woensdag 30 juli 2014

Personal

Some vacation pictures:





We ate a lot of these:



If you read German, the above is very funny.

The one below was taken by a lake of volcanic origin:

These rocks used to be a part of a volcanic crater, too.

Women who like cats get a bad rep in some parts, but I actually have a husband who is a big cat lover, so there!





The one above and below were taken by castle ruines where now is a restaurant:



I bought this dress that very day.


The view from above the mountain and the reconstructed Roman temple:










maandag 28 juli 2014

An Empty-Nester Housewife

The same goes for the childless housewife, but I was specifically asked to write about empty-nesters.

"I got a letter from a woman whose children are grown and married and they have no interest in her, she feels really lost and she wanted suggestions"

This is a situation which, unfortunately, happens only too often, however, children don't even need to leave the house. As they grow older, they develop their own interests and friendships, and can basically take care of themselves, so that the mother feels somewhat lost, and the pressure often mounts to get a job.

That's why it's very important for a housewife to have some interests and hobbies outside of the realm of child-rearing and have her own friends who can drop by for a cup of tea.

There are lots of things an empty-nest housewife can do. First, let's not forget that most ladies who are in this situation fall into the category of older women, which means that they generally need more rest and housework is still there, plus there are no children available for help any more. When you get older, you need to invest more time and effort into preserving your health, which means taking long walks, exercising, and the like.

Remember, you still have your husband to take care of, and you surely would want to stay in good shape for him and for your children, when they need you. Your parents and other family members may require help, too.

Another ages-old way to occupy yourself is needlework and crafts. That's the traditional female work which even aristocratic ladies didn't count beneath themselves to perform. You have a choice between knitting, cross-stitching, quilting, making clothes, household projects etc etc, and some adventurous women even learn spinning and weaving. Neeedlework can give you hours of pleasurably spent time (it can be combined with watching movies/listening to audio books) and you will have some beautiful hand-made product in the end.

If you have a garden, now it's time to give it the attention it always needed. Gardening is another  "genteel" occupation. You can also learn to draw or play a musical instrument or take classes in gourmet cooking. I once met an older lady who got interested in Ancient Rome, learned Roman cooking and became a historical reenactor. You can learn a foreign language or study calculus. There are lots of things to do, if only you realise that first, life didn't end because your children left the house and you are older now, and second, you can be a childless housewife and still find enough to do.

 "Women like that are vulnerable to home business or careers or ministries"

I think I covered the subject of careers well enough, now a couple of words about home businesses. I think they are OK, if they bring money instead of costing money, and if they don't distract women from running the household, which often happens. I keep reading stories of men who complain that their wives lose money on their home businesses and the house is never clean, or that their wives babysit for less than minimum wage when the husband makes a decent living.

The same is true about ministries. Your first ministry is your home and your husband, it's fine to help in the church, to sing in a choir or to teach Sunday school but when the ministry starts resembling a full time job, you are probably taking it too far.

 There is a wonderful blog, called Mias Landliv which I mentioned several times before, where the lady owner shows her garden and her beautiful handworks. It can give you a couple of ideas. I also suggest watching old TV series like I Love Lucy where Ethel was a childless housewife (Lucy was also one till the middle of Season 2), or I Dream Of Jeannie where Mrs Bellows kept an ideal house and practised hospitality.

Well, I hope this was helpful!


woensdag 23 juli 2014

An Announcement


Today we are leaving on a short vacation, till Sunday so there will be no blog posts for a couple of days.

zondag 20 juli 2014

It's Everybody's Fault

If you are in the habit of reading "alternative" blogs, you'll notice there is a lot of blame going around for the modern state of the society and various problems connected with liberalism. All sorts of conspiracy theories are being put forward. It must be illuminati, masons, women, certain ethnic groups, progressives, capitalists, Wall Street, bankers and whatever else comes into your mind.

