Saturday, 9 October 2010

Setting the house on fire!

walnuts in their pungent green casing, picked from our tree

There are all kinds of shenanigans occurring in this household at present; noises in the night, properties toppled over, strange rustlings and whisperings - unaccountable dreams just before waking. I do not know whether to put it down to overwork or the fact that a whole summer seems to have passed me by; tasks negelected or overlooked. Today could have been disastrous - it's not the first time we have almost set the house on fire. Just an ordinary Saturday morning; Raymond cooking weekend breakfast, me feeding the hens. I walk back up the garden with a bucketful of pungent walnuts (a typical October day, with a grey Cotswold cloud-cap overhead, mist in the trees, the grass wet and new weed seed germinating everywhere). I am greeted by an acrid fog, clouds of smoke, which my husband seems not to have noticed.

Can he not smell or see? He is grilling bacon, but it isn't that which is burning - for some unaccountable reason last night, I placed a plastic seed tray containing scraps for the hens ON TOP OF THE WALL-MOUNTED GRILL! R. did not notice it was there (why should he?); the plastic is melting and dripping down through the burners into the grill pan; the kitchen is filled with smoke. "Turn off the grill," I yell. We wait for the seed tray to solidify so we can peel it away from the metal. R. takes the grill apart ... he does not berate me for my stupidity in putting the tray where I did, high up where you could not see it. Two hours later, we sit down to a very late breakfast.

There was method in my madness of course; the need in this old house to put anything edible out of reach, be it scraps or candles or the bag of flour I left on the sideboard. It happens in phases, these episodes, a nightmare when it does. I will not spell out the culprits, but if I suggest you read - if you know it not already - the 'Pied Piper of Hamelin', all will be revealed. R. stands with a gun in the kitchen .... and I, by now completely phased (for I have not told the half of all the trauma), sit by the fire in the dark with a glass of wine and crack open and eat our own walnuts, fresh from the tree.


13 comments:

  1. Are you secretly trying to warn them off by making nut crunching noises?

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  2. Ann,
    I am so very glad that you two were not in an inferno, to say the least. I have done things that I can't account for either, and it could of been costly to say the least.
    I will finish reading your posts on the silk worms. I know absolutly nothing about silk worms except working with their beautiful silk in my embroderies when my mom and I were doing embroidery and needlepoint at her shop here in town a long time ago.
    Take care and please watch where you place some things! We want you here to blog about your life.
    Warm Regards,
    Denimflyz

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  3. I love the pictures you posted of the English Walnuts. We have only Black Walnuts here, these are lovely! So glad you put the fire out in time and that all is well (: Beautiful banner up top and you are such an inspiration! Simply love your blog! ~Amy

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  4. Hah! I've done daft things like that too! The joys of living in an old house . . . When we first moved here, we noticed the metal lids of baked bean tins and the like nailed onto the floorboards, and in our naivity, didn't know why! We soon invested in a couple of charity cats . . . I hope you don't smell too much like kippers today : )

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  5. Thankyou all for your commiserations: no permanent harm done, just a lot of cleaning up to do and surfaces to be washed down with antiseptic. In a way, it's been a good thing - we need to downsize and get rid of properties and this will be an ideal opportunity. Some construction work also, to repair a couple of holes that we've discovered through which the creatures gained access to the house - in more than one room, we find.

    Jackie - the nut-cracking was to calm me down; denimflyz- the worms will never produce me enough silk for embroidery; Amy -so glad you like my blog and the banner (it was easy to make it); Bovey Belle - I instantly thought of cats as the answer, but we are away too much, and they give me asthma!

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  6. It was lovely to hear from you, you are such a dear.Do you think these "disasters" happen because our minds are so full of wonderful creative ideas, to make the world a good place?....at least that is my excuse!

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  7. What excitement around your place this fall! Hoping that now things will calm down a bit, and very glad that you "sounded the alarm" in time to get the fire out.

    Your walnut photos are beauties! It's only in recent years that I have begun to like the flavor of walnuts, unlike my early childhood days when there was a walnut tree in the yard.

    Best wishes you in your busy creativeness!

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  8. Ah yes, the need for the Pied Piper: I get that at work at least once a year. Not so much at home since the cat decided he'd like to stay!

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  9. Anne! Honestly! You two must look after yourselves! I am envious of your walnuts- very nice. I have just posted some pics of my new garden - note the vegetable patch . . . I am still enjoying your blogs very much.
    Laurie

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  10. rustlings and noises and mysterious dreams? Sounds like October to me...and all her mystery and madness. Glad you were not burned down!

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  11. The only time we actually PICK walnuts is in June for pickling, otherwise they just fall. We've had an excellent walnut harvest this year in France, but I'm sad to say that huge amounts will go ungathered.

    We keep ours in huge open weave baskets that hang from the beams. Nothing can reach them there!

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  12. Really lovely to come across your blog; I love your descriptions; very refreshing- thanks

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  13. Wow, what an amazing story! You are very lucky you didn't have an awful fire. I hope you got the mess cleaned up okay. I used to gather these walnuts in my grandmother's yard when I was a child. Delicious, aren't they?

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