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Saving Water (and my Sanity)

Ah, marital bliss. It can’t be beaten. It’s a myth, though – right? Like perfection – something to aspire to but never quite achieve?
In our house we have a deal – one cooks and the other cleans up. You’d think that this would work well for someone who loves to cook – all the fun and none of the drudgery. Alas, it’s not so. Read more

Afloat

In the early morning sunlight we watched as the boat pulled away from the shore, leaving Ireland in our wake. As the coastline slowly faded and disappeared we turned to look ahead. Wales would be first, we knew, then England and France. After that we had no plan – we’d just have to see where the road took us. So far, so good. Read more

Death of a Ladies’ Man

We both knew it had to be done but we had been procrastinating for weeks. Months, if I’m honest. He was a menace and he needed to go, but somehow neither of us had the heart to do it. Read more

Blur

When do you stop being a kid and start being an adult? Eighteen? Twenty One? Read more

Easy Homemade Mayonnaise [Recipe]

Mayonnaise is my favourite condiment. It seems to go with just about everything. A thick, creamy dollop on a hard-boiled egg. Spread thickly on sourdough toast and topped with a slice of ripe tomato for a quick and tasty lunch. Combined with gherkin and pungent capers for a piquant tartare sauce. Mixed with your favourite ketchup for a perfect seafood dressing. The possibilities are endless. Read more

A Bright Pink Cock

As some of you will know, I live with a feisty cock who causes me no end of trouble. I have tried a number of approaches to keeping him at bay, including whacking him (judiciously) over the head, but nothing seems to work. Read more

Why did the elephant cross the road?

Picture the scene. You arrive in the world’s smallest airport on the world’s smallest plane and step out into sweltering heat. Your guide arrives to take you to your campsite and you look forward to your first glimpse of wildlife. Read more

3-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse [Recipe]

When trying to live self-sufficiently it is important to make good use of ingredients and not let anything go to waste. I make a jar of mayonnaise about once a fortnight. It takes 5 egg yolks to make the full jar, which leaves me with 5 egg whites. During the summer I use these egg whites to make my no-churn chocolate chip ice cream, but in the winter (when I also have no milk for cream), I make this easy chocolate mousse. Read more

The end of an era

Without any fanfare, she drove away from the house. The sky was grey and sleet was falling at an acute angle, spurred on by an intensely cold wind. I watched from the warmth of our conservatory as she rounded the corner and disappeared from view, Arūnas smiling and waving from the wheel. That’s it – she’s gone. Read more

Wall

If you saw this wall around your holiday accommodation would it inspire confidence or fear? This was the wall surrounding our hostel in Johannesburg, South Africa. Similar walls enclosed all neighbouring buildings. We had driven all the way from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth through towns and vast areas of countryside and we had felt completely safe at all times. When we arrived in Jo’burg, where we were only staying for one night before an onward journey, we were immediately struck by a sense of fear, between the appalling driving of our host (in a car with no seat belts) and the ominous walls and fences around almost every property. We ventured out for about 5 minutes to buy a phone card and I have never felt so threatened and uncomfortable in my life. The lions and leopards we subsequently encountered on our safari were pussycats by comparison. Read more

Orange Glow

For the bulk of my childhood heating in our house was provided by fire. We had a stove in the kitchen that afforded both heat and an always-on cooking surface. The fire itself was safely tucked away behind a little door that was opened only when a draft was required to spur on the flames. But in our sitting room we had an open fire, and this was the one I loved. I could sit and stare into that fire for hours on end as another child might watch TV. There in those orange flames I saw rabbits and fish and ghosts and princesses and endless other creatures. It was an ever-changing story dancing before my eyes. It fuelled my imagination at a time when I was still reading fairy stories. I’m sure I wrote some of my own, at least in my head. We haven’t had a fire in our house for a long time, so these days the only time I get to stare into the flames is when we cook šašlykai (Lithuanian barbeque). I’m sure people think I’ve had one beer too many as I gaze into the flames and smile at the story that unfolds before me. Read more

A hive for the honey bee

“Ouch, I’ve been stung”, I said, looking down to see a bee stuck to the leg of my corduroy jeans. “Ouch, I’ve been stung”, my friend’s younger brother mirrored behind me. “There’s no need to mock”, I said, before feeling another sharp prick, this time on the back of my hand. It was only then that I heard the low hum of the hive and realised that we were completely surrounded by bees. Read more

Curd Cheese Doughnuts | Varškės Spurgos [Recipe]

When I first heard about curd cheese doughnuts I thought they sounded very strange. I had a vision of a chunk of cheddar sandwiched between two sides of a sugary ring doughnut, similar to a filled bagel. I’d been making cheese cake with cream cheese (which is really just curd cheese blended with cream) for years, so I don’t know how it was so difficult for me to get my head round. It wasn’t until I tasted one of the little fluffy delights freshly made at a farmers’ market here in Lithuania that I was sold on the idea. Read more

House Hunters International: The Video

I’m so excited – my 15 minutes of fame is finally here! (Actually, it’s 22 minutes, but who’s counting?) I was just enjoying my morning coffee when the post lady pulled up outside. She jumped out of her car brandishing a fancy-looking envelope and I knew immediately that our House Hunters DVD had arrived. Read more

All in a day’s work

“Do you guys, like, work?”, the TV executive asks as she makes her notes. While I understand what she means by the question, it irritates me immensely. I try to be cognisant of how our life here differs from the “norm” and politely explain that we both work very hard, but that neither of us is currently earning a regular income. I can tell by her reaction that it isn’t the response she’s looking for. Read more

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