Another home on the grange

Tonight, I’ve had to spend hours redoing things I’ve already done. It’s more than frustrating, but I really think it’s necessary, so I’ve buckled down and set to it. In the middle of migrating files, I had a break to chop onions for the freezer – we love them griddled on the bbq with burgers, hot dogs & steaks – and to make a delicious cottage pie for dinner. For my American friends, cottage pie is like shepherd’s pie, but made with minced beef instead of minced lamb (hence the name).

I’ve always wondered about the etymology of the dish’s name, I mean I get that ‘shepherd’s pie’ is connected to the lamb that it contains, it makes perfect sense to me; but what do cottages have to do with beef? Did people in ‘Olde Englande’ keep their cattle in their cottages perhaps? It just seems an oddity, so of course I had to go searching for its origins.

It turns out that cottage pie contained beef, but was so named because the potatoes were sliced and layered on top so they looked like the roof of a cottage, as opposed to shepherd’s pie, which has mashed potatoes on top. Darn it! I made my cottage pie with mash – beautifully smooth, creamy and delicious mashed potatoes mixed with mashed sweet potatoes (yum!) – instead of the more authentic slices. Next time, I’ll do it right! Still, the taste is what counts and it was scrumptious. I would have taken a photo to post, but some greedy guts ate it all before that was possible.

Whilst I was cooking, well, washing up actually, I looked out of the kitchen window to see the wagtail that visits us regularly on the garden path with its baby, clearly teaching him the ropes – ‘This garden’s fantastic for worms sweetie, wag, wag; don’t worry about the humans, they like us here, wag, wag’ and I dropped everything and ran for the camera. I’m getting old and simply don’t move as fast as I would like to, so that by the time I returned, they had both moved on to the next learning opportunity. Aye me.

My attention was grabbed by something red, hiding amongst the green leaves of the strawberry plants. Could it be? Have I managed to grow a strawberry? Really?Strawberries

And, glory of all gloriousness! YES! I have a strawberry and it is GOOD! And there’s another one too!  I’m leaving them for a couple of days, hoping our feathered friends haven’t noticed it yet, so that it has time to properly ripen on the stalk. Then, I am going to pick them and eat it. Oh yum!


2 Replies to “Another home on the grange”

  1. First of all I want to say superb blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
    I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind prior to writing.

    I’ve had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes
    are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or hints?
    Many thanks!


    1. Hi Mikki, and thank you for your gracious compliments – it’s always wonderful to hear when someone enjoys something I’ve written.
      With regards to your query about how I centre myself and clear my mind for writing, I had not really thought about it too much until now. I write all the time. Most days I spend a few hours writing something or other – a poem, a blog post, a recipe, cards or letters to dear friends and/or relatives – all sorts of writing. I am currently working on two separate book projects, one is a book of haiku for children based around a theme of colours whilst the other is a fictional novel telling the life story of a woman who has fantasized her life away (not for children!). I am most successful when I don’t try to think too hard about it all, just have a general idea in my mind of what I want to include in the piece. Often, I write about stuff that I have taken photos of and that will usually give me a general map, or framework for the piece. I work best without distractions of TV or radio noise, although sometimes I plug in my ipod and listen to appropriate music according to what I’m writing about. Having something visual to construct the piece from really helps I think – I guess that’s my best suggestion for you! That and try to find the time of day that you feel most creative… when you can let the ideas flow and keep a notebook handy to jot them down. I keep mine by my bedside in case I wake up and think of something… it’s really frustrating if I cannot remember it in the morning!.
      Good luck with your writing, remember to relax too!


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