Some of these accusations, such as the problems with the modern debt-fueled banking system are at least, partly true, but it doesn't change one simple fact: in a modern liberal democratic society it's basically everybody's fault. People complain all the time of the propaganda of bad values by the TV and filmmakers and after they have posted their rant on the net, they switch on their TV set and continue watching.

 In the times past, men were often ready to die for what they believed in (think of the first Christians). A modern liberal Westerner is so morally weak that he lacks the will power to forgo some insignificant entertainment. He will complain of feminised/anti Christian Hollywood movies but will keep watching them. By now it must be evident to anyone that the majority of MSM don't promote healthy values and yet the same people who complain about it, keep consuming their product. It's not like anybody is putting the gun to their heads and forcing them to watch the TV, either.

And it's the same story with many other things. Here in the West, we are accustomed to live above certain level, and our poor are rich by the standards of the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this fact doesn't create gratitude in many, but rather entitlement. We all feel we have a right to a certain level of material comfort and some go even further, expecting a perfect life. A perfect marriage, healthy children who come exactly when planned and living till 95 without ever being sick even for one day.

We take for granted that nearly all our children live till adulthood, that we have free education and relatively cheap healthcare, that the government is ready to send a social worker when we need him, but we forget that there is a price on everything and that actions have consequences. We are so removed from the real life that we forget that someone always has to foot the bill.

And in the end, while complaining of the drawbacks of liberalism, we all end profiting from it in one form or other. For instance, certain men keep complaining about the modern welfare system which subsidizes divorce and single motherhood, and they are right, to a degree, but there is one thing they keep forgetting (and again, it's very typical for modern individualistic liberal society). There is no such thing as abstract "women". Those women are part of extended families. If the government stops supporting them, their family members will have to do it, as most people wouldn't want to see their daughter/sister and her kids starve.

Jane Austen and her sister, both old maids who lived in the times of the patriarchy, ended up being supported by their married brothers, who had to divert resources from their own wives and children. Now just ask yourself a question, how would you like it if your husband's divorced sister and her four kids came to live with you? Or even his unmarried childless sister? You see, it's all very simple, we all profit from liberalism and government handouts, in one form or another.

I'm not writing this post to defend modern welfare state, which seems to be rather close to collapse, I'm just trying to point out a simple fact: as a society we, all of us, collectively have become accustomed to an easy life in which "all men are paid for existence and no man has to pay for his sins" and in a certain sense, everything what happens is everybody's fault.

zaterdag 19 juli 2014

Heat Wave

We are dealing with a heat wave at the moment! The temperature has risen above +30*C, which is quite high for these parts. The only thing I'm capable of doing right now is sitting in front of the ventilator with a glass of alcohol-free lemon beer. Am I the only one who has concentration problems when it's so warm?:) So I guess those articles I was planning to write, will have to wait.
Cheers!

donderdag 17 juli 2014

There Is Nothing Private On The Internet

I sometimes have a feeling that people are surprised I don't share many personal details on my blog. After all, most women's (and some men's) blogs are all about them, complete with pictures of their children and detailed stories about their love life. This desire to bare one's soul to complete strangers probably started with talk shows, however, there is one difference between TV and the internet. Namely, the internet is interactive, which means that you are bound to get a lot of feedback, and not all of it positive.

I'm always amazed as to what sort of thing people are posting about themselves. Look, there is nothing private on the net, unless you have a private blog/account. Even if you leave a comment as anonymous, the server will register your IP address and unless it's a public library, it's relatively easy to figure out who you are and where you live or work, and even in the case of a public facility, it's still possible to find out who is the poster, that's why it's really unwise or should I say retarded, to post death threats or advertise any illegal activities.

It's even worse when you set up an account on a public forum, open to anyone, have a public blog or write articles for gossip sites, discussing your private life, as so many women do, and then under your own name. That's why I don't care for having a Facebook account. I have always been a rather private person and I simply can't fathom sharing intimate details of my life with people I don't even know.

