Saturday 27 June 2015

Summertime, and the Living is Easy (but don't forget this is the Starsong household!)

The kitchen is not a place to linger in during long, hot summer days, only for preparing food quickly, wrapping it or dishing it up, and taking it outside to eat.

"The stillroom and the larder and the dairy are dim and stone-slabbed and pleasingly cool. Jugs and bowls and dishes stand, muslin-covered. Cotton bags of whey drip, drip, drip down, leaving the creamy yellow curds of cheese.

The refrigerator hums and vibrates day and night, a living creature in the corner. But the range stands cold and silent.

A pot of basil on the table, a pungent sweet geranium on the windowsill, a bunch of mint hung from the ceiling will all help to keep out summer flies."

If you are outside, walk into the greenhouse, dark and shady during the day with the thick growth of tomato plants. Close your eyes and breathe in the heady, pungent, strange warm smell.

Midsummer Eve, an enchanted night where witches, sprites and all manner of evil spirits are abroad, has safely passed, helped by the sprigs of fennel and rowan brought into the house to afford protection.

In the hedgerows lining our meadows the elderflowers are blooming - great foamy creamy white blossoms that remind us that spring is about to take a leap over the ditch into summer.

They have a most pungent and evocative scent and flavour, a little like that of the Muscatel grape.

Steep them in boiled water, leave to cool, strain. Use to rinse the face - an excellent skin tonic.

Add elderflowers to the first, sharp, small gooseberries, poached in syrup and made into a flan or pie. Or make some gooseberry and elderflower jam. Tie the flowers in a muslin bag, and suspend over the boiling jam mixture. Draw out before potting. The flavours marry perfectly.

Elderflowers make fine wine and champagne, fragrant and light. As a refreshing drink, diluted with spring water, try Elderflower Cordial.

Elderflower Cordial

25 elderflower heads
2 lbs sugar
2 lemons, grated, squeezed, cut into small pieces
2 oz citric acid (easy to obtain from a pharmacy)
2 pints cold, boiled water

1  Remove stems from flower heads and place in a large bowl. Add sugar, lemons, citric acid.

2  Cover with water and leave for two days, stirring occasionally.

3 Strain. Bottle. Dilute to taste. Keep in a refrigerator.

Elderflower Water Ice

6 oz sugar
1 pint water
1 egg white
Juice of 2 and rind of 3 lemons
4-6 elderflower heads

1  Combine everything except the egg white and lemon juice. Stir over a low heat until sugar dissolves. Boil for ten minutes.

2  Cool. Add lemon juice. Strain carefully. Freeze about one hour, until slushy. Beat, with a fork or hand whisk. Stiffly beat the egg white, and fold it in. Freeze further hour. Stir.

3  Then leave in freezer until needed. Thaw slightly before bringing to the table.

On Thursday night Dan and I were celebrating my imminent book release. I knew I had a bottle of champagne in the fridge (for emergency use - LOL) and I went and retrieved it. I had worked hard all morning helping with Church lunches for the elderly of the parish, and then on to my MIL's where I sat and had coffee whilst she ate the lunch I took to her, and then I was down on my knees scrubbing at a bright pink stain on her cream carpet where she had knocked over a glass of cranberry juice. By the time I got home it was 4pm. So I felt I owed myself a small drink of something alcoholic.

Dan opened the bottle for me as I am terrified of champagne corks for some reason. He filled two extremely large glasses. (In fact the glasses were so large we only got a glass and a bit, each.) The champagne turned out to be a sadly inferior Brut Cava I had brought back from Spain three years' ago, and though a pretty shade of pink, it took us three quarters of the way down a glass before we could ignore the flavour, which reminded us both a bit of paint stripper. (Not that we have ever drunk paint stripper. LOL) It was lovely to relax and chat, sipping our wine, and trying to put our stresses behind us.

This is not going to be a post about our stresses, but my MIL, although better than last week, and improving, is still not as good as she hoped she would be and she is getting very down as she is used to being such an independent lady. She is now on much stronger painkillers as the morphine didn't seem to work very well, and she has an appointment to see a consultant in a local hospital in a couple of weeks' time. We are hoping she will be able to have some sort of injection into her spine to block the pain of the osteo-arthritis which is disabling her so badly.

