Hi, it’s late and I’m a bit tired but I promised you a daily briefing from TWW, so here it is.
Today I enjoyed the quietness as I walked to work and went out looking at interesting church architecture at lunchtime, including the above, which is The Methodist church in Clarence Road in Windsor.
I will share with you some more church pics tomorrow, ones I took today, as from now on my walks and travel to work need to be restricted as per the PM’s latest advice.
On the good news front we received an order from Ocado tonight, yippee, we were so excited! This was after a few weeks of cancelled orders and substitutions and then the app crashing. I will never take for granted again our ability to get food to our door at the press of a few buttons. We had a lovely supper of chicken katsu noodles with mushrooms, one of our favourite weeknight meals. This sauce is really warming (as it says on the packet) and gorgeous.
Night night for now my Waffle reading friends xx more tomorrow…
To my mother (who probably won’t get to read this unless I print it off for her) and to all the other mothers out there, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!
And what a strange Mother’s Day it’s been. Conversations through windows and walks 2 metres apart from each other. Presents left on doorsteps wearing gloves. Mothers pleading and trying to bend the rules a bit. Imagined hugs and kisses.
As we try to interpret the latest daily briefing from the PM, and it looks like this one again can be interpreted in many different ways, I thought I would endeavour to do a daily briefing from The Windsor Waffle. I don’t know if I’ll be able to keep it up but I’ll give it a go. I know at least a couple of my friends reading this blog are self isolating and one in particular said I must keep it up to keep her sane, so here goes!
Apart from all the challenges we are facing at the moment in our daily lives, what a glorious spring day it was today. I put on my short jacket rather than my big winter coat. It was a bit windy but fresh rather than cold and the sun was gorgeous.
I am becoming a snapaholic these days out on my walks, stopping to take pictures on my phone of things that inspire me along my route. There is a lot out there at the moment that is lovely. These are some of my favourites:
This stunning bloom above was at Savill garden, just on the outskirts of the garden as the entrance itself is closed at the moment. I also liked this fresh new growth below (which was actually quite tiny, I zoomed in a lot) that will emerge later into some enormous triffid-like plant.
On my walk to work as I am no longer getting the bus, I especially enjoyed this sky.
These two pigeons in a tree caught my eye in Crowthorne today.
And these images below were on our walk around the block in Windsor this afternoon. Looks like proper holiday blue sky.. (ah, holidays, remember those?)
Sorry I still haven’t got over my tree fetish, as you can tell.
And last but not least I leave you with this glorious sunset just behind my house.. the sun looks like a great ball of fire, which I guess it is!
I wish you all lots of luck this week, good health and delicious meals for tonight. We had a fab Indian takeaway last night and I am just about to serve up our roast chicken dinner now. In some ways life is still good.
Life as we knew it has just ended. Like someone hit the pause button on the whole world. How are you coping?
If I’m honest, I’m not doing that well. Physically I am well and so are my family members, and for that I am grateful, but mentally trying to process this all I feel like I am still in shock and constantly on catch up.
Last night having given up on watching Blade Runner 2049 (really, don’t bother), I decided to have a nice relaxing bath, reading and bed. My often favoured bedtime reading is the Waitrose “Weekend” free newspaper. With everything that has been going on the latest copy I’d picked up of this was 5 March. Unbelievable. On 5 March weekend we had no mention of the virus AT ALL, and plenty of listings of lovely spring events we were all going to attend. That was only 16 days ago, what a different world we live in now.
I’m sure like me you have all experienced the challenges of trying to get a bit of grocery shopping done this week. My poor colleague looked almost on the brink of something after 4 days of trying to track down a single egg. She has now resorted to buying Easter eggs to console herself whereas my husband seems to have sought comfort in filling the fridge with beer.
We all have to learn to be more flexible. My shopping list that said “gnocchi, pork meatballs, grape juice..” has been scrapped. The list now just says “dinner”, whatever you can find in the first shop preferably a ready meal as I’m often too tired to cook or to traipse around numerous possibly virus infected venues full of potentially virus infected individuals.