There are certainly plenty of men doing the same mistake, but women seem to be especially prone to it, but they usually get very upset if the details they so eagerly shared with others, become the subject of less-than-savoury discussions. Victorians have been criticised for being stuck-up reserved prudes because they refused to discuss certain things in public, but there is definitely something to say in their defence.

Nowadays people have an idea they should discuss everything in public. Heck, I've seen women posting pictures of themselves  in child birth. What next? Selfies of oneself while using the bathroom? Is there no limit to attention whoring? The same girl who posts provocative pictures then has the cheek to turn around and accuse the commenters of having dirty thoughts. Apparently, it's OK to advertise but not to react to advertising.

I keep reading on some blogs that Western IQ's are in decline and honestly I start believing it as so many people seem to be totally unable to see the consequences of their own actions. Look, it's really simple. If you don't want people discussing your private info, then don't post it on a public forum. The net is full of all sorts of people, and some of them could be perverts and criminals. Protect your privacy, and especially that of your innocent children, who didn't consent to their pictures being spread all over the internet.

Lydia Sherman had a post on her blog about refined speech. She approached the topic from a slightly different angle, that of public decency and not of privacy, but her overall points are very good.

She wrote, among other things:
Avoid talk about personal bodily functions. Even discussing your digestive tract can be a problem when other ladies just want to have polite, cheerful, uplifting conversation. Keep your monthly cycle totally private and never mention it in a sewing circle or a ladies Bible Class (here I must point out that ít's even worse to discuss it with men on the interwebz forums, while posing as a traditional Christian wife)...Do not talk about the details of your family finances to anyone outside of the family...

How much more important is to follow this rule while posting on the internet!

woensdag 16 juli 2014

Summer Is Finally Here!

It looks, feels and smells like summer! And we are having a vacation, sort of. Originally we had decided to stay home this year to save money, but we must have a bit of gipsy blood in our veins, so we are planning to go away for a couple of days next week.

So far I have been celebrating my vacation by being incredibly lazy, hence the lack of the blog posts:) However, I was asked to write a couple of articles about the empty-nesters and the importance of beauty in the home, which I hope to do tomorrow, so please stay tuned:)

The cat is finally doing fine so he is outside night and day, all the doors are open to get more fresh air, and I'm off to buy some ice cream. Magnum has a new sort, white chocolate+strawberry taste, and I love it! Sometimes it makes sense to have a vacation at home...

He's having a vacation, too!:)

zondag 13 juli 2014

A Couple Of Words About Summer Fashions

They are meant as a friendly suggestion, not a comprehensive list of rules.

Summer is here which means that we are going to encounter people in various stages of undress in the streets once again. Luckily, the fashions seem to have become more feminine (either due to the ongoing recession or something else, I'm not sure:), and the dresses, including maxi dresses are very much in. Still I thought it a good idea to write this post as a lot of people seem to go through life being blissfully unaware that there are actually some guidelines on what to wear and when.

First, one should always try to dress according to the occasion. There are such things as formal and casual attire. Even in the times of pant suits, skirts/dresses are still usually considered more formal. Formal attire for women also means heels and panty hose/stockings. Here is a good example of formal attire:

business style

(click at the picture of the lady in a grey suit)

One thing you don't wear with formal attire is leggings. There is nothing more ridiculous than a woman wearing a formal skirt or dress with long white underpants sticking out of it. Please don't do it. You wear leggings under a short denim skirt (preferably in any other colour but white), but not under a business dress.

Evening dresses are usually long and low cut, like this:
They are meant for special occasions only and not for day-to-day activities, unless you belong to that fortunate class of society which always dresses up for dinner and has live-in butlers and housekeepers:)

Shorts are very informal, and adults, both men and women would do well, imo, if they avoided wearing them outside of the beach or their own garden. Shorts are definitely not an attire of choice to dine at a restaurant. Jeans, by the way, are only slightly better. The same goes for sandals and flip-flops. T-shirts with slogans were meant for children and teenagers, not for ladies in their 50s (the same goes for gentlemen, too).

