This space provides me with a forum for writing about whatever I feel like! You'll find here a serendipitous collection of essays on a variety of topics, those day-to-day subjects (or sometimes more serious and profound musings) that concern me. I have chosen to present these essays utilising the Adobe Acrobat PDF format primarily because I consider that long blocks of text are tedious to read on-line and so are better downloaded to be printed and read at leisure.
Acrobat Reader is ever increasingly included with system and other bundled software as it has become an industry standard for the cross-platform exchange of documents and information. If you don't already have Acrobat (check your hard disk to see if it is hiding there somewhere), then you will need to download and configure the latest version as a helper application in your web browser. To download the free Acrobat Reader, Bookmark this site (in order to return to it easily), then click here to go to Adobe's Web site.


Swans Eggs
A life and death drama of nature is taking place literally outside our kitchen window before our very eyes. Some two and a half weeks ago, a pair of mute swans nested in the marsh grass of the Exe estuary, just two or three metres from our house wall between us and Topsham town quay. The female has laid seven enormous eggs, and not surprisingly, she and her consort are very proud of them. But the struggle to survive the high spring tides is a very real and ongoing one. By sheer coincidence, during this same time, the Guild of Food Writers e-mail discussion list has initiated an exchange of correspondence on eggs, which has left me feeling rather ambivalent if not a little queasy...

(PDF: 39 KB / 4 pages) 17/5/99



Peppers, Glorious Peppers!
What a glorious September it is turning out to be. This is definitely my favourite time of the year: the morning rains we've had in the past few days have given way to warm, lingering autumn sunshine and the sort of weather that, elsewhere, ripens grapes and adds an intoxicating anticipation to the harvest time to come. We visit to Highfield Farm Shop just down the road and discover that we're in the midst of a most fortunate glut of red peppers, sun-ripened, sweet and densely flavoured, not insipidly crunchy like the picture-perfect Dutch red peppers found in most supermarkets, but more like the knobbly red peppers you get at this time of year in the South of France, Italy or Spain. It gives me an idea...

(PDF: 39 KB / 4 pages) 17/9/99



Alicudi, The Place Where Flowers Grow on Water
In August 1996, we travelled to the isolated volcanic island of Alicudi, off the north coast of Sicily, to meet my sister Michele, her husband George and our dear Italian friends Elda, Elia, Alder and Beppino, and to scatter in those wine-dark waters the ashes of my mother Lori.

(PDF: 116 KB / 18 pages) 9/96



Foods of the World
Our food-and-wine perambulations have taken us all over the Europe, travelling for the last decade with our young family, Guy and Bella, who have really had no choice in the matter. We maintain wholeheartedly that this has been a positive and formative part of their development and education and that the chance to taste new cultures, sample new foods and flavours has helped to make them what they are. Nonetheless, four-year olds don't always see things from the same perspective as in this essay from the collection Chico y Yo.

(PDF: 39 KB / 2 pages) 6/92


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