At the beginning of the week I went around smiling at strangers trying to establish some sense of community camaraderie. No one smiled back, they all continued looking worried and I just looked like some sort of friendly weirdo. To the one lovely lady in Windsor who finally returned my smile on Friday I thank you from the bottom of my heart, you made my day… I will now track you down to smile at you as often as possible like a deranged stalker… ONLY JOKING! I have given up the smiling at strangers thing because quite frankly, it wasn’t really working.
We did the first doorstep drop to my elderly parents today. This was our offering to them:
A little basket of flowers for Mother’s Day, a big bag of rhubarb from my garden that smelt so fresh and delicious when I picked it this morning, and a very miscellaneous box of toiletries and foodstuffs. My parents are not that local to me so at the beginning of the week I asked for a list from them of what they were going to need over the next few weeks. By Thursday we still only had got as far as a strange combination of new pyjamas x 2, bubble bath and concealer stick make up. (Similarly my friend Julie had an emergency request from her elderly neighbour that included the essential item of Trebor mints, I kid you not). Eventually last night my parents came up with a few food requests which amazingly Londis in Vale road post office was able to fulfil except eggs of course. “Eggs….? They’ll be in next year” I was told with a smile.
Well I won’t waffle on about my shopping habits all day long, other news from Windsor is that I made a delicious caramelised red onion and mature cheddar quiche on Wednesday night. It contained 6 eggs!! I had no idea I was being so decadent at the time, a bit like sprinkling gold dust onto your pudding.
Today’s lunch was not so deluxe. We had tinned ravioli in tomato sauce on toast from The Happy Shopper range! It actually was quite tasty and felt like comfort food. When have I ever bought a tin of anything for lunch from The Happy Shopper, I have no idea. I just saw it on the shelf and it looked easy.
So of course you’ll all be staying in tonight. Eating your food you’ve had to battle through the crowds for and compromise on your usual list followed by a manic hand washing session afterwards. Followed by worrying about possible door handles you may have touched before hand washing and have now touched again afterwards! Whatever you are eating I hope it is truly delicious. You deserve to enjoy it after getting through this week.
We will be phoning our local Indian takeaway at 6.00 pm tonight when they open to try to get a meal for 2 hours later. (Do you think they still have rice?) If this is a no go we will be investigating the freezer, probably for one of our “Cook” meals. The beef wellington looks particularly tasty. Have a nice evening everyone, keep healthy. I will check in with you all again soon xxx
In 20 Twittington Street, Mr Score was busy having his breakfast. Twenty small items as usual, of course. The meal comprised: 1 x small glass of grapefruit juice 2 x cups of tea 1 portion of scrambled eggs on 2 x pieces of toast coated with 1 x knife-full of low-fat margarine 2 x sprinklings of salt 2 x sprinklings of pepper 1 x dollop of HP sauce 1 x dollop of ketchup 1 x rasher of bacon 1 x pork sausage 2 x grilled tomatoes 2 x grilled mushrooms with 1 x sprinkling of herbs on top
He always enjoyed his twenty items, and polished them off taking exactly twenty minutes. He always found twenty items exactly the right number, and twenty minutes exactly the right amount of time to eat it in. As he finished his last mouthful he heard the post thud onto the mat. He got up to check. Phew! There were exactly twenty items. He hated it when the post office got it wrong. He went on to have a fully hunky-dory, 20-20 day. When he went to bed he was at peace with the world and slept soundly, having said his prayers to the God of Twenty Dreams.
The following morning he got up at 8.20am as usual and went down to breakfast. Oh, he was really hungry that morning; it must have been all that dreaming. He gobbled up his breakfast so fast, which made him extra-thirsty. He reached out and poured, then gulped down a cup of tea — his third. Without thinking he had just had twenty-one items. That was unheard of. His heart started to pound in his chest as he realised what he’d done and the risk he was taking. He began to sweat profusely and his vision blurred. He was completely out of his comfort zone and he didn’t know what to do.
“Thud”. So the post had come — 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 items. Phew! No need to panic. Things were normal after all. Mr Score started to walk back to his seat at the kitchen table.