Considering the skirt length, short dresses/skirts optically make the figure look more square and don't look that well on any woman who doesn't have great legs.
Compare this and this.

Here is an example of a short dress looking more feminine, but I'm still convinced that most women would look better in a dress which is at least knee-long, like this.

I'd like to add that I'm not paid for advertising the sites I linked to, I just needed the examples of what I was talking about. 


zaterdag 12 juli 2014

Beau Geste

We watched a very nice film yesterday called Beau Geste which was a 1939 adaptation of a novel by the same name. Beau Geste is a story about brotherly love. Three brothers, Beau, John and Digby are orphans who are being brought up by their wealthy aunt Patricia together with two other children, one of them a girl called Isobel who John later falls in love with.

Lady Patricia and her husband are separated from each other and he only comes home to sell more of his family treasure so that in the end practically nothing is left but a precious stone called "Blue Water." When Lady Patricia gets a telegram informing her that her husband is coming home again, she realises what it means and her young relatives ask her to show them the jewel before it is sold. Aunt Patricia takes the box out of the safe, opens it, the lights go out and when they are on again, the jewel is gone.

It's evident that only those present in the room (three brothers Geste, Isobel and another nephew Augustus) could have taken it. Lady Patricia gives the thief one night to repent of what he has done and to return the jewel before she goes to the police. One of the brothers searches Augustus whom they all dislike, but finds nothing so it becomes obvious that the thief is one of them.

In the early morning Beau disappears leaving a letter with confession behind, and Digby, his twin, does the same. John suspects that they decided to join the Foreign Legion and decides to follow them while Isobel promises to wait for him at home.

At first, everything goes OK, the three brothers find each other again in the North African desert, undergo the military training and all become soldiers in the service of France, but then they get separated. Beau and John are chosen to serve in a remote fort under the command of a sadistic sergeant Markoff while Digby stays behind. When the lieutenant in charge of the fort dies from fever, Markoff officially becomes the first in command and as the men hate him for his cruelty, things quickly deteriorate to the point of mutiny...

It was a very interesting movie, with Gary Cooper playing the part of Beau.

It can be watched on YouTube, over here:
Beau Geste

Keep in mind that it's a 1939 production, so no special effects over there, but it's a nice adaptation with elements of drama in it and it was very touching.

vrijdag 11 juli 2014

Commenting On This Blog

Am I the only one who appears to have problems with posting comments on my blog? Blogger keeps deleting them so that I often have to publish a comment two times or I get an error message. Has anyone experienced the same?

I wonder what the trouble could be, is it Blogger acting up or is it something else.

dinsdag 8 juli 2014

Guiding The House

I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. (1 Timothy 5:14)

We seem to live in the times of general confusion nowadays so that even simple truths are often twisted beyond recognition and common sense has gone out of the window. One example of this will be the incessant discussions of the topic of submission on the net. Now most people who call themselves conservative/traditional Christians will (hopefully) agree that a married woman should submit to/obey her husband, so that's not what is driving the arguments.

The problem appears to be that modern people can't figure out for themselves what submission actually means and need detailed instructions on how to live their daily lives while practising it. For instance, what if your husband tells you to rob the bank? Do you have to submit, yes or no? As much of a strawman as the example above is, there are actually some people who want us to believe, that yes, the wife should obey (cheerfully!).

Others will draw the line by criminal acts, but then the line gets somewhat blurred. How about watching p0rn together? Taking naughty pictures? Wearing a mini skirt when it's against your convictions? And the most contentious of all, what if the husband orders his wife to work (this last command seems to be the only one a lot of wives will obey cheerfully).

I've written on this topic several times before. For instance, check this post which quotes from the wedding liturgy still used in our church. It basically says that the husband is required to support his wife and family with God and honour, and the wife has to be a good housekeeper and obey her husband in all things right and honest. The wife doesn't lose her cognitive abilities when she marries and she isn't required to follow her husband into sin, thus the question of robbing banks is settled, hopefully once and for all.

