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Taking Stock : May 2017

I've drafted a dozen blog post these past few weeks, but I find it difficult to get past the first sentence or two. It's so frustrating being wobbly on your writing feet. It's not that I don't have a lot to say, or that life isn't filled with things to write about, it's just hard to know where to start when you're not in the habit of writing regularly.   My intentions to become a regular blogger seem thwarted by the flashing curser on a blank page, taunting me, with nowhere to go.  

To make a start, I thought I'd borrow Pip from Meet Me at Mikes Taking Stock posts.  It's a lovely way to sit, reflect and document what's going on, and just the kickstart I need. Take that blank New Post page!  

Making : Plans, for exciting new projects over the next 12 months. 
Cooking : Lots of jam, quince, strawberry, medlar and lemon. (not all mixed together by the way)
Drinking : Pots of tea, I like this Australian one Elmstock that I buy in bulk from the local ag store.
Reading: The Leopard, by Tomasi di Lampedusa, set in 1860, it's the story of the dying Sicilian aristocracy threatened by the approaching revolution. 
Trawling: Gumtree, I'm looking for the perfect rowboat.
Wanting: My Rayburn cooker back, it's up in Launceston for repairs and the house is freezing! 
Looking: At shepherds huts. I quite fancy one like this
Deciding: What to have for breakfast, porridge or toast and marmalade.
Wishing: I spoke Italian. I've been practising with these apps Duolingo and Babbel .
Enjoying: Planning meet ups with instagram friends in Wales at the Sisterhood Retreat.
Waiting: For some drawings from an architect. 
Liking: Cooking hearty winter fare using lots of beloved Savoy cabbages.
Wondering: What Sicily is really like, I guess I found out when I go there next week. 
Loving: Old-school fold out maps of Sicily and Britain. 
Pondering: Where to eat in London, definitely here and here
Listening: Hashtag Authentic, Sara Tasker's wonderful podcasts. 
Considering: Another coffee or a pot of tea.
Buying: Travellers Cheques, are they still a thing? (Mr Wong! Mr Wong!).
Watching: War On Waste it's frightening to discover the extent of our garbage.
Hoping: To get through my big to do list.
Marvelling: At my ability to procrastinate. 
Cringing: That I still haven't filed last year's tax return. 
Needing: To lodge said tax return.
Questioning: Why I leave it to the last minute, Every. Single. Year. 
Smelling: Quinces simmering in a pot on the stove (the other stove, luckily we have a big Smeg cooker as well as the Rayburn).
Wearing: Smocks and camis from Cottage Industry Store and basics from Sassind .
Noticing: The fire needs more wood.
Knowing: I have to restack the house pile from the wood in the back shed. 
Thinking: About visiting River Cottage
Admiring: People who work hard to make their dreams a reality. 
Getting: Excited about a 20 day "research" trip to Sicily and Wales. 
Bookmarking: Places to stay, eat and play. 
Disliking: Unreasonable negative reviewers on Trip Advisor. 
Opening: Jars of raspberry jam. 
Closing: All the distracting tabs. 
Feeling: Nervous and excited about going away by myself.
Hearing: My dog Patch, snoring in front of the fire.
Celebrating: Winter with its short days and long nights. 
Pretending: That I don't miss summer at all.
Embracing: The challenge of travelling alone. 

A bit about the photos: 
Top: a picture I took of a picture in Fergus Henderson's The Complete Nose to Tail, of a shepherds hut I fancy. I don't know who the handsome couple is, but that will be me and my husband one day! 
Centre: A photo from a pretty supper at the Sisterhood Camp, taken from their website. Can't wait to go.
Bottom: A picture by me of a handsome Savoy cabbage. Honestly they are so pretty!  


