Saturday, 16 January 2010

Snow gone, Pheasant shoot, Howards End is on the Landing'


With the snow completely gone now, apart from some small unappetising grey leftovers lurking under hedges, we are now squelching everywhere. The small stream that runs down the side of a green lane was three days ago, a solid sheet of ice, it is now a raging torrent of white water, albeit only 18" wide. Perfect for the Borrowers to go whitewater rafting.

It is a grey, cold & damp day and the Farmer has taken one of the labradors off beating for a local shoot.It is not a posh shoot though it is run very well and the beaters & guns all eat together, which is good. And very well fed they are too, I gather. The Farmer always comes home reporting soup, stew, rich fruit cake and beer & whisky. What more could they possibly want!
The Farmer & dog will return home exhausted, probably soaked, but happy and hopefully bearing a brace of pheasant. Roast pheasant at the end of the week is something to look forward to. We don't hang the birds for too long, not being very keen on eating very high game, 4-5 days is about right. I used to casserole pheasant but have found that roasting it is better. The flavour is superb and this has always been rather lost when casseroled, though if the Farmer has shot a rabbit to go with it, a game stew is lovely. We eat quite a lot of rabbit which with its delicate flavour is as good as any poultry meat.

With a quiet day on my own I am revelling in a new book that arrived this morning... (Isn't Amazon amazing? No longer having a book shop nearer than 20 miles away I am forced to use the internet, though would much rather go to a proper book-shop and browse in the correct manner, however, that not being possible Amazon serves its purpose well especially with delivery within 24 hours of ordering).
The book that came today is Susan Hills ' 'Howards End is on the Landing'.  Just reading the opening paragraph I got that delightful frissson of anticipation that tells you this is going to be a Very Good Book.
 I have always loved Susan Hills' writing ever since I was at school, and this one is no exception. It is not fiction but an account of a year spent not buying new books but re-discovering what is already on her bookshelves. It is turning out to be one of those books that makes you  want to open a conversation with the writer to discuss what she has just said about a certain author or book... to say, 'Yes, but don't you think...?'.
I am now off back to my fireside and Susan Hills' excellent company.

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