Dan and I haven't had much time for each other lately. In fact, we had quite a ding-dong last Sunday through Monday. Apart from odd reminder swats, which I openly admit are getting rather more forceful than I appreciate, spanking has been pretty much thin on the ground. Until the other morning.

Dan sat up in bed and informed me he thought one was very much overdue. I couldn't argue. I felt exhausted, harassed and pretty much in the doldrums myself. There was no point in debating the matter, so I got up and marched across the room and retrieved the rose paddle. I felt that after such a spanking drought, my backside wouldn't cope with much else, and Dan rarely stipulates unless he has lost all patience completely.

I knew he meant business as he immediately pegged me down with a hand on my back and his leg over both mine, but he did at least give me a good, long hand spanking first. It wasn't the lovely stingy sort. His hand felt like a lightening rod and I could almost smell burning. I was soon rolling around, trying to kick and uttering loud yelpy noises. 

There was no warning when that blessed paddle took over from his hand. He told me that he didn't intend stopping until I let it all out, and that it was no use clenching my buttocks and pretending to be elsewhere. (Funny that, how did he know?)

Some of our spanking sessions can be virtually measured in seconds. This was not one of them. It went on and on. It turned out that this was one of those times when Dan was determined

In fact he was very determined. He was determined to ensure my bottom felt every last slap of leather. I thought to myself that the women who are able to just slump and surrender, are very lucky indeed. I am not able to do that. I howl and moan and yelp and struggle to get free, get up, get anywhere so long as it is away from that paddle. The fantasy and the reality are completely different as far as I am concerned. He just kept on spanking and softly telling me to let it out. He even remembered previous entreaties, and spanked much lower for once. Only I hadn't really considered what this would do to my sit spots and sitting down to breakfast later.

Eventually he decided I had had enough. I was gathered into his arms and cuddled until my sobs had turned into sniffles, and then he showed me just how much spanking turns him on. (Smirk) But that is a good thing. We have come a long way. It's no longer a want. It's a need. 

Truly I didn't sit comfortably for a good, long while. In fact, most of the day I felt an inner burn. But it was like giving a droopy flower a long drink. It revived me and gave me strength to carry on in the face all our stresses.

I've had a couple of 'quicky spanky sessions' since, just hand spankings, and they have enabled me to feel topped up and on the straight and narrow.

However -

This morning whilst I was out down in the town doing a bit of shopping, and happily thinking that Dan was out in the garden doing some mowing etc, Dan did something most unlike him.

He Googled me! Truthfully, he Googled my new alter-ego Sarah Coltman. He then Googled Ami Starsong!

Minelle, if you are reading this, you may need to send me a Get out of Jail Free Card as well! I shall probably end up carrying a cushion round with me all day tomorrow!

Dan has never shown any interest in reading my blog posts, not even at the beginning. Occasionally I read him bits and I will sometimes read him someone else's blog. But he has always said he doesn't want to read what I write. 

He doesn't want to read my stories either, and has always seemed very happy just to play a supporting role.


Till now. 

He read the first three chapters of my book! He grinned in an evil way as he imparted this information during lunch. So he then went and read a considerable a chunk from my blog.

I am not able to relate our ensuing conversation, but my bottom immediately felt like it needed reassurance. 

I shall never live this down. Ever. 

I am soooo glad I always say to people that they have to make up their own minds just how much is fantasy and how much is based on truth. 

In my defence, I would like to say that stories are much more fun when practical research has been undertaken. More authentic. N'est ce pas?

But just cast a thought my way tomorrow morning when Dan reaches, as he is certain to do, for the worst weapon of ass destruction he can lay his hands on.

This is my link, which I haven't yet had time to attach in a proficient and professional manner at the side of my blog in case you might be interested in going to my new writer's blog.

Thursday 11 June 2015

A Meme About Dan

This is a meme borrowed from PK. I love a good meme!

