a guide). Sadly pictures were also not allowed inside the castle, but luckily there was a lot to see outside too.

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Behind those windows is the library. I immediately spotted the book they used to keep that bottom window open.

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Yep, Harry Potter. The whole castle feels a bit Hogwarts like, but nothing of the movies is filmed here (there was some filming in the cathedral, in the courtyard and on one of the towers). I heard the director did propose filming in the castle but the castle refused. That's probably because of the students living here. E. had considered this place too, but had some good reasons to choose her (modern, but also very nice) college (for instance the self-catering she could do there, which is handy if you have foodallergies).

One of the students was our guides. She was very proud of her college and that showed.

A college in Durham is not the school, by the way (I think it is in the US), it's the house the students live in and their social community, that hosts formal diners (for which they have to wear black gowns) and parties, but where they also can turn to if they need assistence.

This tour reminded us of the fact that we hadn't properly toured E.'s college yet, besides her room and the kitchen (that she shares with 5 other students), so we did that when we returned. She bought us a drink in her college bar and then the day was over already.

Luckily we still didn't have to say goodbye. E. was going to join us for breakfast the next morning. Nothing fancy, just a cheap breakfast in a shop restaurant, but we had had breakfast there twice already and at 3,35 pounds it was a nice deal for a six item breakfast, we thought. It did last us through our days of walking through town...