Category Archives: England

We have now left the building!!!…..and have arrived in Florida…….

After spending a relaxing night near Gatwick Airport on Monday, we finally flew out of London for Orlando, Florida.  What a contrast to grey, cold England!

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I feel really quite OK today, adjusting to the new time zone here and I’m just about to go on a long walk with Steve around the golf course and surrounds.

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It’s Thanksgiving today in the USA, a pretty special day on their calendar, a national public holiday.  We are having a special lunch at Gina and Kens’s country club, Club Renaissance….it should be fantastic to see some friends and old faces again……

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Gina has made a gorgeous Christmas cake and the house looks amazing….decorated with lights and beautiful festive decorations.

The tea chests have left the building!……just us now!

beach-run-032-Copy.jpgYes, I am excited now….all the hard work appears to be coming to an end and we will be departing these shores for warmer climbs in a day or two!!!!  You little beauty mate!  Unreal!  Back to the land of the living……. and I can’t wait to be around the Aussie accent again….good and bad, I don’t care, any Aussie accent would be a breath of fresh air.  I have been away for too long and feel very emotional about coming home again.

I  am SO sick of making lists………………..ugh!………………………….we are off the The Crown at Marhull later today for a quiet beverage or two by the Inglenook fireplace…………………

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It was brilliant, but Steve was suffering with a little pain from helping/shifting and carrying all these heavy boxes around…….moving house is not a pleasant experience!  But a couple of drinks by the fire and a gorgeous sunny drive home through the country lanes was a great tonic after all our hard work.

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A farewell Sunday lunch to remember…..The Cricketers at Shroton…..a magnificent Free House….

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Well, in a little over a week we will be flying out of this country to gorgeous Florida for a well earned break, then home to Australia in the new year after 3 1/2 years living back in the UK…!  My Aussie bones are very excited! but I will be sad not to be visiting this great pub for some time, The Cricketer’s Free House, in the village of Shroton, Dorset.

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I have loved this place as it’s always consistent….great fresh food, presented beautifully and the staff are always so friendly and attentive….and the owners care so much.

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Thank you to Sally, Joe and all the wonderful staff, yours is a pub we will remember forever……but soon we will be visiting ‘Surf Clubs’ on a Sunday! feasting on grilled seafood with a sea breeze cooling us down!……..a long way from an English Inn for sure, but certainly fitting for the heat and sunshine experienced on the magnificent Queensland coastline of Australia!  The Cricketers free House is truly a gem of a place.


Oysters and Champagne on my Birthday?….definately next year….. but not this year in this part of rural England in Autumn.

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My love of oysters with champagne or NZ Sauvignon Blanc is not a secret, but living in rural England we ‘do as the Romans do’ and had a lovely pub lunch in a local village Inn, Blackmore Vale Inn in the gorgeous village of Marhull in Dorset.

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We started with a magnificent walk up Melbury Hill and surrounds…..cold to start with but beautiful sunshine, such an invigorating start the the day.

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After a decadent shopping spree in Waitrose!, we headed off to Marnhull for a special pub lunch….it didn’t disappoint.

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The roast pork I ordered was melt in the mouth material……served with an additional jug of the lushest gravy and fresh veg….a wonderful dish on a cold Sunday in Autumn…..and although I didn’t have my beloved oysters and champagne,  I was not disappointed….it was perfect for a Birthday lunch in England.

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Steve chose the Beef and Tanglefoot Ale Pie and gave me a sample….fantastic…..fall apart, tender beef in a flavoursome rich gravy, topped with puff pastry.

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………and then there was the evening…..Steve bought some divine things from Waitrose….I will be fasting tomorrow!!!

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There was Duchy Organic pork and onion marmalade pate, Keens West Country unpasteurised cheddar cheese, Petit Pont L’Eveque cheese, Duchy Organic dry cured oven roasted ham, Walkers original fluted pork pie, Branston Pickle and a fresh stone baked sour dough baguette.  What a feast we will be touching on this evening!!!!!

What a wonderful visit…seeing Sarah and the very grown up monkey boy Jester!

