Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Well this is a bit embarrassing....

.... I changed my status on Facebook today to say that I was celebrating 10 years of marriage......unfortunately our wedding anniversary is actually tomorrow. Not the first time I have got it wrong, but what is really embarrassing is that I went and checked the date on the certificate, and still got it wrong!

As a special treat my lovely husband took me to the scrapyard. Ostensibly to collect a table he had spotted there the other day that he wanted for his workshop, but in reality, once there he was trying to palm me off with all sorts of other rubbish, because once I spotted the table I knew I had to have it.

It has come out of a local school, Thea says they have similar ones in her science lab, it is waist high and has a laminated top, so I have commandeered it as my pattern cutting table for my studio. What did he expect with a trip to the scrappy as an anniversary gift. Still for 10 years it is supposed to be tin or coal.

While I was there I did find some other treasures, a metal bucket for my wood store in my studio, some saucepans to use in the cages for our ever expanding rabbit population, a waffle iron and a night potty bucket. All of which the scrap man gave me for free - as my anniversary present!

I am not quite sure what that says about my life here in rural France, that my local scrapman gives me an anniversary present? Nor am I sure what it says about our marriage, that my husband thinks a trip to the scrappy is appropriate? What does it say about me? Am I taking reduce, reuse, recycle a step too far?

On the other hand a bucket of bits and bobs or a bag of coal - good practical presents both of them, better than some overpriced flowers, although I wouldn't necessarily say no to chocolate.

While in the scrapyard we visited our lorry. We moved to France in winter 2006, with all of our wordly goods crammed in this 7.5 tonne lorry, bought for one trip only, then sold to the scrap man once we had cut the body off it in order to transport our 2 pig arcs, and run several trips to collect hay and straw in it while it was a flat-bed. Then eventually it died and it was time for it to move on. All that is left now is the flat bed base and the roof - still with the hole cut out from the caravan window that had been set into the roof while it was a horse box. I cut the window out to make a cold frame for the garden - waste not want not!

The big plus side of a visit to the scrap man and scrap yard are the photographic opportunities. Scrap metal and cars are one of my favourite things to capture - well they don't move around for a start.

Tomorrow's project is to collate and process the photos I took today, having installed my table under the window in the studio today, taken a couple of quick shots of the kittens - as you can see from the photo above, Fergie is happily installed on my shoulder as I type this, and a quick dinner of pork chops and dauphinoise potatoes.

Recipe - dauphinoise potatoes
Peel some potatoes - any old softening ones in the bottom of the veg basket or what's left of last year's harvest are perfect for this.
Slice about half a centimetre thick and layer in an oven proof dish - I like to add some thinly sliced onion in as well.
Sprinkle on some garlic powder and season as you build the layers.
Pour over a litre of stock and leave to cook in the oven at 180C for about 45 minutes.
By this time the stock should be pretty much gone, but the potatoes nice and soft, then pour over a carton of thick double cream (about 150 ml), sprinkle with some paprika and some parsley and leave to cook for another 20 minutes.
By cooking in two stages like this the cream won't split and you need less cream so it is slightly healthier.
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