“Plop”. A lighter sound came from behind him. He turned around to see another letter on the mat — a bright red envelope — number 21. Oh then he really started to worry. He paced up and down and up and down. It took him a full twenty minutes to get up the courage to shuffle over to the envelope in his slippers. He picked it up slowly and opened it tentatively….. It was an invite to a party — YIPPEE! Mr Score was never invited to parties. Sometimes he was invited to multiple choice tests, but never to parties. The invite read:
Dear Mr Score,
You are cordially invited to a “21” party in celebration of the 21st birthday of Twinkletoes Tinsel
at 20.21 on Saturday 21st May, 21 Casino Drive
In smaller letters at the bottom: strictly only over-21’s allowed. RSVP
Oh he was so excited, but so shocked! How could he, Mr Score, possibly go to a 21 party? It was so new, so different, he hadn’t a clue where to begin. He tried twenty times to draft a reply to the invitation. Each time he was dissatisfied and scrumpled up his attempt. Astonishingly he succeeded on his 21st try. He posted off the 21st sheet of paper, leaving the previous twenty scrumpled up balls in his waste-paper basket. He’d dared to accept. Now the question was, did he dare to go?
Saturday came and Mr Score made sure he spent a full twenty-one minutes getting ready. Oh it was a struggle that last minute, it seemed to drag on forever for him. But then again, he did have an extra silk spotted handkerchief to display in his top pocket, which took at least twenty-one seconds to arrange.
He boldly took the twenty-one steps to 21 Casino Drive, took a deep breath and rang the bell. The pretty twenty-one year old Twinkletoes came to greet him at the door. He was bowled over. She was everything he had imagined in his wildest dreams, and more. She just seemed to have that little bit extra that all the other girls he knew were lacking. She also looked approvingly at him.
“My, don’t you look complete!” she said, running her fingers over his silk handkerchief. He blushed like a twenty-year old as she led him inside to the party. They danced, they drank, they giggled. Then they joined the other guests at cards — 21 of course! Mr Score was lucky for a while, but Twinkletoes kept winning over all the other guests.
At the end of the evening, he said goodnight, and quite overcome with all the excitement he kissed her a full twenty-one times on the lips. He especially enjoyed the last one. It was so adventurous, so free. So like nothing he had ever experienced.
“Can I see you again, Mr Score?” she asked, giving him her sweetest smile. Flustered, he replied, “oh, er, oh, er, I’m really not sure about that my dear Twinkly”, looking down at his shoes. “I’ve had a thoroughly nice time and all that, but it’s just been such an extraordinary day. I suddenly feel completely exhausted and a bit out of sorts”.
As Mr Score walked the twenty-one steps back home he realised he just couldn’t get together with a girl like that. He knew in his heart she’d always have one up on him. He deliberately made his last stride home an extra huge one, arriving home at the end of step twenty. He felt a weight lift off his shoulders, home at last. As he undressed and hung up his clothes, he laid down the silk handkerchief on his desk, smiled and wrote a reminder note to himself. He would post the handkerchief to Twinkletoes tomorrow as a thank you for the party and something to remember him by.
Well, the Coronavirus has just catapulted pretty much every human being on the planet out of their comfort zone. It is becoming increasingly difficult to think about anything else. However, I feel we must try. To strike a balance I have started listening to classical music on the radio rather than constant news… much more relaxing.
In my recent post “15 (food-related) things to do rather than worrying about Coronavirus” I suggested we might try to push ourselves to try some slightly different foods outside of our usual buying pattern. For Tina, she has bought some tinned jackfruit and was talking about making a chilli with it. I have never tried jackfruit so am really looking forward to hearing about how she got on with this. I, on the other hand, purchased walnut halves, passion fruit and organic maca powder.
Firstly, the walnut halves, £1.50 for 100g in Tesco’s. I have never really liked nuts although I am not allergic to them or anything. I quite like salted peanuts and soft cashew nuts but that’s about it. I wanted to try walnuts again as they are really, really good for you. I can now confirm that I still do not like them very much; this is disappointing. They taste err, too nutty for me I suppose, and they dry your mouth out a bit but not in a nice way like rhubarb or spinach but in a sort of furry way. I have eaten a pathetic little morsel of one half of a walnut. I will try to eat one or two more, but I doubt if I will be buying these again.
