Sour Grapes and Sour Dough

Today we have rain in biblical proportions (>40mm in 24 hrs) and the garden is once more a lagoon. The wind is still blowing, though settling back a little now. We lost power at around 4 a.m., so once the animals had been fed this morning we returned to bed and cuddled, listening to the sound of the wind in the eaves until the power was restored and we could have a cuppa. It became a little crowded – Nell was in her place on the foot of the bed, Griff was on the floor at the bed’s foot, Suzie was on her back on Griff’s bed at the side of ours, Mr L and I were snuggled up in the middle, while Ted was was down by our knees under the duvet and Treacle sat on my pillow… glaring. It was past time for us to be moved and for him to be installed on the fluffy cover that I place on the bed daily for cat convenience.

We occupied our time in a fantasy re-fit of the kitchen – knocking down the wall between the two rooms in the front part of the house, adding more cupboards and a huge FO USA-nian type refrigerator. I added Velux window lights in the roof  with  light chimneys over my workspace, plus a lovely new red AGA (4 door, of course.) And a slate floor.


Power was restored around mid-morning. The shower refused to work and had to be re-primed, the coffee machine also required a re-set. Things have not been going well, but I have finally cleared our brunch things and got my first sour dough away. I have a bowl of spelt sponging, ready to make loaves tomorrow.

In the River Cottage Bread Handbook, Daniel Stevens recommends getting to know your sour dough starter. He talks about the smell, and how different starters vary. I have kept on sniffing at Bill and trying to find a form of words to describe his odour. It’s a soft smell, warm, with only a tinge of sourness in it. There is something to it that I have been unable to place… certainly not sour milk, or apples, or anything sensible that Daniel suggests. Finally, just today, it pinged into recognisable place in my olfactory memory.

Bill smells like emulsion paint!

I hope that this does not bode ill for the bread.

So, the Solstice is passed and the sun is on its journey back to us. How nice it would be to believe in that. Today is so dark and dismal and too wet and windy to get out and about. I just feel grumpy about it all and not at all positive, as I should do at this time.  Mr L feels similarly, apparently.  I may have to bake him a treat for his tea. I certainly need to get going on some bits and pieces for our Xmas Day picnic, just in case that happens. The weather should improve much over the next 48 hours, though nowhere near enough, I think.

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