My first Ta Dah is really my grandson's achievement - but I'm going to claim some involvement. When it was his birthday I bought him a butterfly raising kit. It is a little collapsable net container in which you hatch butterflies. At the beginning of lockdown I sent away for the caterpillars to start off the process and a few weeks ago a pot of caterpillar food with five tiny caterpillars arrived. I handed them over to him to nurture and he's been keenly watching their progress from tiny caterpillars, to larger hairier caterpillars, to chrysalides and finally fully grown butterflies. He's fed them fruit and leaves and yesterday was the day when they were ready to fly off into the wild. My daughter filmed the great release and it honestly brought a tear to my eye to see the pure wonderment and joy in his little face as they fluttered, flew to the top of the container and then tentatively flapped their wings in the fresh air before taking their first steps of freedom into the garden.
It's been a fabulous project and he has loved doing it. If you are ever looking for a different kind of present for a small child, I'd really recommend it.
I've read a lot of books this month. Firstly our book club's choice of In Five Years which I enjoyed, and showed that although you may think you have a five year plan, you sometimes really can't see what may be round the corner. Then I read The Sister in Law - set in sunny Italy, was great to read while sitting out in the sunshine in the garden, made it very easy to transport myself to the location. Something totally different was Verity which actually made me gasp at the end - I do like a book which keeps me on my toes! Finally, The Other Wife which makes me wonder if all this lockdown is leading me back to psychological thrillers!
I'm not just reading books but I am still learning Spanish on the Duolingo app on my phone. Haven't missed a day yet ...
By the time we're allowed to leave the country (and return without going into 2 weeks quarantine) I should be able to make myself understood. At the very least I'll be able to book a table in a restaurant (if they are open) order a meal and drink, and get us booked into a hotel. Anything else will be a bonus!
My oven's been busy this month too. I'm trying to 'only' cook one cake a week but it seems the more I bake, the more we eat ...
Coffee and walnut sponge - I froze half to save us from eating the whole thing!
I went into overdrive one day, rock cakes and a Victoria sandwich cake on the same day. I promise you that half of the rock cakes were put straight in the freezer.
Chocolate cake with raspberry jam and butter cream icing - I actually gave a quarter of this to Rachel to save us from too much temptation
Something savoury for a change, cheese scones
Lemon and poppyseed loaf
In addition to all this, I've discovered how easy it is to make flatbreads and that means that a meze lunch is very easy to throw together to eat on the patio now - especially as I've tweaked a recipe for hummus which is so easy to make. Ruth reminded me of how delicious beer bread is and I've also discovered a new way to incorporate lemon sorbet into an amazing pre dinner gin cocktail. Did I mention about my waistline increasing by the day?