Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mr Wright

After last Sunday’s promise of summer this has felt like a bit of a grim old weekend, not a feeling helped by working on Saturday and Monday, or an oncoming cold, or a sense of homework waiting to be done (caused by homework waiting to be done). To avoid the homework I started on a mission To Tidy Up A Bit, quickly followed by an escape to Waterstone’s, ostensibly to find a present for the Scottish one, but mostly to get me out. Foiled by a fire alarm I returned home bookless to a flat that’s at the point of ‘tided up’ that makes it look like I’ve been burgled.

Now several hours later the dust has moved about a bit, but hasn’t actually dispersed, and there is Jam on the floor – the best laid plans etc... Still the day hasn’t been an entire wash out, I’ve finished a book group book (A Month In The Country, which I would love to talk about here, but as it’s a postal group I don’t want to spoil it for the books owner), have put into action a long cherished plan for making Genoese sponge, and have been spending a good few hours with Mr Wright – John Wright’s guide to the ‘Edible Seashore’ to be specific.

(The sponge thing was long cherished but never executed because Leith’s technique Bible suggested it was tricky, Fiona Cairn’s said tricky, and so I thought it would probably be tricky, but ‘River Cottage Everyday’ said no problem, and I trust Hugh, and indeed he was telling the truth so I feel very competent right now.)

Post baking, and just before the jam disaster, when I should have been working out what wines go with a variety of made up dinner scenarios (and at a molecular level why that is) I retired to bed with ‘Edible Seashore’ (I can’t even call myself an armchair forager). My love of the River Cottage Handbooks is no secret, and frankly I could kiss the feet of the commissioning editor. Reading this book positioned so I could see as much sky as possible – and it’s been a suitably dramatic sky for looking at – felt like an adventure (bear with me on this one). The thing with the sky, especially on dramatically cloudy days, is that you really could be anywhere or anytime...

My absolute favourite book as a child was Enid Blyton’s ‘Island of Adventure’, closely followed by any famous five book you care to mention. John Wright’s River Cottage Handbooks appeal to the same part of me; he’s a terrific writer, funny and informative with the ability to make you feel you’re out and about discovering with him. As a girl who spent much of her childhood poking around on beaches he’s speaking my language when he talks about the heady excitement of pulling up lobster pots, or even turning over rocks to see what’s underneath (though I prefer it when it’s not eels), so I’ve spent an entirely blissful couple of hours reading about different types of edible seaweed and winkles, reliving numberless happy memories. Not a wash out weekend after all, now – about that jam...


  1. I share your passion for trips to browse around Waterstone's and peering into rockpools. Both are therapy!

  2. I love A Month in the Country. It's one of the most powerfully quiet books I've ever read.

  3. Thinking about it Waterstones can be a bit rock poolish...

    makedoandread, I was really impressed with A Month In The Country. Like you say it's powerfully quiet.

  4. They are wonderful books - I have 3. Bread and 4. veg Patch. Karen.

  5. Karen they are amongst my favourite books, I like everything about them, especially the way they read. So good it surprises me!