Tuesday 9 October 2018

Crab Feast

Up tails all?
Three days of solid wind and wet, squally rain are just "normal" Irish weather while all wait to see if the next 'named' storm (Callum, formerly Leslie in the USA. All our best storms are American hand-me-downs) comes in this direction. It is being described as a "ferocious looking beast" and is due, if it does arrive, on Thursday. Another one making me glad we replaced that tarpaulin roof on the chicken house but also raising a wry smile; earlier in the weekend there was talk of an Indian Summer. It all seems to have gone a bit quiet in that direction.

Auntie Mary enjoys her tea.
Auntie Mary, sister to the late Theo, gave the family cause for concern over the last month(s) by getting very ill. Mary is our retired Nun, living now in the Sisters' Retirement Home up by Dublin after a life spent doing 10-year tours of duty missionary-ing in Africa. Well, I am delighted to say that she was moved into a more intensive care part of the building and got some improved medical attention and is now well recovered and is described as "good as new", "flying", "doing wonders" and "out of bed". She has also enjoyed her 90th Birthday, so well done Mary.

Advert for furniture restoration classes on the Village Website
Meanwhile, closer to home and enjoying a restoration to good health (Did you see what I did there?), is some of our tired old furniture. A few weeks back, the Village 'Hall' (Centre) started evening classes in furniture restoration. Students were asked to bring along a small piece of their own furniture which was looking tired, so that the instructor could start to show them tools, techniques and safety stuff as well as showing them how to pull these pieces apart carefully.

Our 'Darby and Joan' chairs by the pond.
Elizabeth took along a small bedside drawers unit and has thoroughly enjoyed it. She has taken a gazillion photos and written reams of notes. Then this week, she upped the ante by moving her attention to one of our two (well, 'my') favourite upholstered chairs. These are old style sit-up-and-beg things, very narrow with no big wide padded 'wings'.

A nice and unusual find in the shopping
- frozen crab!
We actually acquired them when previous owner of our Faversham house left them behind in a stack of junk in one of the many garden sheds. Back then (25 years?) they had lovely tooled leather backs which had seen better days. We had a chum who did a bit of upholstery 'do them up' with dark blue fabric and I have loved them ever since. Maybe it is the 'too well loved' current appearance of them that has drawn Mrs C's focus.

She took one of them into the class last week minus its seat-cushion and spent the evening prizing away the fabric layers, pulling out pins and staples with the mini-crowbar, easing off webbing and beading strips, lifting out the wadding and the hessian and rougher fabrics which supply hidden strength. All these goodies were stashed careful for use as templates on a shopping trip. The instructor and she were also able, with the chair stripped of upholstery, to fix a slight rearward lean on the frame (this heavy bas***d flopping into it too many times?) by removing some brackets, straightening the legs, gluing the joints and re-fixing the brackets.

Before it all got messy.
Off today shopping then, armed with her parcel of templates and samples, to the good fabric shop in Roscommon Town ("Finishing Touches"?) who had everything she needed and plenty of it reduced in price including a lovely burgundy coloured fabric, enough for both chairs and a separate seat cushion for each. There is a great bundle of wadding for a soft seat, webbing straps, beading 'ribbon', new hessian and the rough cloth which I do not know the name of. It is spoiled I will be!

Then in a nice surprise shopping discovery, Elizabeth came across frozen (cooked) brown crabs for only a fiver each. We love our crab here but have not been able to find any since we moved over. Only one meal, maybe, but with the weather outside being so miserable that the photographer is pinned down inside feeling uninspired, you get half a dozen pictures of it. Hope you don't mind.

That's more like it.
Half the fun of crab and lobster is all that cracking open claw bits and prizing out the meat with your skewer, so our way to serve is to pre-prep all the body-meat plus the tiny stuff from the legs and upper limbs. That gets variously en-saladed or mixed with mayo and served back in the empty shell, and you get the big claw bits (cracked but not open) on the side to play with. The food prep area in the kitchen looks like a road accident for a while but is easy enough tidied and the hens love picking the bits of shell over on the compost heap. At those low prices, the shopping dept also snatched up a bottle of Prosecco to go with, nicely chilled. It was a lovely meal.  A delightful and rare crab feast.

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