Listing to port

This is the time of year when the dreariness of the weather (stuck on the spectrum from drizzle to downpour), the necessity of eating the remaining dribs and drobs of Christmas chocolate and the sheer impossibility of deciding on and then commencing a new project together force a sedate (and sedentary) reconsideration of the past year and the compiling of lists. (I have well learned the merits of list compilation as task deferral and illusory progress from my years of project management (one of the drearier aspects of my former career)). It has been a strange old year that’s for sure, but nonetheless there have been some unexpected achievements and moments of serendipity to mark and some unfinished business to shuffle to the front of the queue for the coming year. So here goes.

Most entertaining new lockdown hobby (other than walking the dog, which trumps everything)

  • Soap making has to come out the worthy winner for sheer mad scientist/slitter factor
  • Drying flowers for pot pourri and sundry other uses comes in next as this has been a glorious way to extend the life of the garden into winter and the smell in my garret whilst the petals were drying was almost worth it on its own
  • the manufacture of intriguing new liqueurs (see further below)
  • frog watching (and other nature dude pursuits)

Serendipitous successes

  • Seraglio Swinger – when the rose tincture went awry I added lemons and sugar to the rose vodka and a splendid new hooch was discovered
  • spiced rum jelly – when the crabapple spiced rum refused to ungel in the promised manner the jelly was stuck in a tub in the freezer. Since then it has formed a fabulous layer in a pear pudding and a surprise centre for semi freddo. Might it be worth making some just for the jelly??
  • blackcurrants bottled in meadowsweet cordial. The cordial on its own was a bit cloying, but with added blackcurrants it was fabulous.

Projects substantially completed

  • I think we will count the new long border behind the hedge in this for, although I still have a few plants to order and put in, it is mostly planted up and certainly all planned out
  • A vast array of pet themed cushions (and why not!). This has also rejuvenated my interest in fancy needlepoint which I have avoided a little in recent years thinking that my defective thumb (…long story – horses, fences, bone grafts, chopsticks and life drawing) might prove a hindrance and there’s no pleasure in making a howk of things
  • An all time record of 3 personal, 2 birthday, 1 christening, 2 random cheerer upper and 6 Christmas jumpers/cardis (oh and also one matching hat).
  • 3 “repurposed curtain” gardening/dogwalking waistcoats

Projects commenced (or fondly envisaged) and still to be completed

  • the new quadrant of cleared garden next to the “centurion and pig” wall
  • a quilt for Glenelg and cushions for the bedroom
  • some scrubs for Ishbel
  • could this be the year of the long promised cook book?
  • perhaps a few short story illustrations?

I had better get myself in gear!

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