Next came the organic maca powder. I had never even heard of this before I bought it. £4.00 for 125g in Tesco’s. Supposedly a Peruvian superfood high in riboflavin, iron, calcium, zinc and fibre. It sounded like it was going to give me a real energy boost. A google search revealed this comes from a root-like plant, a relative of the radish family. My search also revealed I had unknowingly just purchased a substance well known to increase your fertility, sex drive and may enhance your breast size!! Mmm, I may have got more than I bargained for here…
I tried a teaspoonful sprinkled on my breakfast cereal. It tasted nutty which was OK but also sweet, which after a while got a bit sickly. The powder in the milk also didn’t completely dissolve so the milk wasn’t a smooth texture any more and the more I ate the less I liked it. I would try this again, partly because I parted with a whole hard earned £4. for it, but maybe sprinkled in a cake or something like banana bread, I think that might work better.
Last but not least, the passion fruit. I am sure I have had passion fruit previously in desserts or cocktails but I had never bought it or prepared it myself. This cost £1.25 for 3 in Tesco’s. I prepared it as per the packet instructions to slice lengthways and to scoop out the seeds and orange flesh to eat. Passion fruit are highly rich in Vitamin C so worth a try when all the shops are sold out of effervescent Vitamin C at the moment. The juice was sweet but sharp, I thought it was very tasty. The seeds however were a bit too crunchy, exploding uncomfortably under my teeth, so I tried to pulverise them with my pestle and mortar but this was not very successful with all the squidgy juice around. I was a little miffed how little there is to actually eat inside this fruit, but what there is is flavoursome. I think tonight I will try to blitz in my mini chopping machine the last 2 passion fruits to try to make a sort of passion fruit sauce and will serve this with vanilla ice cream. Wish me luck, could be smiles or tears!
I did enjoy the experiment of the new food shopping although none of the results were a knockout for me. I aspire to keep an open mind about food and will do this again some time. My book club friends can attest that after 5 years I have almost eaten the entire menu of The White Hart in Holyport. Not in one sitting I might add, but each monthly meeting I try something different, which has been fun to do. I particularly enjoyed the chilli prawn linguine and the vegetable lasagne, but all the food in The White Hart is good.
For today I have run out of time, but on the subject of stepping out of your comfort zone this has reminded me of a nice story I once wrote on this theme. I will share this with you in a separate post in the next couple of days and you can tell me if you like (or not) my “proper” writing as opposed to my blog-a-log chatting. Watch this space xx
Before we all start to relax for the weekend I thought you might like to see some tree photos I took in Windsor on my lunchtime walk today. I think we could probably all do with a bit of tree therapy in these challenging times. After I focused on the trees, I really started to notice the beautiful sky and clouds. I took a deep breath and felt so lucky to be healthy and out in nature. I hope you like my photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. For my colleague Moya, sorry, the ginkgo tree wasn’t there any more so I’ll find another one to photograph next time for you!
(Doesn’t the castle look tiny? Like a little dolls’ house!)
I apologise for not writing about food today, but I have fallen in love. With trees.
I have always liked them yet over the past few years I have gone a bit crazy for them and I fear this is only going to get worse. Give me a bit of heavily textured peeling bark or the glossy shine of a holly leaf, a magnolia tree covered in buds ready to break forth into bloom, and I go a bit weak at the knees.
My sister really is not helping in this situation. Last April for my birthday she bought me this book:
We planned a day out in London and in May went to track down all these grand trees of the city. Considering my sister lives in the Cotswolds (I never tire of saying that!) where there are obviously lots of trees locally, and I live in Windsor where we have all the majestic oaks of Windsor Great Park neither of us were actually tree deprived. So it seemed like a true pilgrimage to visit and appreciate these special trees of London in their perhaps more challenging urban environment. Do you know what? They were doing just fine. The heading photo is one of the London planes on the Embankment; so glorious. I believe this row of planes was planted by the Victorians when they made the London sewerage system. The flaky bark of the London plane makes it especially good at dealing with pollution. Aren’t trees so clever? I love the way they are super strong but also that they are so flexible. It seems in nature as well as in life, (think of buildings designed for use in earthquake zones etc) strength and flexibility are a winning combination. I must aspire to this in my personal life!
