Weekends Well Lived

The car's the star.

A multi-item weekend:

Bread-baking: A parsnip, sage, and cheddar loaf which was entirely successful. Our last attempt at anything more demanding than a plain white loaf was a tad over-salty (possibly a result of substituting feta for, er, Wensleydale), but this one was perfect, and only slightly spoiled by Dan throwing the used tea towel over the cooling loaf whilst cleaning up!

Film-watching: An Education. We’re not quite sure when Peter Sarsgaard became the older man, but he plays it very well indeed in this garlanded coming-of-age drama. Carey Mullingan as Jenny is at the centre of the piece, though, and hers is a multi-faceted yet refreshingly subtle performance. Quietly wonderful support from Olivia Williams and the always excellent Alfred Molina, too, the latter of whom attracted sympathy to a part which could easily have been a caricature. (Something which is perhaps true of the whole picture, actually.) Fine stuff.

Birthday-celebrating: Dan’s mom enjoyed the marking of an indeterminate number of years since her birth. We all enjoyed a (very) large meal out, fun conversation and present-swapping. Anna’s gift was a pot of bright red flowers which now adorn a much brightened conservatory – this despite the birthday girl’s previous admission that she tends to kill plants more easily than not. We’ll be keeping an eye on that pot! (Happy birthday, Dan’s mom!)

Dinner-making: Mushroom stroganoff, direct from the pages of a Delia Smith cookbook. No, don’t switch off! It was perfect! Anna is trying to extend the range of dishes open to her as a vegetarian, and Dan is – to his surprise – enjoying the challenge, too. We can’t quite believe we haven’t tried a mushroom stroganoff, of all things, before, but after this one it’ll become the staple it should always have been. We all know that Delia isn’t the world’s most exciting cook, but there’s something fool-proof in those recipes, and with organic wine and Dan’s patented garlic bread on the side it was just right.

Dan’s 2666 reading also continued this weekend, and Anna perused the papers. Nick Clegg also gave a good speech – shame there’s still lingering uncertainty for lefties about where Clegg’s real tendencies lie.

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