Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Easter Weekend

In keeping with tradition, the Bank Holiday weekend was mostly taken up with DIY. There's not much opportunity for decorating when the house is busy with shoots and the wooden floorboards are long overdue a repaint. They have been the same (perfect) shade of grey since the beginning of time but when we walked the dogs round to the paint shop (J's Decor8) to get the friendly owner to blend us our usual recipe we found the EEC have decreed that we can't have that colour anymore..... some hours and two extremely bored whippets later we struggled home with 10 litres of the closest match we could get, after J obligingly decanted half of our first attempt into a bucket and added a gallon more white to the mixture.

The reception rooms have 1000 square feet of floor to paint so that kept Brian busy while I messed about with the new camera and loaded the images onto the computer. Dragging the useless ones into the trash has taken way longer than taking the pictures in the first place but one or two are worth keeping. I think I need to slow down and read the booklet but I'm in a panic... the wisteria is dripping in delicate, lilac flowers which is a sure sign that gale force winds and heavy rain are on the way, giving me only a matter of hours to capture the tantalising blooms. 
Brian and I spend Saturday night drinking wine and composing clues for the egg hunt - making life difficult for ourselves by setting a 'musicals' theme to hopefully give Ed (full-time pupil at Italia Conti Academy for Performing Arts) a chance to get some before the 15 and 18 year olds steam through the house. There was no rush. Joe (15) texted me from his bed on Sunday afternoon to say his girlfriend Phoebe would be joining us and could I 'go shops and get lint bunny'.
Dog walking in Clissold Park is a stressful, unpleasant and potentially dangerous pastime in
hot weather when the grass is littered with picnickers. For some reason not everyone is enchanted when a refined whippet elegantly removes a half-eaten sandwich from their toddlers grasp so we decided to take a stroll down Church Street in search of a Lindt chocolate rabbit instead. I was rewarded in an unexpected way as outside Whole Foods Store was the cutest thing imaginable. A dazzling Mini Cooper covered in mirror mosaic. I loved it and immediately began mentally scrolling through my possessions to find a suitable object for the mirror-ball treatment. A 1998 Volvo estate wouldn't quite have the same cute factor... would be funny though.  

In much the same way as I like to slip a new toothbrush into the boys Christmas socks (to a. make me feel better about the packets of Haribos stuffed into the foot, and b. annoy them) I like the idea of hiding some nice healthy fruit in the garden as well as chocolate. As luck would have it I found a giant papaya in Wholefoods that would be perfect for Joe but got a shock at checkout as I thought the price was per papaya and not per kilo - it weighed several and cost more than some fancy egg with his name iced on. A coconut for Ed, a grapefruit for Phoebe and a sensibly priced apple for John. We hid them in the bush planted in the flying saucer (seating from Frankfurt airport circa 1960) in the garden. (clue:huge and white, clean and bright.)

... and here's the flying saucer.

By Monday evening I'd had enough chocolate and rich food. (Gordon and Lee had come for dinner on Sunday and I made paella followed by apple crumble with the last of the apples from the tree that have been in the freezer since the autumn. Anyway, there wasn't much food in the house but I'd found a pack of frozen broad beans while rummaging for the apples and we had broad bean pate on toast. I would like to pretend I'm organised and thrifty and thinly slice any uneaten French bread and freeze it in sandwich bags but actually the bread was left over from a shoot and someone else had thoughtfully left it in the freezer all ready to go under the grill for a few minutes. So, to make the pate bring a medium pan of water to the boil and empty a 750g back of broad beans into the boiling water. Bring back to the boil then strain and rinse under the cold tap. These beans were really tiny so I only bothered to take the tougher outer skin of a few of the larger ones. It's easily done by slitting a small opening with your thumb nail and squeezing the bright green inner bean out. I certainly wouldn't bother to skin a broad bean for a whippet.

With a handheld blender, smooth together the beans with a bunch of mint, the juice of a lime, a clove of garlic, salt, pepper and a couple of spoonfuls of natural yogurt.

Last night was spent putting furniture back and picking up chocolate wrappers ready for today. We have a 'Mother-of the Bride' style fashion shoot going on. Lots of pastel dresses and pretty hats. Joe and Ed have texted to say they're on their way down in search of food and are about to barge right through it - better go!

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