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Like the rest of the world, we spent April in relative isolation, hiding from the dreaded virus. We were allowed out for walks and shopping and we made the best of things, discovering beauty and fun along the way. Photos above include a suspected Banksy in our town and a Barbara Hepworth sculpture at the university. Click HERE for earlier photos from Spring 2020, including our trips to Paris and the Isle of Wight.
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Our walks to the Common coincided with wild garlic season. Tyson, our neighbor dog, was there one afternoon, chasing after men in shorts.
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At home, we got value from our garden studio, where we shared meals, played games, and watched quality television.
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Having more time at home meant being experimental in the kitchen. I finally managed good croissants, the quails' eggs were free from the farm where Nick's workplace is, and the mousse was made from a single Meyer lemon brought back from California by a book group friend.
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Bagels, Felicity Cloake's lemon drizzle cake and sticky toffee pudding, and even potato peel crisps
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Easter came along and we had homemade hot cross buns and pizzas with wild garlic and hazelnut pesto, both made with ingredients brought back from Sicily.
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One of our funnest discoveries was Zoom and making videos. I contributed to a Music Teachers Virtual Orchestra project and we met up with friends and family from our Paris Christmas, completing Taskmaster tasks. We were asked to "Have something unexpected wrapped in a dishcloth". I created a diorama depicting our group in Montmartre and Nick hid Tiny Cow inside his box from Sorrento. We also had to "Make a fruit or vegetable into a person" (Nick's Ed Sheeran carrot, above) and "Make something beautiful out of a teabag".
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Above is my Tea Stain Prelude, Larry's contribution to "Write a poem about plumbing in which the lines start with the letters S T O P C O C K", Amanda's tea bag art, my Nigella Lawson pear, and details from the Paris diorama.
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Our plumbing poetry
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Our second week of tasks had us "Using only a slice of bread, make yourself the best eyebrows, moustache, and beard, then capture them with a selfie" and "Re-create a well-known painting (or one we saw together in Paris) using household objects".
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We were also asked to "Perform the best choreographed dance to a cell phone ring tone, either live or video". Here is Nick's video and here is mine. For the bottom picture, we created an original lullaby.
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Meanwhile, back on our walks...
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Nick's Easter basket contained Toll House chocolate chip cookies and almond cantucci.
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I am reminded of the cow, Milky White, from Into the Woods. The tulip bulbs were bought in Amsterdam and the wisteria, which now covers our house, was once a birthday present. It is my favourite scent.
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More shots of Milky White plus some of our home cooking: vegetable pasties (made for an instructional video for school); asparagus wrapped in bacon with rosemary and anchovies, served with a boiled egg and homemade sourdough toast; and chorizo, pear, and almond salad with membrillo and sherry vinegar dressing.
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For our next Zoom call, we were asked to create a food that would last until we next meet in person. Nick made sage liqueur and I made candied orange peel. We also had to broadcast our call "from an exotic location". We chose Paris, Amanda and Larry went Under the Sea, and Linda and Nancy channelled the Tiger King.
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Pictured above is my first really successful sourdough baking, courtesy of the Artisan Sourdough book by Martin Ivar Hveem Fjeld and Casper Andre Lugg and Mike Greenfield's scallion pancakes.
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A few more sights from our infrequent walks
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More baking, plus a rare spring photo of me in something other than a t-shirt and hoodie
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Nights at home made watching Jude Law in The New Pope a necessity. Other actors appeared in the series.
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More Jude Law popery and back to Zoom. Our Taskmaster tasks this week included 1) During our call, make something spin for the longest period of time, and 2) Watch this video of the woman giving a short autobiography. After the video, try to guess what her childhood ambition was.
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Our third Taskmaster task was to 3) Take 10 photos yourself holding different things, each thing smaller than the last. I thought outside the box and presented the Top Ten Problems Facing Charlie Brown. Nick's video of animals in descending size is HERE.
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These are Amanda and Larry's 10 things in diminishing size.

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