Well we had foggy, wet conditions driving to Hampshire and back this afternoon visiting Sarah and the wonderful Jester.  It was worth every bit of hazardous driving.  Sarah and her house looked magnificent and Jester was all grown up…..but was the lovely boy we still remembered him to be.  I think he knew who we were in the end as he climbed into the car as if he thought he may be going home with us!  What a fantastic visit before our departure from England.  Thank you Sarah for your precious time….we love everything about Haughurst House!

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Sarah’s famous chocolate biscuit cake! Gorgeous thank you Sarah …..and just freshly made for us this arvo!!!
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I couldn’t keep my hands off this grown up handsome boy!!
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Steve and I with the magnificent Jester out the front of Haughurst House in Hampshire

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Awesome Sunday in Autumn……

What a magnificent Sunday we have had today in Dorset…(the sun was shining….this makes all the difference to Aussie sun lover me!)

I had a lovely lie in (Steve was up early lol!!) and after a gorgeous pot of tea we set out for a long walk out of our village, up and around Melbury Hill……

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We have Roast leg of lamb organized for dinner tonight with a couple of drinks beforehand in a village pub nearby………you little beauty!!

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The Crown at Marnhull….the best thing about the food here?….the mint chocolate on the way out!!!

Saturday in England….mild but rather blustery showers ……perfect conditions for a pub lunch in the countryside (well all conditions in this country are good for a pub lunch in the countryside!!)  After ringing my mum in Australia and doing the usual washing, changing bed linen,  I started to get ready for lunch out at The Crown Inn at Marnhull,  a nearby village where the drive there and back is full of wonderful scenery of rural Dorset.

Well, I am disappointed to say the food was just awful….shocking and typical of the majority of pubs in this country.  We often call in here for the odd drink or two, but have never had a meal here before…..and we won’t again!  We both chose a pie on their menu…..Steve had the Steak, ale, parsnip and stilton pie and I had the Chicken, leek, ham and bacon pie.

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I am a very enthusiastic pie maker/lover so like to see what other cooks are making of a simple but potentially special dish.  This pie was dire in my book…..very dry, flat and flavourless filling with a top that should never be called pastry as it was like eating doughy bread that they had forgotten to season….no sign of the flavour and shortness of any type of pastry, made with good butter or lard or a combination of the two!

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Steve’s pie actually had depth of favour, although I couldn’t taste a trace of stilton cheese and the meat was very dry and the pastry again like a thick layer of bread browned that tasted of very little.  The veg accompaniment compared to what I used to see visiting my dear departed granddad in Bethlehem Nursing Home in Bendigo.  Overcooked, lifeless, colourless food, reheated to serve.  The leeks were watery and lifeless, cooked to death, carrots weren’t too bad and the new potatoes were bog standard and tasteless….no signs of any seasoning and no beautiful parsley or butter coating them like they do so wonderfully well at The Cricketers in Shroton.

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The staff were attentive but there was only one other table eating, so you would expect them to be!  We will return for a drink sometime as the bar is a great space overlooking a fantastic inglenook fireplace but wouldn’t eat here again.  Oh, the mint chocolate we were given on the way out was yummy!  best part of the lunch for me!

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We were delighted on the drive home to see the farm we past last week selling punnets of cherry tomatoes and chillies again on the roadside.  We just bought tomatoes today!!!!




cooking today………..

Yes, another busy week looking after animals with the owners away all week, but I love being busy, but not so much love looking after a little Keeshond puppy!!!!  Ruffles the puppy is high maintenance, and I really don’t do high maintenance!!!!!  Anyhow, cooking was on the agenda today, along with cleaning all the floors downstairs from wet dog and puppy!  I have the weekend off, so I hold on to this wonderful thought!

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I prepared Lemon Sole bought fresh from the market in Shaftesbury for their dinner tonight and fresh squid for Saturday Eve…….with my special fried rice that Isabel loves……

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I also made a quiche and a curry beef pie for Sunday eve or a weekend lunch……for the freezer…..

cooking next door 013 - Copy cooking next door 002 - Copy Well, the weekend weather is looking quite appalling, so no chance of a long hike this weekend….I hate walking in soaking rain!!!  We are having lunch out tomorrow over in the village of Marnhull,  at The Crown Inn, a gorgeous old thatched pub with the finest Inglenook fireplace I have ever seen.  A wonderful lot of history in this place and I am certain the fires will be burning beautifully!  Glass art making in the afternoon will be wonderful when the weather is so bleak and I am cooking roast pheasant Saturday eve…….fantastic……..


