Manchester, so much to answer for

Sorry for not adding an entry for a while…

I got back from the beautiful St Auban last Saturday evening and haven’t quite got back into my routine, which means I haven’t done any cooking – at least not proper cooking – since I got back. I’ve done lots of stir-fries and eaten several pizzas. This is not good. I reckon I’ve put on at least half a stone (I dare not weigh myself). This is, in part, due to the field trip. I managed to do no exercise, eat two three-course meals a day and drink every night. The food was all home-cooked and very nice indeed.

St Auban is about 30 miles north of Nice and resides in the Alps; it was once a ski resort in the winter, but due to climate change this no longer happens, although there is evidence of it’s past in the rusting ski-lifts that run up the mountainside. The place is beautiful, there is the most amazing geology – layers of buckled meandering limestone, caverns, canyons and crevices. There is wonderful wildlife – after all that’s why we were there – wild boar, red deer, chamois, red squirrels, golden eagles, crested tits, Bonelli’s warblers and my favourite bird, the nightjar. Many of these animals can be seen in Britain, of course, but you have to go to Reserves or the Scottish Highlands to see them. The other great thing about the mountain habitats is the smell – walking through the wandering, purple thyme creates a floral mist around you, plus there are lavender plants and juniper berries to crush between your fingers. Ahh…

…and then there’s Manchester. Since returning, there’s been nothing but rain and thunder storms. The temperatures have been similar to what we had in January, for God’s sake. I should be excited as all my favourite foods are in season now, but I feel like it’s all passing me by.

It’s my birthday on Thursday, so I think I’ll get back into the swing of things by treating myself by making some kind of pudding containing all those lovely summer ingredients I’ve been thinking of – raspberries, gooseberries, cherries and the like. Hopefully they’ll give me some pep…

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