Today was a Saturday unusually free of errands. After bootcamp in the park first thing this morning, I came home to coffee and pancakes not made by me, which was rather lovely. By late morning, every other member of the household was occupied in activities elsewhere and I found myself alone in the kitchen. Don't feel sorry for me - this is pretty much my favourite way to spend a weekend - and so I switched on the radio and started pottering around, simmering oranges for marmalade, making pizza dough, planning meals.
I could not let January pass without making some marmalade. I cut the peel quite thick for this batch, and used some muscovado sugar with the normal white granulated. It looked like toffee when it was boiling, and the result is the darkest marmalade I've ever made and has a slight caramel flavour which is lovely with the bitter Seville oranges. It's really good. Tomorrow I'm going to make a lighter orange and lemon version if I have time.
I've been baking, so much baking - marmalde pudding cake, blondies, lemon polenta cake, white chocolate and fig cookies - none of which I managed to photograph as, since it's winter, I can only photography things in daylight at the weekend, and they all got eaten indecently quickly. The Christmas cake is almost finished, with only a couple of slices left.
I'm still slowly and steadily working on my Goldenrod sweater, trying to complete a couple of rows each night. I'm about two thirds through the body and then will need to add the sleeves.
I've been reading a lot. I just finished Another Little Christmas Murder, which is not at all about Christmas, but about a group of strangers who find themselves seeking refuge in an old house during a huge snowstorm, and then someone gets murdered, of course. It was a lot of fun, light and humorous with a slight Famous Five feel to the whole adventure, but enough good plotting to keep me happy, and guessing till the end. I've just started Nora Ephron's Heartburn, and am completely and utterly loving it. It's funny, and sad, acerbic, perceptive and inspiring, and I want to recommend it to all my friends. I can't believe I haven't read it before now. The Donna Leon title is next on my list. Crime fiction is always my favourite kind of comfort reading and her books are so good, particularly her descriptions of Venice, where the Brunetti series is set.
I don't feel like I've seen much daylight this week. I would argue as to whether is actually got light today, or just stayed in a state of perpetual gloom. Thank goodness there was marmalade making to bring some warmth and colour to the day.
Our dog walk this afternoon was cold, damp and so muddy, and it was a real struggle to see the beauty that is there, hiding away.
I've resisted buying any potted bulbs or bunches of spring flowers so far this year, and I refuse to engage in what is happening in the garden at the moment, which is mainly mud. I find I am quite happily centred in winter for now, making the most of what this time of year has to offer, which is some peace and a little quiet time, and am - for once - not rushing towards spring.