Coming Home from Mill

Sunday 13/2/2005

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Diary and Notes

It was a cold and dark winter's evening. Gerald trudged home through the biting wind, his feet chilled, his broken shoes no defense against the snow. Each footstep drained his soul. His hungry belly yearned for a hot supper but the thought of food filled his heart with fear. Pace by pace the journey became harder and harder, each yard seemingly longer than the last, each metronomic tick in Gerald's homeward journey seemingly pushing against a giant spring which tightened and resisted more and more and threatened to repel him back to the mill. Home held for him such a stifling dread that he thought again about turning aside and seeking solace in the Rose and Crown.

It was the hippies who were to blame - those flower waving pansies with their ponchos and new age ideas - without them everything would have been fine. What was Marjory doing? All these weird foods, strange vegetables that no proper Englishman would eat; lentils, chilli con carne, garlic! Marjory had been going crazy lately, serving up slops like that and calling it food. In his father's day Gerlad could have given her a black eye and that would have sorted that out - but he loved her too much for that, even if she was willing to accept any half baked idea that she got from those daytime tv programmes. Programmes that had started putting ideas in her head about holidays in Spain and electric toasters.

What would it be tonight? Some filthy French muck or an unpronounceable Chinese horror she'd seen on Pebble Mill at One? What was wrong with meat and two veg? Why couldn't he have chips any more?

Gerald had reached the gate and stopped for a moment and felt the chill down his back and the tingle of electricity along his spine. He pushed the gate and pace by pace, forced himself forwards.

He put the key in the door and turned it slowly. The click rang like the bells of doom in his ears. He pushed and held his breath for a moment and then sniffed, sniffed to detect what horror would await, but...

Nothing... No garlic, no strange alien odours. He moved inside, still anxious but the grain of hope growing with each breath.

"I'm home Marjory." He called and peeked his head around the door into the kitchen, Marjory turned to greet him with a smile.

"Hello dear, did you have a nice day?" She walked forwards to help him with his coat. "It's biting cold out dear, I thought you'd like something warming for dinner."

Warming..? No, not curry, not some burning hot curry like last Friday. "W..what is for dinner?" He asked with great trepidation.

"Stew and dumplings, and there's a nice mug of tea for you on the table."

And all around the heavens the angels sang Hallelujah, and in Gerlad's heart a love so strong grew that a tear welled in his eye and once again Marjory was that bright young lass of 16 he had met in Blackpool all those years ago.

So choked was he that only murmer managed to squeeze between his lips, "Grand."

Cake Blog

Crepes Suzette: If this were 1976, your knickers would be off like a shot if I cooked this for you.


  • Stew and Cheesey Dumplings

  • Crepes Suzette


  • Stew: Beef, pork, onions, carrots, parsnips, turnips, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, pepper, salt, bouquet garni.
  • Dumplings: Self raising flour, vegetable suet, mixed herbs, pepper, salt, grated Cheddar cheese.
  • Crepes: Flour, egg, milk, sugar, butter, oranges, Grand Marnier


  • Stew: Chop the onions and carrots and fry in a little oil. Add the beef and pork and sweat until the beef is browned. Add the rest of the vegetables (chopped into chunks), the chicken stock, load of Worcestershire sauce, some pepper and salt and a bouquet garni. Stew gently for as long as you have the time.
  • Dumplings: Mix everything together with a little cold water (about two parts flour to suet). Form into balls and add to the stew. Bubble away gently for 30 minutes.
  • The pancakes can be made ahead and then just reheated and flambeed. Peel the zest off an orange and plunge into boiling water. Leave for five minutes then remove. Make a thin pancake batter and sweeten with some sugar. Add a little of the soften zest. Fry the pancakes (making sure they are very thin) in butter and then fold them into quarters. Peel and slice the orange. Sprinkle a little sugar all over and then singe on a really hot pan (no oil). Remove from the pan, place the pancakes in the pan and the oranges on top. Pour over some Grand Marnier and allow to bubble for a few seconds the ignite. Let it burn for about 10 seconds, blow out the flames and serve with a pretentious exclamation of "Voila!"

    A response on my 70's Gumph from a friend - Mr Cooper

    Have to pull you up, pedantically, on your excellent Gerald and Marjory - Marjory would not have seen anything on the telly that morning, 'cos you didn't have morning telly back then. Although, technically she could have been watching open university programs, after Gerald had visited some rather unappealing night-time shenanigans on her. Probably, she was getting her qualifications up to scratch, in preparation for leaving him in the early eighties, to get herself a power suit and an escort cabriolet. And another thing, I would have thought you could have at least got a reference to storage heaters in, or a reference to that vangard of the seventies - it was in it's heyday - the british car. Both of which you could have baked a makerel in. In tin-foil. I also had a duffel-coat, which kept my freezing limbs warm on occasion, though not when raining. I used to leave my arms out of the sleeves, and only button around my neck, and run around saving the world. I was that unlikely force for good - the super-hero known only as the Fly. This was because my duffel-coat was grey, and the lack of vitamins and warmth had sapped my imagination. What about white dog poo? Totally irrelevent. Can't cook with any of it.