I also love the picture of Nick she put on her post! Wow, PK! 

Of course, Dan looks very similar!

1  He's sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen?

The News, Grand Prix racing, old comedies such as Only Fools and Horses, any 'cop' series the bloodier the better. 

2  You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad?

He only eats salad when forced. Then he has Hellmann's mayonnaise. He likes it with chips too. (as in fries)

3  The most striking thing about his physical appearance?

His eyes. I love his hands too. And his lips.

4  You go out to eat and have a drink; what does he order?

Gin and tonic - usually Blue Sapphire with a slice of lime and some ice. But he also likes a real ale (that's a draught beer often from a smaller brewery) like Bishop's Finger or Lighthouse.

5  Where did he go to high school?

In a large city where we lived before moving here.

6  What size shoes does he wear?

Size 8 1/2; but they are metric sizes over here now.

7  If he were to collect anything, what would it be?

Dan collects EVERYTHING! He is hopeless! I was horrified when I inadvertently opened an old tin whilst searching for something else, and his "baby teeth" fell out!!!

8  What is his favourite type of sandwich?

Tuna mayonnaise; vintage Cheddar with Branston pickle; egg and cress; smoked salmon and cucumber.

9  What would he eat every day if he could?

Bacon and eggs

10  What is his favourite cereal?


11  What would he never wear?

The colour pink

12  What is his favourite sports team?

Ipswich Town Football Club

13  Who did he vote for in the last presidential election?

We don't have presidents over here!

14  Who is his best friend?

Me! But he has about three really good male friends who he has known for over 30 years.

15  What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do?

Interrupt him when he is talking, especially if he is telling me something he wants me to take note of.

16  What is his heritage?

He is what is known as a "Lincolnshire Yellowbelly". He does, however, have an American president in his direct family tree.

17  You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind?

A Devil's food cake or a chocolate fudge cake. He loves them both.

18  Did he play sports in high school?

He was a very good tennis player.

19  What could he spend hours doing?

Going to football matches (soccer), discussing the merits of certain fast cars, lying in the sun when on holiday (he never burns), watching Wimbledon on TV.

20  What is one unique talent he has?

He is excellent at public speaking and just exudes confidence.

Friday 5 June 2015

Saturday Snippets (15)

Firstly, thanks to everyone who has emailed to see whether I had fallen off the edge of the world or not.

What can I say? It's just been one of those times, like they used to say in the Friends song - not my day, week, month or year.

We had a wonderful break visiting with my family in Poland. Lots of catching up to do as we hadn't visited with them for four years. We are not going to let it go that long in future, and I have herded most of them up and on to Facebook now with the sole purpose of keeping up with them all. Time is so precious and as the years go by I feel proud of my continental heritage and determined that we return to being the close extended family we used to be when the previous generation was alive. It is too easy to be busy to bother to pick up a phone or write a letter, but I am determined to become better at doing it. (Although now I can use emails which are much more instantaneous.)

Sadly, since we returned home my MIL has become quite unwell. She is 88 bless her, and has always been bright-eyed and bushy tailed and a pillar of her little community. She involves herself in raising money for various charities, helps out in her local Church, drives around and does numerous errands for other elderly people who are not as mobile as she is, and literally has her finger on the pulse 24/7. Now she has big problems with both her left shoulder and her right hip, and is rendered immobile and can only shuffle around with the help of a zimmer frame. And this only happened two weeks' ago. We are doing what we can, and the Doc is involved, but she is unable to take any more medicaments due to the number she is already taking for her assorted 'conditions'. At this stage we are not certain what can be done or what the outcome will be. She is getting very depressed to suddenly find herself so dependent on others. So any prayers sent her way would be absolutely great, if you have time. The shoulder is osteo-arthritis and it may mean a shoulder replacement, which is scaring her to death, and the hip is inflammation of the joints both in the hip and lower back; she has some cream to rub on and has to sit with packs of frozen peas - which is very difficult and tiresome.