  1. I was literally only thinking of you today while I was littering in the kitchen! I miss you now that I'm not online anywhere & was hoping you hadn't given up blogging completely.
    It sounds as though you have some super exciting times ahead- I'm intrigued about the " research " trip....does that mean a new book might be in the works????
    I hope this post is the start of many more from you but if not, I hope you are well & happy & that life is lovely ( it sounds as if you are & it is ) xx

    1. OH I think about you a lot Reannon too! And wondering how your life is travelling. I will never give up blogging completely, but I just need to figure out how best to do it and stay relevant! No book as such....I'm more researching agritoursim and rural based accommodation event spaces! xx

    2. Oh, it's lovely to be thought of Michelle.
      Life is the same as it ever was- kids equally maddening & delightful, my kitchen filled with food, the garden very barren bar some garlic, shallots & coriander, reading books, crocheting stuff & generally faffing about. Not much changes in my world, it's very mundane but also nice. I like it that way. And your trip sounds exciting, so exciting. I bet you cany wait!! I hope there'll be a blog post or two so I can follow along???

  2. Your coming travels sound amazing. What are you researching?

    1. Agritoursim, cooking schools and rural based accommodation and event spaces....and gelato! ;-)

  3. Hello Michelle.
    Oh my goodness! Lovely to read your post....I just had to reply to this one!!!
    Firstly, what an awesome & interesting way to do a blog post....if you don't mind I may borrow it sometime. I also blog & run into blank patches occasionally (chitchat & Travel Tales.)
    Secondly, it made me so excited to see that you are reading The Leopard & that you are visiting Sicily. I simply MUST tell you a few stories...
    Too many for here but perhaps messenger or email?
    In brief, check out & go there if you can. In Palermo. It is where the Duke lives (he is the teenage boy written about in the book.) They are very welcoming & it is awe inspiring to stand in history with them. I spent 3 months with them & have been back 3 times. The Duchess has cooking classes & knows all the connections you could use. I have a few contacts too if you would like....Cheers, love, excitement!!
    Roni from

  4. Thank you Roni! I might just send you an email, as I'd love to hear more about your Sicilian travels and any tips, but regarding the Duchess I am already on it - I'm actually staying at Butera 28 for 4 days and have booked a class with Nicoletta, hence I thought I had better read the Leopard before I arrive! xx

  5. Always so heartening to find someone who adores the humble yet intricately beautiful savoy as much as I do. Wishing you safe and happy travels Michelle! x

    1. Thank you Kate, they are a truly beautiful vegetable. x

  6. No way!! You'll have to tell me what Sicily is like. I only recently discovered that part of my father's family originate from there. As I was unsure of my Dad's background on my Grandfather's side, I decided to take an Ancestry DNA test and I only just received my results back last weekend and it turns out we're from Sicily! Dad's so excited as he's always loved the 'Godfather' movies, so he's thinking he might be related to the Mafia hahahaha! Ancestry DNA have also connected me to some distant relatives (4th cousins) that live in Sicily and in other countries around the world who have also taken the test, so I'm going to join-up in order to get in touch with them to find out as much as I can about my family. I'm a bit excited! So when are you leaving? Hope you have a safe and totally amazing trip, and make sure to post lots of photos! (especially food photos!1) I can't wait to hear about your adventures (ahem, *research* hahaha) xx P.S - I read the Leopard after watching one of Rick Stein's shows, where he speaks to Tomasi's granddaughter, and the story is fascinating! I was definitely intrigued.

    1. Wow! Rhana so much goodness in this comment I don't where to begin! I've always fancied doing one of those DNA tests, and I think your discovery has convinced me to do it. What a fascinating discovery for your family! And off to google that Rick Stein recipe stat! I leave next weekend - hooray!

    2. You should definitely take the test! It may reveal a few surprises. We originally assumed my grandfather's side came from Malta due to our surname, so to find out his side was actually from Italy was brilliant! The test results also picked up Calabria as well as Sicily, so one day I'm definitely going to have to go over and see if I can trace the family tree. It will be my very own 'research' holiday hahaha!

  7. It is always SO exciting to see your blog pop up Michelle. Taking stock is such a great place to start after a break. Oh yes to the shepherd's hut and the perfect rowboat. Wishing you safe and happy solo travelling, I look forward to the occasional Insta update x

    1. Thank you Jane! It's always lovely reading your comments. xx

  8. ahhhhh if i only knew how to work photoshop i'd pop a kilt and a pair of gum boots on that you in the top photo and send it back to you. I love it. xx

    1. Oh Kate - you are the best! You had better start practising! xx

  9. I just stumbled across your blog and I really love it! :-)
    All the best with your research!