- Quinoa with golden beets, spring onions, cornichons, dill (Norwegian Tartare style)
- Spicy quinoa from the NYT
- Butter lettuce, orange, fennel, red onion & pine nut salad (for the b'stilla)
- Peach clafoutis
My brother is very good at this. He keeps a whole wardrobe in the summer house: thick fishing sweaters, khaki jeans, a few shirts for dinner, and twelve pairs of shoes (I know this because my mother counted them). My friend Lucy packs weeks in advance and sends her cases by FedEx or UPS so she can walk straight through on the plane without the hassle of being searched. My mother lays out her clothes in a guest bedroom, at least 10 days before departure and manages maximum efficiency. My daughter, who is the most organized in the family, takes pictures of outfits with a polaroid before leaving so that she is never confused as to what goes together.
For so many years the cottage didn't have a washing machine, a shower or even a loo, that I forget that these options are there, that I don't in fact need twenty four pairs of knickers. After years of intense pressure, my mother has even succumbed to a tumble dryer -- people who live in hot climates will never understand the bliss of pulling on a pair of warm, dryer-fresh jeans on a wet and miserable day. Despite the new addition to our family of appliances, I find myself hanging clothes to dry on the line with wooden pegs. The sun moves around the house and dries them to a nice, stiff crisp, which doesn't matter one iota when you're in it for the romance quotient. One has to check knickers for ants and earwigs, however, and the little brown seeds from the silver birch tree.
One thing I do bring and leave every year is books. The little book shelf is choc-a-bloc with excellent books that we re-read year after year: Jane Austen, Zadie Smith, Zane Grey, Sebastian Faulks, Dave Eggers, Andre Gide and of course the irresistible Rosamund Pilcher. Would a summer be the same without The Shell Seekers? There are games too: Travel Scrabble, Norwegian Monopoly, decks of cards in three tartans and blue ones courtesy of British European Airsystems. (Also small bottles of gin fashioned as pretty blue and white Dutch houses, thanks to Bols and KLM). Once we hit Tjome, Solitaire is the only game in town & all four of us sit around the pine table early in the morning, sun blazing in from across the fjord, making piles of cards, seven across and seven down, wordless and soundless but for the screech of the seagulls and the clinking of masts at the jetty. Time stops. I don't blame this entirely on the game of Patience, but the constant light, the long, bright days, the compelling need to use the light when it's there, so that we eat dinner late, get up early, long to be out on the sea, change our circadian rhythms, climb the cherry trees, walk in the woods, fish for crabs from the jetty, make picnics to take out to the islands.