Some of the trees were a little hard to find and we had a lot of queried discussions such as “This must be tree no.2”… “No, it must be this one”….“No, it’s not you’ve gone and photographed the wrong one!”…”Well you’re right but I like this one anyway”… followed by …“Is it time for lunch yet?”(me)…“No, we have to do at least another 2 trees to hit our morning target”(my sister). All in all we had a lot of fun and this is my sister at The Brunswick Plane, tree no. 4 in the book:
As my husband and I were walking in The Great Park last weekend (the inspiration for this post), I reflected that even an ugly tree can be beautiful, all gnarled and nobbly. And a dead tree struck by lightning can be even more stunningly photogenic than a live one.. how is that? Strange but true. I particularly liked this trunk:
Ancient trees are wonderful, the older and fatter the better. They have a grandeur and wisdom that makes me want to touch them for them to impart some of their magical knowledge to me. I like to think of our ancestors in times gone by taking shelter from the rain under the same canopy we do so now. One of the oldest trees local to us is the Ankerwycke yew (great oldy worldy name). It is 2,500 years old, try to get your head around that. It is rumoured that Henry VIII courted Anne Boleyn under this tree. It is near Runnymede where the Magna Carta was sealed. https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/runnymede/features/ankerwycke
I always consider myself super lucky to pass a beautiful old cedar tree on my way to work. It is in St Leonard’s Road in Windsor opposite The Trooper pub and dates from the 1800s. I love the way it defies convention and emerges up out of the pavement. In 2011 I proudly joined local residents in a protest to save this tree from being cut down and we were successful. I particularly objected to the Council’s wording on their notice: “this tree is an actionable nuisance”. I always give this tree a little stroke as I go by and think of how many continued years of life it has had partly because of me. You can read more about this tree and it’s fascinating history here. It even starred in a Carry on film, “Carry on Cabbie” in 1963.
I really could waffle on about trees all day and I haven’t even mentioned rustic autumn leaves, the awesome prettiness of blossom or the many amazing trees I have come across on my holidays around the world.
Oh, alright then, I’ll show you just one more…an exotic cousin of our friends above.. a palm tree taken in St Croix in the US Virgin Islands..now someone please get me a margarita!
Just a quick post to let you know I have added a page of “local stuff” in the Windsor area.
Need a good restaurant in Windsor? A new book to read by local author? Help with your computer/tablet/phone? It’s all there under the Local stuff button at the bottom of the page. I will be updating this page regularly. I hope you find it useful.
This isn’t the post I was going to write for you today. I was going to tell you all about immune boosting food and recipes to keep healthy in the current times. Then it dawned on me that you probably all already know in theory how to eat healthily and to look yourselves; we are all just struggling at times to execute this in our busy lives. I will repeat what you know: get enough sleep, be kind to yourselves and others, eat regular meals with loads of fruit and veg, find nutritious foods that you actually enjoy eating, try not to drink too much alcohol bla bla bla. Yet being stressed and worried is also a BIG factor in weakening our immune systems. So, let’s not beat ourselves up too much and have some stress-busting fun instead. Here are my top 15 (food related) suggestions… enjoy!
1 Go to the supermarket and buy 2 or 3 items of food that you wouldn’t usually buy that are slightly out of your comfort zone. If you feel in the sharing mood you can let me know what you got and whether this was a success or not… I’d love to hear about it.
2 Bake a lovely cake for someone you think deserves it.. your mother, your colleague, your friend, you. If it doesn’t turn out well a) give it to them anyway, it’s the thought that counts or b) scoff the lot yourself, they’ll never know!
3 Make a meal plan for next week including some tasty and replenishing suppers. I’m thinking home made chicken soup with loads of veg in it.. I recommend the one in Good Housekeeping Express, my favourite after work recipe book at the moment.
4 Go out for a romantic meal with your partner or catch up with an old friend for lunch somewhere beautiful with a view… Ferny grove farm anyone?
5 Make a new cocktail .. (I do this every bank holiday) Find the recipe on the internet or buy a book such as The Little Book of Cocktails by Rufus Cavendish. Get some fancy coloured glasses from a charity shop to serve them in.
6 Start digging your veg patch or think about starting one. If this isn’t practical how about some herbs to grow on your windowsill? Go retro with some cress?
7 Give your kitchen cupboards a thorough clear out and clean the shelves. Ditch the out of date stuff and think of ways of using up the other bits. Have a little dance along to music on the radio while you do this.
