A Brave New World

The bright frosty days have gone. It’s midwinter, and the storm is around us, the wind thrashing through the trees, the waves crashing on the rocks below so there are two rolling layers of incessant sound surrounding the house. And it’s now four weeks – four weeks since I started blogging, writing, posting, wondering, checking, counting, puzzling and feeling I still don’t know how to do it!

The writing’s the easy part, the lovely part, the part that makes my heart sing. It’s all the rest which is a challenge.

First of all, a big thank you to people who’ve made comments, and people who’ve contacted me via their blogs. I still haven’t learned how to get back to you with my appreciation, but am determined that by the end of the next four weeks of blogging, I’ll know my way round the communications side of it. And then there are the blogs I’ve discovered that I’d love to make contact with, but am gagged by my incompetence.

When I began, at my daughter’s suggestion and one of her special friends, and thanks to my printer, Peter Harris, (www.ebookuploader.com)  I had no idea what fun it would be and what a journey it would be too. As a computer illiterate, I hardly knew what a blog was, though I’d heard of them!

Saturday afternoon four weeks ago I sat at one end of the phone, with Peter the printer on the other end. He talked me through, and when we got to writing a post, he told me to put something in the space for a title. I wrote ‘Goodbye Cat’. Now write the blog, he said. So I typed in my requiem to my beloved cat, pressed the button, and sent it out to the unknown world!

The next day one of New Zealand’s best known bloggers, Graham Beattie, generously posted my site on his blog. Thanks to him, an awful lot of people looked at it (though they haven’t since!) and the first comment came from this country’s only Booker Prize-winner, writer Keri Hulme. It was like being handed a bouquet, or being patted on the back by the head-mistress!

Since then, I’ve rushed to the lap-top every morning while the kettle is boiling for my early morning cup of tea in bed. Because we live in the Antipodes, the rest of the world is awake when we’re asleep, so there are always good surprises awaiting  in the morning. Two readers from Finland, I crow triumphantly to my husband –  five from Denmark, someone from Japan, two in Hong Kong, a whole lot from the UK, some from Canada, some from India, someone from the Philippines… this may all sound very small beer to most people, but to a newbie it’s magic, and gives me a real thrill every morning.

I see the name Finland, and visualise the snows of winter, the bright woollen clothes people wear, reindeer, and the lakes and islands and birch woods in summer; Japan, and the huge red sun sinking over the horizon at Narita airport, antique silk kimonos, and the miniature  origami cranes made from toffee papers by an Air Japan air hostess; they live in a tiny walnut box lined with red velvet.; Hong Kong, and Star Ferry and the junks streaming out to sea for a night’s fishing as I watched them from my bedroom window at Repulse Bay; India, and the romantic  pink palaces of the maharajas, beautiful women  in rainbow-coloured saris, elegant men in jodpurs and bright turbans; Canada, the lakes, the prairies and the hardy people who fled the War of Independence instead of becoming Americans; the US, the flaming autumn woods of New England and the Grand Canyon, the long beaches and blue Pacific of the West Coast; and England, grey stone walls and rolling dales, green meadows and cottages nestled into wooded hillsides, hazel,  honeysuckle and wild roses in the hedgerows; Denmark, and the grey beautiful architecture of Copenhagen, pretty Crown Princess Mary, and the Little Mermaid in the harbour… It feels as though the world comes into this tiny cottage by the sea every morning, as I read the names of the countries.

It’s tantalising not knowing whether it’s the same people who come back to read, and I realise I just have to flag many who won’t come back. And I can’t follow the various tables, graphs, and arcane words like tags… but I’ll get there in the end. I’m told by one of my nearest and dearest’s that I shouldn’t write too often, or I’ll wear people out, and they won’t have time to read all my posts. Point taken.

But in the mean-time, hello to all the friends and people who have peeked at this blog so far, all six hundred and eighteen of you. I hope some of you will go the distance with me, and hope too, to find new contacts and friends and readers as the weeks and months slip past. I don’t worry about drying up, because life doesn’t dry up… so I’m here for the long haul, the fun and the friendship – so ciao and arrivederci, shalom and aloha, farewell till we meet again in this brave new world. (probably tomorrow!)


Food for Threadbare Gourmets

I started adding on this little foodie thing because I love food, and have so often been hard up, that I’ve become expert at eating well but cheaply. I hope to give others in the same boat some ideas they may not have thought of!

So following on from yesterday, and stretching a tin of salmon to feed several. There are few items in the store cupboard so versatile. This time it’s a salmon soufflé which is dead easy to make and looks fabulous. Many people panic at the thought of making a soufflé, but if you can make a white sauce, you can make a soufflé. So once again open the tin of salmon, pink if that’s all you’ve got, red if you feel rich, and drain off the liquid into a cup. Once again make a fairly thick white sauce, and add the salmon liquid, salt and pepper. The only extra ingredient you need for a salmon soufflé is three large eggs.

Separate the yolks from the whites, and taking the pan off the stove, stir the yolks into the white sauce. Then stir in the salmon. Now whip the egg whites till they’re stiff, and lightly fold them into the salmon mixture. Pour into a greased souffle dish if you have one, and tie some greaseproof paper round the top so it supports the souffle when it rises. Or use a bigger casserole, and don’t worry about it popping over the top. But if you’re serving this to guests it does look spectacular to use the greaseproof paper version. Bake in a moderate oven for 35 to 40 minutes and serve at once, before it all sags! Eaten with salad and hot rolls, this will serve three or four people. I also make a parsley sauce to serve with it, and cook some new potatoes and green vegetables instead of salad and rolls. (The recipe for white sauce is in the previous blog)

Food for Thought  

 It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.            From ‘The Little Prince’,   by French aviator, poet and writer, Antoine de Saint Exupery


Filed under cookery/recipes, great days, life/style, The Sound of Water, Thoughts on writing and life, Uncategorized

4 responses to “A Brave New World

  1. Valerie – you’re a born blogger! Great to read – and I’ll be trying the salmon souffle soon.xx Aline


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