Lockdown 2: The Cassandra Goad Film & Book Club (And More!): Week 2

In the last week, I have been enjoying the incredible colours of the beech trees in our local woods - amazing golden yellows, burnt oranges and those wonderful peridot lime greens. In the early morning, the mist hangs in the woods creating a fairytale atmosphere. I almost feel as if Robin Hood or Snow White might be walking there, whistling in the semi-darkness.

I have been gathering branches of leaves on my walks and placing them in large coloured glass jars around the house -they delight me every time I walk down the corridor or go out of the door. Now and again where the frost has not reached the dahlias, I take one of the big fiery yellow-orange heads of my Cactus dahlias and add them to the golden leaves.

Now is a good time to dust and tidy out wherever you keep your vases. I recently put some narrow shelves into an old garage (about 5 inches wide, like a plank) so that I could see them all at a glance. I love cutting and soaking my flowers, choosing a vase, and working out what I will put in it and where it will go in the house or at the shop.

This week I have been reading 'The Journal of Jules Renard'. M. Renard's journal is translated into English by Bogan and Roget, as a writer, he is considered 'the origin of contemporary literature' by Jean-Paul Sartre. Being a journal means it has a nice structure and thus is easy to pick up and put down, starting off on another day or year. His short life starts quite humbly, meeting all sorts of characters along the way - making witty and funny observations about them and the world around him. These are some of my favourites that I have added to my collection of quotes...

" The spider glides on an invisible thread as though it were swimming in the air."

" One enters a book as one enters a railway carriage, with glances to the rear, hesitations, and a disinclination to change one's place and one's ideas. Where will the journey take us? What will the book turn out to be?"

" The chattering of the chairs, lined up before the guests arrive on a reception day ."

A Friday Treat!

I find that marking the end of a week with something special on a Friday makes the weekend last a little longer - so I thought I would share with you ideas for a Friday treat night and beyond…

​ - Begin by putting some sparkling wine or champagne in the fridge - bubbles never fail to make me smile.

- Having bought some clams from your local fishmonger, make Spaghetti Vongole with some freshly chopped tomatoes.

- Or make my mother in law's specialty: 'Calamari en su tinta' (squid in their own ink), as a risotto. I always add a few extra clams as I love their almost heart-like shape opening up in the dish. And add plenty of squid ink so it looks really black and a leaf or two of basil to decorate!

- While on one of your walks, gather the last of the season's apples and stew them. I have loved 'compote de pommes' since I was a small girl and like to have it warm with a sprinkling of Lizi's granola and some Soya passion fruit yogurt.

- If you haven't invested in an air fryer yet, then now might be the perfect moment to consider one. I never thought I needed one, and now I can't live without it - it makes breakfast bacon and roasted tomatoes to perfection, with none of the grease and with virtually no smell! You can add half an avocado if you like, but I am feeling a little overdosed on avocados at the moment so I am changing up my breakfast and leaving them out!

- Last of all why not while away some hours with a game of Scrabble? If you are on your own create a fictitious opponent, glamorous and dazzling (Catherine the Great?) or mildly terrifying (Mrs Danvers, who was brilliantly played in the new Netflix version of Rebecca by Kristin Scott Thomas). I play with my mother and brothers on Sunday evenings... and was rather pleased with NERDY on a triple letter!!. Next week we might play in French just to make it a bit more fun…

Have a wonderful weekend, keep smiling - it's an amazing world out there, don't let it go by without you noticing. Embrace new opportunities and challenges that are thrown at you. I feel I have the chance for a clean slate, a moment to rethink, relearn and reorganise my life.

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