Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year

I'm sorry I couldn't come up with a wittier, or at least less perfunctory, title than that. I can't even blame it on overindulgence last night. I was positively monastic, not a drop of drink and asleep by 10pm. The only ache I'm nursing today is a sore shoulder from the recoil of my 20 bore. I was practicing my aim at the clay pigeon ground yesterday, in the hopes of putting some more game birds in my freezer before the season ends in February.

On Wednesday, a small group of us had a walk around day on the outskirts of the estate, to clear up any far-ranging pheasants or the odd woodcock. I never saw much, but the group brought home half dozen of each. One of the group brought a friend from the city who pitched in, and we sent him home with the birds. He even helped prepare them for the oven, so he's gone back with a new skill too.

The weather was cold but sunny today, so we took Spud and Pip to the seaside for a romp. It's another tick in the box for Spud's socialising program: see lots of people and traffic. With the added bonus of fun splashing in the water and meeting other dogs. Less fun is the fact that she still gets car sick and she managed to get it over 3 coats, a pair of gloves, and the seat cover. 2 miles from our destination.

The Jurassic Coast - Lyme Regis

Pip comes along to set the tone for Spud, as she's well socialised and pretty relaxed in her approach to everything.


We watched Dorset's version of the Polar Bear Club go for their New Year's Day swim in the ocean. The dogs joined them in the surf. We walked to the end of the pier (as seen in the French Lieutenant's Woman) and back, then sat outside a pub and all 4 of us scoffed a bowl of french fries with lashings of mayonnaise. We wandered into the town for a bit of window shopping and the dogs got a few pats on the head from passers-by. Both dogs are dried off now and asleep in front of the wood stove. Some things never change.

The Spuddler, 9 months old

OK, so maybe our celebrations lack glamour. I'm not much into the New Year's Eve partying but I like the 'clean slate' feeling of New Year's Day. No resolutions per se but a chance to take stock: what's on track, what needs re-examining or repairing, new projects to be attempted.

I hope that, however you chose to mark the change, the new year will be productive and rewarding for you all.


Paula said...

For Christmas, my husband and I drove down to his sister's with Rufus. The last time we went down, we heard him starting the upchuck routine and got pulled over in time to get him out of the car. This time we didn't, and arrived in the dark. Steve finished getting all our gear and gifts out of the car- we brought Christmas dinner, which also involved gravy. When he was done, he asked if all the stuff on his coat was gravy. So I tasted it. Uck! It was sour and nasty and I ran into the bathroom to spit it out and rinse my mouth. When we figured out I'd just tasted dog barf.....

Poppy Cottage said...

I spent my New Years Eve working, then I picked up Lily, a certain Young Man and his dog then walked the beach at West Bay till 2am. Totally lovely actually. Just the sound of the waves and the dogs. Bliss xx

Jennifer Montero said...

Paula - that story is going to haunt me...

Colette - Where do you find the energy to work and then stay up til 2am?!?

Tamar said...

It always amazes me that animals actually want to go into water that's so cold. I guess fur and feathers evolved for a reason.

Happy New Year, Jen. I'm looking forward to reading you in 2010.

Pomona said...

Happy New Year to you! A very late reply to your query re jam - I sterilize the jars in the bottom oven of our 2 oven Aga (meringue temperature), or you could do 150C in a normal one, or a hot dishwash (60C). Pot when jars and jam are piping hot, cover immediately, then retighten when cold. I just reuse old lids, sterilized with the jars, no wax paper or cellophane (and not coffee jar lids, or those thin honey ones, you need the tight jam jar lids). The other thing to prevent mould is make sure you use enough sugar - this is the preservative in jam, so 1lb sugar to 1lb fruit. If you make low sugar jam, which is a modern trend, then it will not last as long, and is best kept in the fridge and used up quickly. Also wipe any drips, because they can let mould in. Our jam keeps at least 2 seasons done like this.
Hope this helps -email if you have any queries - sorry for long rambling comment - couldn't find your email to do it that way!

Pomona x

Jennifer Montero said...

Pomona - Thank you for the thorough recipe, it's really helped. Now I think I've been going wrong in my sugar to fruit ratio. That's the only thing I've done differently to yours. If only I had the Aga...

Happy New Year to you, I look forward to the updates from Little Cottage Comforts. -J