Of course, in life things are seldom so black-and-white, and it includes a lot of grey areas. That's why it's nearly impossible to write a comprehensive guide to marital obedience on the internet and that's why it's so dangerous to give marital advice to strangers you know nothing about except what they chose to share with you, and this very well may be a lie.

It is perfectly possible to create some general guidelines, though. Take the mini-skirt or naughty movies, for instance. The law doesn't forbid it (unless you live in Iran), and your husband may insist, but you aren't comfortable with it, so what are you going to do? Personally I believe, that in such a situation you should follow your own personal code of honourable behaviour, and your husband will in the end respect you more for this. You also should seek for compromise, in order to preserve marital peace, e.g.if you like floor length skirts and your husband likes mini, wear skirts below the knee but not all the way to the ground.

Here is what Helen Andelin wrote on the topic in Fascinating Womanhood:

"A man wants a woman of fine character, one he can place on a pedestal and hold in high regard...
At times a man will shake a woman's pedestal by suggesting she do something wrong. He may do this deliberately to see if she is as worthy as she appears to be. In other words, he tests her. What a disappointment if she lowers her standards and falls to his level..."(F.W., p. 204, Bantam Books 1992; emphasis mine).

Here is one thing to remember, however. You are not your husband's judge. You have no authority to force him to live according to your standards, however, it doesn't mean that you can't have yours.

Now you will ask me what all this has to do with the title of the post. Simply this, contrary to some new teachings, woman is given a certain authority in the home, otherwise she won't be able to guide it, you know. That's what John Gill, a famous 18th century Reformed Baptist who wrote Bible commentary had to say on the topic: "guide the house; manage domestic affairs, direct, order, or do what is proper to be done for the good of the family" (Read the rest over here).

Some time ago Lady Lydia had the post on the same topic where she stated:

There are a number of religious books and some teachings circulating that claim a woman has no authority at all in her Titus 2 role, but I cannot see that at all. Titus 2 and various other New Testament scriptures teach that the Christian woman must guide and guard the home. These scriptures give the woman the authority they need to make rules and establish policies regarding how that home should be run. If she wants people to remove their shoes at the door or not engage in loud conversation, or if she wants them to pick up after themselves, wash before they come to the table, or help with the housework, she has the authority to enforce that. She does not have to appeal to anyone to give her permission to be a keeper of the home, a guide of the home and a guard of the home. She already got permission from God's Word.

I believe that Lydia's understanding of the role of women is a traditional one. While the Western law was once very unambiguous about the husband being the head of the family, it didn't mean that he had to micromanage his wife. Jesse Powell explains it in his article on coverture:

" The husband was considered to own and control all financial assets and property in the marital unit...
The other side of coverture beyond the husband controlling and owning all the property was the “law of agency” or the “law of necessaries” where the wife was presumed to be acting on the husband’s behalf whenever she bought “necessaries;” clothing, food, lodging, and medicine for domestic use.  The law of agency defined “necessaries” according to the husband’s status, occupation, and wealth.  As the great English jurist William Blackstone (1723 to 1780) said “The husband is bound to provide his wife with the necessaries by law, as much as himself; and, if she contracts debts for them, he is obliged to pay them.

In other words, though the husband had the last word on the finances, the wife was given freedom to buy things necessary for the proper functioning of the household, and that according to her husband's social status, so that if he was a wealthy man, he couldn't refuse her certain luxuries.

The traditional view on men and women was that they had separate spheres of action, and to a certain point, authority. That's what Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about American women in his book Democracy in America:

Book Three, Chapter XI
 In America, more than anywhere else in the world, care has been taken constantly to trace clearly distinct spheres of action for the two sexes, and both are required to keep in step, but along paths that are never the same.
Book Three, Chapter XII
I have no hesitation in saying that although the American woman never leaves her domestic sphere and is in some respects very dependent within it, nowhere does she enjoy a higher station. And if anyone asks me what I think the chief cause of the extraordinary prosperity and growing power of this nation, I should answer that it is due to the superiority of their women.