A real ale to die for!!!!!!

What horrible weather we are having this week in the UK and after a few hours chain sawing wood today, Steve was watering at the mouth thinking about a late afternoon bevvy..

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We were off to see sally at The Rising Sun…..always an entertaining visit.  This real ale from St. Austell Brewery in Cornwall is named ‘Bucket of Blood’ and apparently is to die for!  How charming!!   Steve enjoyed this drop very much and at a gravity of 4.5%, not an ale to take lightly!

A great Dorset Saturday in October……………

After an undisturbed lie in this morning and a magnificent brunch of local free range scrambled eggs and bacon, I rang my mum in Australia and got my walking gear on to climb Melbury Hill and the surrounding countryside.  It was magic up there today, clean sunny fresh air……everything I love about living here in Dorset.


Steve made his magnificent lattes then we did some shopping in town before a lovely drive in the countryside…….. stopping off at the village of Marnhull to ‘The Crown,’ a 16th century Thatched pub in the middle of the gorgeous countryside.

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We couldn’t believe our eyes, on the drive back through country lanes, to find a table on the side of the road selling punnets of all sorts of chilli peppers!  What!  Chilli crazy man Steve was in awe!  We bought 3 large punnets, for a pound each….what a steal!  Absolutely amazing and a great end to finish our drive in the countryside.  These chilies will freeze well….whew!!!!

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We’ve added a few of the larger, not so hot chilies to our meal tonight….oven baked organic pork sausages, with caramelised apple, onion, roasted pumpkin and garlic, served with cabbage, cauliflower mash and a wonderful sauce from the tray juices.  Fabulous and what an easy meal………before we are glued to watch ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ tonight!!!!

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Thank you for being ‘you’ and loving me the way you do!

My dad dying recently has changed my world completely and I realise more than ever before, just how short this life is here on earth.  I just wanted to say ‘thanks’ to my ever loving, supportive, positive, inspiring husband.  Steve you are a strong force and your attitude to life is awe-inspiring.  I have never met anyone with such a positive outlook on life.  You wake up in the morning always with a positive purpose and spring in your step, just amazing….I feel very lucky to have you in my life……..I love and thank you forever!



Roast Partridge at The Cricketers in Shroton, Dorset

It’s the weekend, yippee!  and we are going out to lunch today to The Cricketers Free House in the near by village of Shroton in  beautiful Dorset.

The game season is upon us and they are now serving wonderful game birds on their menu.  Today they have roasted partridge…a very lean little delicate bird and if cooked well, an absolute delight.  They are serving this with gorgeous thin game chips, bacon & bread pudding, sweet & sour red cabbage and a white wine sauce, at £12.95, an absolute bargain!

Well, this did not disappoint as the bird was beautifully cooked and the bacon and bread pudding was simply gorgeous, similar to stuffing but with a wonderful, light texture,  The game chips were expertly made, non greasy and light as a feather.  The red cabbage was a wonderful compliment to this delicate game bird and I loved it all.

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We had a drink at the bar first and the lovely girl behind the bar gave us a sample ( a couple!) of the honey chilli nuts they have on offer.  I would highly recommend these moorish little morsels, made fresh in the pub’s kitchen.

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There were many other specials on offer including a number of fresh fish dishes……..and Joe said they will be serving pheasant soon…..unreal!

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‘Coffee break on Burleigh Beach’…..Fused Glass Art by Jenny Kirwan

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I made this piece of glass art today, (‘Coffee break on Burleigh Beach’ Fused Glass Art by Jenny Kirwan) and have just put it in the kiln to fire overnight with my other piece ‘Waiting for a wave on Burleigh Beach’  I will post the finishing designs tomorrow…..I can’t wait to sleep and wake up to see what the results will be………..