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The lull before storm…

All three of us had a lie-in this morning. Well, until ‘Bernie’ (our friends dog) decided it needed to go out for a wee at 07:30 this morning which meant I was woken up by being slobbered over as a way of attracting our attention! I’d agreed to take the short straw so Dee could sleep in. What I hadn’t bargained for was letting Bernie out of the back door – only to find one of our neighbour’s cats sat on the doorstep. I don’t know who was more startled, Bernie, me or poor Popi – who took off like a bat out of hell! Luckily, I’d kept Bernie on her lead so there was no cartoon-like hot pursuit.

The excitement over we returned to a much calmer Sunday. Dawn returned Bernie to her owners (who were still recovering from their night out) whilst I pottered around at home, sorting out the final logistics for my week away before retreating to the kitchen to enjoy my last opportunity to indulge in some cooking for some time. I really enjoy the ritual of preparing the ingredients and laying them out before beginning the process of turning the raw ingredients into a meal. I was cooking Indian today so now the the cottage is filled with the smells of exotic spices. The dish I’ve made includes freshly roasted and powdered Fenugreek seeds along with Cloves, Cinnamon, Star Anise and Cumin powder. The mélange of fragrances is wonderful especially as the final product contains the tang of White Wine Vinegar which hangs in the air and complements the spices.

Now it’s time to kick back and enjoy the late afternoon sunshine and our evening together so I’ll end the blog here. Expect a series of rolling blogs over the next eight days – although they won’t be a complete commentary on my trip as I’m writing for a magazine. If you want to read the full details they’ll be published in a series of three articles in RAIL magazine starting in October. Despite that, I hope to keep you entertained as I take over 80 trains around the UK to explore many familiar destinations plus some I’ve not visited for decades – plus one of the last extremities of the UK rail network I’ve never managed to reach before…

So, today’s picture is cooking therapy. In this case, Chicken Vindail. Here’s the ingredients prepared for cooking.