Spring has truly arrived. The snowdrops popping their little white heads above the damp soil was the first sign and now the daffodils have joined them with their bright yellow trumpets announcing new life.
The tarty crocuses with their brash oranges, purples and yellows are dotted around too and The Meadows famed for its swathes of crocuses is alive with colour and gangs of students pretending they’re all from the same household.
Our ponds have transformed themselves into a heaving mass of a frog and toad orgy. An orgy that would put the Romans to shame in its decadence and enthusiasm. Lady frogs and toads lie under piles of gentleman frogs and toads and don’t appear to mind too much. The toads make their toady noises which are deep and resonant and we watch in awe as nature does what nature does best; multiply.
Frog taking a break from the orgy
Are you feeling ok? Is the sap rising Bec? Have you had a chat with EPH about his 'duties'?
Is a Lady Toad a Toadette?
This hedonism lasts about a week, a week during which the little creatures battle against the forces of Mr and Mrs Heron seeking a quick froggy snack and the big, black, bastarding crows who pick up love lorn toads and toy with them like a cat playing with a mouse.
Did you know that unlike toads and frogs, crows can count? So if three men carrying guns go into the wood and 5 mins later only two emerge, crows do a thing that goes like this:
'Eric (muted whisper) Eric, those bastards with the guns are back, three of them this week.'
'Not again Ethel, seriously have they nothing else to do?'
'Oh relax Eric they are leaving again,'
'There's only two of them the sneaky cheating bastards - Don't move Ethel we will sit it out'
'Eric I think they got Aunty Ada?'
Eddie has been on high alert all week. Defending his garden is one of the few things that gets him up off his throne like bean bag in the kitchen. It is his garden, not ours. He patrols it daily, sniffing out any signs of feline or volpine intruders, peeing in the appropriate places to send out warning signals. Every now and then he gets very angry at seagulls that have the audacity to fly over his kingdom, but he reserves his best barking for the crows and the heron.
Dude is always on high alert - especial ire is reserved for the squirrel that sits on the back fence flicking the bird at Dude....Dude takes this to heart - understandably I feel.
As a family, we have decided to let nature take its course, this mainly means letting Eddie run amuck, loudly announcing his presence to the nasty crows as well as the entire neighbourhood. Next door recently got a black Labrador puppy, which as regular readers of the blog will know is almost compulsory if you live in this part of Edinburgh, particularly if your children are privately educated and you’re partial to a pair of raspberry coloured corduroy trousers.
“Rhum” as he is named (there is a Scottish fetish to name things you love after a Scottish Island) and so far we haven’t heard a peep out of him. He’s only four months old and already much better behaved than Eddie. I hang my head in shame.
Eddie is a legend in his own lunchtime and packs a lot of personality into his diminutive body. I already object to Rhum on several levels - firstly -its a stupid name and secondly it sounds like a fashion accessory not a pooch. Lastly that's not good behaviour its dullness.
Ever Patient Husband and Youngest Daughter have been busy planting seeds in little seed trays in the green house. EPH and I spent a good half an hour staring at the seed selection in B&Q the other week, attempting to sound knowledgeable about “earlies” “staggering the crop” and “mulch”. We clearly know nothing about any of this, but we‘ve watched Monty Don do his thing enough to know that putting stuff in soil and watering it usually leads to some kind of result.
Now Nigel was a very awesome name for a dog RIP Nige.
Last year’s carrots were positively pornographic. We had so many orange penis carrots that it stopped being funny and became the norm. Apparently EPH has worked out what the issue was and promises to produce more seemly carrots this year.
There is nothing worse than a vulgarly shaped carrot. Does Esther Rantzen still accept these in the post for her short 'humorously shaped vegetable' slot on whatever the fuck that programme was called?
EPH has also decided he now likes cooking. After fourteen years of being together, pretending not to be able to cook and avoiding the kitchen, he now thinks he’s the love child of Rick Stein, James Martin and Atol Kuhhar.
MMMmmmm James Martin.....