(Quoted from here)


However, it's obvious that the wife can't fulfill the command of guiding the house if she is obliged to go out and earn a living. The same chapter of the Bible which tells women to guide the house, also commands men to provide:

Verse 8: And if any man provide not for his own...he hath denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.

Now I've read some "gender" - neutral intrepretations of the verse, which state that the masculine pronoun and the word "man" refer to both men and women. Again, this in NOT a traditional interpretation of this verse. John Gill again:

"But if any  provide not for his own,.... Not only for his wife and children, but for his parents, when grown old, and cannot help themselves...

 he hath denied the faith; the doctrine of faith, though not in words, yet in works; and is to be considered in the same light, and to be dealt with as an apostate from the Christian religion."

It's obvious that the Scriptures teach men to provide for their families so that the wives can fulfill the commands of being keepers at home and guiding the house. Since nowadays it's far from given that the man you chose to marry agrees with it, it's wise to discuss this issue beforehand. Marriage is not only a sacrament (my religion actually doesn't teach it), but it's a covenant or contract, in modern words.

If the husband and wife made an explicit agreement before they are married that the wife will stay home and the husband will provide, he has to uphold his part of the bargain and if he then insists that his wife works when there is no dire financial necessity, then I believe she is within her rights to refuse. Now throw stones at me:)

zondag 6 juli 2014

Bachelor Pad Economics - A Book Review

Bachelor Pad Economics is a new book by Aaron Clarey who blogs on economics and other issues under the name of Captain Capitalism. The book is meant to be a comprehensive guide for young men on how to plan their lives, and includes advice on all sorts of things, from choosing your college major to being a good father to your kids, but since Aaron is an economist by profession, it naturally devotes most time to all things economic.

Despite going into some technical details, the book is written in such a manner that even a person who is far from economics, will have little difficulty understanding the main concepts and principles of how the things work or are supposed to work.

In Chapter One Aaron basically states that the reason he wrote his book is to help the current generation of young men who often grew without a benefit of having a father and were constantly fed a steady diet of lies by all persons of significance including educational experts and the media. Bachelor Pad Economics has chapters about choosing the right career path, advice on how to start your own business, information about retirement and taxes, the basic explanation of how the country's economy works and miscellaneous advice on things like dating/dealing with women and repairing your car.

All in all, it was a very interesting read and I learned several things, for instance, how the USA retirement system works. I especially liked the chapter about budgeting and cutting your expenses to the minimum as this is more or less a must for everyone who is planning to live on one income nowadays, unless your husband is a millionaire. Aaron criticises consumerism and reminds his readers that people and the relationships with them are much more important than material possessions and collecting tons of worthless stuff.

The book had one major drawback to me. Aaron is not a Christian and his world view naturally influenced his writing. Thus, the book promotes the modern form of "fun" dating (i.e. dating for sex), living together before getting married, and what was even worse for me, it advocates suicide/euthanasy as the way to deal with the end-of-life troubles, which is, of course, un-Christian. It also occasionally has crude sexual references and some profanity.

I would recommend Bachelor Pad Economics to anyone interested in learning the basics of the economic theory and how the things work in modern society and I think the book could be a huge help to those young people who are contemplating which path to choose in life and also to older readers as it contains a lot of useful info about things like taxes, property laws, retirement accounts and the like, however, if you are easily offended or not really mature in your faith, this book is probably not for you.

vrijdag 4 juli 2014

Congratulations To My American Readers And An Announcement

I'd like to congratulate all the Americans reading this blog (which actually constitute the majority of my readers) with the 4th of July! I hope you all will have a great day together with your family and the loved ones.

As for an announcement I mentioned, Aaron Clarey, who blogs about the current economic issues under the name of Captain Capitalism, agreed to read my book and wrote a review of it, which can be read in its entirety over here.

