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I’m thinking about deleting this blog as I’ve written in it so little recently.

The weekend after Valentine’s day was a very ordinary stay-at-home chilled family weekend, just me and my husband all snug in our little house. It sounds boring but when you’ve been working during the week it’s nice to have some time to stay late in bed and catch up on the odd jobs which need doing around the house and garden.

Last weekend we went to Penrith for the Marmalade Awards and Festival! Mike had entered a jar of marmalade for the competition; it didn’t win but it got a respectable score and he picked up some useful tips on how to improve for next year.

It was a wonderful weekend. Meals out in cosy country pubs, spectacular views of Ullswater lake and Aira Force waterfalls, of course the festival itself and just being able to spend a totally relaxed weekend with each other in such beautiful surroundings.

The event itself was the epitome of gentle and innocent fun. It was held at Dalemain House, a large and lovely country mansion (I’ll post links when I’m on a PC). Highlights for me were:

Paddington Bear – of course!
Over 1,700 entries into the competition, all individually scored and commented upon, and set out in the grand rooms of the house itself.
Around 250 ‘artisan marmalades’ which you could actually taste! They were all very different from each other – surprisingly so – and included some weird and wonderful flavours involving figs, bergamot, lapsang souchong, brandy, rum, piña colada, gin, vodka, vanilla, pumpkin and a whole range of things I forget.
Toast and marmalade ice cream by Ginger’s Comfort Emporium. Better than Ben & Jerry’s!
The biggest jar of marmalade on record.
Michael Bond’s daughter was there.
interesting talk by food historian Ivan Day, including tasting of a wonderful pudding made to an old recipe.
Music by the Dalemain String Trio, with soup and marmalade cake, in the beautiful setting of St Andrew’s church in Dacre.
A very useful and informative marmalade-making workshop/class by ladies from the Jam Jar Shop.

There are probably things I’ve missed but you get the picture!

Must dash now. I got a part – albeit a small one! – in the most recent casting of my local am dram group, so I’m occupied with rehearsals two nights a week again.

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