'Now who has taken my nuts' he cried,
They were here in this cranny well tucked inside,
They took me a week and a half to hide,
But now there are none,
There are none.'
from The Squirrel by Enid Blyton
A week and a half!? Lucky blighter; it takes some people months to get that far. But I take it this excerpt is to signify an Autumnal bent to this week's HOT? The smell of reactivated radiators is in the air.
Yes, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and all that. Lovely. Another of Enid's little friends, Jeffery, is harvesting the fruits of his labours.
His hands were wet and sticky, he was very happy indeed. Then home he went and his mother cried out in astonishment. How she smiled when she heard Jeffery's story.
No doubt, once she noticed that Jeffery's mouth was purple, she realised what he'd been up to in the woods that day.
And now a big blackberry tart is baking in her oven. (Pretend you are Jeffery and write down what you would tell your mother when you got home.)
I would say, 'Dash it all Mother, I've been in the bushes after fruits all morning and now I end up with a hot tart. Really!'
Mmmm, blackberry tart! Very traditional, very English. Whereas Hallowe'en has sadly become a commercial venture imported from America to sell plastic rubbish.
Yes, it seems that the true meaning of Hallowe'en is being forgotten: rampant Paganism. Luckily right wing Christians are on hand every year to remind us2.
But I shall give you some ideas of what to do with your smashing pumpkins. Here's a wonderful recipe from a French friend for pumpkin pie. I shall be kind and translate it into English.
Stuff you need
- one large pastry case
- 600g of pumpkin
- one large onion
- olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 100g of parmesan
- 2 eggs
- 150g of crème fraîche
- 20cl of stock (made with a vegetable bouillon cube)
How you do it:
- Chop pumpkin and onion into half inch chunks
- Gently fry together until starting to soften
- Add stock, simmer until soggy mush
- Mix with all the other stuff
- Pile into pastry case
- Bake at about 180°C - 350°F, Gas Mark 4 - for about forty minutes
So that's what you do with the inside bits of your lantern. And if you have any problems with your candles, here's some advice from The Home of Today3:
Candles; To Economise
Before using the candles in the piano, take them by the wick and coat them with white varnish. This will not only stop waste, but trouble also, for the varnish will form a cup when the candles are burning, which will prevent the wax running.
Talking of running...
... this is not just the season of bogeymen but also of men with bogeys, along with phlegm and catarrh.
In other words, the first winter colds. Ah ha, Boothby4 has the cure for this:
Egg Flip, Hot
Pour a pint of Bass's ale in a saucepan and set on fire to boil. Then beat up a couple of eggs (at this point the Police and Fire Brigade should be alerted) and mix with two tablespoons of sugar (brown sugar is the best) (then call the Commission for Racial Equality) making a light batter. When the ale has boiled, pour over the eggs, very slowly at first to prevent curdling, then pour backwards and forwards until the mixture appears all alike and smooth. Spice well and serve as hot as possible. This is an old English cure for a bad cold.
Or if aches and pains are troubling you, The Home of Today has the answer:
Mustard Whey, for Rheumatism
Boil four drams of mustard seed, bruised, in one pint of milk. Strain and separate the curd, (hullo, do I spy a spot of ethnic cleansing?) taking a fourth part of the whey three times a day.
Brrr, the thought of chilly times brings me neatly onto this week's quiz. From Enid5, of course, but Bobs seems to be involved somehow. Probably one of her internet friends.
A Puzzle by Bobs
(Quite a silly one!)
I am in Austria and Russia and Spain,
Look around China, you'll see me again,
I'm never in water unless it's a river
I get into ice and I'm found in a shiver,
I'm never in trouble but hide in disgrace,
Can any one guess me - now just have a race!