I'd like to quote some parts of it:

The Long Way Home by Sanne Wikjer is a short, but action packed sci-fi book about a soldier/mercenary who goes through an inordinate amount of fighting, war, politics, and espionage in an adventure that has more twists and turns than my salsa dancing...

The plot is engaging and entertaining, as well as complex...

Aaron admits that he doesn't like sci-fi and normally never reads it, but  he was able to get through this one because:

 And finally (the primary reason I read through it) is that it was fast paced and succinctly written.  You can't go a chapter without a fight, a betrayal, or pirates running contraband.  You want to see what happens to the hero in the next chapter.

 He recommends this book for teenage boys as he considers it not serious enough
for 40 year old economist curmudgeons.

Aaron sent me his own new book called Bachelor Pad Economics which I will be reviewing soon.

I'd probably should add that first, most Christians I know are trying to shelter their children from discussing certain topics until they are older than their secular counterparts and since my book among others deals with such topics as excessive drinking and infidelity I personally feel that 13 may be too young (it all really depends on the parental standards) and second,  that there are lots of men who dislike serious literature and read fantasy/sci-fi well into their 40s. If you are one of them, you'll probably enjoy my book, too.


woensdag 2 juli 2014

Homemaker's News And A Bread Recipe

It's been a busy week so far. There was a birthday on Monday, visiting on Tuesday and yesterday evening we had to bring our second car to the garage and then spent the rest of the evening by the seaside. Tomorrow I'm expecting guests again and Friday evening there will be another birthday.

Last Saturday we went to Delft and I bought a book in the second-hand store, one by Ellis Peters, the author of Brother Cadfael mysteries. This one was about Inspector Felse. I read it all in one evening and came to the conclusion that though it was OK, Ellis Peters will never become my favourite author. Why is it that the English lady authors have such a love for all things ghastly?

I remember Agatha Christie's descriptions of the agony caused by various poisons, gory battle scenes in the story about William The Conqueror, in Rebecca the husband shot his pregnant wife (well, at least he did think she was pregnant. Now Ellis Peters apparently loved to write about skeletons, skulls and bones though one of her books I read was mostly about hanging.

A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs  (that's how this book is caled) also  had a lady buried alive, smugglers, secret tunnels, caves and the boy discovering that the people he thought his parents really were not. And it all happened in Cornwall, too. I think by now I have a collection of books about smugglers in Cornwall hiding their smuggleware in secret tunnels and caves:) The book also had a love story in it and a sort of open ending and a moral lesson about not being an egoist. So I decided to keep it.

The cat is still at home. His wounds are nearly healed, he doesn't have to wear his funny cap any more and is allowed to go on the terrace upstairs, where there is no danger for him to run into one of his fine friends with long claws. He protests, of course, as he probably misses them:)

In other news, the bread-baker died last week. We ordered another on the net, it arrived last Thursday and after working for 5 minutes, died, too, so that I had to make bread by hand. (I discovered that I still know how to do it). Mind you, it wasn't mine idea to order it on the net, I suggested buying one in the store, but my husband thought otherwise. On the plus side, he also arranged everything to do with returning it.

I decided to copy the recipe from the manual and baked another loaf yesterday. Here is what I got:

Now that's what I call Big and Beautiful:)

Here is the recipe (with some slight adjustments, as usual):

320 ml water
2 TBSP butter/vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
3 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP milk/buttermilk (I used buttermilk both times as I had no milk at the moment)
4c flour/whole wheat flour + 1 TBSP (I normally use ab. 3 1/2 c normal flour + 1/2c wholewheat,  less wholewheat and more white flour is OK, too).
1 tsp yeast

Add the ingredients in the order they are named, mix and knead on the floured surface for ab. 5-6 min. Put into a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise for ab 1 hr, knead for 1-2 min, shape into a loaf of your choise ( I usually leave the dough as it is), place on a greased baking sheet, cover and let rise for 1 more hour. Bake for +/- 35 min, first at 225*C, then at 200*C. Enjoy!