It’s only taken two full lock downs for him to be so bored that he has reverted to cooking. This, as you know readers has been a double edged sword. However, I’ve now grown accustomed to having my fried eggs on toast made for me on a Saturday morning after Zoom yoga and a delicious Saturday night special dinner.
It turns out that he’s much better at cooking than I am. This was irritating at first, but now I realise is a huge advantage. His authentic Chinese lemon chicken and his proper korma curry were absolutely delicious. The state of the kitchen wasn’t though, as it looked like two very drunk people had been having a food fight, however you can’t have everything, no matter what Nichola Horlick lead us to believe in the 80’s. Where is she now I wonder?
In the house humming and rocking...like every fucker else...quietly regretting ever thinking let alone mentioning that you, as a woman, could have and be everything you wanted...In fact it was obligatory to have a house straight out of Country House and Home, along with a handsome hubby , father to Araminta and Horatio, horses, dogs and a job in the city, along side the coke habit and the younger lovers, - see where this is going - just another one of those myths propagated by people with their own head up their arse holes - An entire generation of women made to feel wanting.... rant burble, pass the JD.
I no longer cook four or five nights a week and this is bliss. He even managed a mid-week tea whilst I was being interviewed for some American thing that I‘d booked in my diary two months ago and had forgotten about until I received the reminder email, ‘we’re looking forward to you being our guest on A for Attorney Live, we think your subject heading “five ways to build a world class law firm’ is fantastic and are looking forward etc.....’
I WhatsApped Pip as a diversionary tactic so as not to think too hard about the fact I’d prepared jack shit for the live event. We don’t usually do this during the day, during the week as we’re both occupied being very busy and important, however, slight hysteria had set in about the prospect of going live on whatever platform we were going to be live on and not having had prepared anything.
Funny thing is that I would have been more than mildly hysterical had it been me and yet I had no qualms that Bec would roll out the goods in her usual inimitable style.
The hysteria descended into chats about going bra-less during lockdown and we both decided it was not something we particularly liked doing. I said it was unseemly and Pip guffawed at my quaint use of language. She guffaws at me quite a lot.
Well you turn into my Mother at various times - really 'Unseemly' guffaw...Although unless you have tiny teeny weeny perky little tits please for pity sake cover the fuckers up with some heavy duty upholstery and live with it - No one - even on zoom - wants to see you channelling your inner Ena Sharples; Your Nora Batty boobs are always de trop.
The live session completed (in true Blue Peter style I produced something I’d prepared earlier and ‘adapted’ it) and descended into the kitchen where EPH had prepared a delicious toad in the hole. Happily, he had not used one of the amorous toads from the garden, but some sausages from the Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference range.
Jamie Oliver’s Toad in the hole
Dear Reader - why is it called Toad In The Hole? Did Tudors or Romans make it with Toads? This is one of those eternally unanswered terribly British questions - Like where the fuck are my glasses?, is that weed I can smell?, do I need a coat? (this one always confuses me...?) I think these questions that we ask are culturally defining, if you don't understand the 'What time does Tesco close on Sunday' trope you are clearly not British and need to be inducted into the collective....
On the Toad in the Hole question - if you know the answer drop us a line on the site and we will share it with the world next week!
It was bloody delicious! I’ve never been able to get my Yorkshire pudding batter to rise in the statuesque way EPH did.
“What’s your secret?” I enquired tentatively.
”Ten eggs and a can of beer.” Came the response.
Silly me. Of course it was. All I’d needed to do all these years was use a ridiculously large number of eggs and a tin of beer.
Fuck me with a fishfork! How much sodding batter was he making?
”Where did you find the recipe?” I really did want to know who would suggest using ten fucking eggs and a tin of beer to make Yorkshire pudding batter for toad in the hole.
”Jamie Oliver.” Came the reply.
”Twat.” I thought.
EPH or Jamie Oliver? My opinion is that anyone who seriously uses the term 'pukka' and rocks a funky fake Essex lisp isn't worthy of the perfectly good skin they are occupying....Coming a close second is referring to 'Sally Salt and Percy Pepper' a la Ainsley Harriot - on consideration that might be worse....
Tonight it’s Katsu chicken with a bottle of gin. Hurrah!