Whilst on the subject of various medical conditions, I am having my frozen shoulder "unfrozen" next Tuesday. 

As Cat will know, this is not a procedure to be sneered at. Over here in the UK they will not give you much in the way of a sedative when they carry out the procedure, and when I had my right shoulder done a couple of years' ago, it nearly killed me. But I have to say that now it is completely back to normal. I am hoping my left shoulder will soon feel a lot better and that I will be able to lift my arm properly once again.

Unfortunately my right hand and thumb are not as easy to sort out, and I am waiting to see another surgeon to get a second opinion before making any decisions, but it is now very difficult to type (use the spacebar) and to do silly little things like use scissors, undo jars, write. So I will let you all know that transpires.

To be more positive, after the thunderstorms,the rotten English weather seems to have improved over in our part of England. Lots of warm air and sunshine. At last I can get out in the garden and fight the weeds, plant lots of annuals in my terracotta pots, and hoe between the roses. 

These are three of my roses

Just looking out of our bedroom windows in the early morning and breathing in great gulps of fresh air is so therapeutic and feeds the soul. Everything is so green and vibrant.

We are going into 'twilight' and at 11pm it is only just darkish and by 3.30am it is getting light. I just love it - but am only too aware that the midsummer solstice is just around the corner, then the Earth will be tilting the other way and our nights will start to gradually draw in once again.

Our life of Spanky Panky is pretty much just ticking over at the moment. Dan has proved he no longer needs even 'small' prompts in that direction. He will never be an 'in the moment' sort of guy where spanking is concerned, but he has a memory like an elephant, and very rarely does anything escape his 'eventual' attention.

The day before we went on holiday he ensured my bottom and the little nipper had a session worthy of a wrestler going at least ten rounds. 

Rather stupidly I gave him a choice of that or the Rose paddle; so Dan being Dan, he used both of them to hammer his point home. It most certainly worked and we had not a single snarky word whilst we were away. 

I was telling Katie that Dan has certainly got used to the 'sudden swat on the bot'. Mostly for fun, he sometimes gives me a swat that makes me fervently grateful that I am wearing jeans. (usually anyways) In fact he gave me a swat whilst in a shop the other day, and it was so embarrassing. Even he was embarrassed because he just did it without thinking where he was! Several people looked really askance at us and I couldn't wait to get out of there. All I can say is that these swats do their job. Sigh. These days I am not much for pulling the tail of the tiger.

When walking around the market whilst on holiday, I spotted this stall.

I couldn't resist buying a few items for my kitchen. I was like a child in a candy store. This is the new addition to our toy stash.

All I can say is that it is far too painful to use as the heart has sharp edges and digs in, and Dan just thinks its funny. So it has been returned to the kitchen, where I pray it will stay.

Hopefully I intend to try my best to get back to reading and commenting on people's blogs once again. I do enjoy it but life has just been rather mad around here. So please forgive.

And finally, I would like to introduce you all to a new lady in Blogland. Her name is Sarah Coltman. She hasn't got a blog yet, but she is going to be working on it very shortly. Until then, I have agreed to share my blog when and as necessary.

You see, my friends, it has been a long time coming, but my very first book, Beating the Bounds, is due out shortly. It is with Blushing Books and will be on Amazon, and my pen name is Sarah Coltman. In case you are wondering, she was my extremely great grandmother who lived in the 1700s. Outlander springs immediately to mind.

This is another reason I have been in short supply around here - I have been up to my eyes in edits and trying to decide on a cover. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be joining the writers here in Blogland. Many thanks here to PK who has supported me throughout. 

I will let you all know the release date as soon as I know it, and then I will do a bit of cutting and pasting! And of course, I will need a good title for my new blogsite. Any ideas will be welcomed. Just remember that I am a Martha Stewart sort of a gal!

Whilst on the subject of books, I hope you have all ordered your copy of the new PL James book "Grey" which will be out this month. 

I've already ordered it for my Kindle. It is from Christian's point of view and should prove interesting. I have such a soft spot for good old 50 as it literally changed our lives. I am very grateful indeed.

Love and hugs