8 Cycle to the pub.. exercise and relaxation, this is my usual Friday night combination…11 mins there, 18 mins back due to the drunken weaving around.. ONLY JOKING! (This works for me as there is a cycle path all the way to the pub and I do not drink that much).
9 Go to the library and get some inspiring cookbooks. Invite friends and family round to try out a new recipe on. Or share a takeaway with friends. Or host a cheese and wine evening? (I’m on a roll now, or is it a Ciabatta? Ha ha).
10 Turn your fruit bowl into award winning still life and draw or paint it, or take some artistic photos of it. Enter your picture in The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition for a laugh, although you’ll have to wait til next year as entry for this year has now closed.
11 Watch the film Julie & Julia. Try to recreate the experience by obsessively following one cook book trying to rustle up every recipe within it. I have already done this in the form of “Delia and Gail”. I did over 350 recipes from Delia’s complete cookery course from sauces to souffles to puddings. It definitely made me a better cook. Husband still raves about the crab soufflé.
12 Get some proper fish and chips from the chip shop, preferably at a traditional British seaside town and eat them out of the greasy paper to the sound of the majestic waves. Ignore any big, fat, greedy seagulls. Ignore any thoughts about calories or cholesterol.
13 Go for a walk around your local neighbourhood taking a different route from usual. Wear gloves (oops I nearly said wear clothes then!! Of course wear clothes unless you are a naturist and not in fear of being arrested). Wear gloves, pick up litter and put it in a bin bag. Reward yourself with a big pat on the back and a nice coffee, tea, hot chocolate of your choice.
14 Run up and down your stairs 10 times followed by 10 star jumps. Celebrate your efforts with a biscuit. If you can’t be bothered to do the first bit have the biscuit anyway, life is short! But only one mind you x
15 Start a food blog. If I can do it with no training, so can you! Follow your blog’s WordPress statistics with map showing where in the world your blog has spread. It’s like the Coronavirus map only a lot, lot happier. I am proud to say that TWW is already being viewed in the UK, USA, Canada, China, Israel and the Netherlands. Spread world peace through food. ❤️👍
If feeling inclined to do so you can let me know in the Comments section below or email me what you did from 1-15 if any and how it worked out for you. It would be nice if we could create a little community here on TWW.
Disclaimer: I am not paid to promote or link to anything shown on TWW. If I recommend or link to a product or place this is my personal, honest recommendation. If you do something silly that I may have suggested please note you do so at your own risk and I will not be held responsible.. but I will probably send you lots of love and internet hugs to speed your recovery🤗 .
Hello and Happy St David’s Day from TWW (The Windsor Waffle).
I know daffodils would be more appropriate but these lovely camellias have just sprung into bloom in my garden today. When I saw the fresh pink buds next to the glossy green leaves earlier in the week my heart did a little jump for joy. Spring is coming, yippee!!
For those of you still craving a daffodil, here you go:
Daffodils are much harder to photograph as they keep bobbing about in the breeze. They seem to have an extra life of their own, like ladies gossiping at a bus stop. I think that Wordsworth knew what he was talking about!
Having “surveyed the estate”.. my garden is honestly not that big but we like to use such terms, I notice the veg patch is looking pretty sorry for itself. The wooden slats were bought from good old Mahjack’s, such a useful, old fashioned DIY store which us locals are sorely missing. The wood is now a bit rotten and the earth about to bulge out the sides like a fat belly escaping a skirt waistband. I intend to get this fixed soon by a local handyman so I can start planting my seed potatoes. We usually have Arran pilots which are really tasty with skins so thin they fall off with a gentle scrape under the kitchen tap. There are NEVER any spare potatoes to share with our friends and family; we gobble them all up ourselves.
The rhubarb is looking amazing already!
That’s a lot of rhubarb crumble for one person (husband does not like it). Luckily I really do love rhubarb and especially crumble. Any stalks I can’t make use of go to family and friends. My parents eagerly accept my red and green parcels of the same. I believe they freeze it which maybe I will have to try now that we have got a new, slightly bigger freezer. I am looking forward to filling up the freezer with some yummy stuff. Of course I will remember everything that goes in and use it all in the correct order… yeah right, unidentified half cooked dinners from goodness knows when here we come….!